Have you ever tried to see how long you could hold your breath? I remember childhood challenges to see who could do it the longest--sometimes it was underwater in the swimming pool, other times it was just several of us standing there watching each other. Silly? Yes. A battle for bragging rights? Absolutely. Those 20- to 30-second victories were simply awe-inspiring.
Fast forward 30-something years. I think I've set a new personal record for holding my breath. Forget timing in seconds--let's try about 9 days, starting when Paige received the first of three high-dose chemo administrations--the 'make-up' work in her leukemia treatment. 24 hours of chemotherapy. Five days in the hospital. Constant monitoring and caution for several days at home. Yes, this morning I was actually able to exhale.
The first attempt at this four months ago resulted in a trip to the ER when Paige experienced stroke-like symptoms. Thankfully, she rebounded quickly--even joking later that evening that her motto was "go big or go home." I distinctly recall reminding her that we couldn't go home because she kept going so big. :)
Needless to say, we were all a bit--okay, a lot--anxious about trying this again. A few adjustments were made to the treatment, and the leukemia team had Paige's safety and well-being in mind the entire time. We trust their judgement--they've shown true compassion and care for Paige and our family from the start. God put them on our path for just this purpose. I called on every prayer warrior I know, and we got to work. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "pray without ceasing"--and that's what we did. Prayer works, my friends.
How do I know? Hospital stay went as planned. Chemo levels cooperated at each check. Anti-nausea meds worked well. Fatigue was manageable. Best of all? Fear and anxiety about what might happen was nowhere in sight. Was it somewhere in the back of our minds? Of course. It's tough to forget one of the scariest days in your life. Was it taking over? No way. We continue to trust God's plan for healing our girl. There were--and still are--too many reasons to celebrate and give thanks.
After a few days at home, the major fatigue began to subside. Paige's counts were good at our follow-up clinic visit--she was smiling and joking around with her doctors, so I knew she was feeling better. We even made it out for a few simple errands later in the week, enjoying lunch out and giving Paige a chance to show off Mom's handiwork on her nails.
Today, however, was the absolute best day since we've been back home. Coincidence that it also happens to be a Sunday? Nope. All four of us attended church this morning--between low counts and hospital stays, that hasn't happened very often in the last few months. We were able to visit and pray with our pastor after the service. It was a great start to the day, and it kept getting better.
Paige and Jeremy worked together to make pizzas for their lunch, laughing as they piled mountains of cheese on their creations. Deciding she wanted to continue the Italian theme for dinner, Paige made homemade alfredo sauce to accompany the pasta, broccoli, and grilled chicken she'd requested. She even took care of plating the food--I wish I'd taken a quick picture, but the food disappeared too quickly! Dessert consisted of cupcakes she baked with her dad and iced with her brother. Can you tell her appetite seemed to be okay today?
Yes, I've finally been able to exhale. I'm not holding my breath anymore in anticipation of what might happen. I'm trusting God to take care of my girl. I'm thanking Him for her healing and praying for her safety. And I'm cherishing every single second of days like today.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13