If there was ever a time where I needed the Lord most, it is now. This has been a very challenging month for me personally as I deal with Susana’s treatment and all that surrounds that. If I was on the mountain tops last month soaking in the goodness of God and enjoying His ever so real presence, this month has brought me to the valley as I have been struggling to lay hold of the Lord every day. Why? I don’t fully know. All that I know is that my emotions have been literally all over the place with regards to seeing my daughter have to endure so much. Some days I feel that I am seconds away from tears all throughout the day and other days I feel like I am numb. It has been hard to endure. I don’t want to be numb. Susana is not numb. She must go through this pain, therefore I want to stand through the pain with her rather than try to insulate myself from it. I have done some insulating at first simply by zoning out in front of the television in our hotel room. But I soon realized that this is not going to do me or my family any good, as I don’t need to be filling my mind and heart with things of the world that take my focus off of the Lord, so I pulled the plug on that (literally) and brought the cord to the front desk and told them that I didn’t want to see that cord replaced until we were gone. So, I’m thankful for the grace and wisdom that the Lord gave me to make that decision.
It has been difficult trying to make sense of the fact that my daughter needs me most right now, as does my other daughter and my wife, yet I myself feel tremendous need. Some days I feel selfish for thinking in that manner, and other days I just realize that I am human, not superman. But in this, I realize that the only place where my needs can be met so that I am strong for my family is at the cross. It is at the cross where I must come every day and pour out my heart. It is there where I must seek Him for His grace and mercy. It is there where I must deny myself (wants, needs, desires) and pick up the cross that He has given to me to bear and follow Him, trusting fully that He will indeed supply all my needs. So, ideally, this is where I want to be. But I can’t say that I have been there each and every day during this time. I have been met with many obstacles.
Some of the greatest challenges are simply having to see Susana be put through so much. She has been vomiting and having diarrea every day. She is connected to this machine that is pumping all different meds into her all throughout the day. Her face is very puffy. She lays on the bed and sleeps most of the day, only to be woken up by another doctor or nurse that needs to access her line to do yet another procedure. She is now on a pain pump receiving consistent pain medication because of the sores that are developing in her mouth and stomach. Her white blood cell count is completely at zero. She is often irritable. She rarely wants to get out of bed, even to use the bathroom. She ends up doing diarrea all over herself a few times a day, which makes her feel bad and of course it is not fun cleaning it all up. There are really very few moments, literally just moments, throughout the day where she gets in the mood to talk. I miss my little Susana. I know she is there, but there is so much in the way right now, and it makes it very hard.
Another very difficult thing to bear is the fact that my wife and I cannot even share a quiet intimate moment together these days because one of us is always at the hospital, so we have been completely unable to have any quality time together to keep us both strong and focused. We see each other just about every day, but it is in the tiny hospital room that seems like Grand Central Station with all the different doctors and nurses that come in every minute. So even though we see each other, it is only for about an hour or two while we are switching shifts. We just don’t get the time to really talk. And even if we did have the time, we are both just in such game mode right now that we don’t seem to have much to say apart from things related to Susana’s care. So, I just miss time alone with my wife. Even when I am away from the hospital while it is her turn to cover, its not like I’m thrilled about it or anything because it involves me just going back to the hotel room without her.
I will say though that it has been wonderful having Isabela with us. Even though I long sometimes for some alone time, I am glad that she is with us and is doing so incredibly well. She is the most amazing big sister and I thank the Lord for how He is using her to minister to Susana and the rest of our family. But even having Isabela with us takes work as whoever is not staying in the hospital at the time is the one who is in charge of homeschooling Isabela. And sometimes that seems to take most of the day. So, yeah, this has been a tough stretch in so many different ways. And the doctors have told us that these next 7 to 10 days will be the most difficult.
The truth is though, that the doctors say that Susana is right where they expected her to be and that everything is right on course. She has not had any setbacks whatsoever and the doctors are pleased with where things are at. So, that certainly makes things more bearable, but it is still hard nonetheless having to go through all of this. Oh, I dream about the days ahead, Lord willing, when she is healed of this cancer. I’m telling you all…, we are going to go on a HUGE vacation! But right now, there is no vacation. We must endure the hardship. We must endure suffering as the bible calls us to. And I need His grace to do just that.
My wife has been more of the rock at this point. And seeing her challenges me to seek the Lord more each and every day. I know that the Lord wants to use this as an opportunity to bring further growth and maturity in my relationship with Him. I know that He uses these situations to refine His children so that they come out as pure gold. And so, that is what I desire. That is what our whole family truly desires – that He be glorified in our lives even in the midst of suffering and pain.
We are so thankful for the prayers of the saints that are lifting us all up before the throne of our great heavenly Father who never sleeps nor slumbers. We know that He is able to do more than we could ever ask for, think, or imagine. Thank you all so much for your love, support, and prayers.