This is the hard part…

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.

6 thoughts on “This is the hard part…

  1. Man, I miss you guys! I wish that I could be there with you in the midst of all this – but know that I am with you in prayer and in spirit! We love you all, and I will be praying constantly for your princess as she endures such painful days… my heart breaks for her, and I hate that she is experiencing such suffering. All of you are in our prayers!

    Lord, send Your messengers of hope and healing to the Whittakers, and fill them with Your strength. Physically strengthen them, as You spiritually strengthen them. And lay your warm and gentle hand on Susana…wrap her tightly and securely in Your loving arms. Be her Father, and whisper into her ear your wisdom and encouragement. Let her feel Your love EVERY moment of EVERY day! We trust you Lord – we trust that You are sufficient, and that You are watching and intervening. Bless the Whittakers in the midst of such trying times. Let them feel your presence mightily! Amen…

  2. Cody,

    No need to remember me. I’m a friend of Dusty Cooper which is how I’ve been made aware of your journey.

    Sometime when you need a boost check out… http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=FlL8LayF0uw

    It is a song that has encouraged others who are going through similar circumstances.

    Resting with you in grace,
    Scott

  3. Hi Cody & Maria,
    I am so sorry you are going through all this. We are praying that things get better and easier very soon. Just look forward to the day you will be taking your little one’s home and starting your normal day to day.

    After reading your blog and really realizing what you are truly going through, I feel so guilty for the little things I ask the Lord for because they are nothing compared to what you and your family need. I am sorry for that. I have been praying everyday, throughout the day and every night for your little angel..and we all believe all will be well and she is going to get up one day soon and ask you for Chicken Nuggets again!!! :o) Then you will all be off to fulfill your God given destiny wherever that leads you all.

    We had such a nice visit with Isabella and Judy. They came down to our house and we went for a hike, had pizza, laughed & hugged and Alec regaled Isabella with his magic tricks, we all laughed so much. We Love your Babies!! We took a lot of pictures of our hike and Isabella playing at the playground at the park. am going to put the pictures on my Facebook page and tag Maria on them so you all can enjoy that little cuties adventures. There are a couple of great shot’s of Isabella and your mom.

    Well Cody, please give Maria, Isabella and Susana hugs and love from us..we miss you guys and can’t wait for a reunion!!

    God Bless you and watch over you all.

    Love you guys! Dannes & Shane & Erika & Alec

  4. Wow-Cody. your post leaves me at a loss for words. We are lifting you all up in prayer. God’s grace will be enough for you-even in this yucky, gross, down and out, stinkin’ time. God is with you every second of this journey. I appreciate your honesty and now we know how to pray!
    In His love-Amanda Long

  5. I am so sorry that you are all enduring this; my heart breaks for you. To watch that precious sweet innocent child suffer, can be unbearable; I am sure. It is in those deep valley times that we can rest assured that God is with us, holding us, though we may not “feel” His presence. It is deeply troubling to be in the depths of despair, and needing that extra strength, peace, encouragement, and endurance. We are praying for you, like so many others! Again, I wish I was there to help you. If you ever need me to keep Isabela for you (even right now..), I can; we have plenty of room for her, so you and Maria can be together with Susana. We can also help her get her school work done. Alyssa would LOVE that. There may be a Ronald McDonald House next door to the hospitaI, where you can stay at no cost. I believe they even help with meals and encouragement. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=775yhAx7b8g (another encouraging song…) ) Rest in Him…..He will see you through. Do you have a walkman or player that you can place the headphones on Susana, and let her listen to quiet soothing music? This may calm and bring her a boost. The child life specialists normally can provide this. Praying……………………

    “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
    Psalm 34:19

    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

    “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-2

    “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.”
    Psalm 43:5

    “May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion.” Psalm 20:1-2

    “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5

    “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.” Psalm 61:2-4

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

    Rebecca

  6. There is nothing to do but pray. And pray I will. We all face times when we feel as if our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. God will show Himself to you. All you have to do is hold on. Hold on and we will pray!

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