This post is #141 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
At this point in time, Hannah had completed her second round of radiation treatments and we were still waiting for her bone marrow to rebound enough to start her new chemotherapy treatment. Her blood counts were still extremely low, and she was getting weekly blood transfusions, and almost daily platelet infusions. The chemo treatments were our last hope, medically speaking, for Hannah's survival. She was feeling pretty good at Thanksgiving time ... the "ground-up glass" feeling in her throat from the radiation treatments had finally diminished, and her sense of taste was just beginning to return, so she really enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner.
After Thanksgiving, we set up our family Christmas tree to the crooning of Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Burl Ives. Hannah always insisted that we play the old Christmas tunes for this event, so of course we did. She played a much less active role in the tree decorating that year ... mostly observing and directing the action from our recliner.
As we stepped through these holiday traditions Brad and I were fully cognizant that this could be the last time we did these things together as a family of four. My emails gave no indication of what an excruciatingly difficult time this was for us as Hannah's parents. We were beginning to see daily indications that she was already leaving us, little by little. They were small things ... nothing that a casual observer would see ... nothing we could even specifically identify ... but the signs were there nonetheless. All we could do was savor every moment of our time together as a family, lean in, and trust God for the future.
My email from ten years ago today ...
Just a quick update to let you know that we had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family and good food! All of Hannah's grandparents were able to come, along with many of her aunts, uncles and cousins. Hannah has felt well all week, with the exception of some queasiness in the mornings, which she attributes to the yucky taste still remaining in her mouth from the radiation treatments. She was able to enjoy all of the visitors and the food, so we were very thankful!
Tomorrow we return to Children's Hospital for bloodwork, and possibly to start chemotherapy, depending on what her blood counts look like. Judging by how well she's been feeling, I am guessing that there's a good chance she'll get to start her chemo tomorrow. We will go prepared to spend the night, just in case she has an adverse reaction to the chemo, but they have told us that we should be able to go home after a period of observation. I will bring Hannah's laptop with us to the hospital tomorrow, and will probably send out an update from there.
One of the things we are the most thankful for during this Thanksgiving season is you, the readers of these updates who are so faithful to pray for Hannah and our family. Words can never express how grateful we are to all of you for keeping us lifted up before the Father on a regular basis. Thank you.
God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23