This post is #143 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.
In a previous post, I described the moment Hannah first became my hero. They day she returned to school for the first time since her cancer recurrence in September was the second.
I remember dropping her off that first day she went back and thinking how brave she was to walk into that school building after being out for so long ... wearing a wig, her face swollen from steroids, not knowing how people would react to her. I wanted to walk in with her, holding her hand, like I did the first day of kindergarten. But what high school junior wants her mom to walk into school with her? And besides, I knew that her dad, the principal, was in there waiting for her. I remember driving away with a heavy heart, wondering if attendance at school really mattered, as her prognosis did not give much hope for graduation.
But she was determined to go, and for the few days she attended, she did well. The first day she went back, her social studies class was reviewing for a test. She took the test the next day, and made a 100 percent, even though she had not been there for a single day of classroom instruction. I've looked through some of the notes she took and work she did during those days, and it is heartbreaking to see her once beautiful handwriting appear so shaky and unsteady. She had always doodled in class, usually making elaborate designs and symmetrical patterns. She did some doodling during those days in class too, but it is messy and uneven.
I wonder ... What was she really experiencing at that time? How does it feel to know that you have tumors growing inside your brain and spinal cord? She really never talked much about what she was feeling, physically or emotionally. She was always very private ... never one to share too much. As time passed and her motor skills deteriorated, gradually stealing her ability to walk, she told me one day, "I don't like being this way." That was it ... that was her one complaint during that entire year of cancer.
How did she do it? No one could do what she did in human strength alone. The only answer is her faith in God. She knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was all part of His plan for her, and she accepted it without question. And that makes her a hero in my eyes.
My email from ten years ago today ...
Just a quick update to let everyone know that Hannah has been going to school this week...she went for three hours Tuesday and almost a full day yesterday. She's up and getting ready this morning to go back today. She has done really well, and it seems not to have tired her out too much. I think we've all enjoyed being involved in some normal activities this week!
We will go to Hot Springs this afternoon for bloodwork, and will go to Little Rock for a platelet infusion tomorrow if one is needed. We hope to be on track to start chemo on Monday. Thank you so much for your continued prayers...I will update again on Monday!
God is good, all the time!
Jill and Brad