Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Painful Decision

This post is #174 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.

February 12, 2009

During our clinic appointment ten years ago today, we had the opportunity to chat with Hannah's oncologist while she received her requisite platelet infusion.  She was scheduled for an MRI on Monday, which would tell us a lot about what the future might hold.  Her doctor was very honest with us, explaining that he believed the results would indicate progression of the cancer.  He went on to say that if that was indeed the case, there was very little, if anything, that could be done for her medically from this point on. 

Of course that kind of news is jarring ... but it came as no surprise.  At home, we were seeing daily declines in Hannah's vision, motor skills, cognitive ability, and communication ... even her ability to care for her own most basic needs.  Yes, we knew that God could (and still might!) choose to perform a miraculous healing ... but it was becoming more and more evident that that was probably not going to be His plan for Hannah.  Please understand that this was not a lack of faith on our part, but rather a deep down, rugged faith that God held her life in His loving hands and would only do what was best for her.  And that faith was not something we simply mustered up, for we were utterly incapable of doing that on our own, but a gift from the God who loved us as well. 

We found ourselves in a position where we had to make some decisions for our daughter, who could no longer make decisions for herself.  Together we determined that Hannah's dignity should be protected above all, whatever lay ahead.  She was still our naturally-reserved 17-year-old daughter, with all the emotions and inhibitions of a teenage girl.  And that was why, before we left the hospital that day, Brad signed a "Do Not Resuscitate" or DNR form.  We did not want Hannah to go through the trauma of an attempted resuscitation when its only result would be to delay her arrival in Heaven by a few weeks.

My email from a decade ago reveals none of the swirl of emotions accompanying this decision ...

We're already home this afternoon from our clinic visit at Children's....it's nice to be home so early in the day! Hannah's platelets were 29,000 today, so she got a platelet infusion, and we were able to visit with our oncologist for a few minutes. 

We are scheduled for an MRI first thing Monday morning, but he is a little bit concerned about Hannah's ability to tolerate lying perfectly still in that tube for so long in her weakened state. We will try it, but if she can't do it, we will do a CT scan instead, which only takes a few minutes as opposed to an hour or more. 

Because Monday is a holiday, the radiologist won't be there to read the scan, so we will not get any results until probably Wednesday. Our oncologist has indicated that he believes the disease has progressed, and he is expecting the MRI to show that. We will meet with him about the results next week, and discuss our possible next steps. He has indicated that we have very few options, if any, available to us at this point as far as further treatment. 

We know that God is still in control, and with a single word, He can turn all of this around....but we also know that His will is perfect, and He may choose to provide His healing in heaven. Either way, Hannah will be victorious!

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." 2 Corinthians 5:1

God is good, all the time!

Jill and Brad

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