This post is #176 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 14, 2009
Valentine's Day. Exactly one year had passed since Hannah had shown the first symptoms of the brain tumor which was now slowly taking her life. It had been a roller-coaster year full of MRIs, needle sticks, radiation treatments, chemotherapy, hair loss, platelet infusions, and hospital stays. We had watched our daughter go from a vibrant, healthy 16-year-old with high academic aspirations to a weak, nearly-blind 17-year-old with the mind of a little old lady with Alzheimer's. But in spite of the physical and mental changes cancer had wrought, it had not stolen her sweet spirit.
From the time the girls were little, Brad established a tradition of getting them roses on Valentine's Day. They always looked forward to receiving this special gift from their Dad.
This particular year, Hannah got a lot of enjoyment out of her roses. She had very little short-term memory by this time, so every time she saw the roses, it was as if she had just received them. She said again and again, "Oh, Daddy ... they're so pretty. Thank you!" This was especially significant because she was talking very little at this point. Sure did make her Dad feel good.
I remember that day as a sweet, peaceful day spent together as a family, enjoying our time together and gently chuckling at Hannah's exclamations. She was scheduled for an MRI that Monday, but there was no "scanxiety" this time. We knew what it would show, and while we didn't like it and our hearts were broken, God had given us a peace about the future.
I am grateful for that peace-filled day ... because within 48 hours that sense of peace would be severely shaken.