Goodbye Cancer. Hello Anxiety.

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It has been a long time since I have wrote about cancer. It has been nine months since Mallorie was done with treatment. With only having a monthly checkup on the calendar, one would think cancer would be pretty much a distant memory. At least that is what I was hoping.

The whole time Mallorie was going through treatment, all I could think about was reaching the end. Once she was done with treatment we could move on with life. I wish someone would have prepared me for what happens after treatment. Which to me, is turning out to be worse than the cancer itself.

Mallorie has been feeling unwell for many months. She has been having a hard time breathing. Most of the breathing episodes happen while at school or at night. And ever since she finished treatment, it is like she can’t sit still or be alone. Mallorie has always hated being by herself. Even as a little kid she was always at someone’s feet. She has been to the doctor many times over the past nine months for respiratory issues. Yet chest x-rays, oxygen monitoring, blood work and heart test all show she is in perfect health. So what the heck was wrong with her.

She kept telling me she was crazy. She would cry all the time for no reason. She worried about things she cannot control, like terrorism. What teenager really is so scared about terrorist they don’t want to go to the movies or church because they are afraid someone is going to blow or shoot the place up? She couldn’t shower alone most of the time. Then she had two fainting spells.

I finally took her to the ER this week because she briefly passed out. I wasn’t leaving the hospital until I had a solid answer to what was happening. I started thinking maybe it was due to the scar tissue on her lungs from chemo. All the same test were ran, EKG, x-ray, blood work, but everything came back excellent. Which under normal circumstances would make a mother relieved. Nope, not me. I was confused. I was sure the doctor thought I was one of those mom’s that want their child sick for attention. Her physical condition wasn’t adding up to her symptoms.

When it was time to be discharged, the doctor came in and dropped a bomb I wasn’t expecting. He said all the symptoms seem respiratory and I can see why you would think that. Actually I think we are dealing with anxiety. A light blub turned on. Everything started making sense. I wish I could say I was relieved.

Just like when she was diagnosed with cancer, I had know idea what to do or where to turn.  Anxiety doesn’t seem like a bad thing. At some point everyone experiences some form in their life. It’s usually brief and disappears as quickly as it came on. For Mallorie it is consistent and always present. What a horrible way to feel.

I am no therapist (she is going to start seeing one) but I am going to bet, knowing her since birth, she has always had some form of anxiety and cancer just raised it to the surface. Cancer is such an ass. We were supposed to be done and moving on, but now we have to deal with the traumatic mental baggage that comes with cancer.

I started doing some research on anxiety and how to be a caregiver of someone with such an illness. What sucks is that everything I have been doing and saying to her thus far, is exactly what a caregiver should not be doing and saying. Talk about feeling like a jerk.

Today I am just tired. Tired of the worry. Tired of wondering what is going to happen next. Parenting is hard enough under normal circumstances. All I know is I want to be the safe place for Mallorie and learn to understand how to deal with this. I struggle with patience and I have to focus on being more in control of that virtue.

If you have some positive insight on anxiety I would love to hear it. I am not about to even pretend I know what to do.

She Made It – A Little Snippet on My Thoughts of Mallorie’s Last Chemo Shot

1510006_747034938705261_5810347543368150990_nI just saw Mallorie’s tweet……”19-hour countdown and then bye bye chemo.”

I have imagined in my head many times what this day would feel like. The day when we no longer have to plan our lives around cancer. And in less than twenty-four hours, Mallorie will receive her last shot of methotrexate.

Emotions are a bit overwhelming at this moment. I think back to the beginning. The beginning of Mal’s journey, our journey. It was so unexpected, this diagnosis the doctors called leukemia. At that time, leukemia seemed like a monster trying to steal from me, my little girl. Now, it’s all gone.

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Mallorie’s battle was one with many twist and turns. Rough, exhausting, painful, and unknown. She lost her hair, she lost weight, she lost strength, but she never lost her spirit. She had good days. She had bad days. She had days she wanted to give up. She had days she told me to not give up.

There were tears. There was laughter. There was anger. There were screams.

Watching Mallorie slowly start to wither away in the early stages of treatment is something I will never forget. Flesh on bones. Shunk in cheeks. Frail and weak. Makes me nauseated just thinking of it. Thankfully, we had a fantastic Oncologist and wonderful nurses.

Speaking of nurses, we were blessed by so many people, but the ones who kept us going were the nurses. They became immediate family. Seeing us at our worst. Giving the meds. Hearing the cries of pain. Lending an ear in the middle of the night. The nurses are heroes.

 

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Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to months. Months turned to years.

Mallorie got stronger. Her hair came back. (Curly and brown. Before cancer, it was straight and blonde.) She grew. Hospital stays decreased. Lengthly chemo stop. Port came out. Things were semi-normal.

Now, hours away from her getting to ring the bell. I am excited. She did it! We did it! By the grace of God and prayers. By wonders in medicine and skills of our doctors, Mallorie will be heading into her Freshman year cancer free. Mallorie Wall

Just Keep Swimming.

 

You Just Don’t Know How Far You’ve Come Until You See Where You Are Now.

I forgot to post this photo over Christmas. The picture on the left is from 2013 about a week after Mal was diagnosed. When we were at the Wichita Littlest Hero’s Christmas Event, Mallorie wanted to replicate the photo from 2013, so that is the photo on the right. Sometimes you just don’t know how far you’ve come until you can see where you are now. From a straight-haired girl to a curly young lady, we are thankful for such wonderful progress.

 

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When It All Falls Out ~ A Look Back

I originally posted this on December 31, 2013. It was a few days after Mallorie was diagnosed with leukemia. I remember we had only been home a few days and not knowing we would be heading back to the hospital within hours. As I reread this post, I immediately went back to that scene. I played it over again in my mind. Also, that was the first New Year’s Eve that I never even thought about the upcoming year. But now, as crazy as it may be, Mallorie has her hair back.  It’s spunky and fun, just like her.  I encourage you to read my entry “When It All Falls Out.” 

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https://marketingmojoks.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/when-it-all-falls-out/

 

 

More Precious Than Gold

As we enter the middle of September, I love seeing all the gold supporting childhood cancer. Cancer is an ugly beast that tries to steal everything it can. Not only for the patient, but family and friends of the fighter. It rips away strength, energy, joy, time, laughter, patience, money, relationships and even hope. It is hard to watch your loved one suffer and struggle, but it is heartbreaking when you have to watch your child be poked, hooked up to numerous machines, vomit violently because of their medicines, cry in pain and whither away to almost nothing. And all you can do is watch, praying the pain will subside, the vomiting will stop and their strength is regained.

For over a year, Mallorie has been able to live a “almost” normal life. With the exceptions of her daily oral medicines, weekly blood draws and methotrexate shot, monthly IV chemo and quarterly spinals, she is finally able to be a 13 year old. She has not been hospitalized in over a year. She struggles often with headaches and upset stomach, but to look at her, you might not even be able to tell she is being treated for leukemia. Her hair is still thin, but is slowly growing. Unless she wears a swim suit, you can’t see her port scar. And you would only notice her moaning and sluggishness she has after a full day if you were here at bed time.

Even with all the good we are experiencing in our journey, I am troubled. I am troubled because I find myself forgetting what she went through in those early months of treatment. The long, sleepless nights. Constant worry and fear of what was going to happen next. The endless hospital stays. All the tears. I can’t help but think, how can I help spread awareness of this horrible disease, if I, a mother of a child fighting cancer, can’t even remember our own experience? I don’t want the past 639 days to slip away and become I distant memory, yet I don’t want cancer running our lives. And honestly, it’s not even something I think about every day. Maybe that is normal? I am not sure.

Mallorie’s treatment is broken up in different phases. I don’t have her road map (term used for a treatment plan) in front of me, so I can’t remember all the different phases, but you can be sure they all sucked. She is currently in the maintenance phase and thinking back to when she was first diagnosed, I can remember saying we would never get to the last phase. It seemed so far away.  And I can still hear her oncologist saying, “Just take it one day at a time”. And now we only have 29 weeks left of treatment. That’s only 29 more shots, 29 more labs, eight more IV chemo sessions and 2 spinals. That has me pretty freaking stoked.

Last Saturday, I was connected to with a mom who’s son was diagnosed with leukemia in June. We chatted on-line with me sharing Mallorie’s story, me reading her son’s story, her asking me questions and me sharing our experiences. It was one of those moments where you just know your journey has meaning and purpose.  I remember being the one on the other side of the chat. The one who was up all hours of the night researching and worrying. Even though leukemia isn’t always on my mind, when I do think back and relive our experience, emotions come flooding in. I experience the pain, sorrow, and worry. I can smell the hospital. I start to feel my body ache from lack of sleep, roller coaster emotions and remember how for months I functioned on auto pilot. But in the same breath, I sense the warmth, love and prayers so many people provided. (And let’s not forget Joni’s scones!)  And now, I get to be someone that gives support. That is a priceless gift I do not ever want to lose or take for granted.

Before I became a “cancer mom”, which I think is a legit term, I never concerned myself with kiddos who were ill. Of course, I would give to causes that were brought to my attention, but I never lost any sleep over it. I would feel sad and even thankful that all my kids were healthy, but not once did I put myself in the parent’s shoes. I simply would go about my life, striving to be the perfect little family with no issues. Oh how Dec 15, 2013 changed me. Not only did Mallorie’s diagnoses slap me in the face on how precious life is, but it opened my eyes to how freaking messed up we are.  Not just in the form of cancer, but in life as a whole. The things I would stress over and put as the priority where simply things that fade. We are blessed and I know this. I get to hug my daughter (all my kids) every single day. Many parents are not so lucky. Cancer and other illness have taken their precious gift and they only have memories to hold. I have no idea the pain and loss a parent feels over losing a child, nor do I ever want too. But I have seen the fear in a mother’s eyes and witnessed the agonizing pain of a child gone way to soon. That alone is unbearable.

One in 330 children will be diagnosed with cancer before they are 20 years old. That may not seem like a big number, but what if your child was that “one”? I sure didn’t think any of my children would get cancer. Awareness is crucial to ending this horrible disease. As I close this post, since September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, I just ask you to take a moment and pray for the kids and their families that are dealing with cancer. Don’t just pray for the child, pray for the parents and siblings. Pray for the grandparents, caregivers, aunts and uncles. Everyone in the family has to cope with the ugly monster. In showing support of Childhood Cancer, it’s not too late to wear gold at least one day this month. If you do, we would love for you to show us. If you have FaceBook, you can like our Team Mallorie page and post a picture of you sporting your gold. It doesn’t have to be a cancer shirt, just something gold. The link below should direct you to our page. You can also follow Team Mallorie on Twitter where we periodically share information on childhood cancer and other random things. Usually whatever Mallorie tells me to post. So yes, it can be random. LOL!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Team-Mallorie-571297976278959/timeline/?ref=hl

Twitter: @mallorie_team4

Thank you for reading and may your day be blessed.

Just Be……..

As December 15th approaches, my heart is filled with many emotions. That day marks a year since Mallorie was diagnosed with leukemia. This past year has been a whirlwind of change, sacrifice and growth. I can remember the feeling of losing my breath when we heard the words “your daughter has leukemia.”  The room was full of family, but I felt alone. I had no idea what laid before me in this unplanned season of life.

The hospital became our home on and off for many weeks. Just when I thought she was getting stronger, she would be sick. I wanted to be home with my husband and other two children, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to express myself. I was running on anxiety and fear. Cancer changed me. Some of the changes are good, but some are not. There are days I worry she will relapse or catch something she can not recover from. It always lingers in the back of my mind. Every~single~day. On the other hand, I am more compassionate to others with illness. I have made many new friends. And I try not to take anything for granted. There are still days, even though she is in remission and doing so well, I get angry and frustrated at this monster. I often wonder if I will ever be able to relax.

It seems hard to believe we have come so far. I can remember the first few nights in the hospital at diagnoses thinking, “Will this ever get better?” Many doctors and nurses would tell me it would, it just takes time. They were right. It does get a bit easier. Treatments are less harsh. Appointments become fewer. Hospital stays less frequent. However, the thought of cancer and all it has destroyed never vanish from my thoughts. Not only do I worry for my child, I worry for all the other families and children dealing with cancer. So many children have been taken away. Families are broken. Dreams are lost. It makes me want to scream.

 

Even with all the doubts, fears and frustrations, I know deep down we are blessed. And I know there is always a purpose for the things that happen. I have amazing support and prayer warriors all over the country. It is hard to be a care giver of a sick child, plus be a focused wife, mom, daughter, friend and employee. There are times I feel like a failure, but then moments I even surprise myself. I have learned it’s all about perspective. I have days when I am alone, I break down. And in those moments, I think I become a bit stronger. There are days I am happy. There are days I am mean and selfish. There are days I want to quit. There are days I want to dance. There are days I want to run. But at the end of those days, no matter what emotion I am feeling, I know my purpose in this moment in time is to “be”. Be flexible. Be willing to love. Be open. Be okay with what I am feeling. Be honest. Be understanding. Be silly. Be ready for anything. Be available. And most importantly, be still.

One of my favorite verses is “Be still and know that I am God.” I love that verse so much I have it tattooed on my wrist. It reminds me I don’t have to have the answers. And when I am a complete mess, I can rely on God to carry me. He has been the only reason I have made it through my daughter’s cancer and all the other junk associated with it. I truly do hate cancer. It is a thief. It is a destroyer. It is a selfish beast. But I believe good conquers all evil. And when I get to tuck my daughter in at night or I see her smiling and hear her laughter, she is winning this battle.

Life is to short to play games and carry baggage. I try to let go of all the crap that comes at me. I am learning to become comfortable with expressing myself.  I guess if I had to thank cancer for one thing, I would have to say thank you for showing me I am not prefect. I will stumble and fall. I will continue to make mistakes. I will cry and be angry. Cancer has reminded me to reach out to God. I don’t need to be a super hero. And I am discovering it is okay to just be, well, me.

A Quick Reflection

I just read some of my old blog post and I am taken back. I can really see how far we have come on our cancer journey. It is funny, I really don’t think to much about how sick Mallorie has been, but when I see a photo or read a post from the past ~ the very emotion I felt when I wrote it crawls back into my soul.

I am thankful I chose to capture my emotions, fears, frustrations, wins and successes through this season in life. And there are a ton of post in my drafts folder I have never finished or posted. Looking back, I wonder why I never completed them? Mallorie will be having her one year anniversary in December. I can’t believe it is so close. Time really does fly by. I remember how active she was before she got cancer. She was always on the go. Then when she started showing signs of the illness, she slowed down a bit. But if you were to look at her, you would have never guessed she was sick. Then we were informed she had leukemia. It was like the cancer was eating her. She became weak and fragile. No more running, jumping, or laughing. I remember thinking it would always be like this.

Now, almost one year later, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. She is getting stronger every day. She is on the go all the time, feeling good. She has started talking about playing sports again. I am excited but scared at the same time. I think I am afraid she could get sick again. I know I can’t live in fear, but in the back of my mind I think about the cancer returning.

I would never wish this disease on anyone. And after reflexing on my past entries, I know I am much stronger.

 

A Little Bit Of Venting

It is frustrating, as a parent, to try to do what is right when it comes to the health and well-bring of your children. Especially, when you have a child with an illness, like cancer. Some people just don’t get it.

 

One thing I have learned over the course of Mal’s treatment is ~ it’s not about me. It is about what is best for her. Everything in her environment needs to be  considered. Putting her needs above my own agenda is a must, because the littlest things can be a big deal for her. And I have a hard time handling environments I can not control. It causes worry and fear.

The only thing I can hold onto is the fact that God loves her, and all my children, more than I ever could.

Go With Your Gut

My mom always told me to go with my gut feeling. When I was a child I never really understood what that meant until I realized that gut feeling is God guiding me to make smart decisions. My mom also told me that a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, so speak up if you don’t agree or understand something. And those two words of wisdom I relied on during our last hospital stay.

Mallorie had to go to the ER on Monday because she spiked a fever of 101.3. For those of you who are not familiar with how this whole cancer thing works, you are not supposed to give Tylenol to a cancer patient, at least that is how it is for kids anyway, because it could mask an infection by lowering a fever. It has to do with blood counts and immune system. Well, someone gave permission for her to take Tylenol at school when she started feeling icky. She made it through the day, being a normal kid, running, playing and studying with one of her friends. When I picked her up from her friends house, she said she didn’t feel very well. I took her temperature when we got home at it read 99.1. Ok ~ now we have to monitor her. That was at 9pm, by 10:15pm, we were headed to the ER to get lab work done to see what her counts were.

Once we got to the ER, Mallorie immediately felt uneasy because she knew they were going to access her port. (A port is a small medical appliance that is installed beneath the skin. A catheter connects the port to a vein.) She has this so she can receive her treatments and have blood work done. Accessing her port is so routine, but she just felt really weird about how the access was going to go. She got herself so worked up, I actually talked to the ER team about her anxiety. The nurse reassured me and Mallorie that she knew what she was doing and not to worry. Since having her port accessed is pretty much a normal thing, I didn’t think to much about it, they are professionals, right? Mallorie, on the other hand, was still unsure, of the nurses qualifications. And of course, Miss Mallorie’s instincts were spot on. It was a hit and miss.

As the nurse began to sterilize her port location, on the skin, she began to cry. She was so nervous and afraid. I thought she was overreacting. The nurse prepared the needle for the access and announced here comes the “little” poke.  (Poke is the fancy, medical term used on the Pediatric floors to help calm the little patients down.) Ready, 1, 2, 3….poke. Mallorie knew right away something wasn’t right. The nurse drew back on the syringe to retrieve blood and nothing would come out. I just lowered my head. Then when the nurse tried to push fluid into the port, Mallorie started panicking, shouting to stop, it was hurting. A port is not supposed to hurt, period. The nurse quickly de-accessed the port, which allowed Mallorie to breath a bit of relief. All I could think was, “Well crap, this is going to be rougher than I originally thought.” Now what? A second nurse came in and tried again to access her. Nope, same thing happened. At this point, her port access site was red and swollen. It was just down right miserable for Mallorie.  Within the hour, we were up on the PED’s floor.

By this time it was 1am and we were both sleepy. We knew that we had about a three to four day stay. Of course, we were welcomed with big smiles and laughter when we arrived to our “home away from home.” I think Mallorie was glad to see familiar faces. We got settled to our room, hoping to be heading to bed. Wish I could say that was the case. About an hour of paper work and checking vitals, a team of doctors came into our room. They were wanting to get a health history and get up to speed on why we came in. I knew from the moment I spoke to the resident doctor that there was going to be an issue. I had not remembered dealing with this doctor in the past, but I could tell she has, let’s just say, proud of herself. I am usually pretty easy going and respect the decisions made for Mallorie’s care. I have always thought, if the doctor says something needs to be done, then we should do it. The doctor stated that they would need to try to access her port again to get blood cultures to make sure there is no infection in the line of the port. I said ok. Then I looked over at Mallorie and my heart just broke into pieces.

After the doctor left, Mallorie was in tears, crying, telling me how bad it hurt and she just wanted to go to bed. She said she would rather have an IV to get fluids and medicine instead of through her port. Something happens inside you when you see your child begging for something not to happen, especially after you have watched them put up a struggle for so long. Right now, Mallorie has little control over decisions with her body because of cancer. She had been poked enough for the night. Getting her port accessed to get blood for cultures could wait. Let’s just give her an IV and let her rest. So that is what I told the nurse. With a wink and a smile, she headed to tell the doctor our wishes.

About 45 minutes went by and the doctor came back in, very erupt and short. She started telling me about how important it was to access her port. About how they can’t treat her properly if they don’t get those cultures. The way the doctor came at me struck a nerve I have had suppressed for years. (I call that nerve crazy Dee Dee.) I felt this instant anger come over my body. I told the doctor that this wasn’t our first rodeo and I knew that we would need to access her port to get blood cultures. I told her accessing her port at this very moment is not a life or death situation and that Mallorie just needs a break from the trauma and fear of being accessed. And after she and I both got a bit of rest, we could try again (By this time it is like 3am.) so for now let’s just get an IV going and regroup in a few hours. Then I reminded her that down in the ER they tried to access her twice, so why would we try again? Shouldn’t we get the surgeon involved? Could there be something wrong with the port itself? Her response was that the nurses on the PEDS floor are better at doing port accesses. Really? I came back with, “So your telling me the care in the pediatric ER is not as good as the care on the PEDS floor? That doesn’t make sense to me? If the nurses in the ER don’t know how to access a port, then why wasn’t someone, who knew how to do it properly, called in? You wouldn’t have a brain surgeon treat someone for a heart attacked, right? So why wasn’t someone in oncology called in?”  With a huff, she left the room. Mallorie started crying again, begging me to not let them access her. I told her they would not access her tonight. She drifted to sleep. I paced the floor.

About 30 minutes later, the nurse team came in to start her IV. I was all prepped and ready to be by her bedside, when the doctor came back in with a phone in her hand. She said her attending doctor was on the phone and wanted to speak to me about my decision to not access right now. Oh boy, someone is about to get throat punched. I tried to talk to the attending, while Mallorie has getting her IV, but due to her crying and the commotion, I couldn’t hear, so I stepped into the hallway. The attending, again, started telling me it was so important to get that port accessed ~ right now. And it would be in my daughter’s best interest to do so. My daughter’s best interest? Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea what is in the best interest of my kid? Have you been there by her, watching her cry and fight? No, you haven’t because you (doctors) step in for three minutes a day, usually while she is sleeping, listen to her heartbeat then bark out orders. How dare you tell me what is best for my daughter. We have been in the hospital seven times now for cancer issues, five of them have been for some kind of infection, usually in her port. I think I know what needs to be done, what is critical, and what can wait. And allowing my daughter to make her own decisions for her body whenever possible, to me, is in her best interest. I told the doctor that if they wanted to access her port, they are going to put her under sedation. That way she has no fear or anxiety about it. And you can poke and examine the area without her feeling it. To me, anxiety and fear are major players in dealing with illness, especially one that is life-threating and long term. She began to tell me that putting her under would take the intensive care team. My response, “So?”

Now it is about 4:30am. IV has been placed and Mallorie is sleeping. Sedation has been called and we are on their schedule for mid morning. When the morning rotation started, a new team of doctors were on the floor. I am very familiar with them and happy with the care they have provided Mallorie. They could not understand why the “night crew” resident was so persistent in getting Mallorie accessed. They encouraged my decision and said they completely understood where I was coming from and apologized for all the drama we had to deal with over night. They made sure Mallorie’s wishes were met and went above and beyond to make sure she had no pain. By 11am we were on the PEDs sedation floor, Mallorie was given medicine to completely relax her (she really had no idea what was going on) and within 30 seconds, the team had her accessed, blood drawn and cultures complete. When Mallorie came out of the mild sedation, she asked me, “Did they access my port yet?” I laughed. Then she looked at me and said, “Thank you mom for standing up for me. I was really scared.” I smiled and told her that’s my job to look out for her and if it is in her best interest, I will always go with what she wants. Then we both drifted off to dreamland.

I have learned so much through Mallorie’s journey. What to appreciate in life, seriously not sweating the small stuff, hugs really are priceless, and little things matter. I discovered I have to be proactive and gather information about her illness on my own. I ask questions and if I don’t understand, I ask again. I read up on medicines and side effects. I attend seminars and ask other resources for help. Knowledge is power. I have found I am the voice of my daughter. I am her advocate.  I use my voice to inform others about childhood cancer. My voice shouts that God really is in control in all situations. I want my voice to bring comfort to others. And I speak up for my child. Just because a doctor says that something needs to be done doesn’t mean it is true. I go with my gut and ask for guidance from the great physician. After the blood cultures had time to grow, it was found that there was actually no infection in her port line or blood. The diagnoses was neutropenic fever, which is caused by neutropenia. Neutropenia is a development of a fever, often with other signs of infection, in a patient with neutropenia, an abnormally low number  neutrophil granulocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood. It is very common in cancer patients because of chemo treatments.

I am so thankful I listened to my gut on this one.

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

The Calm Before The Storm

It is Sunday morning. Another day in the hospital. I really don’t know how to feel right now. The wind is forcefully whirling outside our room window. Mallorie sleeps.

I got to sleep at home last night. I slept well, but still feel exhausted. I was hoping when I got here this morning, Mallorie would be feeling better. She’s not. Actually, she’s worse. The infection she has is one of the worst side effects from chemo. She can’t eat and is in pain. The nurse and I were talking this morning about her state of health. During the conversation I realized that cancer is not just a disease of the body, but it is also a disease of the mind. 

Mallorie has to want to get better. I can’t make her better, her dad can’t make her better. She has to want it, but right now she has no control of anything going on in her life. She can’t control the pain, she wants to eat, but it is too painful. And every single day she stays in that bed she loses 10 percent of her strength. It breaks my heart because she was the most outgoing, always on the go child. 

Today we just rest. Even though she sleeps, I know she is thinking constantly how to beat this. It has to be on her time. I want her to fight now. I want her to suffer through the pain and eat. I want her to get up and walk. But I have no clue what she is going through. All I can do is be there and love her where she is, hold her when she cries and pray for her. Right now, this cancer may be in the lead, but it won’t be for long. When Mallorie makes the decision to fight, it will be with a vengeance. And as she rest, God is working in her. God has her wrapped up in His arms. I honestly think that this is the calm before the storm. Who knows what is going on between her and God while she sleeps. And when it is her time to fight, watch out because Mallorie ain’t no joke when she sets her mind to something. 

This morning as I rest I the bed next to Mallorie, there is peace. The nurses aren’t coming in, the halls are quite and besides the howling wind and the sounds of her machines there is silence. It has been a time of reflection and understanding. It is not our job to understand why things happen. But it is our job to live by faith and trust God. The bible states many times to cast your worries, fears, troubles and doubts to the Lord. Even though I still get upset, I still cry, I still get angry and I still at times have self-pity, I believe with every once of my soul, God is in control. It is funny, over the summer our family went on vacation to see relatives in South Carolina. While I was there I got my first tattoo with my cousin. So on my left wrist, inked in red, it reads, “Be Still’. It comes from the bible verse, Psalms 46:10, Be still and know that I am God. I wanted something to remind me to stop trying to be in control of everything. I never knew back in the summer that this tattoo would carry a more significant meaning by winter. I have said it many times and I will say it a thousand more, God makes everything beautiful in His own time. I stand by this statement and I look forward to that moment when God says, Mallorie, it is time. I have given you all you need. It is time to fight.