CJ's little heart finally burst forth all its bottled up feelings today. The dam of emotions that has been building up finally broke. Not that he hasn't cried a lot and struggled all week at what is happening, but today he seemed to begin to grasp the seriousness, longevity and the consequences of the situation. I think in some way Chris and I really did too as we sat down with the educator today for the second half of our training. The first half of our training was the other day to learn the different medications the first part of his chemotherapy would consist of and what side effects could surface. Today's training was about what we need to watch for, how to prepare our home, and what we need to do or, more accurately, not do once we take him home. Much of this was expected but much of this was also a shock and creates a huge sense of urgency to protect CJ as much as possible during this time. I won't go into detail right now about all the do's and don'ts because they are many and we are still processing it all.
As for the heart of a 9 year old boy though, all it took to burst was to hear he could not play sports anymore until this was over. As I mentioned before, CJ loves sports. He was devastated to realize he would not be able to participate in those things he loves while he is going through this. This lead him to finally give voice to the tears that so desperately needed to flow. He punched and kicked and moaned and struggled to accept these circumstances. At first I couldn't see why he did not understand that this was only temporary but then I realized this burst of emotion was about more than sports. He was accepting the fact that his life would be different for a long time. A child can not grasp the idea of 6 months or a year. They just hear no. So we held him, tried to encourage him, prayed for him, and allowed him to vent his frustrations. Then, in time, God's peace began to wash over him and that smile that can part the darkest clouds came back. We encouraged CJ to see this time as an injured athlete would see a rebuilding season. With hard work, determination, and dedication he can focus on rebuilding and strengthening. We reminded him that very often injured athletes come back even stronger and faster then they were before an injury after a rebuilding season. I find it interesting that we were able to use athletic terms to help encourage CJ through this difficult time since the Apostle Paul also used athletic terms to encourage fellow believers to persevere through difficult times. In 1 Corinthians 9:24 Paul uses the Olympic games as a metaphor when he says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." So we too used the perseverance of an athlete to motivate him to stay focused on his recovery and healing.
We also got the results from the PET Scan today. Instead of a decrease they actually found more tumors higher in his abdomen than they previously saw. I will admit my spirit immediately plummeted upon hearing this and hearing the doctor use words like "extensive" tumors in his body. These words ached in my chest as they settled upon me. The temptation to question why fought desperately to creep to the surface but I stayed focus on the fact that although the results are not as we were hoping or praying for, we know God is asking us to still trust Him.
On a lighter note, we were told that if CJ continues to respond well to the chemotherapy he will be able to go home in the next couple of days. So we set our hearts on that goal. Please pray with us that he will continue to defy the statistics and recover from chemotherapy quickly and without complications. Ask God to protect him from fevers and infections as these are the most serious risks at this time. Chris and I are seeking discernment and wisdom in all the decisions that need to be made to prepare the home and family for CJ's arrival.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Romans 12: 1-3