Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bonds that carry you through

Madeleine’s Blog 

September 25, 2012

So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10

Looking amazingly well for all she's been through
We have just now checked out of the hospital, and tomorrow we head for home! Results from this morning’s labs show that Madeleine is neutropenic (low white count = increased chance of infection), so we have donned our masks once again.

Don't let the adjacent picture fool you! The last few days have been difficult and have definitely taken Madeleine to the edge of her endurance. In challenging times like these, there are bonds formed that help to carry you through.

There is a special kind of bond formed with those who face similar battles…

Sal and his wife, Kristi
Yesterday, Sal & his wife came over from across the hall for a visit (he is in the midst of a difficult battle with leukemia, and we met him here during our first visit). He and his wife sat in our room and talked about some of the ups & downs that come with a difficult diagnosis. How sometimes people don’t understand how sick you really are because you may look pretty good on the outside…or how chemo can sometimes fog your brain so that it is difficult to think clearly or process things quickly. We laughed together about hospital life and how it can seem like a prison where you are chained to your IV pole and where you are encouraged to go exercise in “the yard” (don’t go beyond the prescribed area!) for a few minutes before retreating back to your “cell.” His wife – who has enough to worry about with raising their young family - is thoughtful enough to bring us special treats from Panera bakery and is always concerned with how Madeleine is doing. This is just one of the bonds that is helping us in this battle.

Then there is our fellow-melanoma-warrior friend, Amanda, who is also currently undergoing biochemo and is one of Madeleine’s biggest cheerleaders on facebook, through email, or even via her own blog. Like few people we know, she really understands what Madeleine is experiencing – from the inside. She and Madeleine have been an encouragement to each other even though their in-hospital treatment time didn’t overlap this time. “Tell the nurses to let you have one of my favorite popsicles – I left a box of them in the freezer there with my name on them,” or, “You can do it, kiddo!” This is another one of the bonds that is helping us in this battle.

There are also invisible bonds that have formed with those who are praying – some with people we know; some with those we have never met. These are the bonds that no one really knows about – they are unseen by others, but just as important. It has been so apparent during this visit how in need of God’s grace we are – just to make it through. These bonds are the invisible threads that hold us up.

Finally, there are the bonds that have always been there, but are now being strengthened. There are old friends from days past who are sending encouragement. There are many other friends who have gone above and beyond to help support us during this time. 

But I want to mention something as an observer that I see. I see a beautiful bond between parent and child being more deeply formed and strengthened in the midst of this difficult season. Often this kind of bond isn’t what you see between parents and children who are on the brink of turning eighteen. But adversity has a way of shaking us up so that we can see what is really important in life. These are the bonds that are deeply there, but are so easy to take for granted when life is going smoothly.

We are really grateful for all the different kinds of bonds that hold us up and keep us going during this season. Madeleine is really looking forward to going home. We plan to drive back tomorrow, and then she’ll work on recovering between now and our next trip down for biochemo on October 10th. As always, please keep her in your prayers.


Laurie Ballentine said...

Madeleine, You are such a beautiful strong young woman! I first heard about your story from my friend Steve Farmiloe. He goes to my church! I am so impressed by your strong will and zest for life! I am praying for you and so are many more people that you will never know! We have been going through a situation in our family with my 24 year old niece. She is finally home after one month in the hospital from an allergic reaction to a medication. She is finishing her recovery at home. The prayers of so many unknown to her have sustained her and our family! God bless you and may you realize the time of being well again and living your dreams soon! In His Love, Laurie Ballentine

Anonymous said...

I was so very moved by the latest update, what profound words and I am humbled by your strength and those around you. I will continue to pray and send much love for you and your entire family and network of support.
Love Always,
Jim and Beth Haas.

Closser family said...

Hi Madeleine,
Our family is praying for you too. You are facing your battle with so much courage. You are inspirational. We are so moved to read your blog and see you when you come to church with your mom and extended family. May God give you strength and comfort.
Love the Clossers