It seems we're back to where we were a year ago, when we found the lump on Katy's neck for the first time. In my diary for twelve months ago, it says, 'Found bump on Katy's neck. Went to Dr.'
This year it says, 'Found two bumps on Katy's neck. Went to Dr.'
I am a master of understatement. In those few words lies seven months of uncertainty and worry and pain. That first time we went to the doctor mildly concerned about a lump but blissfully unaware that that it was anything to worry much about. The doctor would sort it out. Medicine. We hoped that it wouldn't taste as bad as the flucloxacillin Katy had put up with for tonsillitis and that was pretty much the extent of it.
We didn't realise that we were starting on a roller coaster that took us through countless hospital appointments, drugs, scans, needles, two operations, dressing changes and more appointments. We learned a whole new vocabulary of anatomy and physiology and which-nerve-serves-what.
Discharged late last year with a neat scar healing well and no bump.
Breathe sigh of relief.
Didn't last long enough.
We've found two new bumps and the doctor thinks that the old problem is back. In two places this time. Insult and Injury.
So here we are awaiting an appointment at the Children's Hospital instead of our local District General and a new Consultant. New reception, new clinic, new nurses, new snack bar. Some distance from home. Notoriously bad car parking.
Katy so far hasn't been forthcoming about her take on this but she has consistently surprised us all with her grasp of situations and so she probably knows exactly what's going on and is storing it all away. She sat on my knee for the whole of yesterdays consultation with the doctor where she will have heard us talk about treatment options and operations and hospitals and so on. It's so hard to know what she makes of it but I'm waiting to find out. Some bedtime soon she'll ask me and it breaks my heart that I won't be able to tell her it's nothing, that Mummy and Daddy will make it better. It's my job to make it better. To make it go away. To make sure that nobody hurts her and I can't.
I couldn't last time and I can't now. I had to watch while they hurt my beautiful little girl.
It broke my heart.
So, I would love to know what's going on, Lord. Why this is happening. I know that if I ask 'Why us?' the counter is, 'Why not us?' I know that bad things happen and I know that the sun shines and the rain rains on us all. I just wish I knew why you don't make it go away. You're our Heavenly Father, aren't you? I know that it hurts you when we hurt so why don't you stop it happening again, please?
I suspect you've been asked this question before.
You could make these lumps vanish right now, poof, just like that, if you wanted. I will never understand why you don't. It's not me that needs a miracle, it's Katy. I'm not asking for me. Well, I am, I suppose. But she's only five. Only just five. Could we please not do this again? We did it once and I didn't like it and I don't want to do it again.
I had a moan to a wise friend of mine the other day and I said, 'I can't cope with all that again.' She looked at me for a long moment and then asked me what it looked like, me not coping. I realised what she was saying. If I've done it once then I can do it again. What choice do I have? If Katy needs hospital appointments, blood tests, surgery - then I'll bring her through it again. I can't do anything else. I'm her Mummy. It's what I do. I cope.
What I meant was that it frightens me to think about doing it again. I know how hard it was. I know how much sleep I lost, how painful it was. I remember the tears (hers and mine) and the anxiety and the awfulness of the anaesthetic room. How small she looked. How afraid. How afraid I was. We all were.
I know that people go through much worse. I know that some people lose their precious little ones. I know that our situation is better than many and for that I am so, so thankful. I know that you are there. I know that you will walk with us and hold our hands and lift us over the obstacles and that you'll be there, faithfully, awake when we sleep, watching over us. I just don't want to go there again.
So here it is.
'But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.'
|Holding your hand|
I hope in you. That's me. I need new strength. I'm all out of the sort of emotional energy required to do this again. I thought it was finished. I'm all out of the physical sort of energy required to drive to a hospital in another city and find a parking spot and make appointments on time and hold Katy still for blood tests when she's terrified and screaming. I'm all out of all of it.
Soar? That implies freedom and grace and lightness and happiness. I can't imagine it. I'm stuck down here. Heavy. Weighted down. I am weary and I am fainting in the face of what I'm called upon to do.
But I hope in you. You never lied to me and you won't lie to me now. If you say that you will renew my strength, you will. If you say that you will give me so much more than I'll need so that I can soar when all I can hope for is to plod, then I believe you. I'll take all you have of that.
I'm going to claim this promise now. That and all the others where you say that you will never leave us. That you will always be there.
Needing you to hold my hand.
Healer, heal my Katy.
Comforter, comfort us all.
Counsellor, show me what what to do.
Father, hold my little poorly baby close in your arms. And me too.
Friend, come with us wherever we have to go.
God Almighty, be in all of this.
I want to be an eagle so badly but I feel like a mole. I'm buried. I'm in the dark. I can't see.
Just give me light for the next step. You always have, haven't you?
'Those who hope in the Lord...'