Thursday, 5 April 2012

Waiting and seeing


Morning, Lord. Actually, afternoon. 

Today is flying by. Lots to do. Family coming to stay for Easter. Shopping to do. Food to prepare. House to clean. Children to entertain. All that sort of stuff. 

It's frustrating that I'm having to move so fast today. I want to stop and think and rest a bit. I have a lot I want to say to you and it's not easy to say it in the supermarket with two shopping lists and crowds of people anxiously buying everything in sight because a Bank Holiday is approaching and perish the thought we should run out of food! 

I'm still thinking about yesterday. It was a full day and a long one. I went to bed last night with a head full of things. 

We went to the Children's Hospital yesterday with Katy and saw our new Consultant who was very nice. She examined Katy and started from the beginning with a history. She scrutinised the photos we have which chart the progression of Katy's illness and she agreed with the original diagnosis and was anxious to reassure us that everything had been done correctly last year. No-one was to blame for the recurrence. I hadn't actually considered that someone might have been to blame, to be honest, but still, it was nice to hear that we couldn't have done any better had different decisions been made. 

We are awaiting an appointment for another scan, and a very skilful phlebotomist took blood with a gadget that quickly made a small hole in Katy's thumb (while she was still inspecting the Monsters Inc. characters on the walls!) and then managed to squeeze enough red stuff out of it to fill two little vials for testing. Much better than the terrible performance we had finding a vein with a needle last year which was one of the more distressing events. 

We're waiting and seeing. The doctor wants to see us again in six weeks when she'll have scan results and blood results and we can see if the lumps have grown. At that point we'll need to discuss treatment options but she says that she does hold out some hope that they might not progress into the full blown tumours they were last time. Last time they started in lymph nodes and so far they are still lymph node size... 

Please, please, please, Lord, please can we call it a day here? It would be fine with me if the lumps just vanished in a miraculous sort of way. Or even a gradual sort of way would do. Imperceptibly smaller. Going, going, gone. Take them away. Back to normal. Nice neat scar, lots of lessons learned about depending on you, about how much I love my daughters, about waiting and trusting and not being in control - all those things, but not this again. No dilemma about surgery or drug therapy. No time off school. No tears, no pain, no dressings, no doctors. 

How about it?

The consultant seemed to think that the situation was inconclusive. Waiting and seeing was in order. 

I can wait and see. I have six weeks of hope and I'm going to try not to check Katy's neck twice a day in the meantime. 

Breathe. 

Katy and Scruffy Barney
Father, thank you for yesterday. For looking after us as we trekked to Sheffield in blizzard-like conditions. Days earlier we'd been sitting in the sun in the garden and I'd been liberally applying sun lotion onto the girls and yesterday two inches of snow fell. When we were on our way to the appointment it was falling horizontally. The girls were amazing - just when I think they'd have reason to be cross and whiny (trudging up a hill in driving sleet and a howling gale) somehow they seem to dig in and find a stoicism and perseverance for which I am full of admiration. Drop a lollipop on the doorstep, however (as has just happened) and it's time for a meltdown. Mystery.

The children loved the train journey even if it was only twenty minutes. They loved the ride in a big black cab and that was when the mood changed. Katy lost her buoyancy and started hugging Scruffy Barney close and told me that she didn't want to go to a hospital, please. Could we just to back to the train? Poor little love, she looked so small. She was very brave as we read stories in the waiting room and she answered questions and co-operated with the nice doctor (whose name was also Katherine). I was proud of her. Elizabeth was a lovely concerned big sister who pulled faces at a video camera in the waiting room when she knew that Katy could see it in another room.  

It wasn't too bad, but I'm not bothered about doing it again, if that's alright.

Thankyou for keeping us safe, for getting us there on time (early enough for a coffee and a toasted teacake in the cafe, actually) and for finding us a nice, kind, clever doctor who has given us a bit of hope. Thankyou that we got home alright, that Bryan got his train back to London in time and that we all got to bed last night. 

Big sister, little sister.
Also Froglet and Scruffy
Thankyou very much most of all for all the people who held us together yesterday. So many people sent texts and emails and called to tell me we were in their thoughts and prayers. Just like last year, I felt wrapped up. It's a wonderful blessing to know that people were caring.

People have realised that it wasn't just about Katy and her illness but how we're all knocked a little bit sideways by it all. How hard it is on Elizabeth who must watch us focusing on her little sister and wonder why it has to be all about Katy. I remember Lizzie once last year dissolving in tears because she didn't think she could be as brave as Katy. I could only guess at the complexity of emotions behind that. I'm especially sensitive to Elizabeth and her needs since the disaster the other night. I desperately don't want her to feel sidelined. It's hard.

Bryan and I and my mum all cope in different ways and it's inevitable sometimes that each of us must think that the others should be more like us. We're all anxious and tired. It's hard to think of everything. To make sure that everyone is looked after. 

And then, last night, a friend rang to ask how things were. She has a gift for having just the right word at the right time. Last night was just the right time for me and as I lay in the dark in bed later thinking about her words I felt the peace that comes from you settling on me. She passed it on to me. 

She told me that she had been praying for us all and was continuing to pray. She asked me how things were between me and you. That took me aback a little; it's not a question people ask very much. How are things between you and me? I'm not really sure. Maybe I haven't really checked that much lately. I've been finding it hard to pray; hard to find the words, the energy or the focus. I go in to see each of the children last thing at night before I go to sleep and for years now I've tried to say a prayer for each of them as they sleep. Lately I've found it difficult and on a few occasions all I could do was sit at their bedside and offer to you what's flooding my heart.

Lord, I know that you don't need me to tell you what is needed in a situation. I know that you already understand all that's going on in our little lives. You know Katy, you know how she is; you know me and you know our family. You know what I hope and what I fear. I know that prayers don't always have to be made of words and so I sit on the edge of their beds and all the things that come welling up - the love and the worry and the helplessness and the frustration and the guilt and the fear and the longing - all I can do is hold it out to you. It usually makes me cry. 

So my wise friend asked me how I was doing and I didn't have an answer. I tried to think of something to say. I rambled a bit. I talk too much when I'm under pressure, as you know. Then she told me that it was alright. That this was what intercessory prayer was all about. 

She told me that she, and other people were praying for us. That they were standing in my place to pray to you because they knew I might need help. To free me to do other things that needed doing in a time like this. Her words were to release me. Release me to organise or sort out the children or make arrangements or simply to put one foot in front of the other. 

Her words struck home with me as I've been feeling so guilty about how little I am praying. My daughter is ill and potentially needs more surgery and you'd think that I'd be praying all the time for healing and for strength and comfort for her. For guidance for us; for so many things. After all, I love her so very much - how come I'm not on my knees round the clock? Even what little I offer you I struggle with. And here was someone who knows about poorly children and the guilt of motherhood and she told me that it's alright; if I can't, other people will do it for me. 

I was speechless. People would do that for me? People are doing that for me? Then no wonder yesterday went well. I am blessed beyond measure to have people who care so much. People who see what's needed in such a perceptive way. It was overwhelming. Just thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.

The wonderful thing was to hear someone say that it was OK to feel as I've been feeling. It's alright to be a bit lost. To be getting on with things without thinking much. Not because I'm managing to overcome my tendency to worry, but because I'm so tired and sleep evades me and because I can't seem to focus on things. It doesn't matter why. I'm doing my best. I'm caring for my girls and I'm shopping and I'm cleaning and I'm preparing for visitors. I'll be waiting and seeing until the next clinic appointment. 

But I'm not on my own. I know that you're there and I know that you always have been. I know that you want me to spend time with you and I know that you're waiting for me to turn and lean. I also know that I have friends who understand and can tell me that it's alright to be a bit mixed up and a bit tired and it's alright not to be able to do everything. They're praying for me. 

Bless them, my Father. Bless them for the wonderful thing that they're doing for me that in my book is more precious than gold. Thankyou for the doctor, the skilful phlebotomist and the taxi driver who stopped when he saw us soaked through and trudging in sleet down a main road searching for a tram. Thankyou for every wonderful person who sent a text or an email or made a phone call. For everyone who thought of us and said a prayer because I'm not doing too well in that department. 

Thankyou for the reassurance. It came like a great big wonderful hug. Some of the guilt evaporated and peace took over. 

Thankyou. Wait and see with me, will you? Even though you know the punchline. You know what I want you to do about those lumps. 

1 comment:

  1. Still praying for you, friend-across-the-sea. When our girl was in the hospital (albeit for a much more short-term situation), I knew that same struggling prayerlessness, and a friend reminded me that the Body is there for those times when we can't get the words out of our own mouths and hearts.

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