Posted by: ME | October 8, 2014

life on the other side

Life on the other side of cancer, or survivorship

I am going to do a series of posts on being the parent of a cancer survivor. i was thinking of completely making another blog for it, but i have, like, 5 followers,so I will do a series, like pastors do at churches.

As many of you all know, my eldest sweet 16 year old had leukemia when she was barely out of toddlerhood. At 2 years, 10 months, after a series of symptoms, we were told our sweet baby girl had cancer. Life changed. Family changed. Friends changed. Nothing was the same except the air we breathe and the sun and moon rising and setting. It was fall in New Orleans. The hospital overlooked the Mighty Mississippi and a loading dock. My girl learned quickly who “Thomas” really was with all of the trains heading in and out, stopping and loading. We lived about 40 minutes north of this Children’s Hospital, which is about 15 minutes from where my husband and I grew up.

I would like you to know that we went through NOTHING compared to many others and the fact that my girl is still here with us is no more a blessing than the children of our friends who succumbed to their illness. It is just different. I cannot bring myself to say we are more blessed than other moms and dads who have lost their children. Lucky isn’t the word I’d use for it either, as being a Christian, I have a problem with things being lucky. God GIVES us everything. However, I am blessed that God allowed me to have her here on this earth with me for a little longer. A LOT longer, I hope and pray. She and her little sister, who is not quite 2 years younger.

THE CENTER

There are a few things that should be the center of our lives. For my family, here are a few things that should be our well balanced center (more on why I am stating these on my next post);

1. Christ. He should be the absolute center and reason for all that we DO. We wake up with all good and prayerful intentions and about half of our days go pretty well I guess. In Everything, He allows or denies it, no matter the carrier or circumstances. While many would say that the doctors and the chemotherapy protocols determined our girls survivorship, ultimately, it was the chemistry of her body, mixing with the chemo, supplements, nutrients, PRAYERS of family and friends, and mostly, HIS WILL. No matter how many supplements, naturopaths, complimentary therapy, organic foods, essential oils (which we did ALL) we did for her, it was utterly and completely in HIS Hands.

2. Our marriage should also be center. Without our marriage, our family would not survive. All of us know couples who have divorced, be it our parents, friends or family members. It puts people through a little/bit of hell, no matter how amicable terms are. So, for us(me being a daughter of not only divorced , but an annulled marriage) and for any other Christ centered couple with kids, put your marriage up there near the top! If it falls apart, more than just your life is affected. I get very nervous when I don’t feel everything is “”just so” between me and my husband, even if its nothing and we are learning that this is just a different phase in our friendship, intimacy, or whatever.

3. Our children. Ohhh our girls! Put them buggers up there too, but not as much as God and our marriages. So long as our marriages are healthy and strong, so will our kids be. In our home, we believe in discipline at a young age so that when they get older, the discipline factor isn’t so much one. Now, having mid to late teens is a subject that we are still experimenting with. please do not hold me to anything until we pass through these crazy hormone ridden years…. oh boy. THESE are the years our children NEED us, even if they roll their eyes and shrug you off because you know nothing. I think they need us more in their teen years than in the elementary years. Skip all that extra crap we go nuts doing for our kids in their younger years(ha! but those are FUN) and woah, BE there for THIS. And the thing is, you sorta have to force yourself in a quiet kinda sneaky brilliant way that they don’t notice. It is not a constant, but being aware of the tiny opportune moments. I will tell ya, I miss MANY. God GAVE us these beautiful children for a reason. There is a REASON that child is YOURS. There is a reason that you are THEIRS. God has that planned out perfectly. Our duty is to raise them so that when they finally LEAVE us, they are full functioning adults. I am still working on that. All in all, I actually really LIKE my two teen daughters, so far.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of The Lord”

Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother”

Deuteronomy 6:7 “You shall teach them (commandments) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise”

4. Parents and family are sooo vital to our family. Recently having gone through my dad’s illness and death and my mother in law living with us for a while before placing her in assisted living, hubby and I are TIRED. We thought we could have her live with us, but dementia and Alzheimer’s are just plain TOUGH on everyone. One thing my husband and I had always believed and mentally prepared for, since our day 1, was to not ever put our parents in a home, and to always have a place for a family member in need. This broaches a whole other subject that I wont get into for now, but just cherish you moms and dads, no matter what rotten things they’ve done or how they hurt you(yes, there are circumstances that are just BAD for us to be around and those are excused). I find myself loving to hear about others going to see or spend time with their dads. I could not do life with out my siblings, and I absolutely LOVE keeping touch with the cousins I saw every Sunday via Facebook, etc. Make is work. Be the glue that mends brokenness in families. Suck it up. Forgive. Let it GO. It doesn’t mean you have to hang around them all of the time. Now I will go sulk in a corner while I eat my own words. We are all apart geographically now and oh how we miss hanging with each other on important days. At least most of us.

5. Going to church. I do not think you have to go to church to be a good Christian, but I do think you have to go to church, watch on line, or whatnot to make you a better Christian. Listening to a great sermon and experiencing amazing praise and worship music once a week among other people who strive for the same basic Jesus centered life is essential I think. This has been a struggle for me personally since we moved to Central Florida. I think I have blogged about it before. I do not love the church we have been going to for a few years now. I could take it or leave it. Most weeks, 95% of them, we get up and go and I rarely ever regret it yes, I have regrettably regretted about 2 services in my recent life). Terrible I know.
However my struggle is right now, I DO feel it is vital to center our week with a church service. It is like the therapy session you never knew you needed.

And last but not least, although I am not making it a “center”, is making sure you live your daily life amongst like minded families and friends. I feel strongly about raising my kids around other Christians, and easing them out into the world in their teen years little by little because ya’ll, it is amazing and scary and diverse out there, and our children need to know how to defend their faith AND live and work out there, without losing theirs. Yes, They may wonder and ask questions and even stray, and all of that is okay, because you have done your best at raising them in Jesus Christ and my hope and prayer is in that bible verse….

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he shall not depart from it””

Lori

My next post will be about why a cancer kid becomes the center, and oh so easily…….

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