Thursday, May 14, 2009
A very special ornament
This ornament is in honor of some friends of mine. The entire "B" family is so precious. They are the most giving people I have ever known.
They lost a son to Rhadomyosarcoma. I will do some research and report to you later about this cancer.
I thought you might like to read this. It is by Phil B. the boy's father. It was an English paper. It puts into words some of the thoughts that occur when all options run out.
Please stop before you read this. Say a quiet thought for all the parents going through this and GET A TISSUE. You will need it.
Will We Be All Right?
The time was spring, just after Easter, 1997, the season that signifies a renaissance in life. The trees were budding like butterflies escaping from the confines of a cocoon. Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes danced in the wind. The sweet aroma of the flowers filled the air. The birds sang like a well-rehearsed string quartet. As the season brought life, it took it as well.
Paul had been battling rhabdomyosarcoma cancer for almost eighteen months. He had endured surgery in late August of 1995, struggled through nine months of chemotherapy and radiation, only to discover that the cancer had spread to his lungs. Running out of options, the physicians at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston offered us one other type of chemotherapy treatment. However, six weeks later the CT scans revealed that more tumors had reared their ugly and grotesque heads. With that discovery, my wife scrambled to find some form of treatment that could save the precious life of our fourteen year old son.
Her endless hours of searching directed us to an alternative type of treatment just over the Texas/Mexico border. We found ourselves in a very modest and unfamiliar part of the world. We were now far from the fast-paced, high-tech, and somewhat posh environment we had grown accustomed to in Houston. We soon made friends with people of various backgrounds from all over the United States who were also hoping to find a cure for their particular illness. For us, this place did not answer the prayers for which we had asked. So after three months, my wife was once again frantically searching for that one illusive miracle treatment or drug.
Her search this time guided us to the Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio and a doctor who only treated people that had exhausted all other traditional methods of treatment. The treatment regimen was somewhat similar to those we had grown accustomed to at MD Anderson. One could see the desperation in many of the patients’ faces; it was like watching a woman in heavy labor hoping for that perfect child. By Thanksgiving 1996, every hope we had had for a cure had been shattered like a glass tower crumbling to the ground. Our hours of prayer for a cure seemed almost exhausting at this point. Our prayers now turned to asking God for a little more time with our son, and a peaceful and painless end to his battle.
Before we conceded to the evils of cancer, we wanted Paul to enjoy the relaxation of a vacation, something he had not experienced in a long time. We loaded the minivan with luggage stuffed with clothing, an ice chest filled with food and drinks, a TV/VCR for entertainment, and as many big warm coats as we could find. We went on a fourteen hour trip to Cloud Croft, New Mexico, to see and bask in the freshness of new fallen snow. As we made our way to the base of the San Andreas Mountains, the view was one like our son had never seen before. The magnificent trees were covered in snow, like a baby under a freshly washed cotton blanket. The homes peeked from the hillsides like children playing hide-and-go seek. Seeing the excitement on his blushing face and the wonderment of his sky blue eyes made it truly worth everything it took to get him there. As we made our way up the steep and winding gravel road to our cabin, we were awestruck by how the enormity of the trees dwarfed our cabin. With all the beauty God had just shown us though, our enjoyment was short lived.
That evening, Paul started running a fever, and we knew we would have to return home sooner than we had anticipated. The next morning, with Paul still running a low grade fever, he insisted that we at least go into town to look around. Once again we loaded everything into the van, checked out of the cabin and headed for town. We discovered a very quaint outdoor ice rink that we insisted we must try and conquer. Oh the laughs that created! Once finished, we looked around town and agreed on a place to have lunch. By now Paul was starting to become tired, and his fever was starting to increase. On our track back home, we marveled at the many awesome creations God had created in this place and in our world.
Within months, Paul’s condition deteriorated rapidly and his breathing became more labored as the days continued to slowly pass by. He could no longer speak, so his only form of communication was by writing sweet, humorous and sometimes witty messages on his dry erase board. Then the humor and the wit faded, and the only question he kept asking was, “Are y’all going to be all right?” because he knew his days were numbered. How do you answer a question like that from a young, strong, handsome, smart, funny and talented teenager who knows he is starting his ascension of the pearly staircase to Heaven? My wife and I finally gained the courage, strength and composure to respond, “We will be fine, and you will be, too.” On the morning of Friday, April 4, 1997, as the sun broke through the clouds, like Moses parting the Red Sea, and a rainbow stretched across the sky, as if God were opening his arms to greet him, Paul took that final step and leaped over the threshold of mortal life and into his heavenly home of eternal life.