Thursday, April 17, 2014

Peter?

If we really spent as much time with God as Peter did.If we truly came to love and to know God as deeply as Peter did. If we did just one thing that caused Him grief, as Peter did, we’d weep “bitterly”..just as Peter did.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Crohn’s?

Does Crohn’s disease disappear so much that you can’t find it?

I was telling my mother that ulcers where mine were found can be caused by Crohn’s disease but seeing as we didn’t see inflammation in my intestinal walls etc that it’s probably not it. Then she tells me that when I was still a child I was diagnosed with Crohn’s so bad that I had to take medication for it. I asked what testing was done and she just said it was something “inside my tummy.” Ahh, the specificity of old age ;-)

I know Crohn’s can go into remission. I know I had signs of it in 2001. So the question is..is it rearing its ugly head again? Or this is just incidental stuff and the ulcers are just ulcers and will disappear the same way the symptoms that took me to the doc disappeared?

Stay tuned for more of the boring life and chronicles of Thandi’s Tummy :-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Time to move on

Tsietsi, I’ll be posting cancer updates on Caringbridge.

Time to do what I never thought I’d need to do. All I was was someone reading other people’s stories and leaving prayers and good wishes. Now the shoe is on the other foot.

It hits you in the face at odd times. Doing my shopping on Sunday. Walk through Pick n Pay door and one of those fundraising women says, ‘'”Raising money for children’s cancer.” I’ve only ever given money to those people maybe once. It was for the blind, I think. When I asked her for more info, she says “To build a hospice for children with cancer.” Talk about a reminder.

Today. Walking into the hospital where they’ll be doing treatment. I’m told, ‘'Go to Ward G1.” No-one told me it would have in big stark letters “Oncology Unit” on the outside.

It’s little reminders like that that remind you that it’s life and death you’re dealing with. A little child who’s hardly lived. Kick in the gut.

So T, I’ll give you the Caringbridge link and you’ll find my sweet niece’s cancer journey on there. Thanks for caring.

NEUROBLASTOMA

When my friend was diagnosed with CML (a slow acting cancer) I told her that God had told me that someone I love would be diagnosed with cancer. But I just wasn’t ‘ok.’ I kept reading blogs. Especially ones with children battling neuroblastoma. When I heard of my niece’s cancer…Neuroblastoma came to mind.

Yes.

One of the WORST cancers in the pediatric world. And it’s apparently already at stage 4. There is no stage 5. I knew it. I know what to expect during treatment. Her mom’s a nurse, but not an oncology nurse. I know who to reach out to for help with dealing with drug side effects.

I know that it’s hard to treat.

I know that if it goes, relapse rates are high.

I know that once relapse comes, it’s basically the end.

I know that some children-very few as compared to other cancers-have beaten it. And had to re-beat it.

But I’m not naive.

I also know that my God is able.

But I also know that He’s able to comfort us no matter what the future is.

All I know is that while I lie in bed dealing with after effects of a painful colonoscopy and gastroscopy and dizziness from the sedative.

I wish I was there. Not to tell the dear mom the stats. Just to love them.

I hate cancer.

I hate Neuroblastoma even more. The treatments almost bring the child to death. Sometimes they do.

But it’s a horrible death without treatment. Neuroblastoma will pop up tumours-PAINFUL TUMOURS-all over the child’s body. And I mean all over. It’s generally a painful death. And not extremely fast. Though yes, some precious children have had more dignified deaths than that. Every case is different.

I can only ask for strength. I know too much. And I wish with all my heart I could shield her and her parents from what MIGHT happen. After all, with God anything is possible! But He doesn’t hide every possibility from us.

Please Lord, save the children. Come quickly.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Head-covering Doesn’t Make You Holier

My headcovering sisters…

It just usually shows that you’ve accepted a particular piece of biblical light.

A head covering doesn’t mean you’re more superior to others. It just means that maybe there are areas of reform that they’ve embraced that you have not.

Head covering doesn’t mean you have no more light to learn. It does not mean that you are now the fount of all wisdom just because you have that external sign.

I’ve seen many non-humble head-coverers. Just as I’ve seen proud immodest females.

We’re all the same. Just have different sins.

We who have not Christ within us.

But time to quibble is ending. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, let’s look at the great Standard who gave up everything for our salvation. Instead of reading gossiping messages, let’s read what He wants us to learn, to know, to do. May we live our lives to so reflect Him that when others see us they don’t see someone who thinks they are holier-than-thou, but someone who looks holy. Someone who acts holy. Someone who has allowed God to live out His life within them. Someone who is truly holy and looks it-inside and outside.

No pride.

No self-sufficiency.

May we not be so proud that we measure ourselves against mere mortals and tell ourselves we’re good enough. May we not be so proud that we don’t want to humble ourselves and learn.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Addition to Previous Post

Tsietsi brought to the fore thoughts that had been on my mind. Where do you draw the line? How do you respond? I’ve seen this scenario in countless Caringbridge posts when parents are facing the war against cancer. When parents are seeing the ravages of not only the disease but its treatment too.

If Parent A hopes against hope, how do you inject a dose of reality and logic? I don’t. I can’t. I just keep quiet.

If Parent B is so pragmatic that the way they cope is by saying ‘Well, God has allowed others to pass through the grave, why should I expect any different?” how do you say “Yes, but He can save this life?” I don’t. Because ultimately, I don’t know the outcome. Do I want to dash someone’s hopes when those hopes can become reality? Why should I? On the other hand. Do I want to take away someone’s pragmatism, their “Though He slay me still I will trust Him” attitude to somehow give them false hope that though God has allowed countless children to rest, this one will be exempt-when I don’t know? Why should I?

So far, I’m taking my cues from the parents. There’s a saying in Xhosa (and maybe Zulu as well) that says “Ithemba alibulali.” Hope does not kill. The child is alive today. The child is eating today. We are all dying. One of us could be run over by a bus and God would allow us to rest. Either way, as long as our FAITH is strong enough to cling to God no matter what, what need of a response is there?

Re-Take: For Tsietsi

Seeing as you asked and WhatsApp just doesn’t work…

They did the biopsy and in the process found that the tumour they had targeted is bigger than they thought. But they did what they needed to do, in the process losing a loose tooth that little princess had. I asked if any bone marrow biopsies had been done, any bloods taken..no. I could feel the hope in the mother. When she said “What if the biopsy results show that it’s not cancer?” my heart sank. That would take a miracle. To all intents and purposes, based on the symptoms and how it has spread throughout the abdomen…

They then decided that they aren’t able to manage her case and told her parents to take the child to Red Cross hospital. About an hour plus from where they live. Yesterday was torture. And that’s just from being told. Unfortunately visiting children (under 14) aren’t allowed in the ward so I had to try concentrate on teaching these two while my heart was with my family at the Children’s Hospital.

And yes, the first tests were for blood and the dreaded bone marrow biopsy. No-one can enjoy the thought of their child’s bones being ‘drilled’ into to extract the marrow. It was a harrowing ordeal. I read my sister’s texts to me as she told me what was going on. The child-screaming and crying. Her parents-screaming and crying. My parents-screaming and crying. The other patients-bringing my mother to such deep sorrow. Little babies, young children, children from all over-all there to get treatment. Their little bald heads telling the chemo story.

One mother down from another province. With her newborn baby. Dr telling her “There’s nothing we can do. No hope.” Parents united in grief. Weeping. I asked about the time when everyone was crying. What test they were doing. She said “I don’t know. All I know is that every child who went into THAT room sounded like they were being tortured. I couldn’t sit in the chair anymore. I just wanted to run away.”

Oncology.

Cancer.

More testing is going to be performed. My sister said they’re thinking of going in again for more biopsies of tumour. Monday will decide the next step. They’re planning on re-doing all the scans done at the previous hospital. But one thing for sure, the doctors are sure it’s cancer. They just want to know which type and where else it might be. (And probably stage as well. Though considering how it has spread, I’m pretty sure it’s not stage 1 nor maybe even 2) She’s due to return on Monday. The tentative plan is to admit her for treatment this coming Thursday. But as all cancer families know, nothing is set in stone.

I’m just glad she has a reprieve. Time to be with her sister. A sister she asked for yesterday while being tested. Time for the parents to recover. I asked the mother if she wasn’t traumatised after what they experiences yesterday. Of course, she was. Makes sense why parents who’ve had to deal with the cancer monster in their children tend to suffer from PTSD. It’s a horrible war. A war when you have to hold your child down-child crying in fear, anxiety, pain. A child who might not understand why you’re allowing these strangers to hurt her. As if the tumour pain itself isn’t bad enough.

But thanking God for less pain. The hospital gave them pain medication. She finally ate. They slept through the night. I’m thankful for those small mercies.