What we did hear at Elena's doctor appointment was overwhelming.
While the survivor team at Aflac were wonderful, kind, knowledgeable, and compassionate, it was not easy to sit there while they went over page after page of information. Seeing in print what your child has been through is hard.
There were six pages outlining Elena's medical history, treatments, surgeries, procedures, complications, and diagnoses. After going over those pages, we went through the next five pages listing the fourteen different chemotherapy drugs Elena has received, the possible late effects associated with each drug, what tests will be used to monitor these and for how long. There was also all of the information on radiation to go over. So much information, so many possibilities, so many years Elena will have to be monitored. We left so overwhelmed. We also left feeling a little sad and empty.
We were already aware of possible late term effects and we knew the list was long. We had seen the information before in each consent form we had to sign...heart damage, lung damage, decreased lung function, kidney damage, liver damage, eye problems, hearing problems, fertility problems, thyroid issues, growth issues, psychological issues, bone damage, joint damage, nerve damage and secondary cancers. It all kind of puts a damper on any celebratory mood.
Days after this meeting with the doctors, we are still trying to process the news we heard. One thing we have learned is that surviving means once again surrendering.
Surrendering to God. Just like we surrendered Elena to Him when she was first diagnosed with cancer and again when she relapsed, we have struggled to surrender ourselves to Him. Over the past five years, we have had to surrender our plans, dreams, hopes, thoughts, fears, anger, sorrow, and bitterness to Him over and over again. Only in doing so, could we experience joy. Surviving alone does not bring great joy. It takes surrendering to find that.
"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." Psalm 143:8
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21