September was Childhood Cancer Awareness month and October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so I thought it would be fitting to pour my heart out about it, raise awareness about it, and at the same time share what the Lord has really taught me the past few months about my life, how I want to live it, and the person that I want to be.
The Lord put this deep desire in my heart in college to work with kids who have cancer. So, I graduated from the University of Oklahoma and went right back to school to pursue nursing. I finished nursing school, moved to a different state, and started applying for jobs. Not expecting God to throw me right into where I was called to be, He perfectly placed me in my dream job.
Anyone who works in this field will tell you the same responses we get when telling others what we do. It goes a little something like this: “Wow, that is so sad, I don’t know how you do that.” Sometimes it’s “Oh (sad face)… Why?” Or, what I personally get a lot of is, “How do you not cry like every day?” I know that it is meant in the best way possible, but it always aches my heart a little every time I hear things like this because I think others see these kids very differently than the way we see them.
Here is the real side:
We see the look of a healthy child sitting in the hospital bed with family, waiting hours and even days to hear the results of many different tests being done. Some of the kids having no idea what is going on, and other kids having more fear than they have ever had before. We see parents meeting with the doctor when results have come back, while others accompany their child to distract them. We see parents having to hear “your child has cancer or your child has relapsed or there is nothing more we can do.” We see families break down and not know what else to do but hold their children tight. We see the numerous bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, surgeries, limb replacements or amputations happening. We administer these deadly chemotherapy drugs in hopes that it would destroy the bad things lingering in their little bodies. We see the side effects these chemotherapies leave them with: hair loss, mouth sores, nausea, vomiting and so much more. We access their ports weekly with huge needles that go into their chest just so we can get chemo into their bodies. We see these kids on steroids who get the chubby cheeks with a little bit of “roid rage,” and them not understanding what is going on with the changes happening in their bodies. We see kids so sick they can’t eat and have to get nutrients through a tube we stick down their noses. We see and give multiple shots in hopes of it helping boost their immune system.
We see kids cry when they can’t go play because they have a fever and can’t leave the room. We see them leaving the rooms and going home with masks on because they have no immune system from the chemotherapy destroying it. We see infections that make them even sicker than they were before. We see kids happy to get to go home only to come back a couple days later because they have yet another fever. We see parents having to quit their jobs to spend time with their kids. Siblings who have to come to the hospital to see their brother/sister. We see kids missing out on school or kids who have to push off their college dream for treatment. We see graduations at the hospital. We see kids on hospice, kids on research studies as a last resort, kids hanging on for their life. We see some losing the friends they made on the floor and being scared of what will happen to them. We see death… And that doesn’t even touch half of it.
What we also see is LIFE.
We see these kids get through the bad, and beat cancer. We see doctors telling families that their child is in remission. We see tears of joy from parents after hearing their child has been cured. We see kids running around the halls playing when their immune systems are stronger. We see kids building relationships on the floors with the other kids going through similar situations. Kids going back to school. Graduations. We see healing. We see kids coming back to say “thank you” and hello because they are survivors. We see Christ in these kids.
So why do I do it? Because I feel the Lord has called me to do it. I do it because these kids are fighting for their lives and they still manage to throw a smile on their face when their little bodies are barely hanging on. Because they don’t worry about what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day. They fight for TODAY. Because lots of them don’t really understand what is happening and what could happen, but they live every single day fighting. Do I cry? Absolutely. I’ve cried in front of families, I have broken down in the break room and in my car. It is a tough job. You see tough stuff. But you see not just the bad stuff, you see good stuff if you look for it.
Life is precious ya’ll. What are you worrying about? God says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Tackle each day that day. Don’t worry about what the future holds.Be the best YOU that you can be today. Click To Tweet
I’ll never forget a sweet little girl that I sent home one day. She was on hospice and was going home to spend time with family. She looked at me with tears filling her eyes and told me “Nurse, I am so scared. I don’t know why I am, but I am scared.” I didn’t really know what to say. I was scared for her too, but she knew Jesus. She will be with Jesus. I don’t say this to make you sad, and I don’t say this to scare you, but ya’ll, what are you waiting for? What is stopping you from giving every aspect of your life over to Christ right now? What are you going to do TODAY to get closer to God? Don’t waste time. Life is short.
I ask myself this more so now than ever, because I see every day how precious life is. These kids inspire me by the way they fight, and the way they live life. I admire these kids. I want to have the faith like they do. An unwavering kind of faith. They trust in us no matter what we do. No matter the pain, no matter the circumstances. They trust us with their life, literally. We gotta have that kinda faith in Christ. That no matter the pain or the circumstances that are happening, we keep the faith in Him. We trust Him with our life.
So stop worrying, give your life to Christ and put your faith in him. That’s what these kids have taught me without even knowing it. And lastly, who do you want to be?
I want to be a light. I want others to get a glimpse of God’s love by the way I love them. I want others to see Christ in me. I want to be fearless and faithful in all circumstances knowing that God will never leave me or let me down.
So, thank you little ones for bringing me closer to God without realizing it. Thank you for saving MY life.
You are my hero.
**If you feel in your heart to do so, please make a donation to childhood cancer research. Only 4% of cancer research funding goes to childhood cancer, and our kids deserve much more than 4%!