Contentment

Today has been a hard day.  Lucy is really struggling with her mucositis.  (Mucositis is the painful inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, usually as an adverse effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer).  She went to sleep last night around 9:00pm and didn't wake up, minus the potty trips, until 1:00pm this afternoon.  Ever since then, she has done nothing but lay on the couch, vomit and well, has stayed pretty miserable. Her poor throat and stomach are so raw that she is now vomiting blood.  The only silver lining that we found in our gray skies today is the doctor saying that maybe her neutrophils are coming back and that could be making her fill so crummy.  That's what I'm clinging to tonight. 

Cancer is horrible.  It is evil and nasty.  An adult suffering through cancer treatment is hard to imagine.  A child suffering through it is impossible to comprehend.   But I have to remember that this is just a tortuous means to a wonderful end.  Last night as I talked to God I expressed my inability to grasp what has been going on in our lives for the past almost 7 months.  Even now, it is as hard to get my head around as it was on February 23rd.  Some days I look around this hospital and ask "How did this happen.  Are we really here?"  It's like I'm living in some odd parallel universe.  One that you only read about in sad books or movies. 

But in some strange and twisted state of acute awareness, I have been forced to look at my life from an outsider's perspective.  And I have to tell you that I haven't liked what I've seen.  There is too much doing and not enough living happening in the Krull household.  Going, doing, busy, busy, busy.  Way too little time spent playing with legos, reading books or teaching my children about God.  Don't get me wrong, we didn't have all our priorities out of whack.  We just need to spend a little time refocusing on the important things in life.  And I do think that team sports, church activites and the like are important.  They teach our children such valuable lessons.  I just don't need them taking precedence over the REAL important things in our lives.  If my day is so full of "to-do's" that I don't once take my babies by the hand, look them in the eyes and tell them that I love them with all my heart then I need to change some things in my life. 

I've realized that I what I really miss during my time here in the hospital is time spent with my family.  I've always known that Erik was my best friend.  That's never changed since we met some 16 years ago.  I do think, however, that I have taken our friendship for granted.  Not our marriage, but our friendship.  It's been so long since we've made each other a priority.  And you know, I have to say with all honesty that if Lucy had not gotten sick, or if we had not gone through some equally traumatic life experience, I don't know if we would have figured that out.  And I thank God for this opportunity to start over. 

Lots of starting over.  Husband, children, friends, God.  And myself to be honest.  I have such a desire to start exercising again.  I want need to be in shape so that I can give my whole self to the family I love so dearly.  I long to be in the kitchen cooking healthy meals for them.  Date nights are going to be a monthly event for Erik and I.  I appreciate the opportunity to be a better friend in the future.  I also look forward to returning to church and I continue to pray that God will open my eyes to what wonderful service lies ahead for me/us.

I also think that this experience has helped me with something I have been working on for a long time.  For so many years I struggled with such a materialistic worldview.  It was as if I was always wanting more.  I was trying to fill a hole in my life I guess.  Its taken several years but I've come a long, long way.  I still have my moments of relapse, don't get me wrong.  I still struggle with the "wantsies" sometimes.  But through lots of prayer and tons of patience from my husband I've made some serious changes.  And not to sound like I'm contradicting myself from the above paragraph, but sitting in the hospital room tonight I have never felt more content in all my life.

Yes, I long for my child to be well.  I desire to be home with my family.  But those aren't longings for material things.  Those are the yearnings of a mother desperately wanting her family to be one again.  No, I am content with life.  I have a husband who loves me more than I know, we have been blessed with 3 perfect children and we have the ability to pay our bills, put food on the table and have a nice roof over our heads.  We are surrounded by parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins who have all served as rocks during this trial.  We have wonderful friends who have supported us so much during this time and we have been blessed daily by the kindness of strangers.  Lucy is receiving the best care any child could hope for in this situation and I have the freedom to worship a marvelous God without fear of retribution.  Is there really anything else in the world that I need?

I told my pastor the other day that so many of us go through life stuck in a horrible rut.  Most of the time we don't even realize it.  We've been there for so long that it has become a way of life.  I compared it to driving down the interstate.  Big trucks have created ruts in the road that you don't even know are there until it starts to rain.  Then, you realize that driving in those ruts is where you begin to hydroplane.  You know that you need to get out of the rut but it's really hard.  Your tires are so used to driving on that worn path.  It's the easy way to travel.  It's only when the rain is so bad  that you have to take both hands and literally concentrate with all your might to pull your wheels out of the rut.  Then the hard part comes when you have to work to keep your care from vearing right back to those worn in ruts.  But you know that driving outside of the ruts is the only safe way to get to where you are going. 

That's where I was in life.  Driving in the ruts.  It was the easy way to do it.  Not any more though.  Our family is going to be making our own paths.  We are going to make new roads to travel on.  I know it won't be easy, but neither is kicking cancer's butt.  If "we" can do that, we can do anything. 

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