On a beautiful Tuesday in 2016, Election Day actually, Aaliyah came home after school running a fever. When the fever stuck around for a couple days, I brought her to the doctor. Within a few hours, we were told she might have cancer. Within the week, our worst fears were confirmed.
She spent the next 10 months undergoing 14 rounds of inpatient chemo, a month of radiation, and a 10-hour surgery, among countless other procedures. She rang the bell at MD Anderson on September 9, 2017, signifying the end of her Ewing's sarcoma treatment. She is a survivor.
I will never take that for granted. I will never stop being thankful. I will never stop telling the story of God's healing power and the expertise of our medical team.
On Monday, she had her six-month post treatment scans. On Tuesday, we heard the news we've been hoping and praying for: still NED!
We will continue to return to MDA every three months for 17 more months before we can start resting a little easier.
Those 17 months stretch before us full of hope, but shadowed by the lingering fear of recurrence. Still, day by day, month by month, the shadow fades because "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).
Fear is easy. It is tempting and dark and quiet and isolated and strangely satisfying at times when you just want to wallow for a while.
Hope is hard. It demands peace that surpasses all understanding, faith in what you cannot see, and vulnerability in the possibility that your hopes will be dashed.
Fear breeds sorrow, depression, anxiety, anger, confusion, self-doubt.
Hope cultivates peace, joy, gratefulness, order, confidence, harmony, and faith.
I will probably always battle fear, but ultimately, when the sun rises each morning, I choose hope - and it anchors my soul.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure... - Hebrews 6:19