On 9/3/08 our worlds changed forever. It has been six months since two doctors looked down at me lying next to my sleeping child and told me she had cancer. I can't believe it has been six months. I remember looking at her peaceful face, finally asleep for a moment after enduring so much pain, and trying unsuccessfully to hold in my sobs until after the doctors left. It is hard to think about that week, or month, without all of the feelings rushing back to me. The way she frowned all day. The way my heart literally hurt for the pain she was enduring. The way she screamed when they couldn't find the vein to draw blood, or get in an IV. The way she smelled those few days after getting her first dose of chemo. Seeing a tube sticking out of her chest for the first time and having to sit down and take deep breaths. Crying with my husband. Crying by myself in the bed at the hospital. As I read back on the blog I realize I didn't write much of my feelings, it was very much matter of fact during that painful week. Truth be told, I don't know how we survived that first month. It was so emotional. I remember thinking and praying to the Lord to get us through the first six months. He has answered that prayer. We are here. We survived it. It was a complete roller coaster, full of joy one moment, and misery the next. We are happy. We have learned some things, and know we have more to learn.

If Brinley makes counts, she will start Long Term Manitenance this week. Brinley is winning the fight. Brinley is winning!!! The cancer is not beating her! And I don't mean this only in the literal sense. She is happy. She is pretty healthy. She smiles and plays and acts like a 2 year old. She is living life and cancer has not conquered her. I am so proud of her! The war that is being fought inside her little body is not getting the best of her! Now she will be down to once a month clinic visits for chemo, a LP (chemo in her spine) every 3 months and nightly chemo given orally. This will be for a little less than 2 years. We can do this. We can do two years of this, and my Brinley will beat this monster. I have had a lot of different emotions this last six months. For those of you who have followed for a while, you probably thought I had a double personality at times....it has been an emotionally draining journey. But I have no doubt the day will come when I will be grateful for it. The day will arrive that I will honestly say I would not change anything. Not there yet, it's still to painful to watch my kids suffer in different ways. I believe it is a process. A learning process. The day will come that I will look at this through different eyes than I have now. I have a great deal of faith that that day will arrive for me. I look forward to it. I AM grateful that we have a Father in Heaven that supports us in our trials. Oh, the nights I have crawled into bed and cried for hours not knowing how I would wake up and get through another day! And then I woke up the next day and did it. I know that was divine intervention. I could not have done that on my own. So I thank the Lord for carrying me when I couldn't pick myself up. Although I'm not ready to jump on the "grateful for this trial" train yet, I will say that I have never been mad at God for it. I don't believe the Lord sends, or allows, any trial to come to us that we can't handle. I have learned a great deal about what I can handle. I am grateful that when this storm came to us, we had a foundation of faith to hold firm to. It was built during easier times and has carried us through this difficult one, and will continue to do so for many more to come. My testimony of the atonement and the Gospel have only deepened through this and for THAT I am grateful. But how I miss our normal lives! I miss Brinley's hair! I miss her chubby legs! I miss my medical innocence, not knowing what most of the words that doctors spoke meant! I miss the days of thinking nothing would ever happen to anyone I loved! I miss the days of not seeing so many children suffer! Someone from my online group of cancer mom's described it perfectly. She said during the first month after diagnosis you are pushed of a cliff and free falling, everything is happening so fast and you don't have control of your life. Then you land and you spend your time trying to climb back up that impossible cliff to where you were before, only to realize you can't ever get there. Finally you brush yourself off, and learn to live and be happy with your new path, realizing you can never get back to the one you had. But that's okay, because the new path has some good stuff too. So although sometimes I covet the normal life, I can be just as happy with this one too, it's just different. Happy, but different.
And I love all of you who have supported us through this!!! I have been told that we would see who our true friends are, and that has been true, we have so many wonderful friends and family who have stuck with us and I have no doubt will continue to lift us up through this journey. I look forward to the day that I can be the lifter for all of you, instead of the lifted. You are all angels to me. Two years to go!

7 comments:

LaAna said...

Though our paths crossed only for a short time and then moved on, you and your family have made a difference to me. Your sweet Brinley has been on my mind for a while now, as you have been too. Thank you for sharing with us your ups and downs, highs and lows, and most importantly your faith and love for your family and Savior. May our prayers still be answered and your burdens easier to bear.

Kathy said...

Kristin, little do you know that you ARE lifting us all! Your strength, love and faith keeps us all "lifted" even on your bad/sad days!

Marion said...

Hallelujah! Light at the end of the tunnel. May you always see the light and never the tunnel. You are a brave, strong, good woman and have blessed each one of us as we have journeyed with you in this small way. You ARE the lifter!!

Ali said...

How lovely. We are so happy to hear that an end (even a two year down the road end) is in sight. And before the new baby arrives...that is truly a miracle.

Caroline said...

How are Taylor and Jade doing?

Anonymous said...

You have all been incredible angels through this.....great fight Brinley!!!!!I love and miss you all soooo much, thank you for sharing like you do. God has surely blessed us all...Tons and tons of love & hugs ;)
Aunt Nancy

JohnH said...

It's been quite a ride so far. You've endured it well, despite you doubts and fears. I'm so glad you've shared it so intimately with all of us. You and your family have lifted everyone you've touched. Thank you.