Please, God, say it's not cancer

It is 1:30 in the morning and I am writing to beg you to pray for my dear, embattled third daughter, Amelia Irene.

It is 1:30 a.m. and worry has my mind whirling. Trials never seem to come to us one at a time. They never seem small, trivial. Our life like living in Africa, long seasons of beautiful sun followed by monsoons that shut all of life down for long periods of time. This week a visit to the cardiologist revealed that I have new complications - a heart murmur, swelling, distention in some of my major veins and arteries. Surgery may be in the near future. A mechanical valve replacement, putting more stress on an organ that has always been my weak point. A long recovery. An uncertain outcome.

But this pales as I cuddle the warm body of my Amelia in bed with me tonight. Her curls like a crown on the crisp sheets in the cool night air. The way she hugs the web of my hand in her fingers. The suckling sounds on her Nuk, reminiscent of our nursing days. A month ago, on May 5th, I noticed a visible lump on her neck. We thought it was a swollen lymph node, gave it a cursory look and feel, and dismissed it from our thoughts. Her health was far from our conscious at the beach in South Carolina. But as the weeks passed, the lump remained, firmer now, fixed, growing larger. She is tired all the time, cold all the time, refuses to eat. The busyness of life should be no excuse for why we haven't had her in to see a doctor yet...but so is life.

Trivial things, like a filling that fell out of one of my teeth. Swelling in my legs that seemed pretty important. A counseling appointment I didn't want to skip because they are so hard to reschedule. T-ball games and coach pitch games and slip and slides. My broken tail bone. A pet dying. A trip for graduation. A friend moving into our house, and the necessary cleaning, reorganizing and welcoming. Homeschooling. Doing the dishes. Scattering Grandpa and Grandma's ashes this weekend, meeting up with family, getting to know new cousins. 

A trip to the splash pad where she huddled in a towel, too cold in the 80 degree heat, begging heat as she shivered close against my sun-warmed body.

A swing by Cedar Lake, where I spent summers as a child. A new straw cowboy hat salvaged from her great-great aunt Charlotte's farm in rural South Dakota.

A creek to clamber through, looking for turtles. Pieces of red granite to pick up. Slogging through "quick sand" mud and adventuring with her brother and sisters.
Why do you see the speck that is in your eye, but do not notice the log that is in your daughters? (Matthew 7:3, altered)
And so it is 1:30 a.m. on a Sunday night, and my mind is racing, making a list of the doctors and surgeons to call, trying to find a way through the medical maze to get to the quickest answer. I'm a nurse - now a doctor of nursing, an odd twist of title that is confusing even to me - and I already know what Google will say. I know that a firm, fixed lump isn't usually a lymph node, or an infection, or a benign tumor. I know it's the hallmark of lymphoma, the third most common type of childhood cancer. I know that the lump, coupled with her symptoms of fatigue, poor appetite, unexplained itching, and weight loss, is a scary, scary thing.

I don't want to be in this place. In this place knowing only God has the answers, only God knows the outcome, and only God can direct our steps as we deal with this crisis in our crisis-ridden third daughter. This daughter, made ever so much more dear to us when we nearly lost her twice just after her 3rd birthday. This daughter whom I feared would die from the seizures at night for a whole year, sleeping with a baby monitor turned up on high and whistling night after night as I trained ears to hear her choking on her vomit. This daughter, who runs into things and hits her head all the time, who runs pell mell through life with greatest joy and so much difficulty. How can I think of approaching the alter again with the child who was delivered to me? How can I walk again with Hannah, begging for my Samuel, and giving my Samuel back to the Lord? How can I climb the mountain with Abraham, with no sacrifice accompanying me but my own child?

I beg for your prayers for my Amelia Irene. I beg You, Yahweh, Jehovah Jireh, my Provider, deliver this child to us again. I pray this is not cancer. I pray she lives a full life to the awesome glory of Moshai', God the Deliverer. Tsa'aq, Jehovah Shammah, the One who is here with us!

Please post this blog button all over the internet and rally prayer for my daughter as we face the terror of the coming weeks.