"Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
Our time in Boston has been filled with appointments, waiting and exploring. Even though the first two weeks were tumultuous as the nausea monster reared it's ugly head, Boston has gotten under my skin and into my heart. Honestly, the chaos of six kids and activities that always seem to follow them has made our time in Boston seem like a nice hiatus....in between the vomiting. We have figured out that Colby is one of those kids who is sensitive to radiation...who knew? I was hoping that we would save the nausea for chemo but alas, we have renamed Colby to "Colbyareyouok?" since that is how we often address him now.
The staff at Mass General have been nothing but angelic. Colby has amassed quite a collection of Game Stop gift certificates that he receives every Friday. Being at the Center every day, you begin to get to know the same faces that you see. You make eye contact. You smile while your eyes acknowledge a common bond. You clap when you hear the bell clanked that means someone's time there has come to an end. Conversations are had and hugs are given. I received a necklace of hope from a mother whose daughter was welcomed into heaven too soon for our earthly desire. It is a heartbreaking yet amazing journey.
I love that quote from Jim Elliot. It is one we have fully embraced while here. We have cheered on the Bruins and Celtics as well as chased down Patriot's wider receiver Julian Edelman for a picture. (Sidenote: I know, I know...mama was in full groupie mode. However, in my defense, Colby was with him in the men's loo and came out in awe. I did what any mama would do but it turns out that he is a Bay Area boy and grew up watching Mr. White playing...we are like practically family.)
During halftime at the Celtics game, Isaiah Austin, the 2014 first round draft prospect who had to give up his dream of playing professional basketball due to a Marfan syndrome, was honored. During our pre-radiation consultation, Colby's radiologist told us that Colby will not be able to play football again. Because he has to have his whole brain and spine radiated, the bones at the top of his spine will be permanently weakened and the risk of a broken neck from high impact sports is great. It was one of the few times we have seen Colby cry in the past three months. Our hearts are aching because...we are a football family and its his favorite sport. Football has always been a part of the kid's lives.
Watching Isaiah, I once again saw God show is His grace and love. We can spend our lives focusing on all the little things that we cannot do or focus on the great things we can do through Him.
We plan our outings around the weather and how Colby is feeling. If it is cold, we do indoor activities. Warmer weather propels us outside to escape the apartment and cross off some of the items on our "Things to Do in Boston" list. Sometimes though Colby is so nauseous and the tiredness is exponentially catching up to him that he tries to get out but he looks miserable so we just head back home after treatment. He has also lost his appetite resulting in us playing Let's Make a Deal at mealtimes---eat three bites and then you can be finished or pick anything in the store to eat and I'll make it. Schoolwork continues to be completed when he is feeling up to it. Visits from friends and a surprise trip back to Charlotte as well as thoughtful care packages to Boston have broken up the weeks.
Next week, Colby will be finished with the radiation and have a break before chemotherapy begins. Six weeks have flown by eerily slow...if that makes sense. It seems like we have been on this road forever yet days flip quickly like a calendar in the wind. The further we follow Jesus down this road, the more effort it takes to remember the emotions of those first days. This has become our new norm for the moment...hospitals, doctors, medicines, airports, repeat.
Death, once a cerebral concept held at arms length, has been dangled right in front of us on a daily basis as we cross paths with sick people (well, we are all sick people, right?). It's not so much that I am freaking out about Colby...I only do that on rare moments now. But I do find myself obsessed with the idea of death. I mean B.C. (Before Cancer), I knew we all have a 100% mortality rate. But now I know we all have a 100% mortality rate...the emphasis is different. The thought makes my heart race and stomach flip...it invites me to wrestle with my fleshy habit of contentment with being comfortable...it drives me deeper into God's word to find the answer to the question..."Lord, what...?" --What are my strongholds? What am I to take away from this? What is Your will and where do I need to grow my faith in Your providence? What does living for eternity look like? The result is a fascinating discussion of Sybil-ish proportion going on in my head. Even through the cerebral banter, I am grateful for this path. There is a freedom in realizing that you actually control very little in your life. Anything that I think I control is ultimately dependent on the next beat of my heart. I want a heart that beats for Him...that breaks for the things that breaks His.