This was it – the big day – Thursday 1st August 2013 – Leah received her bone marrow transplant. At 5.30pm Leah received four bags each containing 77ml of Simon’s good quality bone marrow via a PICC line in her arm. She had been very unwell in the week preceding this, but our morale had got a boost the day before, when we were upgraded to a lovely ensuite room on the Transplant Unit.
Leah became even more unwell in the days following her transplant, as the full force of her chemo took effect – we had already been warned that this would happen, but it was still very hard to deal with.
In my diary on the 1st August ’13 I wrote:
“Some people thought that Leah would be healed through prayer and at one stage I wondered about that too. I kind of thought that prayer would put her in a protective bubble so that she wouldn’t experience any of the really bad side effects or complications of her treatment – looks like I was wrong.
Maybe it’s a bit like what Joni Eareckson Tada said when someone told her ‘If you had enough faith, you would get out of that chair and walk.‘ and she replied ‘It requires more faith for me to sit here and smile at you than it would to get out of this chair and walk!’“
Then I wrote that I had been reading in Philippians in my Bible that morning and was encouraged by these verses:
Philippians 1:12 (NIV)
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”
And Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I also wrote:
“Maybe the real miracle of healing is the one that takes place in our hearts and enables us to cope with our situation.“
I know that I’ve written about some of this in older blog posts and I apologise for repeating myself. To be honest I need to hear all of this again – I need to be reminded of these lessons.
Grief is a struggle, it wears me down, day after day. Sometimes I need to be reminded of how God has carried me through past difficulties.
The following is one of my favourite verses of scripture. The word hope has become very important to me. It’s not a word that I ever thought much about before.
Lamentations 3:21-25 (NIV)
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks Him;
One of Horace’s sisters sent us a plaque of the word hope when we were in Bristol – I always hung it where Leah could see it. Miriam has it hanging in her bedroom now.
When we were leaving Bristol Leah asked me to buy her a packet of ‘post it notes‘. She wrote Bible verses and encouraging phrases on them and posted them around SAMs House before we left – this is one of them that was photographed after we left and sent to me by another oncology mum. Each word begins with a letter in the word hope.
The Dalai Lama XIV is quoted as saying
“No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
I think that this is incredibly true.
The word ‘hope‘ occurs 174 times in the New International Version of the Bible, with 94 located in the Old Testament and 80 found in the New Testament.
Without hope, there would be no motivation or strength of will to withstand adversity. There would be no long term goals, no direction, no comfort. Hope enables us to believe in a future that will be better than the present, whether in this life or the next one.
We must always hold onto hope, and we must encourage hope in those around us too.
This song is a real “golden oldie” and is probably quite basic compared to all the modern stuff like Hillsongs and Chris Tomlin etc but I have always loved it because it’s based entirely on Lamentations 3:22-23.