I cannot believe it’s been one year already! I remember it like it was yesterday! You know that saying, “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.” Umm yea, that “we” meaning us WITH HIM! There is so much I know I could not have handled without Him carrying me through, holding me in the palm of HIS big hand! Thats how I like to imagine my toughest moments sometimes. When things seem too much to bear, I like to imagine just how minuscule they really are compared to God and all that He is capable of! Then I have to remind myself to breath when I realize I’ve stopped for a moment. Like I did that day on April 3, 2014, the first time I heard that our sweet Victoria Rose had C-A-N-C-E-R. This news came only 6 weeks after writing these words:
Justin and I continue to stay in God’s word daily, we found a wonderful church home, and we know we are right where God wants us to be and that HE has much bigger plans for us! HE’s our #1 now and will always be, because without HIM, we are nothing! We can’t wait to see where God takes us and how HE uses us, but we have our armor on and we’re ready!
Little did we know what was right around the corner. That Sunday we went to church as usual, but this time we took our littles to “Big Church” with us which they thoroughly enjoyed. They loved listening to the worship music. I remember Beckem, Victoria’s twin, being so into it with his head nodding to the music. Victoria tapped me and asked, “Mommy, why do some people raise their hands in the air when they are singing?” I quietly whispered to her that sometimes while worshiping, people raise their hands up and open towards God, because it may help them to feel closer to God, or they could be just showing God how much they love Him. She just nodded like she understood. During the next song I’ll never forget my husband nudging me and pointed down towards Victoria. She was holding her hands in the air and seemed so peaceful like she truly understood what she was doing. It was such a sweet sight.
After arriving home and having lunch, our three littles went out to play with all the other neighborhood kids as usual. They jumped on the trampoline, roller-bladed, and rode their bikes and scooters in the sunshine. Victoria had been complaining of her leg hurting since the night before, and I had been giving her Tylenol or Motrin thinking it was growing pains. She complained a few more times that Sunday, and I noticed that she had begin limping. Then the last time I gave her Motrin, I began to worry that something might be wrong. She took the medicine and limped out to continue playing, but shortly after, one of our friends carried her to us saying that she was complaining of her leg hurting and couldn’t walk. I held her and tried to soothe her thinking the medicine just hadn’t kicked in, but her cry got louder and she became more and more restless in my arms. After a trip to the local ER that evening and the pediatricians office the next morning for a second opinion, I took it upon my self to go ahead and get a third opinion at The Children’s Methodist Hospital. I had a gut wrenching feeling something was seriously wrong. She had gone from jumping and roller-blading to not being able to take a single step and whaling in pain all within 24 hours. They immediately hooked her up to morphine, drew her blood, and ordered ultra sounds and an MRI. I remember looking over the nurses shoulder at the lab results looking to see if anything looked suspicious, and I’m not going to lie, I was looking for leukemia! Victoria’s lab results didn’t look like that of a child’s with leukemia, but some things were definitely off, so they admitted us. The next morning we were finally getting into a hospital room when a nurse came in and said, “I’m here to get Victoria Young for surgery.” I looked at her stunned and said, “Surgery for what?” Then an orthopedic surgeon came in and told us that the MRI showed four areas in Victoria’s leg that showed she had osteomyelitis and she needed surgery NOW! My husband had gone down stairs to get us a coffee. I began calling/texting him immediately to come now! He met us in the surgery prep room in a panic and grabbed the doctor asking him, “Are you 100% this is what she has and that this surgery is necessary?!” The doctor said, “Yes, and I’ve already gotten a second opinion, and she needs it now!” They wheeled her away and I crumbled…still with a sinking helpless feeling wondering if we were doing the right thing! When the surgery was complete, the doctor came out to let us know that she did fine. But something about his demeanor… When he walked off, I looked at my husband and said, “Something is wrong. I could tell that doctor was upset about something.” Justin thought it was just me being my over-reacting self and tried to reassure me.
The next day we had all sorts of people from the hospital coming in to ask questions. One of those people being with infection control. She informed me they were waiting to see which infection showed up on the biopsy they took from Victorias leg, which caused the osteomyelitis, but so far none had. In the mean time, my husband had gone down stairs to meet a friend that was coming by. A couple of doctors and a nurse had come into Victoria’s room, and one introduced himself and the other doctor, and ask me to tell them a little about Miss Victoria. Sitting in the bed by Victoria, I began to tell the story for the gazillionth time thinking nothing of it. I was tired and had been up now for going on 3 days straight. One of the doctors interrupted me and asked, “Did he (the orthopedic surgeon) tell you they would be sending biopsies off to test for cancer?” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I immediately froze! I then realized that both doctors had gotten pretty comfortable in Victoria’s room and were sitting in chairs at the end of the bed, and the nurse standing behind them. I said, “Oh my gosh, that’s why your here isn’t it?” One of the doctors, who I would soon find out is an oncologist, replied, “Yes, your daughter does not have an infection in her leg, but she has LEUKEMIA.” I just stared, holding Victoria’s little hand, and I remember that the doctor was still talking but I was hearing nothing. I interrupted him, “Is it curable?” He went on to explain that there are different kinds of leukemias and we would find out what type Victoria has in a couple of days, but that most leukemias have a pretty good cure rate. He continued to talk. I heard nothing. I snapped out of it for a minute and said, “Oh, my husband, let me call my husband!” Justin was in the room in what felt like seconds. I just stared at him, could get no words out, and the doctor ask him if I told him. He looked at me, and my voice crackling, I managed to get the words out, “She has leukemia.” The doctors talked a lot. Justin asked them tons of questions as he took his shirt off because he had become drenched in sweat. All I remember is them saying, “Your daughter has leukemia.” “Yes, it can be curable.” “It can be 90% curable if she has the “good” type of leukemia”, “She will need to start treatment immediately.” and “Oh, and now “this” (Victorias leg as he pointed toward it) will have a hard time healing due to the steroids and chemo she will be taking.” Then they left the room. Justin and I just stared at one another and stared at Victoria. He then grabbed me and hugged me. I began to shake. I knew I was about to explode with tears I had been fighting in front of Victoria. I just remember telling Victoria I had to go to the bathroom, and ran to the stairway where I just sobbed and sobbed.
The only way I can explain how I felt for the next few days is “numb”, like I was in a bad dream and couldn’t wake up. I so badly wanted to trade places with my baby! I remember praying non-stop though, knowing God was there and was in control! And on about the fourth day I remember waking up and having a peace that could have only came from God. I didn’t know what all was to come, and I knew it was going to be a long hard road, but I knew, I just knew that we would get through this, and that Victoria was going to be okay. I knew this was part of God’s plan and He was going to use Victoria in a mighty way to glorify HIM. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been the easiest trial for me as a mommy to see my beautiful precious baby girl endure this journey, but man, she has more strength in her pinky toe than I’ve got in my whole body! In those first few days, I received many texts, and one read: YOULL GET YOUR STRENGTH FROM HER. I remember thinking hmmm… But it’s true. I know I get my true strength, peace and hope from Jesus, but I understood what they were talking about. On days I’d feel sadness welling up inside, I’d look over to see her dancing, or hear her singing and giggling, and all my sadness would disappear! How could I sit around moping when she was taking on this fight with a bang full of joy and spunk like I had never seen! A couple verses I began to hold tight to and still cling to are:
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” and Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I know God has a plan for Victoria, and I know this is all part of it! I don’t believe God “gave” cancer to Victoria, but I know He could’ve have prevented it! I do believe He chose to “allow it”, and that Victoria was “chosen” for this special journey by God to glorify God, to bring so many others to Him through it, and to help build others up through her faithfulness, strength, and endurance through it all! I know watching her and so many other children with cancer, and their families on these journeys has sure grew my faith, making it stronger than I imagined! I find my ultimate hope in Jesus and His promises! The one He gave us by dying on the cross for us! The sacrifice that takes away our sin and promises us eternal life if we believe! I do believe! And I know, that no matter what happens here on earth that all of God’s children, the true believers, will all be together one day for eternity in the promise land! Oh how I look forward to that day!!!
1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” and Isaiah 53:11 says, “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” and John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This world is only temporary, thank GOD! His word tells us that we WILL have trials and tribulation. So get ready, because if you haven’t, you will, and if you have, it isn’t over. It won’t be over until HE comes back for us! But His word also tells us to not be afraid, and not to worry, because HE, the Lord your God has overcome the world!!! All we have to do is turn to HIM, giving all our troubles and worries to Him, and He will carry us through!
Matthew 18:3 “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This verse became so much clearer to me! I know that our precious babies were His babies first and that when He decides to bring them home, that they are loved, safe, happy and pain free, sitting on the lap of Jesus! That gives me hope and peace! We must have faith like that of children, humbling ourselves before God! Trusting in Him completely because He is the ultimate physician, the ultimate healer, the ONE who wins the Victory!
Three days ago was a year since Victoria was diagnosed with Leukemia, and to no surprise, she has come so far! She was in remission on the 29th day of treatment and still has about another year and a half of treatment left. She is outside right now playing and laughing with friends as I type this. She and her twin brother Beckem just turned seven years old two days ago on the 4th of April! We have so much as a family we are all thankful for! God has answered a gazillion of our prayers already and continues to do so! I am so thankful for Victoria’s health along with the good health of all of my other children! I’m so thankful for how God has worked on our family through this trial and how He continues to mold each one of us in His own unique way! I pray for God to use me, my husband, and my children in ways to glorify Him, and I pray that all of my children will desire to know Jesus more and to have an intimate relationship with Him. It’s working, praise Jesus!