The past week has been full of highs and lows. There were moments when all four of us were in tears and taking it out on each other, because isn’t that what you do to those you love most? But, there were moments of happiness as well.
Saturday officially went down in the books as by far the happiest day our family has had since cancer entered our lives. When I think about that day, I can’t help but be amazed by the power of prayer. At the time, we didn’t know it. But, we now know that really specific prayers were answered this day.
Thanks to a handful of generous friends from our church (and one very determined lady), we were given tickets to the Royals’ Fan Fest. From parking to crowds and safety to distance walking on crutches, and bringing joy to Mason, every bit of it was covered in prayer.
Alli already had plans to be at an overnight birthday party, so she wasn’t able to go. She was happy to give her ticket up for time with her friends. So Mason got to invite a friend to go along. He and his buddy were beside themselves with excitement. We left the house at 7 am to start this adventure.
It’s an interesting set up at Fan Fest. There are 6 lines that you can choose from once the masses of people are allowed into the massive room. After waiting for over an hour just to get into the room, you then wait another 30-40 minutes for the mystery person you are waiting for to appear. Luckily, we love the Royals and it is doubtful that we wouldn’t have been happy with anyone who appeared outside that curtain. But, God gave us a gift that morning. Our little left-handed pitcher got to meet left-handed pitcher, Danny Duffy. We were excited to get our turn like the rest of the people in our line. But, what happened next was nothing we could have imagined. As Mason approached Danny’s table, Danny asked him why he was on crutches. Matt and I were not allowed to go up with him as there is a strict one at a time rule. But, I could hear Mason say, “I have bone cancer.” While this is a hard response for people to hear, we can’t help but breath a little sigh of relief when he says it. You see, this question is usually answered by saying, “Well, we went to Kentucky to build a church and …” Let me tell you, this story goes on and on. When you tell someone it’s bone cancer, they either try to escape as quickly as possible or they express genuine concern. Take a look at this man’s face. Tell me he wasn’t genuinely concerned.
After hearing Mason’s response, Danny proceeded to put down his pen and walk around the table to break all of the rules. He put his arm around Mason and asked me to take a picture (right beside the sign that said no photos). Then he told Mason he has a great big God that can do anything. He said, “I will pray hard for you, buddy.” Not only did we find out that day that Danny Duffy is a believer, we also found out that with every signature, he adds “Col 3:23”. I’d like to say that I knew exactly how that verse read, but I didn’t. We immediately found a place to sit so that we could look up the message he was giving us. I can only pray that others with his autograph did the same.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Colossians 3:23 NLT
Danny Duffy taught my boy that day that even major league pitchers work for God and not the people of this world.
Mason and his friend felt like they’d hit the jackpot and really didn’t need anyone else’s signatures at this point, so we continued to enjoy and be amazed at the entire event. But, we didn’t wait in any more lines! We did get some free ice cream and played some games along the way.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, another prayer was answered that day. For the past few weeks, Mason has asked daily if he can PUH-LEASE have a dog. At first I was a little upset with my co-workers. I work with all dog lovers. They had been working on me individually and as a team telling me that Mason NEEDS a dog. One day I’d had a long conversation about the pros and cons of adding a dog to our already stressful situation. That night was the first time Mason asked out of the blue for a dog. Everyone swears it was a total coincidence. (One of these days I’ll have to blog about coincidences, or as I call them, God.)
So, as the days went on, I began trying to think of reasons NOT to get a dog instead of reasons why we should. I posted a question on Facebook asking for advice and so many people offered to help out. It was overwhelming because decision-making is hard when your mind is consumed with cancer. I had to stick with basics like the fact that I knew we’d have to get a dog we found cute or it would be hard for us to love it well. You know, kind of like the way that God gives us children that we are hard-wired to think are the cutest children on earth. This is how they stay alive, right?
In the days following my request for help, I found myself searching all of the local pet rescue pages I could possibly find. I also found myself on the phone with the kindest vet who told me exactly what I wanted to hear. “As a mother, you are definitely doing what’s best for your child. Scientific data shows repeatedly the benefits of pet therapy for humans…” Friday evening I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. This has become my every night at this point. But, this night, after an hour of tossing, I picked up my phone. I had a message from a lovely lady I admire a lot. She, too, was telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. She had a dog who met all of my criteria – calm, house-broke, small, non-shedding…say what? Then I scrolled down even further in her message to find a picture of the dog she was offering.
We’ve only been dog owners one other time and it was short-lived, but we loved that dog and miss him still. His name was Sam and I’m telling you, this picture she sent looks exactly like Sam did as a puppy. In fact, when I showed Mason this picture the next morning, he said, “Wait, is that Sam?!”
My friend had been praying that she and her husband could find a good home for their 7-year-old rescue puppy, Jasmine. They’ve reached a time in their lives that they are able to travel and they hated having to take her to a kennel each time. Long story short, we went to their house to meet Jazz and took her home for a “trial run.” She’s the least work of any dog I’ve ever met. Both of the kids fell in love immediately. She has slept each night in Mason’s bed and we love her lots. She is still trying to decide if she loves us back, but we know we’ll win her over. It’s amazing how much stress melts away just having her warmth next to you. Needless to say, we’re not giving her back!
I’m officially banned from making any more life changing decisions for a while, however. We bought a house, sold a house, got a dog, and are fighting cancer … all in a matter of days. But, as Mr. Duffy says, we have a great big God who can get us through this.
Tomorrow: PET scan
Monday: Arteriogram – This is a much bigger deal than I realized. Please pray for all to go well. Mason will be under anesthesia (conscious sedation) most of the day. He has to lie completely flat for 6 hours after the procedure to ensure proper clotting of the artery they are injecting contrast into. It will be a long and worrisome day.
Your prayers are so appreciated. We are seeing God work in so many ways through all of this.