When I fly home tomorrow, Jasmine will be finishing up Day 8 of her ten-day chemo treatments. When I got here she was feeling pretty bad, but that was a good day compared to the day before. Friday she felt good enough for us all to take a walk outside for an hour. She rode in a wheelchair and walked on what she called, “wobbly legs”.
She said, “I used to be the fastest girl in my grade, will my legs be like this forever?”
We all reminded her of Frankie from Pathway Church who had cancer as a teenager. We reminded her of how athletic he is now, and she smiled – she would be fast again.
Small, encouraging moments happened throughout the day. The doctors and nurses are the most compassionate, caring and knowledgeable medical professionals I’ve ever met. As long as we keep asking questions, they remain in the room. They know everything there is to know about Leukemia and what medications can work best for Jasmine.
It is astounding to listen to them discuss each option as they tirelessly work not only to treat the Leukemia, but to figure out which medications will cause the least amount of side effects on Jasmine.
We are very blessed to be 30 minutes (home in Cochrane) from this beautiful hospital in Calgary. The inside is full of bright colours and paintings, and the outside looks like it was built out of Lego. You could almost forget it is a hospital.
We’ve hung paintings and pictures and we’ve put up command strip hooks and hung ribbon to display all of her birthday cards. She has so many birthday cards that we have four rows of ribbon and string to hang them all up… and we’re not done, just tired!
Her birthday was full of laughter and fun, gifts, balloons, and all the nurses gathered and sang to her. She was even able to go home for a little while and see her dog, Zelda, and her hamsters, Pepper (his fur is not black, don’t assume things), and Applemold (guess which one Eli named?).
We cannot begin to express our gratitude for the levels of support we are receiving. Jasmine scrolled through some of the posts on her birthday and kept saying, “Who do I know in Tennessee? North Carolina? Texas? England?”
We were literally amazed at the sheer number of people who wore orange on her birthday and posted pictures. All of everyone’s family, and so many church people all over Canada, the United States, and even some overseas, Christine and Brad’s co-workers, my own co-workers, and people who are connected to our family in a multitude of ways.
An entire Peewee hockey team in Cochrane wrapped their sticks in orange tape, and even spelled Jasmine’s name out on their helmets. I want to hug every single one of those precious boys! Her beautiful little friends are always checking on her through text. She can’t always respond but she’s encouraged with each message.
We continue to get messages and notifications that churches, small groups and kids programs are in regular prayer and wearing orange. The kid’s program at my church is literally named Orange.
Jasmine has been showered with more art and craft supplies than we can fit in her room. We had to buy organizing stackable containers so we could simply know what she had, and she uses her art and craft supplies every single day. I tried to organize the gift cards and kept needing to upgrade to larger envelopes. We are so thankful for these amazing gifts allowing Christine, Brad, Eli and Jas to have coffee or a smoothie. Jasmine had the strawberry smoothie from Good Earth and says it’s great!
Small tokens like these are left each day, sometimes anonymously, and sometimes we are able to say thank you. We owe so much thanks to family, friends, co-workers, church members and all who have donated in person, on Go Fund Me, or have sent cards, presents and money! We are trying to keep up with all you’ve done for our family, it is almost innumerable.
The emails, messages, text message and Facebook messages are too many to respond to, but we read them all and share as many of them as we can with Jasmine. It is a hurricane of encouragement and hope, and we are the eye of the storm.
Most importantly, we are lifted up by the continual prayers of God’s people. He hears you, He hears us, He loves Jasmine, and what more could we ask for? The joy and peace we feel in this hospital room can only be explained supernaturally.
As Jasmine and I lay in her bed last night and talked alone about a myriad of life’s tiny details, from makeup to how we could convince her mom to let her buy a cat, I was struck with the preciousness of these small blessings. We came up with a plan… I can’t tell you though because you might tell Christine.
Right before we fell asleep I said, “Jazz, I think you should name your cat Luke.”
She said, “Ok I will.”