If you have been along for even part of this wild ride, you will know that it resembles a roller coaster to some degree. The highs have been miraculously high and the lows have been discouragingly low. One day we are celebrating all the good and the next we are battling in prayer because there is so much suffering.
This journey reminds me of a roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland, in Toronto, called the Behemoth. It is known for its (literal) breathtaking first drop, reaching speeds of 125 km/hour, and the thrilling ups and downs that follow. The one-two hours waiting in line are spent wondering why this was ever a good idea, and seeking distractions from the anticipation of what is about to come. Every glance at the track towering in front of you causes your heart to pound and each time the coaster thunders by you tremble a little bit.
Once on the ride, as the car click-click-clicks up higher and higher, your awareness grows that you have zero control over anything that happens. The only thing holding you in your seat is a lap bar – no upper body restraints, and all you can do is hold on.
These past few months have been like riding the Behemoth over and over and over. With each round of chemo, the anticipation builds, the loss of control overwhelms, and the ups and downs are so unpredictable. But unlike a roller coaster, this ride has a whole lot more pain and suffering.
I am not trying to minimize what Jasmine is going through, nor put it on the same level as a simple amusement park ride. But the unpredictability and the speed of ups-and-downs help paint a picture of what she is facing.
This week Jasmine got a bacterial infection in her central line, the same as round 2. Yet this time the infection was worse so they removed the line and now she receives everything through IV. The antibiotics were slow to work, Jas was put on oxygen, and her blood counts were still at zero, meaning her body couldn’t fight. This week was full of suffering: low blood pressure, loss of appetite, blood transfusions, exhaustion, tears, and hopelessness.
Sunday night was a particularly low point. A chest x-ray revealed that Jasmine has pneumonia on top of everything else. Helplessness reminded us that we were completely at the mercy of God and that the only thing to do was hold onto Him and pray.
Then yesterday (Monday) we received some amazing news – an answer to prayer! Jasmine’s blood counts were coming up on their own, meaning her body will be able to start fighting the infections. This was the quickest her counts recovered out of all three chemo rounds (Day 20). Praise the Lord! Jasmine was also more talkative and hopeful!
This ride is far from over. However, through the joy and the suffering, we have an anchor. Like the seat restraints holding a person onto the ride, we have an anchor to hold us firmly through all the craziness. And He’s completely faithful and reliable. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19).
He is the one holding us. Even if you let go on the ride, if you lift your hands high above your head, the restraint will still hold you in. You may lift off your seat, but you won’t fall off. When God is holding us, we will be afflicted but not crushed; perplexed but not despaired; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.
It has never been up to us! God’s got Jasmine, and He’s got all of us. Nothing can separate us from Him.
When you get to the end of the ride, there’s a sense of satisfaction because despite what you just endured, you’re alright. The Behemoth was daunting but you conquered it.
We are not at the end yet. We are just past halfway, with two rounds left. But if we remain anchored to God through everything, no matter what circumstances we face, we will be conquerors.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
We may not all be struggling with the same thing as Jasmine, but all of us face ups and downs. This promise rings true no matter what we are walking through: Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Some things to pray for:
1. That her body and the antibiotics will fight off the infections
2. That Jas will be able to eat and regain her strength
3. For renewed hope and encouragement
4. It is Jasmine’s wish that she get to be home for Easter and do an egg hunt with her cousins