I've been trying to slow down a bit, reading church talks here and there about hardship. Two talks that have particularly stuck out to me that I think about every day, and sometimes many times a day are: "Come What May, and Love It" (the title of this blog) http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-947-9,00.html and the talk "But if Not" http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-439-25,00.html.
As I've struggled with the question of what it is I'm supposed to learn from all of this, I've realized from Elder Wirthlin's talk that I've learned at least two important things. The first is that I've come to understand, at least to some degree, what it's like to have a child that is really really sick. In other words, when I meet parents whose children are sick, I can at least partially empathize with their anxiety and feelings of helplessness. The second is that I've been a witness firsthand to other people's generosity to a huge extent. People close to us as well as complete strangers have gone above and beyond in reaching out to us. I'm trying hard to work on the faith to leave it in God's hands and trust that he knows exactly what he's doing. I'm trying hard to cope with the long-term implications of everything.
A lot of the issues I've had boil down to trust. Knowing that there's absolutely nothing I can do, and that's it's all in God's hands requires a great deal of trust and faith. Elder Simmons' talk "But if Not" has been particularly helpful on this point. Putting it in our own situation: Andrew's going to respond well to chemo, but if not... Andrew won't need a transplant, but if not... Andrew's going to be a healthy happy boy, but if not... We'll still have faith that everything will be just fine, that we're sealed to him, and that we'll have the patience and experiences that make us grateful for the many many blessings that we have. That we are doing this because we know it's the only way we'll get back to our Heavenly Father. How much trust Heavenly Father must be putting in us--trusting us to take care of one of his children!
We have so much to be grateful for! I really wish I had a picture of his eye when it was at its worst, but here are some pictures for comparison:
(at about 4 months)
(right after his biopsy)
And now his eye just looks fantastic:
Anyway, it's been super fun to see him this last week with more energy than he's probably had his entire life. Since his hematocrit has been in the 30s (a measure of the amount of blood that is made up of red blood cells), he's had so much energy. His motor skills and physical development have just skyrocketed since we've been home. Instead of holding his head up for 10 or 15 seconds, he's been doing it for minutes at a time. He's making huge strides with rolling over and crawling (which he kind of does--backwards and in circles). Anyway, so much to be grateful for, as always, and thanks again for your prayers.