“Let hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times." ~ Romans 12:12
Cassie took her young daughter to the ER that morning with a 104.5o fever - the culmination of two months of vague symptoms without a clear diagnosis: occasional bellyaches, frequent fevers, constant joint pains.
The doctor, a forty-something woman with a warm smile and a kind face, took blood for testing and noted that Riley’s liver felt enlarged. She ordered X-rays and an ultrasound.
When the same doctor entered their exam room forty-five minutes later, her smile had vanished. She met Cassie’s eyes first, then glanced down at Riley who was clutching the tiny stuffed puppy she’d been given by the X-ray Tech as a reward for being brave. Something was definitely wrong.
A nurse asked Riley, “Do you want to come with me and play with some Legos, sweetheart?” and led her away.
The doctor closed the door. “Her blood work is very concerning,” she’d said. “I know this is a hard word to hear, but I’m 99.9% certain we’re looking at some sort of blood cancer.”
Two days later an oncologist would confirm the horrifying news. He explained the disease and said that for the next 3 years Riley would receive spinal taps, injections and oral doses of radical chemotherapy – just enough poison to kill her Leukemia.
Cassie remembered few details from that moment; time spiraled into a dark abyss of fear and anxiety. She realized the enemy her 5-year-old faced was much more than a silly cold. As a single Mom, how could she ever face this battle alone? She cried silently for a minute; then collected herself as an orderly entered the room with a bouquet of beautiful flowers.
Cassie read a card from her best friend Emily. How sweet she thought!
Then she noticed a second card attached. It read:
“Dear Mrs. Bradley, I took your order at DesignWorks florist. My seven year-old had leukemia many years ago. He’s fine now and a healthy young adult. Treatment has improved so much since then as well. Good luck. My prayers will be for you and Riley as you face the challenges ahead. Shalom, Laura."
For the first time, she felt her worries relax and her spirit soar. They were in a hospital filled with sophisticated medical equipment and technology. Riley was being treated by some of the best doctors and nurses on the planet. But it was a stranger in a flower shop that shared her compassion and gave Cassie the hope to carry on.
Christians know that Christ brings hope to those who believe. He’s a bright star in a sometimes desperately bleak universe. He brightens our inner selves with the promise that smiling and laughter are just around the corner.
“My child, you are as you need to be, born with the exact talents this world needs. You are pure of heart, strong of spirit and brave. Whatever your talent is, use it for love, peace and healing. Know that I love you, no matter what." ~ Jesus