I could have called this post When Someone You Love is Ill.
Five years ago, when my daughter was in her last year of high school, she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition called Scleroderma. Her specialist calls it a serious disease.
I'd never heard of Scleroderma before then, and since my daughter doesn't actually look ill, not at first glance, it was easy to forget sometimes that there was something going wrong, especially if I didn't think about the boat load of pharmaceuticals in her room.
She's now on track to complete her last year of university, graduating with a science degree. She's not only beautiful, but smart too. She also has to start chemotherapy.
As a mother having to watch her suffer and cope with this disease, well, simply put, it's crushing. There's constant pressure on my chest, my heart is heavy. If I could switch places with her, I'd do it in a millisecond.
She's a real trooper, though. Along with a full course load, she also holds a part-time job, hangs out with friends, keeps a positive outlook for her future. I couldn't be more proud of her.
My challenge is to stay positive and hopeful. I have to be careful not to make our relationship all about her illness, in fact, she's very stern with me about that. And she's right, of course.
Still, it's easy for my creative imagination to go to the darkest place. This disease can be fatal. Who am I to think that I'll be spared from every mother's worst nightmare, when there are so many other women who have not. You can see how easy it is to spiral into emotional paralysis.
I believe in God, and this definitely helps me stay afloat. I'm comforted by the book, The Shack by William Paul Young. I do believe in a better life after this one. A much better life. What we have here is not all there is. It's not the best there is.
If you haven't read The Shack yet, I highly recommend that you do.
Fortunately, we're not yet talking mortality. And my daughter's not going to lose her hair (this seems to be a concern among those who hear.)
Like she says, it is what it is and she'll just have to do what she has to do, even if it means a dozen pills a day and countless needle pricks. I don't take my time with her for granted. She's a bright light in my life, and I love her dearly. I'm blessed to be her mother, and, with God's help, I'll try not to focus so much on her health, but on all the simple joys life and God bring us to enjoy. This is what she expects of me. It's the least I can do.