Yesterday, the news came that Fred Phelps had died. A lot of things have been said about him, some reflective, many unkind. I always thought that whether or not he actually believed it, he promulgated a particularly consistent (and therefore, it might be argued, honest) strain of theology.
Because if you truly believe that everything is in God’s hands, that everything happens due to God’s will, and that God should be praised for His works, then yes, if you thank God for good fortune and miraculous happenings, then you should also thank God for MH370, for 9/11, for dead soldiers, for abortions, for tragedies, for anything and everything that happens.
You should thank Him for the tumors in a little girl’s brain.
Yesterday, we got the news that a new tumor has emerged, far from the site of the first tumor, outside the proton radiation zone. It’s growing incredibly fast. The MRI eight weeks ago showed nothing unusual there, and now there’s a white blotch almost the size of her left eyeball.
From what we can see on the MRI, this tumor is intermingled with brain tissue. To remove it is to cut out a piece of her brain.
It may still be removable, despite the damage that will inflict. We are waiting to hear from CHOP whether they feel surgery is an option. If so, then we will go back to Philadelphia, whenever they tell us to be there. This time, the whole family will go together. After the surgery, if it happens, there will probably be another two months of radiation and chemotherapy.
If surgery is not an option, then Rebecca most likely has no more than a few weeks to live. The tumor is growing too fast to expect anything else. She will never be six, or graduate kindergarten.
I want to tell you that I have hope and confidence in a good outcome, but I can’t. Because, for the first time, I don’t. I expect that the pain and grief I feel now will soon seem like the smallest of aches.
We haven’t given up on her or her treatment. We will still do everything we can for her. Including, when the time comes, making the best decisions we can about the length and quality of her life, when one must be sacrificed for the other. Those choices will be in our hands, and I hope we’ll have the strength to choose wisely.
No matter what, we’ll be there for Rebecca, all of us. Kat and me, Carolyn and Joshua, our family and friends. For her, and for each other.