We have known since Clay was first diagnosed that this moment would come. I wondered so many times how I would feel, and what I would think. And, now I know. It’s here.
You know…that moment when they tell us that the doctors and medicine can’t help us anymore. The end of man. The end of treatment.
But, not the end of hope.
Our hope is in Jesus, and He never changes. He never fails. He is never surprised. He is never confused. He is never dependent on medicine. He is never dependent on man. He is never dependent on me or Clay. He is in control, and always has been.
When we saw Dr. Weathers last week at MD Anderson, she told us the full truth about where we are in Clay’s treatment. Because the cancer has spread to his spinal fluid, there is no more treatment available. She recommended we call Hospice. Even though we both knew this day would come, if God did’t heal Clay, we had to catch our breath. When you receive news like this, you don’t know what to say or what to think. You run out of questions really fast. And the room gets quiet while you try to compose yourself and talk more because you really don’t want the conversation to end because that’s when you’ll have to let it sink in.
We drove home dazed. Our faith was sure, but our minds were dazed. We were digesting the information just a little bit at a time. It took several days for me to process and accept it.
In the meantime, Senator John McCain was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. Because of his diagnosis, this disease has been on the news, a lot. Many doctors and patients have been interviewed and new treatment options have been highlighted. This caused us to wonder if there really is something out there that can help us. One of those is CAR-T therapy being performed at City of Hope Hospital in Los Angeles. I called them. And, this is not going to be an option for Clay.
Dr. Weathers mentioned that there was one chemo pill, Lomustine, we haven’t tried, yet. But she spoke with great caution, so not to give us hope. The potential for side effects is much greater with this medication. At best, it would slow the progression slightly, but not significantly.
Clay’s deepest desire is to enjoy quality of life while he is still here. He has made that very clear from the beginning. This medication could cause a drop in white blood cells, which increases risk of infections and it usually causes flu-like symptoms with nausea/vomiting. But, we decided to take at least one round of it. We planned to take it this week and just see if the side effects were manageable. If not, we would stop it right away. Well, we had multiple issues getting the medication. Each time there was a problem, I felt more and more unsettled about it.
I became more and more restless in my spirit about all the options. I was restless about even the idea of trying find an option. It is so difficult to know how to continue to believe God for a miracle, while accepting the truth. Am I giving up if I face reality and begin to prepare for the worst? Am I letting Clay, his parents or our kids down if I can’t find a cure? Am I making the right choices? What will people think of me if we accept the diagnosis and stop trying to find an answer?
I grew more and more unsettled, until this morning, when I was on my swing just praying and asking the Lord for wisdom. He spoke to me from Psalm 27:
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”
The same Psalm speaks of the protection of God from our enemies. It reminds us that He alone is our salvation. We don’t have to fear. We can remain confident and assured because our God is stronger than our enemy. He will hide us in His sanctuary when troubles come. Surely, God will not leave us now, if He has been our help and strength all along the way. Then, this. I love this verse….
“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
God is not going to leave us. He is going to continue to direct our steps and we are going to continue to see His goodness NOW…in the land of the living…today. I was so encouraged as God gently reminded me that this uncertainty, fear and all these questions are not from Him. He is my peace. So, I gave it to Him this morning, and I set my heart and affection on Him. I inquired in His temple and purposed in my heart to continue to do so.
We were scheduled to see Dr. Russell, to get his opinion. He is so gracious and we’ve always felt so comfortable with him. We told him at the beginning of the conversation that we feel unsettled. We don’t have peace about the options with which we’ve been presented. He agreed and highly recommended that we NOT take the chemo. He believes it is going to make Clay sick and that it won’t help.
There are other treatments and experimental things being done for Glioblastoma, but we have now had several doctors confirm that the worst case scenario has happened. Cancer in the spinal fluid is not treatable. We are at the end of man. Dr. Russell’s team came and stood in a circle to pray for us. These people have meant so much to us during this time. I’ll never be able to express it. Clay got choked up several times today trying to tell them.
When we left Dr. Russell’s office today, Dr. Gummadi (our dear friend from church who has walked with us the entire time) came to see us. He said, “This is the first time I’ve felt peace in a while.” I agreed. Clay agreed. We just know in our spirits that God has brought us here. He is continuing to direct our steps and He wants us to be in His hands. Only His hands. He is the ONLY answer, now.
The answer to our need is in Him. He has used medicine and doctors to give Clay a really wonderful 14 months. Y’all, we have LIVED. Clay has enjoyed his life for 14 months. We’ve had great family time, incredible visits from friends and loved ones, great vacations, opportunities to minister and share our testimony. The list goes on. We have lived life.
And Clay has been a shining example of how to live a life submitted to the will of God. He has never been afraid. He has never wavered in his faith. And God has blessed him abundantly for it.
Why is God allowing this? I don’t know. And, I don’t ask. I just trust Him. He sees what we can not see. He knows what we can not know. And He loves us more than we can comprehend. So, the only logical conclusion is that He is using this trial to accomplish something that He couldn’t accomplish any other way. And, He chose a very willing, very capable servant through which to accomplish His work. I’ve been amazed to be by Clay’s side.
I want to thank all of you for your prayers. Thank you for your love and support. It has been life changing for us. I truly believe we could not have remained strong without your prayer and love.
Now, please press in and help us continue to pray. We are desperate. We are praying for a miracle. But, we are also praying for endurance, strength, and willing hearts that will allow God to do whatever He wants to do. We are praying that our faith will be strong to the end and that God will receive tremendous glory through our lives. We are praying for the faith of our children. God is ministering to them, but please help us pray for spiritual maturity and strength.
Our church is holding an all night prayer meeting tomorrow night. The timing was ideal, so I know it is God. We will be calling out to Him. And, His Word promises that He will hear our cry and draw near. Thank you, Jesus!
This past Sunday, we had a semi-surprise visit from 23 precious people from Victory Academy. The Lord just put in on their hearts to come and pray for us at our home. It was such a sweet time. Clay spoke from his heart and really encouraged the young people that they are not too young to know the Lord. He begged them to give their lives to Him and LIVE for Him. Everyone prayed over him and prayed for our family. It was a really special time. We love you, Victory Families.
We had several visitors last week, when we got home from MD Anderson. Every time someone would knock on the door, he would perk up. The visits are so good for him.
We spent Friday evening with my family at Amy and Jason’s house for Janet’s birthday party. It has meant a lot to me to see how much my family loves him.
We have had some incredible times of prayer with our church. Our church has prayed so hard for us, and others who are suffering right now. The body of Christ has been so important to us during this time.
We finally made it to Top Golf when we were in Houston last week. Andy and Brooke took us that evening and we had a great time. Clay couldn’t see the pins, but Andy would line him up and tell him the direction to swing. He actually did really well. Each time he would sit down and ask me, “Just please tell me I hit the ball?!” Although difficult circumstances, we managed to have a really great time together in Houston. (I love the picture of Andy watching Clay hit. They’ve always had a cool friendship.)
I know the one very difficult question on many of your minds is, “How long does he have?” That question is on our mind, too. But, I have truly learned that only God knows the answer. Our doctors don’t know. Every case is different. Statistics say that we have between 1 and 6 months. But, we believe that God only knows. And, in His mercy, we believe He will prepare us and help us.
I will continue to write and keep you all updated. We love you!