This morning we “woke” up (if you can call turning on the lights after a sleepless night awakening) to the doctor telling us to pack and get ready for dismissal. It was GREAT news! Obviously, we have a LONG road ahead, but home is better than hospital any day.
After getting home Harrison ate for the first time since Friday morning. He had eight, yes eight, pieces of toast and a chocolate milkshake. It is so good to see him eating again.
I recalled as we left the hospital one of the last activities Harrison and I did together before his diagnosis.
A few weeks ago Pat Teague, former NC State and NFL linebacker and one of Lachlan’s football coaches, invited Lachlan and me to the FCA Banquet to hear Dave Dravecky. Lachlan was excited. We’ve been many times before and he loves hearing the speakers.
Harrison and Blakely really wanted to go as well, but we only had two tickets. I decided to ask Pat if there were any additional tickets. He said, “Bring them on.” I am so thankful he gave us that opportunity.
Dave’s story is quite inspirational. Dave was a major league baseball pitcher who contracted cancer. After surgery and treatment he returned to the mound. During a pitch his arm broke in half. I still remember seeing him writhing in pain on the pitcher’s mound. Doctors subsequently amputated his arm.
Dave’s talk that night was one of the best gospel-centered sports talks I’d ever heard. Too many athletes talk about trying to do their best, about God giving them all these good things, and about being thankful for all the good things they have.
But Dave said something that night that still rings in my ears: “Was I going to trust God even when things were not going my way, and my baseball career was over?” I thought that night as I sat at the table, “God, if I get cancer, no problem. Just please don’t let one of my kids get it.” I prayed that verbatim.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought something similar. I’ve had serious medical issues in the past (and present) stemming from a motorcycle accident in 2003. And I have prayed that if anyone is to get sick or injured, or die, that it be me. I guess I am selfish that way: it kills me to see my wife or kids suffer.
But that was not to be. For some reason it is my son with the cancer. I admit it is harder to trust with him suffering than with me suffering. I’d take the cancer from him in a second.
I never thought that I’d be living something similar to Dave Dravecky’s story through my son. Many parents (including me) want to live Brian Roberts’ story, or Eli Manning’s story, or Sandy Kofax’s story. Few would pick Dave Dravecky; I wouldn’t.
But I didn’t pick that story for my son; it picked him. After ten years of health and happiness we’re now struggling to live a life of illness and joy. Can we do it? I doubt it. But we believe, and trust, that with our Triune God as our joy and strength, and the family and friends he has given to us as a source of great comfort and courage, that we can in fact endure.
Just as the “beads of courage” have already proven to be an encouragement to Harrison, so too–and even more so–have the stories of courage we’ve heard from so many people we’ve never met have been to our family. When I read the stories to Ginger or Lachlan or Blakely or Harrison we are each reminded of God’s faithfulness. Please don’t cease to intercede for Harrison. Besides his healing, there is the daily struggle of living with cancer. He stills cries, “I don’t want to have cancer.” I don’t want him to have it either. We pray for healing, and thank you for joining us.