Thursday, June 19, 2014

Testimonies Part 3

The next step was surgery. Lizzie had lost so much weight with the chemo that her surgeon was a little concerned. She was instructed to eat any and everything that would put on the pounds - which, except for ice cream, was hard for Lizzie. She was always a very healthy eater: salads, grilled chicken, some pasta but not a lot. She tried though. The surgery went well. Two-thirds of her liver was removed, her gallbladder, the tumors previously seen on the MRI and any other spots the surgeon felt could possibly be tumors. To say she had a painful recovery would not be giving a clear picture of the pain. She was miserable. It was one of the few times she seemed depressed. Simple functions such as sitting up, getting up, or  coughing  were extremely painful. I think Lizzie's greatest fear was not being able to be a part of life. That sheer determination to be living every moment possible is what gave her strength to bounce back. And bounce back she did.   Her first goal after recovering from the surgery was to get that portacath removed. I guess it was symbolic of being held back from doing what she wanted to do.  And college? She couldn't wait to go! Alex and I took Lizzie to her freshman orientation. Well, not really orientation - more like Fish Camp for any Aggies that might be reading this. I think it was called Gone to Texas. We stayed at a hotel downtown the night before. Lizzie wanted to go the campus - "but don't worry, Mom, it's just up the road". No, it wasn't. It was 10 blocks up the road. But we walked......uphill. She was literally skipping and dancing when we reached campus. Her eyes were as big as saucers. She couldn't contain her pure happiness that she was now a part of UT. We strolled through campus to "the drag" and ate at a pizza place the girls love. We tried to get a cab back to the hotel, but no luck. So we began our trek back towards downtown..... at least it was downhill this time. At one point these guys started following us. I would turn around every once in a while to look them straight in the eye. (supposedly wards off attackers). Finally I tell the girls we were going to take a left at the next corner. The guys did too. At the next stoplight we stop and all 5 are standing there awkwardly. Then one of the boys asked, "Is this 6th street?". The three of us started laughing and told the boys that they had a couple more blocks to go and pointed them in the right direction. The next day we go to drop Lizzie off. . You would have thought someone placed a hot poker in the seat the way she popped out of the car. In a blink of an eye she had grabbed her suitcase, headed towards the check-in desk, and turned  briefly to wave goodbye. And that was it. Lizzie was in college. You know, Lizzie liked to talk about the "perks" of cancer. One such perk was that it got her into the dorm of her choice. Dr. Thompson made sure of that. And her roommate? What a dream! Lizzie and Jennifer were two peas in a pod. And the little group that was formed was a blessing. Most of the group were classmates from high school, but Jennifer and Jeff were welcome additions. They were a tight-knit group and I am so grateful for each of them. Lizzie loved being in college. If she could have bled burnt orange, she would have. She loved yogurt at midnight. She loved volleyball at midnight. She loved the kayaking trips and the weekend excursions. She loved the live music scene and the cultural activities. She loved her part-time job and the people she worked with. In November Lizzie had her appointment with Dr. Thompson for scans..... and the scans showed tumor growth again. I think that was the point Lizzie decided to let the disease take its course. She was still open to new medicines, but absolutely no surgery. So, Lizzie develops her bucket list and began crossing off wishes......

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for creating such beautiful children with such beautiful spirits. And thank you for sharing your journey with us. Much, much love.