Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Over the past two days, I have had two moments that were literally painful to experience -- one because it was just so good, and one because it was just that sad.

On our first day at Sally Test, a little girl, about 2, came into the center with her grandmother. She had just received chemotherapy, could barely walk, and showed no expression. For the next three days, her grandmother continued to bring her in but the little girl showed no improvement. It was heartbreaking to watch as her grandmother tried desperately to have the little girl play, pushing her limply on the swings and continually throwing balls that were not caught. On Friday, I held her for a few hours, as she silently wept in pain. However on Monday, she was back in the center and looking much better -- we even got a smile out of her as we pushed her on the swings. And then on Tuesday, she came into the center as a whole new girl. She was all-smiles and participated throughout the day. Every afternoon before the kids go back to the wards, we sing songs as a group. When the music came on, I turned to the little girl and said "Cheza!" She promptly stood up and, for the next 5 minutes, wiggled her hips and danced around in front of everyone. She had the biggest smile on her face and as I watched her, I could hardly believe it was the same little girl whom we were all sure would die.

A few days ago, a little boy, about 3, came into the center and went straight to the easel to paint. He has retinoblastoma, cancer in the eye, which causes is eye to be extremely enlarged and infected. He is conscious of the condition, and refuses to play with the other kids or have his picture taken. However, the first few days we were with him, this didn't stop him from running and playing. He was energetic and quick to laugh. We kept in mind, as best we could, that the prognosis is very bad. But his personality made us forget, so it was a shock when we saw him today. We went to ward 3, the oncology ward, to bring the kids into the center. We found the little boy in the nurse's arms looking very sick, and very sad. We found out that he had gotten chemotherapy last night and has been unable to keep food down since. His eye has grown more painful for him, and the chemotherapy isn't working. I held him in my arms for most of the day, as he drifted in and out of sleep and sadness. As I sat there, I suddenly realized that I was watching his breathing, afraid that if I looked away it would stop.

That's all I'll say. I feel as if any analyzing or trying to sum-up my thoughts would take away from the moments, so that's all.


  1. the hands and feet of christ. you are the physical embodiment of god's love. thank you for being willing to be present for those children, even when it is so painful. you are a gift.

  2. I second what Anne has said: you are a gift, and are acting as the hands and feet of Christ. Sometimes there are no words for the moments you experience. Sometimes the communication about the moment will be between you and God only, and will be beyond words.

    Blessings always,

    Teri Crouse