Faith + Strength + Hope = Survivor


Lizzy has taught me this valuable equation about life. Lizzy has not sat in my classroom as a student, but she has been teaching me over the last two years. Lizzy is the daughter of a friend of mine from high school. She was diagnosed with cancer over two years ago and has been bravely fighting a battle no child should ever have to fight.  With permission, here is her story over the last two years borrowed from select heartfelt journal excerpts written by her mother…

 “Well, it has been a life changing experience since the results of the scan produced a large tumor on Lizzy’s hip. They preliminarily determined it to be Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer typically found in children. We learned Lizzy’s cancer is stage 4. Originating in her hip, it has metastasized to her lung, her bone marrow, her knees, her spine, her arms. It is just about everywhere except for her brain. Lizzy started chemotherapy this week.” -Spring 2011

“Lizzy is napping. We are still fighting fevers, mouth/throat sores, and the shedding of her entire digestional tract, which is unpleasant. Nausea is still a problem, but she has not thrown up today (woohoo).” -Spring 2011

“One of the silver linings from cancer- relationships. Lizzy is teaching her 82 year old grandfather (who can barely answer his own cellphone) how to play golf on the wii!” -Fall 2011

“Still grateful.” -Fall 2011

“Radiation Day 27 (not that I’m counting). Unfortunately, Lizzys platelets are super low, and we are going right next door for a transfusion after this. Prayers needed: mercy and grace. I’m operating on fumes and stressed with trying to keep all of this going. Historically, transfusion for Lizzy = fever. Fever=hospitalization. That, would be too much.” -Spring 2012

“Results just JUST came back: REMISSION! The biopsies show no sign of cancer. NO CANCER! Thank you Jesus.”  -Summer 2012

“My dear friends, We’re doing it again. I am very sorry to say- sorry for Lizzy, sorry for her sisters, for our family, and for all of you who love us so well, but the results came back today and they were not what we wanted to hear. There are live cancer cells.” – Fall 2012

“Lizzy is being a tremendous warrior. She did say that, although she realizes that she could die from this, she is really upset about losing her hair again and having another port put in her. But, although she may not like any of it, she always does what she needs to do.” – Fall 2012

“Last day of radiation- DONE! They let Lizzy put her handprint on the wall- LOTS of tiny handprints on that wall… glad this part is over. We still have 5 more rounds of chemo, but… least there’s some chance for her to rest, and a little bit more room for a little bit more life now.” -Winter 2012

“She is so grateful. She never asks for more. She takes each and every moment. She gives. She helps. She shares. She tries when she’s tired. She goes when she’s scared. I have learned a lot from her.” – Spring 2013

“ Lizzy has completed 7 of 10 rounds of chemo. Her radiation is all done. She had an unexpected surgery to replace a malfunctioning power port, and once again proved herself to be resilient. We are all taking it one step at a time, and doing whatever we can to make the non hospital days worth remembering.” -Summer 2013

Lizzy is hopefully coming to the finish line of this battle with cancer and with her faith + strength + hope she is proving she is a survivor and will be victorious. She has been and will continue to be an unbelievable inspiration to everyone who has shared in her story.

LIFE LESSON: It is so painful to witness a child suffer. We all wish we could take away their pain, but often times we cannot. We just have to take one day at a time and trust that God is in control whether we feel like it or not. He certainly can sympathize with our suffering since He witnessed His one and only Son suffer an excruciating death for humanity’s salvation. Although it is hard for us to understand, there is always a purpose in what God allows to come upon His children. We may or may not ever discover the purpose while we walk here on Earth, but if we trust in who Jesus is and what He did, I believe we will eventually find the purpose once we reach heaven and it all will have been worth it.

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9