It's been a long year of heartache and joys that we could otherwise never have imagined. William has come a long way and he's winning his battle. We have all grown and changed and have a greater appreciation for some of the simple things in life. Our family bonds are stronger and our faith in God is deeper. We have felt the power of prayer and fasting in tangible ways that lightened our burdens during difficult times.
Several of you often ask how William is doing and how he is managing all his aggressive treatments and crummy side effects. William is amazing. Sure, he has some rough days and he asks how much longer he has to do this. He cries and misses being able to do all the things he used to do, but he has incredible patience and acceptance of his conditions. In a recent talk given during April 2011 General Conference, Kent Richards gave a beautiful talk on pain and the Atonement, "The Atonement Covers All Pain." As a surgeon, he talked about the necessity for him to inflict pain daily and then try to control and alleviate it. He said of little children,
"[they] are often more naturally accepting of pain and suffering. They quietly endure with humility and meekness. I have felt a beautiful, sweet spirit surrounding these little ones."He continues:
I think this accurately sums up William's capacity to endure. He is humble and meek, patient and accepting. He knows he is loved by his Savior and his many friends and family members and all are doing all they can to ease his burdens.
To all of us the Savior said:
“Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
“Fear not, little children, for you are mine. …“Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd." Doctrine & Covenants 50:40-41, 44.
The same goes for my other four boys as well. They are equally resilient with the constant disruption to our family routines. They often ask when William will no longer have cancer. They pray for his continued improvement. They refer to the past as "before William had cancer" and refer to the future as "when William doesn't have cancer anymore." And they say it as if that's the way every family references the past and future. They've seen the mini doctor clinic set up in our master bedroom and witnessed William experience many unpleasant things in there without crying or wincing (well, shots are never fun, but there's no more fussing about them) and they are amazingly brave when they have their own minor injuries or need shots. The boys often don't know who will pick them up from school, but they've been so well cared for they usually only complain when it's actually me picking them up! They are champs at regularly washing their hands. They still love Macaroni & Cheese (we've eaten a lot this past year), and like other boys, whine and insist on having milkshakes when William gets them.
So here we are, one year later. We're a lot more tired, full of more gratitude, more medically savvy, a few pounds heavier or a few pounds lighter, but still taking it day by day and checking back into the hospital on Monday...again.