我的人生一路以來都好得無比。求學時期，我在夢寐以求的大學和研究所裡學習；踏入社會，我在自己的興趣裡工作；到了成家，我的家裡有一位世上最好的丈夫和兩位可愛聰明的寶貝。而在人生的不同階段，圍繞著我的家人和朋友，都是些可遇不可求的天使。這一切好得讓我有時會懷疑，未來會否出現一場巨大的風浪。沒想到，試煉就在我大女兒Tylia (TT) 剛慶祝完三歲生日的那天開始。那天，我從最舒適的角落，瞬間被囚禁在恐懼的最深處。
每個晚上，我背著弟弟離開醫院，那條回家的路特別漫長，我總是忍不住淚流滿臉。心如刀割的我，對神起了怨恨。為什麼是TT？為什麼要如此殘忍地對待我那年幼的孩子，甚至還要把她從我身邊奪走？就在其中一個夜晚，車上的古典樂電台傳來了一首不太一樣的歌曲，名叫「5 Variants of Dives and Lazarus」。那是一首根據聖經裡財主和拉撒路的故事而譜的演奏曲。當下我看到拉撒路這個名字，第一個想到的是耶穌叫拉撒路復活的故事。耶穌聽見馬利亞前來說自己所愛的人病了，就說：「這病不至於死，乃是為神的榮耀，叫神的兒子因此得榮耀。」目前兒童患白血病的原因不明，在一百萬個孩子裡面只有42位兒童白血病患者。神在一個那麼龐大的人群裡選上了TT那絕對不是偶然，神很明確地對我說，這乃是為了要榮耀神。我開始踏上那順服的旅程。
Obedience in the Midst of Extremes
The word “extreme” can be visualized as the two ends of an object.
My life has always been wonderful. As a student, I was able to attend my dream college and graduate school. Even as I stepped into society, I was able to pursue my passions. In my marriage, I was blessed with the best husband and two cute and smart babies. The people in my life, both family and friends, have all been people that I deeply cherish. Life had been so good that sometimes I would wonder if there would be a big storm waiting for me in the future. Never did I imagine that the trial would begin the day after my daughter turned 3. On that day, I was instantly moved from my corner of comfort and imprisoned in the furthest end of fear.
On December 23, 2022, we took TT to get her 3-year checkup. The doctor noticed that her hemoglobin level was abnormally low and told us to head to the ER and also to pack a bag, because she would need to stay at the hospital for a few days.
That night, around 2 in the morning, my husband, Daniel, and I were woken up by a knock on the door. A doctor came in and told us that TT likely had leukemia. I will never forget that night. I was stunned and helpless, shaking uncontrollably. Daniel, who had been sleeping beside TT, came over and we held each other and cried. In the midst of my unspeakable pain,
I remembered Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” At that time, I couldn’t say the second half of the prayer, because I was afraid that God’s will would be different than mine. I was afraid that TT would have to endure extreme pain, or even worse, leave us. I kept crying out to God, please remove this cup from me. It is truly more than I can bear.
In the span of a few days, TT experienced countless pain and affliction. For our whole family, the days seemed endless. From blood draws and injections to seeing TT undergo general anesthesia for bone marrow biopsies and catheter implant surgeries, she would look to us and cry for help. But there would be nothing we could do except hold back our tears and do our best to comfort her. On the fourth day of our stay at the hospital, three doctors met with us in a conference room and confirmed that TT had leukemia. Each word that the doctors spoke, seemed like a wild beast that was released and was now tearing us apart. The last thing the doctors told us while explaining our current options going forward was that the alternative to not doing the chemotherapy was, frankly, death.
Every night, I would leave the hospital with TT’s little brother. The path home felt especially long, and I just couldn’t stop crying. In my anguish, I felt resentment towards God. Why TT? Why treat such a young child so cruelly? You gave us such a smart, thoughtful, and cute daughter. Why suddenly take her away from us? While driving home during one of these nights, I heard a song playing on the classical music station called “5 Variants of Dives and Lazarus”, which was inspired by the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in the Bible. When I saw the name Lazarus, my first thought was the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus heard Mary say “Lord, he whom you love is ill,” he said: “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Currently, the cause of leukemia in children is unknown. Out of a million children, only 42 children have leukemia. It was no coincidence that God decided to choose TT from such a large group of people. God was clearly telling me that this was for the glory of God. Thus, I began my journey of obedience.
Obedience is not easy. The first month of treatment was very tough. The chemotherapy drugs caused TT to have frequent headaches and leg pain. She was often in so much pain that she was unable to stand and would cry for help. The high dosage of steroids that she needed to take caused her appetite to greatly increase and also drastically changed her mood. She became closed off and would silently shed tears. During those days, we were also in a lot a pain as parents, unable to imagine how we would be able to face the long road ahead. At that moment, God strengthened us with His word: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
A month later, TT had another bone marrow biopsy to determine the effectiveness of her chemotherapy. Praise God that she is now in remission and is considered a low-risk leukemia patient. Even so, TT still needs to undergo two more years of chemotherapy to decrease the risk of cancer relapse. Her chemotherapy not only has multiple side effects but may also cause some permanent damage to her body. Also, during her chemotherapy, TT’s immune system is weakened and needs to stay away from crowds. In other words, she will have a somewhat different childhood. The road ahead is paved with adversities, but God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” We go through hardships and calamities, so that the power of Christ may rest upon us, and the Son of God may be glorified through it.
“All things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” And all things, include the two extremes of an object. I hope that the extremes that my family and I have experienced thus far may glorify God and bless many. May all glory be to God.
Without noticing, a year has gone by.
We are so grateful for God’s grace and for the prayers and love from our brothers and sisters. This journey has been challenging, but our family continues to be filled with joy and hope. Brave little TT still needs to undergo chemotherapy for another year until Christmas 2024. But if her leukemia remains in remission after five years, she will be considered as cured.
We would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to Amanda, who has continuously supported us since the day of TT’s diagnosis – whether it’s setting up a prayer network or thoughtfully finding ways to ease our burdens. There isn’t enough space here to individually acknowledge and thank all of our loving family and friends, but we remember everyone in our prayers. Thank you God for first loving us, so that we can live in this big love-filled family.