Getting the Diagnosis


For the past week many of us have been praying for Finn and his family.  Almost daily I think about them sitting down with the doctor and hearing the words, “Your son has cancer.”  The weight of those words are almost unbearable.  Every parent of a child with special needs or those who are struggling with a fatal disease like cancer can remember getting the diagnosis.  It is a moment seared in our heart, mind, and soul.

While it has been almost 19 years since we received David’s diagnosis I can still remember hearing the doctor say, “David has a fatal, untreatable disease.” I tried to tell a friend of mine about it just two days ago and the tears began to flow.  The following is something I wrote in a blog right after getting David’s first diagnosis:

The pit I feel in my stomach as I write these words was magnified the day the doctor gave us the diagnosis.  Something was wrong with David’s macula and there was nothing we could do.  The feeling of helplessness was overwhelming.  We walked to our car with David knowing that our lives had been forever changed.  We were numb.  We felt betrayed by God.  We didn’t want to believe the doctors.  We cried daily, if not hourly.  I would lay in bed listening to Brenda cry so hard I thought she would die.  I had no energy or knowledge as to how to help her, so I would cover my ears and pray she would stop.

During the first few weeks I wondered if I was losing my mind.  We flipped through denial, anger, grief, confusion, and fear like watching late night TV.  Our faith helped, but there were times we wondered if God had lost control.  Thankfully we had friends who reminded us we were not alone, that we had the incredible privilege to love and care for David, and that God loved us.

I know that many people wanted to help us but didn’t know what to say. It probably would have been best if they didn’t say anything and simply told us they loved us and were there for us.  I think it was hard for them to see us grieving, so they tried to help us move beyond the hurt and heartache.  They would say, “God never gives us more than we can handle” or “God must have thought you were special to give you a special needs child.”  Both of these statements are not true and unhelpful.  We knew people were trying to be helpful, so we “cut them grace” and thanked them for their thoughts.

We started to practice living one day at a time. J esus once said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”  While we still struggled with anxiety and fear for the future, we learned to find joy and contentment in each day.  Some days were awesome, others simply were almost impossible to get through.  But we found contentment and joy in the privilege of caring for David and our other two boys.

We continue to pray for Finn, his brothers, and his mommy and daddy.  May they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are loved and not alone as they love and care for Finn.