Chapter 6

At first, when Jeff's treatment had just begun, he had to take over twenty capsules a day. Now here was a little boy, who only two months earlier had just learned how to swallow a baby aspirin. He had to take six tablets at a time, four times a day. Many times he would, with the help of crackers and milk, get five tablets down, only to have all of them come back up. Then I'd have to try and invent a new game and start all over because the doctors insisted all the pills get down and stay there.

I was the type of mother who, until the time of Jeff's illness, had never even given my boys aspirin unless it was absolutely necessary. No one will ever know the sickening feelings that came over me, as I stood with a bottle of pills in my hand marked 'experimental drug' and had to coax my precious little one to swallow them, when everything within me screamed "throw them in the garbage". I didn't want my son to be the one people were 'experimenting on'. This particular drug also caused mood changes in Jeff. One minute he'd be laughing and playing, then suddenly he would become extremely angry over some little thing and lash out at whoever was in his way at that time. It was so difficult to discipline him, as we had always been fairly strict. However, we were told he really could not help these feelings that swept over him.

Jeff was readmitted to hospital on March 26th for more chemotherapy. I remember one evening in particular. I had taken him down to bathe him. We had been told the drugs would soon cause him to lose his hair. As I brushed his soft blonde hair over and over, my heart was breaking and I hurt inside as I had never hurt before. Of course, for Jeff's sake, I had to keep smiling and joking. I felt a tremendous urge to simply pick my precious boy up in my arms and take him to some far off place where we could simply put our complete trust in God and wouldn't have to submit his little body to any more of their harsh treatments. As I continued brushing his hair, once again I asked God to heal Jeff completely. I prayed for an end to the terrible ordeal my family was going through, It was like waking up every morning from a bad dream, only to discover that the nightmare was still very real. Each new day I had to adapt myself once again to accepting the situation and going on with the routine of living, trying to make life as pleasant as I could for my family. I had to leave it in God's hands; it was simply more than I could handle.

I cannot yet understand God's wisdom in allowing bad situations to develop, especially to Christians, but I have only limited human insight. God's word tells us in Psalm 34:19 - "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all". I do know and have learned that Christ is always there when we need Him, and will give an extra portion of His great strength and His love to sustain us.

Many times when Jeff was in the Children's Hospital, I would climb right into bed with him in the evenings. The nurses would come in to check on him, grin at us as if to say, "It's O.K., we'll just look the other way", and would leave us to ourselves. I really appreciated that -- we needed our sharing time. Jeff would cuddle up to me as closely as he could, and we'd share lots of laughs and loving. Often, when I'd awaken very early in the mornings, I'd feel my cuddly little son laying next to me in my cot, I.V. and all. He had so much love to give and we both had a great need to express it to each other.

The next drug Jeff was given the end of March was very hard on him and an extremely bad experience for all of us. It took the doctor a very long time to administer it through the I.V., and it burned Jeff severely. As he writhed on the bed screaming to "please, please, Mommy, make them stop", I must admit his mommy cried as hard as he did. I seldom let my emotions get the best of me in front of Jeff, but this was too much!! In the middle of this nightmare, a minister from an Ottawa church entered the room. Oh how good it felt to hear a man of God offer prayer on our behalf at that time.

Jerry had become employed at a chemical plant two years prior to Jeff's illness. He worked twelve hour shifts. We had been much in prayer when this job opportunity presented itself as it involved working every other weekend. He had treasured our family worshiping together each Sabbath and felt almost guilty about giving up every other Sunday. However, it seemed the Lord opened the door to this position and so Jerry had accepted. We really believe now that God was in this situation. Because of the twelve hour shifts, Jerry was able to arrange it so that we took turns driving to Ottawa with Jeff. Because of all the extra expenses involved in our lives at this time, we were truly thankful Jerry didn't have to miss work, I really don't feel I could have handled all the driving by myself. The Lord says He won't give us any more than we can bear, and although some days we felt we were at our limit, His promises are true.

There were also many times the Lord provided for us financially. It wasn't as if we didn't have a bank account, but we never had to take money from our savings throughout the entire situation. People would come up to us and say, "God spoke to me and I'm to give you this". Inside the envelope or card would be exactly the amount we needed the following week for our expenses for gasoline, meals, drugs, etc. One time in particular, we were needing two new tires for our car, and the day before our appointment, there was a cheque in the mail for $100.00, which covered the cost except for about $4.00. God is so faithful!

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© Joan McMillan #297587

This page was created April 21st 1997. It is maintained by Jonathan McMillan and Joan McMillan