Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mercy in the Minutiae

How has your day been? Busy? Frantic? Interrupted? Perhaps, even, normal? Sometimes the days slip by and all of a sudden a Monday is now a Friday, another week is logged, seemingly unnoticed, and after a two day break (if you can even call it that), the cycle will inevitably begin again.... And so it goes for as long as we'll let it. The day-in, day-out 'normalcy' of life is something we come to expect, sometimes loathe, and occasionally escape from in a daydream about really pushing the envelope, shaking things up a bit.

For all the expecting, loathing, and daydreaming we do, it's this normalcy that we long to return to when our lives have become too shaken, too stirred (and no, not the good kind of shaken or stirred that comes in a martini glass). If life outside a hospital can become like this, then certainly life confined to a hospital is destined to be so.

In an effort to dodge the mundane that is so easily found lurking in hospital corridors, I decided to try and step outside of myself and go looking for all the minute ways Mercy shows up during the day but most of the time, unfortunately, I'm too busy to notice.... So, here's what I found today....

...the girl checking me out at a store happened to mention her mother's recovery from ovarian cancer... hello again, Hope.

....Mom simultaneously flushed the toilet AND her reading glasses all in one fell swoop. For all her brilliance, these types of things happen to her on a weekly basis... nice to see you, Laughter.

....I strolled down to the stem cell transplant clinic to have blood drawn to see if I could be a possible match for Jenny's bone marrow... join me, want you Trust?

....the runny-nosed, 'croup-y' 2-year old was thrown out of the waiting room at aforementioned clinic because they do not let any children under the age of 16 into the area for OBVIOUS reasons... it's been a while, Justice, but I do adore it when you show up!

....slurping milkshakes, playing board games and laughing with Jen, Mom and Matt this afternoon at our hang-out (the nurses like to call it room 11010, we call it a modern day "The Max" or "The Peach Pit", if you catch my drift)... want you come back again tomorrow, Comfort?

....watching Jen and Matt's dog Traveler play with his new bone Mom bought for him in a state of sheer delight. When's the last time I was that overjoyed over something so simple?... Reality-check, you have perfect timing.

So, we're still waiting... waiting for the cytogenetic markers to come back, waiting to see how well she is responding for the long-term, waiting for the next benchmark, waiting to see how it will all play out. There will be many more days like today. Days where we can sit and watch another Tuesday pass by; or, instead, we can make a point to go looking for the truly good things (even in the midst of some crummy stuff) and know they all flow from a Merciful hand.

Prayerful Ponderings:
Jen is staying in charge and staying focused. She makes every effort to sit in a chair when I'm sure lying in bed would be more comfortable for her. She's been walking laps around the 11th floor and on their walk today, she and Matt bumped into one of the docs treating Jen. He's very optimistic! They are even considering presenting her case to some other docs because it's so special! (And, yes, by special I do mean rare.)

Life in Room 11010 is very, very hopeful but menial tasks do abound. We wash our hands upon entering and leaving her room, every. single. time. The lines running her meds are wiped down every time they hit the floor. A die that fell on the floor during a board game had to be, you guessed it, washed off. The constant state of sterility that we are subjected to, especially Jen, can wear on you a little. Sometimes, I think she'd just like to scream out, "I don't feel like Clorox-ing my writing pen again! I'm tired of having to write the number of mLs of fluid in the 'out' column every time I go to the bathroom! I don't want to wear a mask when I leave the room! I hate being preoccupied with sterilization and chemotherapy! I'd just like to have a hug, durn it!" (And Jennifer doesn't even really like hugs!)

But by God's sweet grace and abundant mercy, He is daily giving her everything she needs to endure. Pray that He will keep her spirits bolstered and her mind sharp and focused. Pray that she will be used as His vessel- that His love and light may be poured out through her into the lives of others she may never have crossed paths with had this not happened.

It has been the elephant in the room but we did have a chat with her nurse about this today. Her hair will begin to come out between days 10 and 14. We are all very sad about this. Pray that she can grieve necessarily over this and that His peace will overwhelm her as those days draw near.

The Vandy Verse:
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31


  1. This was great, lauren! Thanks for reminding me that God is at work all around us, everyday.

  2. Great Blog Lauren!!!
    Thought I would check in ~another rainy day here in TN!
    Thought I would send Jennifer this prayer today!
    Dear Jesus, Divine Physician and Healer of the sick, we turn to you in this time of illness. O dearest comforter of the troubled, alleviate our worry and sorrow with your gentle love, and grant us the grace and strength to accept this burden. Dear God, we place our worries in your hands. We place our sick under your care and humbly ask that you restore your servant to health again. Above all, grant us the grace to acknowledge your will and know that whatever you do, you do for the love of us. Amen.
    We love yall
    Kim & Jeannie Sample

  3. Wow...As a community keeps Jen and her family covered in prayer...you, Lauren, give us the specifics we need to go to our Father on her behalf.....thank you for that. Know that we love ALL the Fowlers and Samples and would be honored to be asked to do something to help....

  4. Lauren...tremendous job with this blog and I appreciate you keeping us updated on our colleague and friend, Jennifer. We are praying daily for her and Matt and enlisting other prayer warriors to stay on their knees for complete healing and restoration. I am glad to assist with anything and can be reached here at Vanderbilt at any time. Sincerely David Gregory

  5. We are praying for Jennifer and the entire family. May God give you all comfort in trying times...Love you all lots and please tell Jennifer I said hello and I am praying hard:)Keep updating the blog....very awesome. Love, Laura Pickle Carr

  6. Thanks for the good blog, Lauren. Jennifer, so many people here in Kosciusko love you and care for you. Our prayers are with you daily, and we are putting our trust in Him. Keep up the good attitude; it will go a long way toward your cure. I am cancer-free 9 years now, and know that you soon will be as well. Russell is also keeping me updated when he talks to Matt. You are always at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers. Love, David and Beverly Casteel

  7. Jennifer, Matt and Family: We have you in our thoughts and prayers. Jennifer, I called Jonathan (Rookie) last night to tell him and he said to tell you "Hi" and he has you in his prayers, also. He reminded me that you and Melanie were in his "very First wreck"! I certainly know I won't forget it or your feeling sorry for me at the hospital because I had a "housecoat" on because I had been painting! You are precious and tell your mom she has a special prayer going up for her!
    Coco and Joel Regan
    Joey and Pacey Regan
    Jonathan Regan

  8. Matt please know the Edwards family (Parish and Jones as well) are all praying for Jennifer. My 4 and 6 year old are including you both in thier prayers nightly.
    We send our love, and I wish I could be there to give you a hug.
    Thank you Lauren for the blog updates. I will keep you in my prayers as well. As a sister, I know God is using you as His vessel and for support as well.
    Candice (Edwards) Parish and Jason Parish

    Bethy and Walker Jones
    Maria and Dan Edwards
    Chuck and Nikki Edwards

  9. We are praying for you!
    -Craig & Leanne Lawrence

  10. Jennifer and Matt - I am praying for God's wonderful healing hands upon you.

    Sheri Burrell

  11. Thanks, Lauren for doing this...I just learned of all this news over the weekend. People here in Grenada are praying ...Jennifer is on our prayer list at church and I will be praying fervently for all that you have mentioned especially for healing and that Jennifer will allow herself to grieve things the way she needs to without reservation.
    You are a great writer ... what a sweet sister!
    Praying ... Kellie Burnham Berry

  12. Lauren, you are doing an amazing job with keeping everyone updated on your precious sister. Your words are so very inspirational, despite such a difficult situation. Thank you for that. I am praying for Jennifer, Matt, and your entire family daily. My heart hurts for you all, but I know that God is at at work in this and in everything...praying for healing and comfort. Love to you all,
    Laurie Warrington


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.