Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Some days are harder than others

At 4 months old, babies are supposed to be happy and healthy.  They are starting to roll over, hold their head up, grasp things and put them in their mouth and more.  My sister just sent me a picture of my niece who turned 4 months last week (on R) and she is doing all of these things, but, unfortunately, not all 4 month olds are this healthy.

This little guy was brought in by his mom and concerned family over swelling in his side.  He was a happy kid, smiling and active and never cried, but on exam, I found a hard mass throughout his abdomen.  An ultrasound showed that the mass was coming from his kidney, making the diagnosis of Wilm’s tumor the most likely. 

Wilm’s tumor is the most common kidney tumor that kids get.  Treatment options include chemotherapy and surgery, if the tumor gets small enough.  We give chemo to lots of patients here for all kinds of cancer, some survive a few weeks or months, but we never see complete remission.  So as I look at a picture of my niece, I can’t help but thank God for her health, but I can’t stop thinking of this little guy too. 

No training can really prepare you for a case like this.  How do I tell a mom that her 4 month old child whom she loves is probably going to die soon?  How do I tell her that my options for treatment are limited and no matter what I do this little one probably won't see his 1st birthday?  How do I look at this smiling happy little guy and not want to do all I can for him, not want to heal him instantly and to see him enjoy his life for years to come?  How can I not pray and plead for this little, one who can’t even pray himself, to our heavenly Father to heal him?  How do I not ask God to comfort a mom who doesn't even know she should be grieving for her son who is still in her arms?  How do I not ask God to give me strength, courage and wisdom as I do everything I can for this little one?  How do I not ask why?  

I ask these questions, but few answers come.  Pray that God might spare this kid and his family and that He might help me as I help this family during this time.