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Chloe’s Perspective

Through a prayer chain at church almost two years ago, I heard about a dear 3-year-old name Chloe who had been diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, an insidious form of childhood cancer.  She lived near me, I found out, and I soon learned we had mutual friends.

I began to follow Chloe’s story via email updates.  I prayed for her.  I thanked God that I wasn’t in her parents’ shoes.  I marveled at her mother who amidst all this chaos, still managed to homeschool.  At every pediatric well visit when no lumps were found in my own children, I was a bit more thankful than I might ordinarily be.

I thought about calling to see if I could make a casserole or deliver something.  I thought about emailing or sending a note.  I thought about doing a lot of things.

But I did nothing.

During May of 2007, my best friend, who designs her own line of invitations called Prints Charming, invited me to help her at the New York Stationery Show.  I jumped at the chance.  I was desperate to get away.

When it came time to leave, I hopped in the airport shuttle bus, still feeling a bit nervous about leaving my three for the first time ever, slid over on the bench seat, and started to cry.  I cried because I felt selfish and guilty for leaving everyone.  I cried because I was abandoning my still-nursing toddler for a week.  I cried because I wanted to go to New York and feel like someone important for a change.  In truth, I wanted a break from my life, and maybe for more than just one week.

As I sat there with tears dripping into my purse, I felt someone slide over the seat next to me.  I got myself together enough to glance over at this person and she greeted with an inviting smile.  That’s when I noticed the large button on her sweater.  I froze.

“That’s Chole!  I know Chloe!  I pray for Chloe!”  I cried.

“I’m Chloe’s grandmother,” the woman replied.

For me, a special intimacy develops when I read a person’s writing day after day, month after month.  It was the strangest feeling to finally meet this person.  There were so many days when I would be having my own private pity party but I would read those email posts and have my vision completely re-focused.  So many times the verses quoted in Nana Becky’s emails were verses I had just read that same day…verses God wanted to make sure I had truly heard.

I knew God had put us together on this shuttle bus, at this exact moment, for some reason.  But I didn’t know why.

“You’re Nana Becky?  You’re the author of all those email updates?”

I learned that Nana Becky was headed to New York on an incredibly expensive last-minute ticket to help her daughter who had been with Chloe in New York for weeks and, understandably, was simply spent emotionally and spiritually.  She knew what her daughter needed, and she was determined to be there for her. 

Nana Becky and I visited during the two hours to the airport.  I shared notes I had taken during a recent Beth Moore conference where Beth discussed James 1:12–persevering during life’s most fiery trials.  Here was a woman, her daughter and granddaughter (and entire family) who were living this verse every day of their lives, and doing so with such a fierce, victorious spirit.

When it was finally time for Nana Becky to leave the bus, we hugged like long-lost mother and daughter.  As I watched her drag her luggage toward check-in, I began to feel unusually grateful.

So that was over a year ago.  I have prayed for Chloe and Nana Becky, and I have tried to stay current with the latest medical updates.  Still there were times when my own burdens grew so heavy, I couldn’t open those emails.  I didn’t think I had the energy to be fully part of Chloe’s battle.  I never stopped to realize that energy wasn’t supposed to come from me anyway.

I failed.

Fast-forward to today.  After meeting Sue’s preschool teacher, we decided to have lunch and play in the large, outdoor, fenced Burger King near her school.  After I got everyone settled, Edward a coffee lid full of ketchup and a hamburger patty, I glanced up at the bridge to the playground.  And standing there surveying the scene was a little girl with gleaming brown eyes and a sprinkling of hair.  My heart jumped.

It was Chloe.

A few minutes later, Nana Becky headed over to the table next to me, her arms laden with trays of food.  I rushed over to her.  I hugged her like she was my long-lost mother.  I’m sure she was a little shocked, although she acted as if it was the most natural kind of behavior for someone to have in a Burger King playground.

I could tell Nana Becky was enjoying the children and the day, but I could tell she was heavily burdened.  She asked me if I was still homeschooling. As I answered “yes,” a combination of fear and slight dread trickled down my spine as I thought about the year ahead.

She then told me that since her daughter would be spending two weeks out of the next several months in New York for Chloe’s treaments, there was no way she could homeschool this year.  The other children would be starting school this Monday.

It wasn’t their first choice; it was their only choice.

Almost the entire time Nana Becky sat there, her cell phone in hand, she was obviously involved in serious phone conversations regarding Chloe’s next round of treatments in New York.  Every few moments, she would put down the phone, look out over the playground at Chloe, who was playing happily, and I’m sure say a silent prayer of thanks for this day.

One day of normal.  One day that most people would never even think about as being anything remarkable. One day that some mamas (like me) would complain about later.  (Oh, Burger King again.  If I have to eat one more hamburger and listen to them fight over those stupid Kid’s Meal toys.)

Just as I was about to leave, I felt this overwhelming pressure to say one more thing to Nana Becky:  “Would it be OK for me to write about Chloe, put her picture on my blog, and ask people to pray for her?”  Nana Becky’s eyes got misty, “Yes, yes please do that.  And please pray.  She needs those prayers…now more than ever.”

During the last two years, Chloe has been through major kidney surgery, 7 rounds of chemotherapy and 2 stem cell transplants.  The treatment she begins next week, 3F8, is described as the most painful yet.

I’m taking up my sword this time.

Would you please pray for Chloe, too?

I’ll end this post the same way Nana Becky ends all of hers:

“Chloe will live and not die, she will tell of the works of the Lord.” Psalms 118:17

If you would like to read more about Chloe, please visit Nana Becky’s Care Pages and search for PrincessChloe.  Thank you.

Posted on 9 August '08 by , under Faith is the Evidence.

10 Comments to “Chloe’s Perspective”

#1 Posted by mrsbear0309 (09.08.08 at 13:23 )

She’s beautiful. I’ll pray for her.

mrsbear0309s last blog post..Stupid Mom Moments

#2 Posted by Heidi (11.08.08 at 00:29 )

Elizabeth, thank you for sharing this touching story. I am so humbled. There just aren’t the right words. THank you.

Heidis last blog post..My Daily Sugar Cube

#3 Posted by Patty O. (11.08.08 at 18:27 )

Thank you. I am ashamed at the time I spend whining about petty trivialities. I should spend so much more time thanking God for my blessings and asking for faith through my trials, as it looks like Nana Becky does. Thanks for sharing this. I will keep them in my prayers.

Patty O.s last blog post..We Are The Care Bears, la, la, la, la, la!!!

#4 Posted by Kate (12.08.08 at 23:32 )

Oh, what a story, my prayers of healing and blessing on her life just went up…

Kates last blog post..Public restrooms – oh the horror!

#5 Posted by acarlson (14.08.08 at 18:27 )

Wow. I hugged my children a little more tightly today. Thank you.

#6 Posted by Becky Paul (18.08.08 at 20:34 )

I must say reading the story I felt as though I was reading about someone else…my heart began to beat faster. So real…about real people and it is our family. I relived that moment when we met on the way to Atlanta…you were so precious and so kind. You blessed me that day and through you God confirmed that Chloe was going to be okay. She had been admitted into the hospital and I was a little concerned about her…but after talking with you I went in such strength knowing that it was going to be okay. Thank you for taking the time to tell others about Chloe and her needs. We can sure tell others all about the power of prayer. We serve such a mighty God that He will take every measure to let us know He is with us through every step of the journey. God bless you for your obedience.
Nana Becky

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[…] (See my previous post about her here.) […]

#9 Posted by Three Channels » Fighting a Hard Battle… (10.11.08 at 23:28 )

[…] Chloe has battled cancer for two years now; next week she will travel to New York for more testing to determine the status of her cancer.  Faithful, she and […]

#10 Posted by Three Channels » Valentine’s Blessings (14.02.09 at 16:03 )

[…] may remember me writing about her before.  Chloe is the little girl in the […]