My friend is a fighter. No, she’s not in some big caged arena or some secret underground gang… she’s fighting against Leukemia. She is a true fighter.
She is 22 years old, lover and player of soccer, passionate young woman. And she’s slowly dying.
I’ve known R for merely three months, and in those three months I have grown to love her and want to fight this deadly battle with her and for her.
She is such a fighter!
Back in March, R became a Christian. She didn’t just say some magical prayer and automatically become a Christian… she believed deep in her heart of hearts that Jesus was the only way, that He came to die for her sins, and that only through Him could she get to Heaven. Her motives weren’t selfish- wanting a “get out of Hell free card,” no, she wanted a Savior. She wanted someone to lean on during her times of loneliness, confusion, and pain. She wanted to know someone had her life in control because she knew she wasn’t perfect and had no control. In that moment when she asked Him into her heart and life, she changed.
Instead of being sad and downcast because of being in the hospital, R became joyful in all circumstances, rejoicing over the small things (like walking around the hall, being able to eat lunch).
I haven’t had time to visit her lately; usually I have a weekly/biweekly visit with her.
Today I heard that she wasn’t doing well at all… she has a horrible cough, can’t keep any food down, and is in so much pain. As soon as I heard that, I knew I had to visit her, but I was so scared.
You see, I didn’t know if this turn in her health had changed her heart…her mind. I didn’t know how her parents would react to me visiting…if they wanted to be alone with their dying daughter. I didn’t know if I could stay strong and not cry.
At 6:20 when I found myself in the Cancer Ward at Duke, I was shaking, nervous, unsure of how to act or address the current situation of R’s health. I prayed that God would give me the words to speak and that He would comfort R and her family during this time of uncertainty about the future. I prayed I could just somehow love on them and take their mind off the cancer.
When I turned the corner and peeked in her door, R’s face lit up. “Meredith!” she cried, and I almost burst into tears. After gowning up, I entered her room, keeping a smile on my face despite the pain I could see that R was in. We talked. Her mom explained how sick R had been, yet how she had slowly progressed over the day. I told silly stories, stories from Peru, stories from riding the bus to and from work…anything I could think of to keep the mood light and to keep R and her mother laughing. Laughter does good for the body.
Two hours later when I exited her room, promising to come back sooner rather than later, I felt this immense peace rush over me. I felt comfort. I felt love.
R doesn’t know what her future holds, or if she’ll even have a future outside of the hospital walls, but God knows. She is in His hands and the center of His will for her life. R has touched so many with her life and her courage while fighting Leukemia. She has touched my life in so many ways. Gosh, I can’t even type all this out without tearing up.
I miraculously did not cry the entire visit, even when she was in pain when they pulled stitches out, or when they came to draw blood. I did not even cry while walking out to my car. But now, as I type, I am crying. They aren’t sad tears though, they are happy tears. R is a fighter and I am confident that she will finish fighting this fight against cancer… and regardless of the outcome, I know that her faith and trust is in God… the Great Physician, Great Redeemer, King of King, and Lord of Lords.
Join me in praying for R as she fights for her life.