Have you ever experienced watching a toddler taking their first attempt at walking? They may have tried countless times previously, holding the couch or a parent’s few fingers. Baby’s first steps might only be a few before toppling over back to the floor…but it is a moment of celebration and growth. The picture reveals happy faces and open arms of anyone that the baby is headed toward and the memory is cherished. But baby steps cannot be planned—and it’s those moments you see transformation that continues…
I am well past those toddler days, though the tumors are causing my being to go back to those days in most aspects of normal adult living. But in the past week, with my balance starting to take more toil and focus, I thought how I have been prepared for where I am and how God planned it in baby steps of giant faith.
It started back in December, when I was struggling intensely about the changes beginning to happen and the agonizing of knowing that I could not ignore the topics that would need to be discussed at the doctor appointment. It was my decision to only have an MRI of the brain and neck and not have a full spine scan. I only kept the brain scan to keep track of the optic nerves—which at that time were relatively stable as much as I could tell. As the holidays continued, so did the baby steps.
I am not a dreamer, and when I am, I normally do not see people’s faces. At the height of my intense spiritual longings and pleadings, God gave me a dream of giant faith. I saw my Daddy Cory, an image of one of the pictures I have seen in Mom’s albums; he was happy and smiling, but not moving. In the next instant, I saw my best friend and her son (who is a toddler.) They too were smiling and happy and moving. My friend was telling her son something and then he moved toward me…I reached out and tussled his hair and gave him a hug; it felt so real. I woke up thinking—I am no interpreter of dreams, but I believe God was showing me that my journey on earth is not yet complete…people I love need me and I need them. After this dream, I started to think and pray about those hard topics, and had some good (tearful) discussion with Dad as he helped answer some of my questions.
And I started to have peace. I started the completion of my written documents for my file box. And I prayerfully made my decision on the only aspect of treatments left available to me: surgery, in which I do not have peace.
Surgery on any part of my brain or spine has never been an option, minus my freshman year of high school in which they knew the exact tumor causing the problem; they can’t say the same now. My eye surgery last September never touched my optic nerve, only the sheath around it because it was full of fluid.
Even before my neuro ophthalmologist appointment or MRI got pushed forward, I had made my decision and had peace: that same surgery was not an option for my left eye.
“I know my vision is fading,” I cry telling Mom my decision. Telling the family was the hardest, but I needed them to understand where I stood and my peace. I cannot say that I will go fully blind—that is out of my hands. The right eye surgery enabled my left eye more time…but my right eye never recovered. I might have different views of the surgery if I had vision in my right, but since I do not and know that I have been prepared for such a time as this, and God is still guiding my baby steps for the future, I have peace in my soul.
MRI scans show fluid in the left optic nerve. I knew something was going on inside—even my whole body these days. It is not easy, and even last night I hit a wall of being overwhelmed. But just a few hours earlier, my Grandpa reminded me, “Keep looking to Jesus.” Toddlers taking their first steps are not looking down, but ahead, toward the one with arms stretched open wide.