But, what about the next day?
Our next day is when life began to come into focus on our new reality. Things were fuzzy for a moment because we realized that things would never be the same as before. We quickly realized that we now viewed our lives differently. Now we had a huge question to confront, “How were we going to react to this news?”
The answer has made all the difference.
For our family it seemed like we had no other option but to trust in God and allow Him to comfort us. This thinking may seem crazy to others, but for us there was no other way of thinking.
The day of the diagnosis was one that we circled the wagons as a family and just tried to breathe. In the midst of our fears, questions, anxieties, and other emotions a miracle happened. Tillery was discharged from T.C. Thompson. She was not supposed to be discharged. Through whatever means you want to call it, the hospital let us leave as a family that day. I still tear up and offer a prayer of thanks when I think about it. If she would have stayed there, I firmly believe our story would be different than it is now. We went home and met with Alana’s parents and tried to make sense of everything.
The next day the first steps of our new journey began.
While Luke left with Alana’s parents, we drove Tillery to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (CCH). That drive was amazing. There was laughter. We were engaged with one another. Tillery napped some. Alana and I held hands. We listened to music. Ate burgers and fries. Took in the scenery. Fear and unhappiness were not invited to join us for the ride. A decision had been made that we were doing the right thing for our little girl by going to a hospital 6 hours away. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions we have made. Not just to go to CCH, but to allow God to be a part of it all. We knew early in the journey that we were not strong enough to handle all that was getting ready to come our way. All Alana and I knew was that we needed to pour out nothing but love on Tillery and Luke for the foreseeable future. We could only provide that love because God first loved us. God immediately started showing His grace as the diagnosis was given.
Tillery has an incredible pediatrician, Dr. Good, who came to be with us and actually delivered the news with so much compassion. A friend left work and came to be with us for the few hours we were at T.C. Thompson. When we made phone calls, there were no voicemails to leave because everyone picked up their phones (think about that for a second). God was showing us that He was with us. We will forever be thankful that we could see His handiwork on display in our time of need.
The next day was a day of joy, peace, and most of all, hope. That day was only possible because of God and our decision to trust in His grace. I will forever be grateful for His promise to this lowly sinner that He would be there for me and the ones that I love. I do not know much about the tumor that lives in Tillery’s head, but I know she is loved by the Father and that has made all the difference. We do not know what the future holds for Tillery and her journey, but we do not travel it alone. May you realize the same truth… God loves you and is with you.
We hope you will read Tillery’s story, not as a sad story, but as a story filled with hope. We have walked this road with God at our sides. When we needed to find peace and comfort, He was there to provide it. In the midst of hard times and uncertain circumstances, you can always trust that He will be with you and never fail you. He is faithful.
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23
Thank you for letting me say a few words. Alana will be back tomorrow. Thank you all for your support, prayers, and positive thoughts. Thank you for loving our little girl.
Pictured below are pictures from the next day – playing with Luke, family lunch, road trip, and our first ER selfie.