I surrender

Christa Doran Uncategorized 12 Comments

She never seemed shattered; to me, she was a breathtaking mosaic of the battles she’s won. 

-Matt Baker

One of my all time favorite photos of my “squad” popped up today as Lea was being sedated for her fifth MRI in six months. A lot can change in a year I thought to myself as I sat in the same room we were told the news of her tumor six months and two weeks ago.  

Lea gave her last MRI the middle finger. It showed progression, but the last few weeks she has shown improvement. Maybe due to a jump in steroids. Maybe the trial is working. Maybe it’s a miracle. Maybe it’s just the mind f*** of this horrific disease. Our kid gets better, then worse, then dies… usually all within one year of diagnosis. 

 Lea jumping on a trampoline on Sunday

Every week I do a count. Current count: six months, plus two weeks. The weeks seem to pass more and more quickly, and I measure them in three week increments with every trip to Boston.

In years past I would wish for and welcome the spring. Today I find myself cringing when friends and acquaintances talk about the summer… the pool opening… the warmer weather… anything that signifies to me that Lea might not be with us. The remainder of that conversation is usually on mute as my mind is asking allllll the questions and I am quickly overcome with all the corresponding emotions. 

Last week I scheduled something in May and found my eyes drifting to a special day in that month, Lea’s birthday on May 25. The pit returned as I wrote “lea birthday #7″ in pencil and dotted the “i” with a heart. 

Lea’s 6th Birthday 

Every day I tell myself that the worst possible thing I can imagine is going to happen. And I will be ok. “Lea is going to die. You will be ok.” Every single day I say those words in my head, as if it will keep it from coming true, or that maybe, just maybe, if I “prepare” enough it will make it even just a little bit easier. Most days I sit in defiance, knowing full well, I will not be ok…and then I will be better…and then maybe, someday, find happiness again.

I remember when Lea was first diagnosed it was months before I felt happiness. But here I sit, six months and two weeks into this nightmare with many, many moments of true joy and happiness. I know it is not the same, Lea is here, but it is similar? With time do you adapt to a new norm and find happiness again? 

Lea looks and acts more and more like our kid each day. Her hair is growing back, she has lost some of the weight she gained on the steroids, she no longer needs or wears her glasses. Her defiant spirit has returned along with her spunk and sweetly singing voice. While it is wonderful, and I am so grateful, it makes it all the more difficult.

Lea smiling at one of the HUNDRED Beanie Boos she and her sisters received thanks to another outpouring of kindness and generosity from this community. 

I know that this thing can take a sharp turn and head south any day. And that makes every single day that much more precious. I don’t ever want to be away from her as I am fully aware that this might be her last “good” day. 

My mom and I sat at the edge of my kitchen island several nights ago, a glass of red in front of us. We discussed all the lessons we have learned and how this experience has changed us, and so many others. This horrible situation is doing good for so many, including myself. I have surrendered completely to my situation. I have been brought to my knees. I have felt the grace of God through the support of my friends, family and community. I have read notes from people who tell me their lives are changed because of Lea and our story. I am a better mother. I have learned to let go of control within my business and trust my incredible team. I have seen how much my family and friends love and support me, even at my worst and most fragile. I know what I want from my life and how I want to live each day. I have a new perspective on life and what is important. And I know it could be worse. 

I surrender who I’ve been for who You are. 

I told that to my friend and she asked me How? “How could anything be worse than this Christa?”

My mind flashed to all the people all around the world who are experiencing tragedy far worse than mine. Their family is without food, and they have no idea when they will eat next. Their children have been taken from them and sold into slavery. They are trapped in a war zone. They have watched as those they love are brutally killed. They do not feel safe. They have no access to medicine, healthcare or a team of doctors. They have no resources. They have no way of escaping from their current situation. 

While my situation is one of the worst I can imagine, people throughout the world are enduring far more horrible things.

There are days where I throw my middle finger in the air, full of anger and all of the “WHY ME’s”… but most days I throw my hands up and fully surrender in the mud. So very thankful for the overwhelming amount of love and support we have surrounding us. For the random cards in the mail. For the thousands of prayers. For the random meals, bottles of wine, gifts and gift cards. For access to healthcare and several teams of experts within driving distance. For resources that allow us to pay our bills and do “extras” that have made these six months plus two weeks with Lea so special. For God’s grace and faithfulness. And for all of the sweet moments of joy we have had with Lea and all the lessons she has taught me, and so many others, about life. 

#lessonsfromlea #bravelikelea #defeatDIPG 

We have two fundraisers on the books in March! Be sure and keep up with on Facebook or check our Brave Like Lea Fundraisers page

Comments 12

  1. So happy she has re-gained some of her spunk! She looks great! We can only enjoy each day because none of us can count on tomorrow. Truly lessons from Lea AND Christa❤❤❤

  2. I’ve wanted to reach out to you but was nervous about what to say. One thing that i know is true is that I Love you Christa. The years that have passed since we’ve seen each other has not changed this. Ive. been faithfully praying for you, Lea, and the rest of your family. I leave this request in the hands of Jesus…in His grace-filled, loving, healing hands. Praying for a miracle!

  3. I’m at a total loss for words after I read your story. Thank you for your transparency and willingness to share with your friends like this. You are very blessed to have three beautiful daughters and they are equally blessed to call you “mom.” Please know our prayers always include your family. Love you always…..

  4. Thank you for sharing, I’m always so moved by your writing.. which is also gift you have. I think of you and your family all the time and wish for the miracle you are hoping for.

  5. Dear Christa,
    I met you a long time ago, before your babies and have followed you ever since. I am in awe of you, you were a drug rep that brought us “picinic” lunches. You always find the best in everyone and everything, your smile can light up a room, and you are an awesome mother . I admire your strength, I wish I could dry those tears and tell you it’s ok. It is ok to cry, we are all crying with you. Your happiness is our happiness . Your sadness brings us all to our knees. The sparkle is still in you red rimmed eyes. You are amazing, just as Lea is. I’m honored to call you my friend and pray for lovely Lea. God bless you and your family?

  6. Christa, you are a powerful writer. I am able to share your suffering because you are so open in the struggle. We are able to pray more deeply because you have been real with those of us who love you and your family. I will never on this side of heaven understand why these kinds of things happen to people we love, but in all of it I know God is good and will accomplish amazing things through it. Your pain has changed my heart in ways I don’t even fully understand yet. Please know that you are in my prayers always. Your parents too.

  7. Christa,
    You are a rare gem in this world…no wonder your little girls are so special.

    This quote by Audrey Hepburn makes me think of you, “the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.”

    My mama heart aches as I read your words… I continue to pray faithfully for a miracle for your beautiful Lea and for you each to feel God’s presence and love shown through others.

    With much love,
    Katie

  8. I love you Christa. Thank you for your words. Thank you for using courage and humility to write and share with us. You give us all strength and hope. ❤️

  9. There are just no words. I don’t know what to say. My heart breaks for you. Your posts are so raw and powerful and how you are handling this with such grace is inspirational. Your daughter is lucky to have you and you are lucky to have her. This wasn’t the journey you imagined, but there is a purpose and a plan to this. Faith over fear. God has a special plan for Lea. I really wish I could take away some of your pain. I don’t know you, but you and your family and little Lea are in my prayers hereon out. Families are forever. Much love to you.

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