Blue Sky

the hunts in prague

A different kind of birthday


Last year, 5 minutes into 20 August at a little hospital in Neratovice, Czech Republic, a beautiful little girl (actually the largest our doctor had ever delivered) joined our family and stole all of our hearts.

Today, at a big hospital in Prague, she had surgery to replace her infected port, and started her third round of a treatment we believe will mean she gets to have many, many more birthdays.

So today was hard. This was her fifth time going under general anesthesia, and it’s hard to watch every time. It’s hard to see her come back covered in iodine, bandaged up and drugged. It’s hard to see her tethered to the IV rack, reminding us that she’s not well. It’s really hard to look at her, today of all days, and think of how much we love her and how awful this whole thing is.

But today was also special and beautiful. The doctors allowed Sam and Foard to come to E’s room to bring her cupcakes and presents– normally only kids over 10 are allowed on the hall, and the boys have to see her for just a few minutes in the lobby. The nurses brought her a doll as a gift, and one of the other patients brought her some of his Legos. We had a sweet family party with Ooh-La-La, and FaceTime visits with Aunt Kelsey and Pammie and Papa, and a funny JibJab card from Gaffer. An ultrasound this morning confirmed that the tumor is still shrinking, and it’s not tangled up in any blood vessels (there are lots of those in the liver).

So there were tears, because this is not how little girls should celebrate their first birthdays. But we also laughed and were grateful. For overall progress, and for moments of joy in the valley.

It occurred to me yesterday that my grandmother, Eliza’s namesake, was a cancer survivor, defeating breast cancer in late middle age and living decades longer. Eliza is named for a woman who survived cancer, lived to encourage others through it, and died full of years and full of grace. We hope and pray, we believe, that the same will be true for E.

Even down to old age, all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

14 thoughts on “A different kind of birthday

  1. Happy Birthday, Eliza! We are jealous of your cake face and sure do hope you had a great day with your family. You keep being that sweet, smiley baby. Jake, Melissa, Sam, and Foard. We really do love you all and pray for you every day. I know this isn’t how you pictured it or want it, but man, God is being so faithful. Just know at dinner tonight – we will be thanking God for you all, lifting you all up in prayer, and singing E “Happy Birthday.”

  2. Shedding tears with you all today – and praising God for joy in the valley!!!

  3. I am praying for you all and for ELIZA!!!! Seriously, I believe that God will heal her. God bless you guys. And Happy Birthday to sweet Eliza!!! Give her a great big hug for me. 🙂 Hope to see you all soon.

  4. Wonderful and encouraging news! So thankful that God gave you the words of that hymn to encourage you. We will continue to pray for your family and that God will continue to meet ALL your needs.

  5. The Gaffer gratefully admires your incredible balance.

  6. Happy Birthday to that precious girl! So glad you all got to celebrate as a family even though it was in the hospital. We are praying for you all, believing God’s grace and goodness!

  7. Kristen Gailey Giesler’s mom here, Melissa. I pray your precious Eliza is completely healed and for you, Jake and your boys. Your trust in the Lord is inspiring. Happy Birthday and many, many, many more to come, sweet little girl.

  8. Thinking of sweet Eliza, as we too are celebrating a 1st birthday with our Avery tomorrow! Your strength and courage as a mother is inspirational! May we continue to celebrate many more birthdays through the years as our girls grow, and may God continue to work in Eliza and heal her!

  9. Happy birthday! Hope you got to enjoy a bit of the celebrations. Next years will be awsome:-)

  10. Milá Elizo, všechno nejlepší ke tvým narozeninám! I am so much looking forward to seeing you again soon how gently you are waving at us in the church. God bless your precious parents and brothers!

  11. Happy birthday Eliza! We are praying for you and your family!!

  12. God bless you all as you mark this birthday and may you celebrate many more milestones in Eliza’s life with joy and anticipation of all the amazing things God will do in and through her.

  13. Blessed Birthday, Eliza! You will grow up to be a godly lady and your testimony will be a great encouragement to many. May the Lord bless you with divine health and beauty. God bless you!

  14. Think of you often and pray for Eliza and all of you! Happy Birthday to your sweet girl!

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