Lessons From an 11 Year Old

Today all I can think about is a precious 11 year old boy. He’s the son of dear friends, and he’s battling cancer – for the third time.

I remember the day they said the word cancer to Paul and Gillian, and to Owen. It was a regular day in January 2013. I am sure osteosarcoma was never something they imagined hearing. How does an 8 year old comprehend those words? According to Owen, through a deep and abiding faith. He constantly amazes me and the thousands of others who hear his story.

Owen is a true bionic boy too! Medical advances provided him with limb salvage surgery. This type of surgery is very complex and uses an internal prosthesis that is extended as Owen grows. Years ago amputation would be the course of treatment. He had to learn to walk with it and go through intensive rehabilitation. And then there was the chemo…all the chemo. He fought and fought hard! Can you just imagine the joy when they heard the words no evidence of disease?

Eventually Owen would learn the cancer was back and in his lung. More surgery, more fear, and more cancer. Still Owen kept his faith, and I would say his faith even grew. I’m sure there were many days of anger, and shouting why me?! Even though he maybe didn’t cling to God or talk to Him, God clung to Owen. Owen knows this deeply.

I am brought to today – A very difficult surgery for his third occurrence. The surgery involves his lung and heart this time. This tumor is tricky and in a dangerous place, but he has three gifted doctors and the God in which he believes so strongly. So many people are waiting on miraculous news, and I wish I could be there to hold Paul’s and Gillian’s hands as they wait for their child to come through without a tumor.

When Owen had issues breathing recently I wonder what was going through his mind. How did he cope with the anxiety of a potential cancer recurrence? What did he tell himself until it was proven? The strength he showed and is showing is monumental. This precious child is teaching so many people lessons most do not learn until later in life – if ever. 11 years old.

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