Family finds hope in adversity
The Davis family of Claremont already had a busy life: they have seven children, all of whom are home-schooled, one of whom is diabetic.
Their young daughter, Abby, had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a heart defect at birth. At four months, Abby needed to have open heart surgery to partially correct her heart defect.
Despite being extremely busy, the family was doing well and was adjusting to the new challenges they faced. Then, last January, when Abby was 2 ½, Becky Davis was devastated by the news that Abby had also been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Davis had noticed some odd symptoms in her daughter: a persistent rash, bruising, and frequent crying. Her previous experience as a nurse told her that something was seriously wrong with her daughter.
"I just put my head down and said, ‘Lord I can’t do this. We’ve already gone through open heart surgery, I have another child who’s diabetic, I have seven children, a baby right now, and I can’t do more," Davis said. "If this is what you’ve chosen for us, then you’re going to have to be my strength because I have no strength left.’"
After being diagnosed, Abby was initially in the hospital for 21 days. "Those were some dark, hard times," Davis recalled.
Since then, Abby has been in and out of the hospital a lot for several reasons. But now she has entered the maintenance phase of her treatment process, which will last for another two years. She makes monthly trips to the clinic for chemotherapy and she takes a oral chemo pill each day, as well as another type of home-based chemo.
Davis says that the hardest moments were when Abby would look at her with her big frightened eyes and she felt so helpless, as a mother, to comfort her child.
"There are moments," Davis said. "When you pray for relief and no relief comes, that it’s easy to feel abandoned by God, but I think that it’s in those moments, when you feel the most abandoned, when he is actually nearest to you."
Davis said that she received many comments on Abby’s happy demeanor brightening the day of other patients at the hospital and all those who have come into contact with her.
"People have come up to me and said that, when they’re having a bad day, they just think of Abby and how much she’s gone through and she’s so full of love, and she’s just so happy," Davis recalled, smiling. "She’s just a special little girl."
Abby’s treatments are going well, and the leukemia has a 75 percent cure rate.
Davis concedes that times have been trying and exhausting, but she said, "When you lay down your life for someone else, that’s where joy comes from. I have so much joy in taking care of her every day."