Esther Levy, a mother who describes her family as “the luckiest of the unluckiest people in the world” offers an inside view of her struggle to balance hope and fear. Her story may lead to new insights about the challenge of figuring out what to hope for when the outcome you want most is not likely.
When Do You Give Up on Treating A Child? is the story of a family dealing with the youngest child’s illness. Andrew was 14 months old when diagnosed with a rare and difficult-to-treat leukemia. A bone marrow transplant from his brother led to a remission that was short-lived.
Andrew’s doctors pleaded with his parents for a chance for Andrew to survive through a second transplant. With good reasons and hearts filled with love, they chose comfort care only for their beloved son. They came to that difficult decision believing it was time to let go of hope of Andrew surviving. Instead, they shifted all their hope into helping the family heal as they prepared to lose their son and into helping Andrew live as fully as possible in whatever time he had left.
Indeed, Andrew’s condition deteriorated to the point that the hospice professionals prepared the family for his imminent death. He lingered. Then, imperceptibly and unexpectedly and inexplicably, he began to recover. Months later, with no further treatment, Andrew’s cancer was in remission and he looked and acted healthy.
Next, I’ll focus on Esther’s poignant comments about hope and what they can teach us.