Daisy Days

sam jpeg
Living with cancer can be quite surreal. Like lying in a bed of daisies pulling out the petals, one by one. “He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me…” And you’re left holding this little yellow button, on a stalk, as bright as the sun, bright enough to leave a little light when you shine it under your chin. So bright you can even pretend with a friend that they like butter.

He does love me. God that is! But it’s a roller coaster ride through cancer and you hang on all the way for dear life, tilting into the turns as you anticipate them, hurled back in your seat when you don’t. All the time you are trying to remember the light of the little yellow button reflected on the chin of your friend. You try as hard as you can muster to cherish every memory, every fine experience and even the most simplest of things that used to make you smile. You hold onto them squeezing the images in your mind so you can look at them for longer and laugh.

I thought by now we would be into the intermission stage between treatments of high dose chemotherapy and the ever looming transplant. I’d hoped for a lull, a few days off, a wee little break, a long weekend.

It’s not been like that. Her counts are still down two weeks after the chemo she’s having blood tests and transfusions nearly every day and now there is an infection in the Hickman’s line. Its complicated, the nurses and doctors say ‘remove it,’ but Sam’s specialist says it should stay in. It’s definitely useful for blood tests and transfusions; it’s better than getting a pick line in your hand everyday; it’s kinder on your veins but its infected and if the infection travels it’s dangerous, extremely dangerous. So last night and twice today and again tomorrow and for who knows how long after that we drive to RNS for IV antibiotic infusions.

St Vincent’s called late this afternoon. I told them about the infected Hickman’s and they want it out; they prefer to insert a central line. It’s out of my hands. I do what they say, I go where they ask and I punctuate my life with pleasant moments with Sam and meals with friends. I do what I can for Jack and Emma. An early coffee seems to satisfy Jack, or extra money for a choc mud scone at Baker’s Delight. When I can, I make tea for Emma, ‘rose tea,’ and we sit and share our love of words and our observations. We sigh, and we worry for a little while together about how much our life has changed this year, then we remind each other that its going to be okay. “Everything’s gonna be alright,” just as our friend T, used to sing.

daisies for saleIt’s not all bad. You really do appreciate life when you are confronted with a life threatening illness. The daisies in buckets outside the deli beckoned us to buy them. So we bought 6 bunches, 3 bunches each and when we got home we filled a tin bucket with Sam’s and a vase with mine and we enjoyed them all day. We breathed in the scent of them, delighted in the simplicity of them, rearranging her room and the back deck to put them on their best display. We talked about how much we loved daisies as we ate our gnocchi that was drenched in fresh chilli, garlic and tomato sauce and felt the warmth of the winter sun strong on our backs. We did this between our trips to the hospital today and it was grand.
daisies on deckBucket of daisies

I love flowers but I don’t like to garden. My friend Bin (who is a landscape gardener) will tell you that it’s really not my gift. I’ve had some success with lavender, daisies and even sweet peas but I’ll never be a gardener. Many years ago in Melbourne, I had a delightful cottage garden that I grew from seedlings. Unfortunately Reid accidentally wiper snipped the delphiniums just as they were about to flower and though I forgave him, I never quite recovered my passion for growing flowers from seedlings after that. I am not an expert on plants or trees or grafting but I am stuck in Romans 11 this week and its bearing some truth for me.

17But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the root and sap] of the olive tree,

18Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense. If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [that supports] you.

19You will say then, Branches were broken (pruned) off so that I might be grafted in!

20That is true. But … you are established through faith [because you do believe]. So do not become proud and conceited, but rather stand in awe and be reverently afraid.

I know that in this Paul is talking about Jews and Gentiles, not trees or transplants but it illustrates my point. God is in the business of restoration and growth, forgiveness and grace. He takes the pieces of value in our life, He cuts off what is useless and he forms miracles out of what we give Him.

It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with His grace, His unmerited favour. Just as it is also written in Romans 11: 6But if it is by grace (His unmerited favor and graciousness), it is no longer conditioned on works or anything men have done. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace [it would be meaningless].

God is in the growing business. He can create life from a seed or he can snap off a branch and graft it in. The life in Sam’s bone marrow isn’t creating anymore. It isn’t produces the right cells. She said as we drove home today, cradling our daisies on her lap “Isn’t it strange how I would have been dead by now without chemotherapy?” It’s definitely strange. Who would ever have imagined that my petite little girl (pictured at the top of this page, aged 4 in our Melbourne garden) would be undergoing this horrendous disease? It doesn’t seem right, or fair, or possible but this I know – God always produces life. He always creates. It was always the goal from day one – CREATION.

This I know, that God can take the life that is being generously donated by Sam’s donor and He can graft it in. He can prepare her like he prepares the soil; he can protect her while her body (the host) takes time to recognize her donor. He can protect her from Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHS) he can heal her; she can be completely whole again. The donor is anonymous, like the branch it carries the life but it must be connect to the body to go on surviving. It will take some time; there may be some pain, some stripping away, some marks from the tape (so to speak) as things are set. But God is the life producing force. Our roots go deep in Him, we feed on His word only and faith rises through our vessels bringing hope and life and fruit.

God always works His plan through redemption. We are broken, all of us broken. Like Eugene O’Neill says “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.” It is always His grace that is mighty to save. Jesus became sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we could be the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. We are all going to die but God came to deliver and to rescue us, to give us life through Him, through His death, so that we would have eternal life.

Jesus looked up and said “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” (John 11:41) Lazarus was already dead. They all thought it was over but Jesus was positioned in praise. Praise is vital for the bringing forth of miracles. I thank God now for a miraculous transplant, for health, for restoration, for minimal GVHD (apparently a little is good), for no complications. I thank God for her complete healing, that every possible documented side effect will not touch her life. Just as Lazarus did, she comes forth defying the odds and the people rejoice.

John 15

1I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.

2Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.

3You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].

4Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

5I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

6If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.

7If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

8When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.

9I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].

10If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.

11I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.

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25 Comments

Filed under Life

25 responses to “Daisy Days

  1. Simone Stewart

    Hi lovely Clare,

    Loved reading this blog. You are truely inspiring. Praise for Jesus rolls off your tongue despite what your facing.
    I have often wondered wether its painful for plants to grow? Is it easier when the soil is right does it hurt more to break through when there isn’t enough water? How incredible is it to look at a plant that survives the wrong conditions, seeing a flower in a place it should not have been able to grow. God is the miracle worker, he is our Hope, I know it and believe it for you and your family.
    Will pray today you get some more daisy moments.
    Much Love Simxox

    • Clare Froggatt

      All the flowers in my garden undergo serious effort to grow! Ha ha, Thank goodness God sends the sun and the rain to water them. Yes, He is the miracle worker. Love Clare

  2. Nel Dekker

    Dear Clare,
    I cannot really leave a comment as I do not have the words for it….. In my mind and spirit I just sit with you and hold your hand…. I thank Pappa for holding you and Sam so much better than any of us could even try to do. You are loved……
    Nel

    • Clare Froggatt

      Dear Nel, I love seeing people from my past turn up on my blog to join me on the journey. I’ll never forget when you came to Sam’s Year One “Grandparents Day”in Melbourne because her Grandma was in Sydney. How are the twins? Gosh its been lovely to find Rosalie here too. Much Love and thanks Clare

  3. Rozzi Mahony

    Clare, you have such a beautiful soul. You need to know that you may feel like Clare in the moonlight but you are shining like someone drenched in God’s love.
    p.s. I did the butter thing too. Snap.

    • Clare Froggatt

      I am so glad the ‘butter thing” wasn’t too random. Sometimes I wonder about my own weirdnesses. Thanks I feel normalish again. Maybe its a Kindy teacher thing?

  4. Bronte Waller

    Life changing stuff, Clare.
    Thank you for all you give on this incredible (“hard to believe or imagine”-Collins Dictionary)journey.
    Your blogs are like fresh cool water .
    XXXX

  5. Susannah Stretton

    I just wanted to tell you you’re my hero. I think you were heroic before Sam got sick. I think you had a strong fighting spirit before the blood transfusions began. I think the way you know how love your kids, each according their need, makes you a hero and a great Mum.

    One meaing of Samantha is ‘God Heard’…I like the past tence of this meaning…God Heard. Sam is my hero too. My heart breaks for her and the road that is ahead however it doesn’t weaken and will continue to carry her, pray for her and love her.

    Big love,
    Susannah xx

    • Clare Froggatt

      I love that Susannah, I know it means a listener but I have tears in my eyes reading it also mean God Heard – He hears her now. He heard her first faith filled prayer on the day of diagnosis and on the day that He told her “no one would take her crown.” Amen.

  6. Lucy East

    Dearest Clare, I thank God for your giving you the gift of words – and the strength and courage to allow me to learn from your journey! You have generously shared your hard earned revelations with us – and they shine like tall ships with sunfilled windfilled sails. Your writing is filled with the breeze of God. Thank you, Clare.
    lashings of love from Lucy for all Froggatts

    • Clare Froggatt

      I’m thinking that it is cool that you got the black patchwork square beside your name. How perfect for Lucy. I can hear your cello playing sometimes when I sit with God, just waiting. You are the musician, I am the writer – who would ever have thought it would pan out this way. I would NEVER choose this journey but though my back is aching I know I am panning for gold. Thanks Lucy lots of love

  7. Sandy Foster

    Hi Clare – I just want you to know you and Sam and your beautiful family are never far from my mind, or prayers. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the waves you are facing and then I read your blog (which I love!) and look away to Heaven…. and say “No” – we (you) shall not be overwhelmed – God is carrying you through – though you walk through the fire you will not be burnt, though you walk through the waters they will not overwhelm you.

    There is such a beautiful fragrance that I breathe in everytime I read your words – I pray you find encouragement knowing that though we are not walking in your shoes – we are with you in every we can – much love and hugs – Sandy xxx

    • Clare Froggatt

      Precious Sandy, In word and in deed, in kindness and overwhelming generosity, I KNOW you are with me. We are blessed by you and Don. Thankyou Clare xxx

  8. Jane Grover

    Clare I’d have to say in my humble and teared up eyes opinion, this is your best blog entry yet………. Life and hope is in God’s and your words, fresh oil on you both Daisy girls x
    Ps for someone who does not claim to be a gardener you seem most insightful on the subject xx

  9. Silvia Noble

    My lovely.
    Good thing you and I finally got our act together in this last couple of years, can’t imagine not walking this with you.
    Love the picture of Sam on the grass amongst the lawn daisy’s… I was putting aside some of the snow drops for your front fence line but I’m thinking we should sow lawn daisy’s too for future snaps…… seeing (and sowing) with you.
    Love Sil

    • Clare Froggatt

      Oh Silvia, My friend who CAN do everything. So glad my flowers have a chance of growing with you in my world. Thank you for everything you have done to make my world such a beautiful place in this strange season. I can see those future snaps.. my grand babies rolling down the hill amongst the daisies. Bring on the miracles God. Thanks Sil x

  10. emma

    I love daisies. I would love to have daisy grass again

    • Silvia Noble

      Hi Em’s hope you are feeling better.

      I have just ordered lawn daisy seeds from the states so fingers crossed it will be cold enough in Sydney to grow them.
      Here’s a funny thing… whilst searching for a site that sold the lawn daisy seed I came across a site called “kissmygrass”… tee hee! Naughty!!!!

  11. Hi Clare, I love the daisy chain formed in response to your blog – ie The responces and your replies. I am mindful of Proverbs 25:11 “a word fitly( aptley)spoken is like apples of gold in pictures (some translation – salvers) of silver The reference to “fitly” reminds me of Eph 4:16 – “the whole body’fitly”joined together—-maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
    I reflect what is happening here — The whole body– brothers and sisters in Christ—are demonstrating what members of one another actually means in the nitty-gritty of when one member suffers all members suffer—- as a result the whole body is built up in Love —-Christ’s Love all my Love Dad xxxxx

  12. Elyce Newton

    Hi Clare

    Today I sat at work frustrated because youtube wouldn’t load songs to get me through the day. Fortunately I found a colleague’s old CD – Tina Arena’s greatest hits. At the exact moment I started reading your blog, a song with the following lyrics began to play:

    “This mountain I must climb
    Is like the world upon my shoulders
    Through the clouds I see love shine
    It keeps me warm as life grows colder

    Lord help me to be strong
    On this road I travel on
    When I’m lost and lonely
    Find me
    My journey’s just begun
    And I’m not the only one

    Cause I wanna know
    I wanna know
    Yes I’ve found out
    I want you to show me
    I wanna feel what love is”

    As random as Tina Arena was it now makes me remember that “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). I hope this song and others inspire you and your family to stay strong through this tough time. I am praying for Sam and all of you every day.

    Elyce xx

  13. Bronte Waller

    Wow- Your ma is right- what a daisy chain of hope- all rising, all holding hands with you. That is the power of this. The enemy will not have his day- so many many wonderful things have come and are coming from this. God is magnificent and he shines brightly out of all the “Froglets”! (as Kendall called you yesterday…then added, “but aren’t Froglets really called tadpoles??”…there’s a blog for you! BIG love, XXXX

  14. Bronte Waller

    Ooops! just realised it was your da that wrote the daisy chain comment…what a wonderful man- you are from extraordinary stock, Clare! XXX

  15. Sandy Anderson

    Hi Clare, I don’t know you personally, but my daughter in law showed me this page. I am very touched by your journey and the insights you have shared. At the age of 8 years old (now 18 years ago) our only daughter was diagnosed with Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. Type 1 Diabetes… It has been a very painful journey and the longer one lives with this disease the greater the chances for life threatening complications there are. At this stage there is no known cure. We are now in the window of time when things can go wrong and are experiencing some challenges in several areas. One can live a relatively ‘normal’ life but it is always with a sense of the sword of Damocles hanging over your head, as in the background of your mind are the things the hospital educated you with regarding the minefield of diabetes. There is also the misunderstandings people have associated with their understanding of this disease which can cause much distress to the people involved. I go back constantly to the verse the Lord gave me regarding her healing…it was the story of Jairus’ daughter and the words “Talitha Cumi” came to me as I was praying and seeking God after the shock of diagnosis and the reality of what this disease can hold. The education process was thorough and confronting, very frightening and I even had thoughts that I wished God would just wipe us all out so my little girl would not have to endure 4 injections daily for the rest of her life plus all the associated problems this can result in. The mountain looked far too huge to climb…I went to the passage in the bible and was struck by the words “do not fear, your little girl will be made well”. It is interesting to note that Jesus said of this little girl that she was “not dead but sleeping” and after she was healed he commanded she be given something to eat, all signs of diabetic coma and death!! Anyway just wanted to comment on the fact that holding on to the promises of God are what gives us strength for the journey as you are so aptly describing. The part of community in our lives can never, never be underestimated as we are created for that love and community and I was fortunate to have people that got into the trenches with me and helped fight the battle. But the thing I did discover was that in the end it is just God and you who really understands the pain and the toll it can take and in the midst of this His faithfulness and love are undeniable…and so 18 years later I still hold on to the promise “do not fear, your little girl WILL be made well!” God bless you and your daughter on your journey, may you know Him in ways that constantly amaze you both. May He strengthen you and your beautiful daughter and remember “we have this treasure in earthen vessels”, so often we look at the vessel but remember it is the treasure within that counts and that even though the vessel may get cracked through life, there is great beauty shining forth from it, His glory through you both!

  16. Sandy Anderson

    Just wanted to add how much the daisies and pic of your daughter touched my heart…I have an almost identical picture of my daughter aged six sitting in a field with a daisy chain on her head. I remember also the delight taken from the small pleasures in life, e.g. the beauty of flowers amidst the wonder that if she had been diagnosed before 1920 when insulin was discovered, she too would have been dead within a short space of time. Praise God for His mercy and grace…

  17. Helena Porter

    Hi Clare, Wow!!! l feel so blessed to reconnect with you and if you would allow me ,l would LOVE to walk along this journey with you. As distant physically we can be. How wonderful that we may be conneting spiritually.Standing with you and the family in prayer would be such an honour and to see the miracles and revelation that are revealed to you from our wonderful Father..and walking thru this journey l pray : . Comfort, peace,love.to you all…
    Thankyou so much for putting this website up!!!
    And l thank God for your passion for Daisys and word..
    Amazing lady xxxx.

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