Izzy had a great Christmas! Our family is so thankful for your prayers and concern. Jenny, my sister and Izzy’s mom, says, “I know people are praying for us .... I can feel it.” It’s also evident by just watching Izzy. Even though she has been through intensive chemo these past few months, being admitted to the hospital for 5 continuous days at a time, she amazes everyone by her ability to rebound. The chemo usually brings digestive ills, but we are hopeful this is a small price to pay for destroying all remaining cancer cells in her leg.
Since the surgery in October to remove the recurring tumor behind her kneecap, she has walked with a slight limp, but even that has improved in the last 3 weeks. And believe me, it doesn’t slow her down in the least. She is playful, inquisitive and has a great appetite. Thank God for that! I counted no less than 4 bowls of fruit salad she enjoyed along with her Christmas dinner at mom & dad’s. She keeps up with her older sisters and finds special joy in the animals. Jenny told me that during November & December, when they would leave the hospital to head home, Izzy’s only request was to visit Honey, the little white ball of fluff adopted by her Grandma Connie. This little dog brought a profusion of smiles and giggles to her which I have no doubt aids physical, emotional & spiritual healing. Laughter is good medicine indeed. And then, unexpectedly, toward the end of November, a four-legged visitor arrived at the McManaway household that is proving to be a gift from above. Enter Charlie.
Charlie, a 30 lb. short-haired WV brown dog, arrived at the backdoor, just passing by on his neighborhood rounds. His friendly face and submissive nature prompted a warm hello from the family and hugs from the girls. They were quick to offer him a treat and so, it’s no surprise that he started coming by daily. Within a week or so, Jenny contacted Charlie’s owner to see about adopting him. The owner was more than happy to find a permanent home for this wayward pup as he had been receiving complaints about his jaunts around the community. The McManaway girls all love him, but perhaps Izzy most of all. Charlie seems to like it this way. He sleeps by Izzy’s bed, waits for her to wake when the others are already up and beginning their day and shows a devotion to her that makes us look up and thank God. Charlie’s tolerance for little ones, whose antics can sometimes be inadvertently rough, is remarkable. He was meant to be in this family.
Our community continues to amaze and inspire us. Since my last update, a large fund-raising event was held in honor of Izzy and the outpouring of love, prayers and financial support has been overwhelming. The fact that not only dear friends, but kind strangers continue to support Izzy and her family has had profound effects on our family. This love has kindled an awareness of Christ in the hearts of others that some in my family thought very rare ...if not completely nonexistent. Driving down the road in our neck-o-the-woods you might spot a vehicle or two with the words, “Pray for Izzy” written across the back window in an effort to raise more prayers to our Heavenly Father. It’s a blessing to witness this concern and care in people. These things are a light in the heart of a dark valley.
Photo of our cousin, Thomas' car, courtesy of Michele Coleman
A light, too, has been steadily glowing in Jenny’s heart and my admiration for her grows deeper still. Due to her circumstances in the past year, she has made new friends and contacts with other parents whose children are being treated for various forms of cancer at the hospital. I can see how God works to uplift ailing hearts through Jenny’s compassion.
January 14 is the day Izzy will return to Morgantown to have a full body scan to show whether the cancer has been contained to the leg, spread to other areas or disappeared. We pray for a clean bill of health and know that, no matter what, she is in God’s hands.
Thanks to all of you who remember her and lift her name up to heaven; God bless you! †