Well, it's here. The Day 29 test.
This day has been looming over us since we left. It was basically the "third option" as Dr. Smith called it. Come back for the first treatment, see how she responds and then we can decide from there. It was a great option, without it I would've had to decide if we were going to start treatment in Japan (knowing that she might not be healthy enough to leave on a plane for a while), or if we were going to just fly home and leave everything be had just built in Japan -that's a hard decision to make in 3 days.
So, we took the 3rd option which gave us time to think it all over, to let the reality of what this new road would really look like sink in. Time to be honest with what we had already lost. Yet, we have already lost our life in Japan, the way it was. The bike rides to school as a family, the smiley visits and hugs from Abby and Anna during their passing periods. We've lost the dream of being together each day as a family. We'll have to grieve that. It'll be a process but we'll walk it out together, as best as we can. So, the reality is, that things have already changed.
I was hoping that the Day 29 test would somehow make it all magically clear, we would know if we should stay or should we go back to Japan? However as we walked out the last couple weeks it has already become clear. We will be staying in Colorado for the rest of the treatment.
Here are a few paragraphs that Tiffany I wrote to convey our sadness to some friends and colleges at ASIJ:
"The Schreiber family will not be able to return to ASIJ while Abby is undergoing this treatment.
-that sentence has brought many tears with it, and is hard to write. Oh how we wish it was different in so many ways. But it's not, and so we'll walk this new path out in faith and hope and see where it leads us.
So, it's day 29 and we don't have to wait for the results. Either way we are staying here and re-starting our new life. More changes to come but we'll walk this out just like we always have -in faith and as a family.
We did want to come back, we've been holding out on having to make this decision, hoping to wait until the 30-day test are in. Unfortunately, the test result timeline put the school in a hard place for potential re-staffing. I had a candid and honest conversation last week that it was very unlikely that our family would be able to walk out this treatment in Japan, especially in the short-term. Even if the test results are good, and she only has to do the chemo route, it would still be several months before we would even have the possibility to return and at that point who knows what our needs may be.So when we look at it that way, we see that unfortunately things have already changed, we can't go back to the way it was in Japan, and that is what we really are longing for.
Though it's only been a semester, ASIJ feels like a big part of our family. We know you and all of the other staff would've supported us in more ways than we could even imagine. We know that the ASIJ community would've rally around our family, around Abby. However, when I really think about what Abby needs, what her little 13-year-old personality can take, I just can't see her walking this out in a Japanese hospital. I know the medical care would be great (and I'm sure she would learn Japanese extra quickly there). However, I don't see that road as a road that would really build her up, something that would encourage her faith. Even with all of the support that would be rallied around her, I see it being a very lonely place for her.
We moved to Japan to do life together as a family, and we did. We loved getting hugs from the girls whenever we could see them, the beginning of the day, at lunch or anywhere in-between. Through the good and the hard, we were grounded as a family. And now, with this radical change of events, we are striving to be in this together as well. We just wish we our extended ASIJ family could be here with us along the way.
Have a great Christmas break everyone.