It is remarkable that the center of strength in the neat room is Destiny Armstrong, sporting a new wig to cover her baldness and resting up for her trip to the hospital where she would be filled more than 10 times in three days with drugs designed to aggressively attack Stage IV Hodgkin's lymphoma.
One month ago, “Hodgkin’s lymphoma” wasn’t even in the family vocabulary.
One month ago, Arthur took Destiny to Mount Vernon to their family doctor, Dr. Callie Shaffer.
“I really wasn’t very sick or anything,” Destiny said. “I just had a cough.”
“Amy has a preschool here that she runs out of the house so I took her, Destiny, to her appointment,”¿Arthur said. “She had been coughing for a couple of weeks — two or three by then — but not really bad and, you know, considering the time of year and everything, we weren’t worried.”
“I thought I¿had a cold,” Destiny said.
The family has nothing but praise for the doctor for what happened next.
It is the cold and cough season, after all, and everyone agrees Destiny wasn’t very sick, but the doctor was concerned about her lymph nodes and decided to send Destiny next door to Rockcastle Regional Hospital for an X-ray.
“She sent us over to the hospital for the X-ray,” Arthur said. “And by the time we got back to her office, she told us what it was and had us scheduled to go to Lexington first thing the next morning.”
He said he was too upset to even talk to his wife so the doctor called Amy.
“She told me she had done the X-ray and what she had found,” Amy said. “I had never heard of Hodgkin's lymphoma, and she had to tell me it was cancer. I really don’t remember anything she said after that.”
Destiny said that while her dad was very emotional, she just had a calm come over her. She comforted him, telling him, “God’s got it.”
Early the next morning, the scared young parents took Destiny to the Kentucky Clinic in Lexington for bloodwork and a CT scan. The day after, it was a PET scan. A couple of days later came the biopsy and official confirmation of what her doctor already knew.
The Armstrongs, according to Destiny, are fortunate to have two churches. One is Watts Chapel Baptist Church in Crab Orchard and the other is Journey Community Church in Stanford. Amy says their churches, Destiny’s school, neighbors and friends have rushed forward to shore up the family and meet needs they didn’t know they would have.
“I¿really still haven’t been able to wrap my mind around it,” Amy said. “But people are just doing so much. People come by and we are getting calls and so many are praying for us. I am amazed by it all ... by God’s blessings on our family.”
Arthur recently had started a job at Hitachi so the family was between insurance providers. Amy said she had felt a nagging compulsion to apply for medical cards for the kids until his benefits kicked in. This is another thing she is simply gratful about and shudders to think what it might be like this month if the cards, issued just before they needed them, had not been there.
The kids at Amy’s Daycare quickly had to make other arrangements. Before Amy had even processed that this meant the loss of her livelihood, money was quietly being taken up in church love offerings and the community was getting creative about fundraising to help the family.
Watts Chapel is selling T-shirts. Journey Community Church is selling bracelets with Destiny’s message, “God’s Got It.”
“When you realize there is nothing you can do about it anyway, about what will happen, it doesn’t do any good to worry,” Destiny said.