My eyes teared up as I watched a four year old boy crying in his mama’s arms as Max played happily to the tune of the prayers of friends and family around the world. They found a brain tumour last week in the little boy; he had tubes in his noses and his arms and he was done with it all. Over it. “Everybody here is very mean mama. Everyone hurts me. I can’t stay here any more and you can’t make me. There is nothing you can do or say to make me feel better I’m going home.”
My eyes welled up as she bravely held a very articulate little boy, probably wishing she could make it all go away even more than he did, trying to find the words to explain, the courage to lend him, and the strength to keep herself going.
The next morning it was my turn. In the early hours of the morning, after a particularly challenging night when Max spiked a post-surgery fever and was up with blood tests, medication and cranky roommates for more than half of the night, I sent Jared home for a nap and let my little boy take his turn melting down.
He wailed in my arms and every trick I knew didn’t work. He just wanted to go home.
And as sad as that moment made me, my heart welled up with joy. We desire to cultivate a home that is a place of security, of peace, and of the presence of God. And in that moment, as heartbroken as I was, my heart soared because to Max, that’s what our home has become. It felt good to hear it and to know it. A parenting high in the midst of a heartbreaking challenge.
There may have been some tough moments during our time in the hospital, but for every challenge, there were a hundred blessings… at least.
Not the least of which is that our boy is healed.
I prayed God would do a miracle and I remember one moment in the wee hours of the morning, weeks ago when I couldn’t sleep, I heard Him whisper back, “What if I want to use surgery to heal him, Rebekah?”
And it appears that that is what He’s done.
The infection is gone. It was a nasty one, embedded deep and strong and resistant. The team involved were confident that this was the very best course of action.
In addition to this miracle, we saw so many moves of God’s grace along the way… the fact that Max was a near perfect patient. At each shift change the nurse would ask why he hasn’t had more pain medication and the other would say, “He’s been content so we’ve held off.” The wound care team said, “I kept expecting him to jump but he just laid there. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
No, he wasn’t perfect. He got emotional. He couldn’t sleep to the tune of emergency buzzers going off every half hour and children screaming in pain and discomfort. The bandage hurt coming off. And sometimes he just reallyreallyreally wanted apple juice.
But that’s when the grace turned up too. A nurse just who popped over with the apple juice just in time… and some tylenol. The cleaning lady who kept bubbles in her cleaning box. Surprise visits from our favourite nurses who have been seeing Max throughout this ordeal, even though it wasn’t their job to pop by. Friends arriving with treats at just the right moment.
They may seem minor. But in a Children’s Ward full of aching families, every bit of joy and hope we experienced was acknowledged with deep gratitude. There were challenges… but we were so blessed in the midst of them.
When we got a visit from the lead surgeon who has been seeing Max, we saw the wound for the first time. It was bigger than I expected… but we learned that one of the larger abscesses had popped during the procedure and the fact that he didn’t have an infection already was a surprising result. (Lord, is that You?)
We also learned that there was indeed some minor nerve damage. That would explain the slacking we had noticed on the left side of his lower lip… the one I had been hoping was the bandaid pulling his skin… I saw the look of relief on the surgical assistant’s face when she said, “I wasn’t sure the extent of the damage. I was so relieved when I heard he could eat and talk completely normally.”
Just one more moment I counted our blessings.
We were there longer than anticipated. And though we were very well taken care of, we are ALL glad to be home – in our place of refuge and peace.
Max spends most of his time asking to run outside or sing and dance inside. He is visibly relieved to be back. He melts down every now and then – we give him some pain medication and he seems to morph back into himself within around 20 minutes. I think he is still hurting more than we realise … or even more than he is willing to admit.
Playing football with daddy is just too much fun. Its a good thing the paediatric outreach nurses are doing a house visit tomorrow. Seems he popped open part of the wound during a tackle. Oops.
We’re all catching up on sleep, enjoying a relatively lazy weekend, bursting into spontaneous prayers of gratitude to God because it truly could’ve been a different result in many ways.
Thanks for so many who prayed. We are grateful for you all.
Our boy is healed.