Happy, Happy, Happy!

That’s what this little man kept saying today as we walked the trails to one of our area’s more secluded beaches.

“Happy! Happy! Happy!”

I smiled and all I could think was, “Me too, kid; me too.”

We’ve had lots of happy news lately. It was the first weekend that I was able to do a full clean on the house (a top to bottom clean and on my own) since getting so sick. I turned a significant corner at the 16 week mark and though I was still puffing a bit on our short hike to a secluded beach today, my fitness is coming back faster than I thought it would after laying flat for so long.

More importantly, we got happy news from Max’s surgeon. We left the hospital with tears on our cheeks after being told we would almost certainly be returning for surgery three weeks ago, but as we prayed we began to think that God is up to something else… something miraculous, maybe?

And so it was last Tuesday that while our favourite nurses teased that maybe we were optimistic parents thinking that perhaps those lumps were getting smaller, the surgeon himself wondered if it was a possibility they were starting to break down. The past week and a half Max has been symptom-free on the meds, so he suggested we keep going for a couple of months and see what happens. He also asked us to meet with the infectious disease doctor who is overseeing Max’s case to confirm, but we are feeling confident that something has changed… that a miracle is happening.

And while we don’t love going to the hospital every week for checkups, we are excited that on Tuesday we will not only be visiting the infectious disease unit; we’ll also get to see our new little baby too! A few more days and I’ll be half way through this pregnancy, and we can barely wait to see if this is the little girl we’ve been suspecting or another precious little boy.

Oh, and in case you wondered, in the midst of our craziness, we’re still doing our work with YWAM. And we’re still loving it. And we’re still seeing lives changed. Stories to come! Good ones.

Happy, Happy, Happy Ones!

A Short Update…

Well, it seems there’s been a miscommunication with our doctor and the hospital and Max’s appointment on Tuesday will be a pre-op consultation with the paediatric surgeon at the hospital and we don’t have a surgery date yet.

The good news is, this means that there is still a small possibility that there many a less-evasive option available to us, which we would LOVE.

Just so you know how to pray!! 🙂

We are feeling the love for our boy… thanks so much for standing with our family!

Praying for our Maxy Moo

What we thought started as a simple swollen gland has culminated over the past three months to today… when we found out our little boy will be having surgery on Tuesday.

We went through all of the standard procedures way back when we first noticed that little golf ball on the side of his neck… after watching it for a while and trying some home remedies, we talked to a doctor and after two rounds of antibiotics, there was still no improvement.

Blood tests were next and I can’t tell you how sad it was to hold my baby down with another nurse while they took three vials… or how happy it was to hear all was normal.

But after a series of ultrasounds monitoring this little (but kinda big) mystery bulging out of his neck, it has been determined that it is some type of abnormal cyst which needs to be removed… quickly.

Our surgery has been booked for Tuesday morning at 8:30 at Townsville General Hospital.

We’re sad. And we’re grateful.

We’ve been praying for Max to be well and were anticipating another game of hurry up and wait as we were referred to a paediatric surgeon. Although we have been assured all the time, that they are not keen to cut open little kids, all three doctors who have evaluated Max over the past few months are now quite eager to see that lump gone… and to hopefully figure out a little bit more about what it is and how deep it goes as it penetrates further than the ultrasound can see.

It was quite the miracle and clever handling of our family doctor to get Max in to the best paediatric surgeon in town… all through our public health system and at no financial burden to us. It happened in 15 minutes and she is even taking part of her scheduled holiday off to track with our little family over this journey.

Who loves doctors who are not only smart but also compassionate, tenacious and full of faith? We do.

Our job today is to learn how to prepare for pre-op and post-op. Our only indication is that we will be in hospital for 3-4 days but we are eager to confirm that and get a bit more detail.

In the mean time, although underlined with gratefulness, our emotions are sometimes reeling and our mind is tempted to ask some of those scary what ifs… When I woke up this morning at 4am after a bad dream I asked God, “This is not just an average sickness. As a mother, when am I allowed to worry?”

His quick and oh so good yet challenging response?

“Be anxious for NOTHING. But in EVERYTHING… with prayer and thanksgiving… let your requests be made known to ME.”

Okay.

Will you join us in giving thanks?

Thanks for the wisdom that God has given thus far to the doctors. Thanks that Max has been relatively well through all of this. Thanks that Jared & I have one another and so many wonderful friends and family to help us journey (it truly has bonded us in a unique way!) Thanks that the appointment came up so quickly.

And will you join us in making a request?

That Max’s health would continue to be stable leading up to this operation. That they would find everything quickly and it would be far enough away from the major blood vessels, etc, which are dangerously close at the moment. That we would have the wisdom to walk him through this in a way that meets his needs and somehow instills faith in him as well. That we would bring life and gratitude and hope to the many more doctors and nurses we are about to engage with. And that we would continue to walk in the peace that the Father is lavishing on us.

The Day I Never Imagined

Of all the things I have imagined doing with my child, laying on an emergency room hospital bed comforting him was not on the list.

Nurses are WAY cooler than mom and dad. They let me play with all the cords I want!

And yet today, the day that was supposed to be spent in the sun doing yard work and welcoming a new group of girls who will be living in the unit below us and tackling those ten (yes, ten) loads of laundry that have piled up this week (can you tell that going to Brisbane and preparing for our presentations in America next week has kicked me in the butt?)… that is what we did.

Little man had a temperature… 103.5. It had been fluctuating between 101.5 and 102.5 all day the day before, and this morning I just couldn’t kick it. It kept going up. So the doctor said to bring him straight to the ER.

Once we got past the wall of smoke (why is the smoking section of a HOSPITAL right outside the entrance?) and the blood splatters on the concrete (so gross), they put us straight into the first available bed.

…The one across from the man covered from head to toe in a sheet. I kept sneaking glances to see if he’d move (surely they don’t just leave dead bodies lying around… right?). He must’ve sensed my unease because he finally peeked at me, smiled, and put the sheet back over his face.

Ummm… thanks?

Evidently they take a fever that high in such a little one pretty seriously. I’m a first time mom and not much of a worrying one at that. How was I supposed to know?

In the end, they said it was a viral infection… and to keep doing what we’re doing. Keeping him cool and comfortable, and managing the fever with meds.

It got me thinking about perspective though. The way that I/we see life.

Here I was, just one day in the Emergency Room with my son. We were just trying to do our best to look after him but pretty certain everything was and would be fine.

But what about those who aren’t fine? What about people like our friend Landon.

We’ve been praying for Landon for 25 days now. He was in a horrible car accident and he just isn’t waking up.

And of all the things to be challenged by, Landon’s family’s perspective in the midst of this awful situations is… incredible. How do you talk about a coma? Unhopeful doctors? The threat of death… with humour? With vulnerability? With honesty? With inclusiveness? With humility? With hope?

I’ve learned a lot from those Hochstetlers in the past 25 days.

An easy life is not always a guarantee.

But we do have choices to make. Perspective to determine. Hope to fight for.

And I hope that whether I’m thrown a big curve ball like Landon’s or just an annoying lob like Max’s, that I remain full of faith and hope and love.

Thanks Hochstetlers. Your faith and hope and love have challenged the way that we see life.

And that is just ONE of the reasons that the past 25 days have not been in vain!

Hoping. Believing. And Loving with ya…

Elephants and angels watching over us...