“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to
you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13
What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday I was sitting down the computer after my Savannah sabbatical and feeling spiritually renewed. I guess the Lord knew I needed it! I had no idea we were about to be tried in the fire with something we were completely unprepared for. Last Monday, Garrett was admitted to Akron Children’s Hospital after a CT scan showed he had a mass on the right side of his brain. He had been experiencing headaches for the past week and a half and they were getting progressively worse. In a family of 7, it seems we are always passing one bug around or another, so initially I just chalked it up to that. He didn’t have a fever, so I thought perhaps he was dehydrated and playing too hard in the high heat. As the days went on though, his headaches became more bothersome. It got to the point last Monday that he needed to cock his head to the side to alleviate the pain. Then he started complaining that his neck and spine hurt as well. That’s when we decided to take him in.
My friend, our angel, and ACH PICU nurse, Tracey (Garrett’s best friend’s mom) met us in the ER, kept us calm (when I was hyperventilating) and gave us some perspective: The mass was sizable, but it was important not to show fear or tears around Garrett. Having just lost my dad to cancer a few weeks earlier, my mind simply could not compute the possible outcome we were facing. Jim was equally dumbfounded and devastated, but courageously holding on to his composure for the sake of his son. The last week has really been a blur to tell you the truth, between taking shifts at home and the hospital, relying on amazing friends who stepped in to help, mentally preparing ourselves for neurosurgery, going through the two-and-a-half-hour long MRI and ultimately hearing the final diagnosis: Garrett suffered a stroke. The CT scan showed a mass, but the MRI is able to detail the area much better, and that clearly revealed an inflamed area of the brain due to stroke, NOT a tumor! No cancer, no surgery! Initially, we were told it was a mass. We were also told it appeared he would need to have brain surgery to extract the mass. I didn’t allow my mind to go further than that (as to what type of mass it could be). So, to hear it was NOT a mass, and he didn’t need surgery, and that he would be okay…was an answer to our wildest prayers! In addition, the place in his brain where the stroke occurred was such that it did not have any immediate consequences or any long-term effects (no paralysis). This, I believe, is a miracle. From the moment Garrett was admitted, people began praying on behalf of our son, his healing, recovery and for the doctors, tests and the Lord to have mercy. The power of prayer is real! Prayer is not used like a superstitious talisman, but for Believers we trust the Lord’s promise, that he hears the prayers of the faithful. Over and over, scripture reminds us.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)
“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19)
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
So I thank you for those who prayed…you facilitated in a miracle! And, I know it is not always this way. With my dad, he was in Gesthemene. Like Jesus in the garden, he asked “Lord, let this cup pass me by.” But, that was not to be. My dad was called to carry his cross of cancer. As family, we were like Simon of Cyrene and tried to help him on his way to Calvary, but it was not the Lord’s will to deliver him with a cure. For Garrett’s situation though, I feel like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe and was healed, or the Gentile woman who begged the Lord to heal her daughter, and He did! Thank you, thank you, thank you for storming heaven and advocating for Garrett!
I am also very grateful for his neurosurgeon, Dr. Hudgins who pushed paperwork, rushed tests and was able to get him home on Thursday so he could attend his Grandpa’s burial and memorial service. The level of care and compassion at Akron Children’s Hospital is superb. We are one of thousands of thankful families, I’m sure, to be grateful for such an amazing hospital, and so close to where we live.
Here is just one of the stellar programs they provide. It’s the “Doggie Brigade” at ACH. This visit from Buddy brightened Garrett’s day!
He also received lots of treats. Look at that ice cream!
His brothers promised to never “be mean” to their brother again. This was a scare that shook us all to the core. As you can see, they have a renewed appreciation for one another.
Unfortunately, this perfect scene did not last forever. Lol. Shortly after Garrett got back home, an argument ensued about Garrett leaving his clothes on Grant’s floor. O’well. Normalcy is a blessing!
Jim is amazing. He wouldn’t leave Garrett’s side for one minute, didn’t shower for 3 days and slept in a chair next to his bed the entire time. The love he has for his son was evident in every way. I am so grateful to be his wife and mother of his children.
We still have a lot to wade through, but for now I just celebrate where we are TODAY. He is home, he is recovering, and we have prayer and great medical care to thank for that. This entire ordeal was awash with new things to pray about, people to pray for… and to thank. I have more to write but my time is limited. I just wanted to extend appreciation from this grateful mom.
I would be remiss if I also didn’t acknowledge my Dad’s burial and memorial service. It was beautiful. I think I still have a ways to go in the grief process, but the time with family to celebrate his life was the healing balm I think we all needed. God bless. And keep believing in miracles!