It’s Everetts 3rd birthday and I’m declaring it… we are turning our backs and walking away from all of the trauma and hardship. For the last week or so his recovery has been so good but I’ve been so hesitant to say that he’s on the mend since the last month after surgery was so up and down. I’m starting off this new hopeful season by tell you the oh-so-true story of Everett’s little miraculous life.
About 3 and a half months ago our saga began after a trip to Texas. Everett came home with a virus of some sort that became respiratory. After a week of seeing multiple doctors and each time getting sent home with instructions to care for him at home, I finally caved and took him to the ER. Once I took him in, the virus had turned into a bad case of pneumonia (a real nightmare as a mom to have let it get this far!).
We spent about a week in the hospital as the doctors treated the pneumonia. After a few days, lots of IVS, blood work, and even an ultrasound (all of these are horrible for any kid to go through and also horrible for parents to have to watch their kid going through), they decided that the pneumonia would go away with the right treatment and without having to get a chest tube. When they delivered this news, we were so releaved but then they said there was more news from the tests. The ultrasound showed a large tumor in his liver and we’d have to first get an MRI (super risky to sedate your child for an MRI when they have pneumonia) and then see a specialist and do more testing to see if it was cancer. Suddenly, pneumonia seemed like the least of our worries.
Our first major miracle was that the pneumonia had to get to just the right stage (not too harsh but bad enough) for him to have to get an ultrasound so that the tumor was even found. Had they not done the ultrasound, the tumor would have gone on living inside him and eventually been harmful for his body. This is when I started to understand how God possibly allowed the doctors, previous to our ER visit, to not send us to the hospital right away.
We left the hospital with the news of the tumor, and were directed to see a specialist within a week. The specialist, who just so happens to be at the top of her field in liver cancers for kids and who just so happens to live in Salt Lake City, told us that we must resect this tumor and part of his liver and that our son will be going through a massive surgery to make sure that it is all gone. We then had to wait about 6 weeks, making sure the pneumonia was completely healed before he underwent major surgery.
The six weeks was hard at times and really sweet at times. We prayed until we couldn’t pray any more, then our friends prayed. The days sometimes felt like normal life sprinkled with times of light celebration but there was always a dark cloud above us, knowing that the time was coming near. Ironically, it was also Easter, and we were literally having a life lesson on waiting, endurance, and suffering.
Easter came and went and then I knew that surgery would be near. We did our best to treasure every moment with our healthy little guy until April 5th arrived, surgery day.
All of the praying and all of the bathing in scripture and love served us so well. The day of surgery came with no complications. It was a sunny day and we waited in a peaceful area of the hospital with dear friends. Everett got to go into surgery room with a friend of ours so he wasn’t scared (miracle #1), surgery took at least 1 hour less time than they projected (this never happens! – miracle #2), the entire tumor was removed (miracle #3), he didn’t have to get a blood transfusion (miracle #4), and he woke up peacefully for the first time with his parents right by his side – unafraid or anxious even with 10+ tubes coming from his body (miracle #5). All of these which were prayed for fervently.
The recovery at the hospital was up and down. He was released from the ICU 1 day early (another miracle) and our overall stay was only 6 days when it was projected to be 10-14 days (miracles, miracles!). The nights were hard and his stability would often tank in the middle of the night. One night we even had to call in our anesthesiologist to come to the hospital in the middle of the night because his pain and breathing got to such bad levels. That night I remember watching his chest go up and down until the sun rose. Every time we had to change a medication it seemed to dramatically affect Everett’s stability. Finally, we found the right medicine combinations and we’re released to go home to continue recovery.
It certainly, wasn’t over when we came home. The next month or so of our life was a roller coaster. The pain seemed unmanageable at times and all of the medical procedures that were given to us as parents to carry out just seemed overwhelming. We called our surgery team at least a few times a week with questions and concerns. We returned to the hospital twice for unplanned visits.
Finally, over a month later we can start to look back and see big steps of recovery as well as God’s good hand in all of this. Though I wish the recovery was smoother and less traumatic, healing is often times a very painful process. All the while God was teaching us patience and giving us more strength and faith than we ever thought imaginable.
Now, we’re saying goodbye to the rainy days we’ve been filled with this Spring and welcoming in the sun and light!
Photos in this post are from our travels around Italy last fall. Also see below for verses that got us through this season.
Here are some verses that God me through this season. If anyone of you are going through something similar or know someone who is I hope you can find encouragement in them as well. Good food, prayer, flowers, and tears are also helpful 🙂 If you would like more verses please reach out to me as I have a whole long list. I carried a little ring of note cards with me around the hospital and would often go on walks to pray and read through them. I also helped Everett memorize a few verses before surgery about not being afraid and could give you those too.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! – Psalm 27-13-14
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done. – Psalm 105:4-5
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:9-10
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Phillipians 4:6-7