Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chapter 5 - Down Miracle Road

Christian went Code Blue again during that initial emergency operation. The doctor explained that to Gary and me as he showed us the sub-dermal tubing in Christian’s chest and the shunt planted behind his ear – also under the skin. For however long the child’s illness lasted, he would be wearing this equipment.
They needed a biopsy, of course. Looking at major surgery in about three day, when he will be stabilized and stronger. He will have the best of doctors throughout the region, the finest oncologist, neurologist, pediatrician, nutritionist, and physical therapist that money can buy. About twenty-four hours after all of this begun, I knew Christian was already in God’s hands. He seemed pretty okay and was responding well to all the medical attention. In a quieter moment, when we were alone, I realized he would never be the same. His soul had been magnified and he was driven to tell anyone who came near - beginning with me.
“Mommy,” Christian said.
“What?” I asked.
“Mommy, I had a long dream.” Well, I have just lived a nightmare, I thought to myself. Maybe he’s had a nightmare, too.
“What was your dream about?” I asked casually.
“I dreamed I went to Heaven and I talked to God.”

“You talked to God?!” I asked unbelievingly but without changing the tone of my voice. He nodded affirmatively as I went about picking my teeth up off the floor. When I regained my composure, I acted very happy for him and asked him,
“Well, what did you talk about?” I couldn’t believe Christian and God were even face to face, or even imagine what the Almighty and my little boy would have said to each other had there been such a meeting.
This is how Christian’s ministry began. For the next forty eight hours, he somehow would not succumb to sedation. In between screams of pain because the filtering device on the shunt was failing, Christian repeatedly told others, as he had told me, of God’s love for everyone in the world. I found my jaw gapping after hearing that bit of news.
“God loves everyone in the world.” A prophecy! I didn’t know God loved us all. He went on to assure us God loves us and would take care of us.
“God said, ‘don’t ever give up’.”
Christian sang his favorite Sunday school songs and even made up songs impromptuously when his nurses were listening to his pure, unadulterated testimonial. The sweetness of the angels exudes from him as he graciously thanked them for every irritating procedure required to sustain his life.

“Thanks, girls, I needed that.” He was so delightful. I began to see God again in the way we do as children, before life’s cruel blows. I had grown up to believe that God was picky. Picky. Picky. Christian taught me the truth I had given up on. No matter how I strive to be holy, I am unworthy of Christ’s dying on the Cross for my salvation. Just believe. God loves everyone. Don’t ever give up.
Another minor surgery was needed to manipulate the shunt and, after his condition stabilized, the day of the six hour long brain operation came. Early on that morning Christian was on his way to pre-op, lying on a gurney, with his father walking alongside. In the moments before Gary had to leave, Christian was the one doing the reassuring.
“Remember, don’t give up,” he instructed. Gary told me what Christian said when he joined the rest of us in the surgery waiting room. I know I must have seemed almost idiotic, but I couldn’t help smiling through the entire life-threatening ordeal. God’s words, spoken through Christian, would sustain us as we endured hours of waiting to hear the outcome.

We had been made fully aware of the worst that could happen and the ramifications of brain surgery, in general. If he survives, he will continue to exhibit the same symptoms of his illness as before. The seizures, the vomiting, the headaches, and he may have to relearn certain motor skills, such as walking and speech. When Gary and I went to Christian’s side in post-op, we found him still to be 100%. His sweet disposition remained intact and he spoke in his usual way. He was as loving as ever as we all hugged and kissed one another.
The neurosurgeon had cut away grayish tissue from the medulla-oblongata. The tumor had attached to the organism that tells the diaphragm to drop, thus causing the lungs to fill with air. But the organism does not regenerate, which ruled out carving away the entire mass. A biopsy would reveal whether he had a malignancy, and if so, radiation therapy might get the remaining cancerous cells, or, at the very least, to halt their spread. The battle was just beginning.

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