SO if you are just joining me this morning, and have not been able to read the first part of our story through our oldest daughter’s brain surgery and walking through it, then please, go there first.
I wanted to say that miracles do happen. They do. It is hard sometimes when you are in the midst of the darkest times in your life, to see or believe that. But I have come to the conclusion that it absolutely, irrevocably happens, and in our life it has happened more times than we even want to count, mostly centered around our oldest daughter.
The Handy Hubby and I are just two simple people who have a devout faith in God and who walk each day as it is put in front of us. We fail, we struggle, we waver, and yet through some very tough circumstances, we have continued to keep both our faith and our sanity.
This surgery and hospitalization were something we dreaded for years. While our oldest daughter, Anna, was small, we pretty much lived in the hospital. We held her through spinal taps, and met the hostile and ungracious stares of people in real life who did not know any better in regards to her tiny stature and large lump on her head (her shunt). We had a cycle of home for a couple weeks, then in the hospital for a week. I guess, in a funny way, it became our “normal” and we were used to the rigamarole, and the paperwork, and the screaming child who reacted when she saw facemasks or white lab coats. We did not know what a calm, peaceful life was. All our friends and family understood, and none of the men wore beardsÂ for her first few years because she reacted toÂ those like facemasks.
And then all that went away. Suddenly, for almost ten years, peace reigned. We had a few blips that threw us into survival mode, but on the whole, this precious child was our miracle that just kept going and going.
So I don’t know why it surprised us to have that same path happening again.
Once we got back into the Childrens hospital/neurology clinic settings we realized we were not as immune to it as we had been. It was frightening. Overwhelming. Full of suffering, and agony, bloody noses and falls, and frankly, I can honestly tell you there were quite a few days I found myself on my face on the floor begging for mercy and grace to get through the day. It hurt to watch this precious and amazing kid go through this. And knowing I could not change it was even worse.
You feel helpless as a parent.
So after the miraculous timing on the surgery, of only a couple hours versus four hours, we went upstairs to the PICU. For those that don’t know much about hospitals, that stands for Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Within about 12 hours, Anna was asking to sit up, go to the bathroom, smiling ear to ear, bright and cheerful….and even the nurses were a little stunned. We learned that the surgery had taken far more of her hair than anticipated, and she would need to wear a bandana. Kurt (my husband) and I went into creative mode and whipped out some bandanas we had in his suitcase. Within minutes we had stuffies wearing them, Kurt and I were wearing them, and we presented our daughter with one. Through the tears. Because if you understand 14 year old girls at all, their hair is rather important to themÂ at this age.
And that, my friends, is when I saw, again, that the kindness of strangers often makes the difference when you are in a difficult place in life. First it was a nurse who donned one, then another, and another. Anna smiled bigger and bigger, despite the bandages swathing her head, and we knew that there were more folks who would encourage her if we gave them the chance.
And that was how #BandanasforAnna was born over on Facebook. Soon my news feed, and then my husband’s newsfeed filled up with pictures of sweet friends, and lovely family, puppies and stuffies, children and their parents, all wearing bandanas or hats in support of my amazing daughter, whose story had blessed so many over the last couple months.
I tell you what, being the parent to a kid like this is sometimes humbling, and stretching, and blessing beyond measure.
The story continued as less than two days later the doctor took one look at her and said: “She is ready to go home, and we are comfortable with that.” Here we had been planning a week, but in TWO DAYS, she was healthy, and strong, and blowing everyone out of the water. She was raring to go but to be honest, this mamma was quaking in her shoes. Could I handle it if there was an issue? Those incisions looked pretty scary. What if she fell? What if we could not control the pain? All those questions went through my mind, and an amazing nurse named Maggie sat down with me, encouraged me, walked me through the process, and prayed with me. What an incredible blessing to be surrounded by the kindness of such people when you are at the scariest points in your life, right?
I want to show youÂ picture of my daughter less than two days out from the surgery.
We took her “home” to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and then left the next morning for the final leg of the trip. And I don’t have time to tell you right now about the trip home on glare ice, or the time we spent in the ditch, or the hotel that was waiting graciously, or how when we finally walked in the door we saw the amazing blessing of friends having been there. I will save all that for Friday.
But I want to encourage you. When you face those dark times, don’t worry about being strong enough to face them. If you lean on the Lord, he really will walk you through them and give you the strength you need…and surround you with people who you need right then.
Blessings to you and yours,