Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Beginning

Josh (and me) when he was four!
When my oldest son, Josh, was five years old, a week long headache sent my husband and I driving to the E.R. expecting a sinus infection or to be told to give him some Tylenol and call the pediatrician on Monday.  What happened after a routine CT Scan, however, forever changed my life.  "It's a good thing we did the scan," the doctor stated rather bluntly, "he has a mass on his brain."  How do you recover from such words?  I thought that I wouldn't.  Only a week later, we sat impatiently in the waiting room of the Children's Hospital in Knoxville, TN as a pediatric neurologist removed what we were soon to learn wasn't a tumor after all, but a cavernous angioma.  When the surgeon emerged through the double doors and relayed the news, my dad danced, leaped and danced before the Lord -not unlike David who took to the streets in praise of the goodness of his God. 

Why am I beginning with Josh?  Because some of you  may be like me.  After an event like this, you wipe the sweat from your brow, thank God for his mercy and deliverance --and you rest.  You think that you have just endured what will be expected from you this side of heaven. Surely God knows how much you struggled, how much you cried, how much you prayed, and realizes that this was all that you could handle.  Surely.
Josh and Ethan in 2005

Sometimes, most of the time, God's plans are different.  He journeys with us through one storm so that the next one we face, we can do so with much more assurance and trust in Him.  When Ethan was born with ten fingers and nine toes, we were concerned, but reassured by the hospital pediatrician that someone in the family tree probably had a few extra toes or a missing digit --it was nothing to lose sleep over.

The lost sleep came in a few short months when I realized that his left leg, along with a missing toe, seemed shorter than the right.  Sure enough, the pediatrician agreed, and the hunt for a diagnosis began.

Ethan -age 6
Long story short, an orthopedist in Knoxville, TN diagnosed Ethan with a "mild" case of Fibular Hemimelia when he was nine-months-old and suggested that treatment wouldn't need to begin until age 12 or 13.  At home, I searched the Internet, but found little information about FH, and what I did find were scary images of amputated limbs and what I now recognize as external fixators.   We stayed with the doctors in Knoxville until Ethan turned six-years-old, and God sent us elsewhere.