Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The test

I was one of "those" students. The few that actually cared about my grades. I would enter into friendly competitions with my friends about scores on exams. I had a photographic memory that when I looked at a couple of pages prior to a test, would ensure an A+. If I was too busy flirting (which happened a LOT) then I would scoot by with an A-. Never had test anxiety and always the first to turn it back in to the teacher. Yep...I was a nerd. :)
Since I've entered the "real" world, I've never had to solve a physics problem without the aid of a formula. I've never had to multiply by decimals without a calculator in hand. I can easily use spell check or my co-worker if I come across a word that I can't remember the correct spelling. Frankly, the education system taught me many things (stoichiometry anyone?), but I wasn't prepared for the BIG test.
A test from God. A test I have unfortunately failed.
Often in my life, since my son Matthew's birth, I feel like I failed him in some way. He was born without a urethra, and it caused irreversible kidney damage when his urine back-flowed while in utero. I even went as far as blaming God for not making me strong enough to make him perfectly, without this defect that would be life changing and one day....may be life ending.
Due to this one little defect, a missing link of tubing that is connected to the bladder, my son has endured 26 surgeries in his short 3 years of life, including a kidney transplant. He had a beginning at the bladder and an end at the tip, but nothing in the middle. I was told the doctors might be able to reconstruct a urethra for him one day, but it would be complicated and might not work.
Through out these past four years (well, 4 years in 3 days - as that is the day we found out about Matthew's condition during my pregnancy) our family has been tested. I've been tested. Tested to give up control (a HUGE thing for me!) and as I have said often "let go, and let God". I had THOUGHT I had done this.
I have given my son's life to God. Both before and after his birth. When I failed the medical exams for being a donor to Matthew, I once again left it up to God. And WOW! He showed me He really did know better! I thought life and death was enough. Now I've learned it isn't.
Yesterday, my son was scheduled to have another operation. Shortly after beginning, I was told to meet the surgeon in the consult room. The doctor informed me they didn't do the surgery as planned, purely because there now wasn't a need. Matthew has GROWN a fully functioning and complete urethra! The doctor, the same one that has been working on my son since birth, couldn't explain what had happened. He just shook his head and smiled. He said if he had only looked once before, then maybe he might have missed something. But he's looked MANY times - several on ultrasound, VCUG scans and even opening him up to do exploratory surgery...nothing. Nothing even in October when Matthew had his last scan.
Now all of a sudden - something!
Something fully healed and perfectly made.
Just how my son was made. Just how God made my son.
I know understand my test. My feeling of failure was purely a selfish and unnecessary issue with my own sense of pride. I didn't fail him. God made him in a way to show me that...that's it's not about me! It never was. God made Matthew to do things that the doctors said he never could. God made Matthew to take matters in his own hands, inside his own body to heal and prove them wrong.
That things can't always be explained by science and medicine...somethings are just left to God's timing. Perfect timing. For a perfect boy...that was perfectly created. And I am perfectly thrilled to know I had absolutely no part in this miraculous healing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Going with the Woe

Bad things happen to good people. Things not in our control; things that leave us shaking our heads; things that make us ask "why my family?". A five year old little boy is dying from cancer. Cancer caused by the medicines his body needed to keep his transplanted kidney. There is a fifteen year old daughter and sister, who was unable to attend her parents' and siblings' funeral because she was still hospitalized in Florida while they were buried back home in metro Atlanta. Random acts of violence, natural disasters and even house fires turn many families lives and dreams upside down.
It would be easy to give into the "woe is me" mentality. I've done it. Woe is me for having to watch my son go through so much. Woe is me for having to spend so much time away from my husband and other son, because my baby needs me right now. Woe is me, another year without a vacation...gotta save that many for medical co-pays. Then I hear about a child losing their fight... and once again I am grateful.
It shouldn't be that way! We should always be grateful! It shouldn't take bad news to make us feel happier about our life and all the blessings in it.
I know there is a greater certainty that I will outlive my son.
That knowledge has left me breathless and broken-hearted. I can't count the times I have crumbled in the middle of the night, wracked by sobs of sorrow. The only balm I have - is right now. Whenever my fear creeps in, the uncertainty seeps through or the darkness covers my rays of happiness...I just look at him. And I'm grateful.
Grateful to have this experience. Grateful for whatever time we have together, whether it be counted in days or's more time than I was told we would have before he was born.
So instead of letting the "woes" build up - we let them go. Turning woe into wonder, sorrow into smiles and fear into faith. Faith that we will handle anything that comes our way. Smiles that we made it together this far. Wonder in the normal, everyday experiences we get to share.
If my son has to fight bigger battles ahead and tells me he is tired, then I will let him go...and I won't have any "woe". There will only be the joy of what we had.

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