We rejoice in the goodness of God in the land of the LIVING! GOD IS ALIVE AND WELL AND SO IS ANDREW!
From Wednesday - Friday, Andrew was suffering with a terrible headache and intermittent vomiting. He had not eaten because of the scheduling of two MRI's with sedation. He was beginning to look like death. He slept between my husband and me Thursday night so I could be on watch in case he vomited. Because of his left side weakness, it was very difficult for him to raise himself up without our help. I was afraid he would aspirate the vomit so I kept a watchful eye and a prayerful heart throughout the night. The only thing he asked for was a cold cloth on his forehead and for me to rub away the pain. Mothers, you know that whatever it takes to bring relief to your sick child is what you will do. Friday morning I got up at 5:30 to do some research. I updated my blog and looked at a FB message from someone who had sent me a link to Shand's hospital. I had heard about Shand's over the last 2 1/2 weeks but had been in such information overload that I had not contacted them.
I had mentioned to someone and maybe in a post here that we were beginning to wonder if all of the delays in treatment were "God delays."
I went online and found the number for the cancer center at Shands. With one phone call I was transferred to Dr. Amy Smith, one of God's finest - of that I'm convinced. I told her how desperate we were and she told me to get here and she and Dr. Pincus would see us. She also told me that she was doing treatment that was so new that she had not yet opened it as a clinical trial but had already used it with some kids whose diagnoses were very bad. We hastily packed bags, made a couple of phone calls and got Andrew ready for the 3 hr trip. He lay reclined in the seat with a cloth on his head. I changed it out when it got warm. He only drank enough water to take some meds. He ate nothing which turned out to be a good thing.
On the way I was also in touch with a patient coordinator from St. Jude. This woman, Tabatha Doyle, is the sweetest most generous woman who truly desires to help people! She told me to keep the appt. at Shand's and let me know if we wanted to keep driving to St. Jude's in Memphis. She gave me her cell phone # and told me to keep checking in.
On the drive I would check on Andrew who lay motionless and hardly talked except to tell us how bad his head hurt.
We put him in a wheelchair and held his head up while we waited for a consultation with Dr. Amy Smith and Dr. Pincus. After viewing the MRI cd we had carried with us, Dr. Pincus told us that as risky as surgery would be, it was the only thing at this point that would save Andrew's life. Possible risks included permanent left side paralysis. Dr. Pincus was prepared to do surgery as soon as possible. I felt in my heart that we needed to do it. My husband was very torn about what to do. We discussed it and prayed and called Tabatha Doyle again from SJ. She assured us that Andrew was in excellent hands and that Shands and St. Jude's referred patients to one another. She said if Dr. Pincus is telling you it's the only thing to do to save Andrew's life, then do it. This helped my husband have peace, too.
As we have done many times since August 26, we placed Andrew in God's hands. I told God, "Andrew is yours, Abba Father. Papa he's yours. We trust his life in your hands."
We called our pastor and his wife and they picked up our other two children and my mother and drove straight to Gainesville. We wanted to wait until they could see Andrew before surgery. When we told Andrew that the surgeon wanted to take some of the tumor out and his head would feel better he said, "When can he do it?"
That led us to have him taken right away into surgery so our son would not have to suffer from the excruciating pain in his head. I asked Dr. Pincus, "Do you feel he will make it through the surgery?" He assured us Andrew would survive surgery and we gave him permission to get started.
I'll tell you more details later but just know Andrew is talking to us, made an inside joke that the nurse didn't get but we did! He wants to see Ted, his dog, and is trying to move his toes and fingers on the left side.
Oh...And we ARE being led in TRIUMPHAL PROCESSION in CHRIST and through us He spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of HIM. And He is sweet perfume -the Balm in Gilead!!!
Thank you sisters and brothers who have stood in prayer, awakened in the night, had your children praying, sent us emails, comments, scriptures, devotions and battled in spiritual warfare for THE MIRACLE FOR ANDREW. I know that the Father is faithful to complete what He has begun.
Love you all so much!
Melanie, Dan, Audra, Avery & ANDREW (Ted, too.)
I will be back later because I want to share a few more encouraging things with you. Maybe they will help you should you be walking through the darkest of valleys.