3 Years ago.....

Source:  3 Years ago.....    Tag:  how much do xray techs make a year
Three years ago tomorrow, was a Wednesday and a day that we will never forget. Micah complained of a stomach ache after supper. When the kids complain of stomach pain, I often  put them on the couch and feel around. I am not sure if I do it for them to let them know that I am listening and I care, or for me to make sure they don't have appendicitis or something. (:  Those little exams usually end with the kids running away and being fine. This time I was feeling around Micah's belly and I felt something around his belly button. I looked across his stomach sideways and I saw that the area just above his belly button was slightly raised and it felt different. It felt different all the way down way past his underwear line. I could actually grab something and move it. It was big. Naively thinking it may be a hernia, I made an appointment to see our family doc. On Friday we went for an appointment and were sent right over to get an ultrasound and an XRAY. When the XRAY tech asked in an amazed voice why we had never noticed this before, was the first time I felt the prickles of fear. That day around supper time, our family Doc called and told us that we had an appointment with pediatric surgeon, Dr Girvan on Tuesday. So on Friday, Nov 9, 2007 my first "Micah email" went out. It was sent out rather timidly and only to a handful of people. I was not one to to do something like that at all. To ask someone for prayer to me at that time was so foreign. I look back at that time and see how much God has worked in my life.

I could write our story for pages. I have so many memories of the last three years.  With each of these memories I have a snap shot of that day and can put myself there. As I remember, I can almost hear the  SNAP.... SNAP....SNAP..... as the pictures play through my mind like an old movie.

SNAP. I remember the appointments with the surgeon, and the pre-op appointment. As Micah played on the hospital floor with his cars, I remember the moment it sank in that Micah was going to have a 7 hour surgery and that this was very serious. I remember laying in bed the night before surgery saying to Ken that our life could change tomorrow.  I remember the morning of surgery, my brother, who works at the hospital, meeting us at the elevator and showing us where to go. There were tears in my big little brother's eyes.

SNAP. I remember going into the operating room and trying to comfort Micah. I told him that God was with him and that we would be waiting for him when he woke up. I looked into his tear filled eyes and told him that I loved him and gave him a kiss through my mask, just before his mask went on. I remember breaking down outside that operating room, wondering if God would take our 5 year old son that day. I remember the surgeon coming out after the surgery and telling us that it went well, that Micah didn't lose a lot of blood, that he thought they got it all and that it looked malignant. I remember seeing Micah for the first time in recovery, then going into a bathroom with Ken and clinging together, crying, barely able to stand.

SNAP. I remember driving home that night, leaving Micah and Ken at the hospital and being hardly able to drive myself home. I remember bringing Micah home after 7 days. We had our spunky little boy back in the house with only a large bandage to remind us of what happened, thinking that he looked fine and that they must have made a mistake. I remember waiting 19 days for the biopsy results to come back. On day 16 I called the office of the surgeon only to be told that they were gone for the weekend. I remember leaving a frantic message on that machine, explaining to them that we REALLY. COULD. NOT. wait through another weekend to know if it was cancer, even though I knew that no one would hear that message until Monday.

SNAP. I remember the day that Micah was in the hospital recovering from getting his port in and learning that the cancer had spread to his lungs and liver. Micah was recovering in a ward room with four other patients and I couldn't let Ken hug me in that ward room, behind that curtain because I would certainly break down and not be able to keep it together. I remember having to literally bite my lip to keep from screaming for them to stop, when they pushed chemo into Micah for the first time. I didn't want that poison in his little body.  I remember getting Micah's  head shaved when all of  his hair started to come out in clumps only 2 weeks after he started chemo. I remember Micah being really quiet and withdrawn. There were times when he wouldn't even talk.  I remember him starting radiation. He was so brave and so well behaved that they were able to time the radiation to his breathing, allowing them to radiate his liver. I remember towards the end of radiation, Micah getting shingles and being in such intense pain. I remember that tough little boy laying on the radiation table with shingles and his infected arm up over his head without even blinking an eye, with his Curious George nestled snuggly between his legs.  I remember when Micah was so thin and sick that we had to carry him everywhere. I remember even family members looking at Micah in shock after not seeing him for a week because he looked so sick. I remember Micah's lungs not working well because of radiation damage and him having to be on oxygen for a few days in the hospital while waiting for the steroids to kick in. 

SNAP. I remember sitting  in the parking lot at the mall, on Micah's 7th birthday, telling him how thankful I am that he is here with us to celebrate his birthday. He didn't understand and then I realized that through the last 14 months, he didn't know that he could have died. I remember the pain in his eyes, those tears he cried and the years he aged in that moment.
 
SNAP.  I remember the moment I saw the XRAY that told me that Micah had relapsed. I remember the dizzying  feeling we felt when our Doc told us that we may be able to get rid of the cancer this time, but that it would most likely come back and that we should meet the palliative nurse and form a relationship with her now because it would make it easier in the future.  I remember sitting with Micah on his bed, and he and I talking about the fact that he could go to meet Jesus very soon and that we would miss him, but that he would love heaven and that he would be OK. I remember for a long time after Micah relapsed, I would sit in his room while he was sleeping and I would hold his hand and touch his cheek. I would watch him, pray and cry.  I remember sitting with the Doc, with my hand on my big baby belly,  listening to her tell me that we needed to do surgery that week or not at all because the drugs were not working and we had a very small window before the tumor was too big and if we didn't try the surgery Micah would have about 3 months to live.

SNAP. I remember waiting in the waiting room with Pastor John, Ken  and Lisa, our palliative nurse the day of  Micah's lung surgery, way after the time they said they would be done, wondering if something went wrong. I remember sitting in his hospital room crying because the epidural wasn't working. Micah was in so much pain and I wanted to scream at them to make it work. I was wondering if we made the wrong decision to do surgery. I remember him coming home and wondering how we were supposed to feel. Its hard to explain, but in January we had started the grieving process. We were emotionally, mentally and spiritually, being preparing to lose him. I had been thinking of songs we were going to sing at his funeral. On a strong day, I had called different churches in the area,  looking for a bigger church than ours to have his funeral in. We had started "arrangements". Now...... could we stop these thoughts and move in a different direction? Could we hope? Was God going to give him to us for a while longer? Was God going to let us have our little Grace and Micah at the same time?  

I have all these memories, these very painful memories. Memories that still hurt me so much to write that half the time I was writing this post the screen was too blurry for me to see. But I remember other things too....... I remember the hand of God holding us when we couldn't stand. I remember how He listened to our sad cries and our angry questions.  I remember Him giving Micah a peace that was unexplainable to someone who doesn't have a relationship with the Lord. I remember how God brought us to our knees over and over again. He held us there until we submitted and gave Micah back to Him and could say, "Thy Will Be Done Lord."... Then He gave us His peace. I remember Him sending people to us just at the moment we needed them. I remember thousands of people praying for us and supporting us in many ways. I remember how God gave us the strength and grace to make it through situations that would be impossible to withstand without Him. I remember God giving us joy in Him, when things were so bleak.  He never left us.

We are so thankful that Micah is still with us. We rejoice that Micah could be with Grace for 5  months already. Even though our life right now is a mix of  joy and sadness, we know that regardless of the future, we serve a mighty God.