Joy Story #3
It was February 1991. I was at work teaching 23 four-year-old preschoolers when I got the call… “Kevin is complaining that his tummy hurts and he looks a little pale.” Kevin is my third child. He never complained about anything. He was such a laid back kind of kid.
It happened during his first-grade recess. He and a friend were wrestling and Kevin got elbowed on his left side. It was not an “on purpose” punch. Just two kids playing. Little did I know that it was the hand of God, allowing it. Immediately he began to cry and say that his tummy hurt. His color changed and the office called me to go check on him. When I saw his face, I knew he was not exaggerating. I took him to the doctor and after the examination, Doc said, “Let’s get an abdominal X-ray to see what’s going on.” Well… the results were read quickly and we were told, “Get to Tulane Hospital as quick as possible. There is a mass near his kidney and he needs to see a Pediatrician Specialist. Can you imagine how I felt? I had to get my two older children, 9 and 11, settled somewhere, making sure they would get to school every day. I quickly began to lay down my independence and let others step up and help. God was faithful to provide the needed help.
So, the hospital is in New Orleans, 3 hours away. Listen… It was 1991 and there was no GPS. At least I didn’t have one. No cell phones or internet access to search for directions. At that time in my life, I had never driven farther than Lafayette (25 minutes away). We had no idea what we were about to face. But I can honestly say that the Lord was traveling with us, leading the way. When we arrived at the Emergency area, a team of doctors were waiting. Immediately I knew that this was serious. They poked him and drew blood and drew more blood and did CT scans. Kevin was finally admitted and placed in a room and we met with all the doctors. The diagnosis: A Wilms’ Tumor, a rare malignant tumor of the kidney, that occurs mostly in children. There was no time to process this news. All I could say was, “Help us, Lord Jesus.”
Two days later, my 7-year-old, first grader was in surgery having a tumor – the size of a pork roast – removed from his small frame. I quickly learned about this type of tumor. It begins growing inside the child’s kidney and is usually detected before the child is 3 to 4 years old. If the tumor is not removed by that age it continues to grow and can burst, spreading cancer throughout the child’s body. BUT GOD had Kevin in the palm of His hand. That huge tumor was neatly encapsulated. He did have his left kidney removed because the tumor was growing throughout the kidney. After surgery, we had to discuss radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Here I was sitting in a hospital room far away from home, family and church family. And these doctors were going to inject chemo into my child’s little body.
I was helplessly dependent on JESUS! I prayed that night like never before. Like Abraham, I told the Lord that Kevin was not mine. He belonged to the Lord. I surrendered his life into God’s hand, saying, “I don’t want to lose my child, but I trust you to keep him through all of this.” I began to read the Word, searching for a promise to carry us through the days ahead. He is so faithful to His Word. Here’s my promise: “Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the LORD. “And I will heal them.” Isaiah 57:19 Immediately I felt the peace of God flow over me. But I was desperate for more, so I asked God for another promise. Have your ever been there? He never fails. Believe this because it is what He promised me: There the child grew up healthy and strong. Luke 2:40 Now that is a promise I would hold on to. I would remind myself often that Kevin would grow up healthy and strong. He would survive this cancer. I didn’t allow myself to believe anything else.
We got through the surgery and recovery without any complications. TYJ!!! (Thank you, Jesus) My baby boy was about to face life-changing experiences. The doctor told him about the chemo and the radiation and how it would make him feel very sick. That was fine with him. But when they said he would lose all of his hair, he began to cry. That seemed to bother him the most.
Here’s the JOY in my story:
God was true to His Word. Kevin went through almost 3 years of chemotherapy, and 4 weeks of radiation treatments. You may think this is crazy, but it’s the honest truth… Kevin never got sick during his treatments. I would pray each time he received his treatments, “God, let this chemo go into his body and destroy all the cancer cells, and keep the side effects away.” And that’s just what He did! After 18 months of treatments and CT scans done, there was a little spot found on the bottom of his lung, the doctor had to do a second surgery to remove that little spot. Then, here we go again, another round of radiation and 9 months of chemo. God continued to keep Kevin from having adverse side effects. The nurses at the hospital were so amazed at how Kevin handled the treatments. It was truly miraculous. Our home health nurse said that the second round of treatments was triple the dose he received the first time. Never doubt that God is in control. There is so much more I could share about this time in our lives, but I’ll have to write a book.
Be encouraged! You can trust God! He. Is. Faithful!!!
Living in HIS joy!