Thursday, July 24, 2014


This is a 2 part blog sharing our story.  It began just before Thanksgiving last November. This week's post briefly covers the medical part of the story.  Next Friday will be a Question and Answer interview of mother, father and me, Nana. It will reveal the spiritual part of our bend in the road.

Our daughter, Katy, was a month from giving birth to her sixth child.  She's only known quick births with beautiful, healthy babies.  Until now.

Dave and Katy decided not to know the baby's sex this time since they had 4 boys, 1 girl and plenty of baby clothes. So they expected nothing unusual from a sonogram to see if the baby's head was down.  But when the midwife phoned Katy with the report, it sounded serious. It was. "They spotted something on the brain."

Another city, another test, another day revealed this little boy (they changed their minds--he needed a name, James) had an AVM*.  We soon got a crash course on *a vein malformation. This one was an enlarged vein of Galen in the middle of his brain.  The huge vein grows and stresses the heart to handle the extra blood flow.  

One doctor said, "It's like having an extra baby on board.  James' heart is overworked, already enlarged even in the womb.  The death rate is 77%, from cardiac arrest during the trauma of birth."

We all reeled, trying to grasp his words.  Fear swirled.  Hearts raced.

The doctor continued, "You need to drive the 3 hours to be in Toronto for his birth.  World renown neuro doctors there pioneered surgery in this rare area."  Glimmer of hope.

EIGHT MONTHS, Nov. - July, condensed:
Birth.  Three brain surgeries.  Two emergency airlifts.  Seizures.  Eight month old James slept after the third surgery.  The doctor spoke, "If he survives the next 48 hours, he will be cured."  
 CLICK HERE for more on James.

If he SURVIVES?  Survives?  Nothing prepared us for those words.  We felt a collective kick to the stomach.  It drove us to pray, to cry, to wait, to trust God. . .together those 48 hours.  We stood, deathly still, at the crossroads between life and death. Friends and family prayed as we sent out Facebook requests.

Prayers swirled worldwide.  Warriors stormed heaven and our support flowed like wind beneath our wings. We felt protected, placed by God in His refuge.  We asked God to increase our faith and peace. He did. 

Doug was in Canada with them.  In this iPad picture I wondered if this might be my last look at James alive. I could see the new veins working on his forehead. Could he handle it?

Then at last two days later. . .CURED! We're both in a better place now.

Now it's blood thinner for awhile, future MRIs just to monitor.  But we're rounding 3rd, heading home.  In the south we call it the short rows.

Last week they all were at the Dekens (Oma's family) reunion.  James is in Katy's arms, next to kneeling Dave, bottom left.

This is the medical part. Next Friday we'll have a Q & A blog to give perspectives from the hearts of James' parents and grandmother, me, Kathy.

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