by Jeff Osborne
A sigh of relief came from Pam and I as we received word from the surgeon indicating the surgery was successful. The next step was to wait and see if Hailey's brain was able to absorb the spinal fluid as designed or whether we would need to have a shunt inserted to drain the fluid into her stomach.
Drip, drip, drip was the sound of the spinal fluid draining into the collection bag on the side of her bed. The small drain tube coming out the side of Hailey's head was a constant reminder of the unknown. Will she need a shunt or will she not. The advice of one of the Neurologists was to not focus on the small battles but instead on the War. Survival is the war, everything else is a smaller skirmish. He was correct in what he said, but this was a battle we wanted to win. At the time, I was not sure why we were praying so hard to avoid a shunt. It was fairly common for children in this situation to have a shunt inserted, 33% to 50% would end up with one. As the doctor increased the pressure in Hailey's head by slowing reducing the drainage of the fluid, I would stare at the collection bag and watch intensely. I prayed that this would be the next in a long series of Miracle Milestones. Benchmarks along the way to remind us God is definitely in control of the situation.
Finally, the doctor nearly doubled the pressure of the fluid to see if he would be able to completely clamp off the drain and then remove it entirely. After several hours with no visible side effects, Hailey began throwing up. This was a sign that the fluid was building on her brain. Maybe she would indeed need the shunt. No, I would not listen to the voices of despair. God can do this, I thought, surely He could ensure no shunt would be required. We continued to pray with expectation. The doctor backed the pressure down to see if she could handle the pressure increase in smaller steps. We continued to ask God to make this Miracle Milestone a reality. Why would we not just give it up. In the overall scheme of things it was not a show stopper. We were only about 100 yards into what would be a marathon. Just let it go I said to myself. I could not. I prayed expectantly.
By day three of continued pressure increases, it was time for the drainage tube to be removed. God heard our cry. He gave us another Miracle Milestone. He was faithful in the "little" things.
We did not understand the importance of this milestone until nearly a week later. After the spinal MRI came back positive, noting cancer had spread to the spine via the spinal fluid. The doctor said to Pam and I in retrospect, "Well, I sure am glad we did not have to put in a shunt. Since we now know the cancer has spread through the spinal fluid we would not have wanted it draining into her stomach. This could have caused the cancer to spread into her stomach."
God is in the "little" things. God sees around the corner. God weaves all events together in this journey. Some that appear good, some that appear not so good. He uses each piece of twine as He weaves together a perfect tapestry. A masterpiece of His hand. Thank you Lord for directing our prayers.
Romans 8: 25-27
25But if we look forward to something we don't have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.
26And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will