Sunday, March 4, 2012

In my Greatest Fear Intercessory Prayer has Helped

 There is a constant reminder to stay close to Jesus as He is the only one that will carry me through this storm.  There are times I grow weak and put my time with our Heavenly Father on the shelf.  I am reminded how this can only foster spiritual weakness.  As a result, I become fearful, worried and alone.  My fear is decreased when I don’t foster this relationship with God.   This scare of watching my son hooked to heart monitors and oxygen for two days had me fearing the worse at 3 a.m.  I realized how alone I felt because I did not put my fear in the right place.  I have lived two opposing lives where I have trusted God and have not trusted God.   In the past, I must say with all honesty that living without God was the most difficult part of my life.  As I face the scariest journey that no mother and no parent should ever have to face I am left with the same decision.  Do I put all my faith and trust in God so that my burden is eased?  I have free-will to choose.  There are consequences of one choice and future blessings of another choice.  However, in this life and this journey I grow weary and tired.  It is then that I stumble.  I truly want to live a faith-filled life that glorifies my maker, my deliverer, and my healer.   I question this journey to no end…my sister-in-law Carolyn put it so clearly in how I feel “when will this crap end?”  I have often thought those same words, especially almost 3.5 years into this journey with my son, and many other times in my life.  I know God will use my life and this journey as means to glorify Him.  However, it is during this journey that I have to force myself to remember that this too is only for a season.  I think often of how Job in the bible suffered so greatly.  We know at the end of Job was blessed, but he did not do this for the blessings because this was unknown to him at the time.  He did it because he wanted to be obedient to God.  Sometimes this is the hardest part in life.  I don’t know what God has for my life.  Do I want to suffer?  I do not.  I am sure Job did not want to suffer, and lose all that he had.  Job continued to love and honour God through all of his suffering.  I hope that I can exemplify the same faithfulness that Job did in the scriptures.

I shared of my weakness above.   I know this journey will cause me to feel sadness and fear.  It is those times I have come to trust intercessory prayer.  My dad shared with me that a mother’s greatest protection and love for their child sometimes makes us struggle with prayer.  My dad reminded me that I do need to continue to lean on people during times that it is hard for me to pray.
1 Timothy 2:1  
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

Matthew 18:19-20
Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

I continue to seek, ask for support and thank all that have continued to follow our journey.  It humbles me so much knowing you are all there for us even if it is through your posts.  They help lift my spirit.

Gabriel was recently admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.  His heart rate was extremely high as a result of him struggling to breath that was complicated by three facets.  Asthma, pneumonia and low hemoglobin.  All three having life threatening possibilities.  Through all your prayers Gabriel has quickly recovered only after two days.  The doctors are extremely happy with his progression.  I shared in the beginning how fearful I felt at 3 a.m.  During this time, it was not nurses running into see my son, but two doctors.  One Doctor does not typically come to see patients in the middle of the night, but to have two arrive and not nurses scared me beyond anything I have experienced thus far.  I have had a few scares, but not to this extent.  At 3 a.m., I realized that I just had a small glimpse of what potentially could occur post-transplant.  I need to be prepared both spiritually, mentally, and physically.   My son is doing great now!  He actually completed a whole Lego set of a rocket, space station and multiple other pieces in this set.  Thank you Auntie Jen for buying this for him!  He loves Lego, and to see him maintain focus for hours to complete this set amazed his dad and I.  We are so proud of him.  Thank you Uncle Geoff for coming to visit and help and thank you to Aunt Jen taking me on some retail therapy and spoiling my kids. You made them all so happy.

As for treatment, Gabriel continues on his protocol today because his neutrophils came back so quickly.  He completed 8 hours of hydration to equip his body for a one hour chemo treatment today.  He returns on Tuesday for an LP and more chemotherapy. 

The BIGGEST news at this point is the finding of preliminary donor matches.  Sick Kids has informed our Oncologist they have found a few matches (uncertain of numbers), but we will have more information  in two weeks about these donors.  They have to continue with further testing to determine the best and closest ten out of ten match for Gabriel.  There are many variables to pick a donor, but they have found preliminary donors.  This is great news.  I, of course, feel very scared about this part of treatment as it involves the unknown for Gabriel. There is much to this process that I will go into further detail in my next post.   This treatment also entails much planning for my family as I reconfigure our lives for an average of two months or more in Toronto.  Gabriel will be in isolation for 4-6 weeks, which means he cannot see his sisters.  He will only be able to see his dad and I.  This change will be a very difficult process, and at this point we are in the planning stages of making all of this work for our family.  The biggest portion of planning is reducing infection risks to our girls while staying at Ronald McDonald house when we come to visit and keeping Gabriel safe.  Mike will be taking time off from work, and anticipate this will be one month or more if we can financially afford for him to stay with us.  In addition, I just took a leave of absence from work to begin planning and being their for my children 100%.  It was a difficult decision as I love helping my clients, but after realizing that I cannot provide a predictable and professional practice for my clients I had to make this difficult decision until I feel my son has recovered from his transplant.   I will continue to post and let everyone know when we anticipate the date of Gabriel’s transplant.
I am thankful for:
1.  To all those that pray and support us through many ways... food, prayers, thoughts, comments, private messages on facebook/blog, and financially.
2.  Thank you for God's hand upon my son when he was admitted to hospital as I have seen his mercy and power on Gabriel's life.  
3.  For our amazing families who strive to do whatever they can for us.  We love you all Bender and Smith family.
4.  Thank you to people who commit their time to help my son whether it is private soccer lessons (Bill Johnson), piano lessons at our house (Rachel Van den Heuvel), and Gabriel's Northdale school teacher (Mrs. Hewitt), and his homeschool teacher (Miss Taylor), and to his grade one/two class who bring him such great joy when they skype in.
5.  Thank you to Jacob Story for your continued support.  Jessica and Bill we are glad to have you as a part of our lives and this journey. 
6.  Thank you to IDTTYS for donating a laptop that we can take to the hospital to skype and to be able to keep everyone posted about our journey.  Your graciousnes across borders will always be remembered.  Please check their website out.
Please pray for the following:
1.       Successful Bone Marrow Transplant and Recovery in Post-transplant

2.       His new Bone Marrow recovers quickly

3.       Protection from Infections while his immune system is completely compromised post-transplant

4.       Protection over my girls so they remain infection free

5.       Protection over Grandpa and Grandma Bender and Grandpa and Grandma Smith so they remain
        infection free while they care for our girls at Ronald McDonald House.

6.       That we will be financially okay during this journey

7.       Peace and strength for Mike and I

8.       Please pray that his organs will be protected from chemo and radiation

9.       We are told that Gabriel will be 99% percent infertile after he receives full body radiation in  
        preparation for this transplant… I would like to begin praying that through God’s healing power
       that this is not true for my son.

10.   Gabriel’s body does not reject this transplant and he does not get any diseases or future diseases
from this transplant.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Tina! My heart is so heavy with your grief & fear. I am happy to carry some of your burden. You know that God will carry it all if you pass it over to Him. Gabriel & your entire family is upheld always by my church family as well as my friend in Oklahoma & his faith following. Please try to remember that anything is possible with prayer & look how far you have come till now. I will carry Gabriel with me as I walk my Lenten Journey just as Christ walked forty days in the desert. All my love & prayers are with you, Mike & those three beautiful children as you brgin the next leg of your journey.