Medical updates and having courage

by Kristi Van Dyk

I'm struggling to find the good today. I'll be honest. I'm feeling a little broken down and quite a bit discouraged. We are in a season of hard. The appointment itself was great. Helen DeVos Children's Hospital was their typical - amazing. The doctor was incredibly patient with Joshua and very clear with us.  We went in knowing - not much - and came out armed with next steps. 

Steve and I had typical marital miscommunication this morning, combined with heavy traffic on 131, paired with a little boy who (at the worst possible times). We were 25 minutes late from the time they told us to arrive, and 10 minutes late for our appointment. The email they had sent a week ago said this was grounds for rescheduling. I was pretty much already in tears when we arrived, if they had mentioned rescheduling I would have shown them what a real meltdown looked like. BUT, they were gracious, helped me through the self check-in kiosk and had us (edit: me, J wasn't interested) seated and deeply breathing in no time. 

Because we've learned how much our boy fears doctors and hospitals, Kayleigh told him what this appointment was all about yesterday. We heard their voices rising and rising and then finally she gave up and just burst out laughing. She said, "Mom, he told me he wasn't going to the doctor that he wanted to see you and Daddy go to the visit instead." Joshua held that mentality and tried all he could with his growing communication skills to convince us that he needed to: stay with Nana and say goodbye to us, or go to school with Benny and Kayleigh, or that he was just going to watch Mommy and Daddy ... He made his will clear.

When it came time to be called back, he sat firmly on my lap and with a sad face did all that the nurse told him. His pulse was skyrocketing. He was not happy. 

By the time the doctor came, he was enjoying the banter, playing with the computer, grabbing the vertebrae models, and (super sanitary) sucking on the plastic gloves. The doctor made him jump and walk and run and after a very short time noted two things: "This little boy is VERY busy! (understatement of the year) and there is nothing wrong with his ability to think. He is quite smart." (Coming from a literal brain surgeon, I found this encouraging) :). 


Based upon his observations of Joshua, the exam, and the MRI's he saw, the doctor told us (several times), "The outside of the body can look so different. And these different shapes and sizes and external features are often indicators of things internally that are different as well. His sacral dimple is closed. There is no danger with this spot. BUT, it led us to look inside the body, which showed us there were some differences in formation of his spine and head. Likely this spinal formation will cause him no problems later in life. The vertebral abnormality is simply that. Something different. I'm sure we won't need follow up care on this." 

AND we said Amen ... 

There was a but, though ...

With Joshua, there always seems to be an exception ...

Because of the ears and the head shape - there were some other things to consider. There was evidence of some other misshapen portions of his skull ... where the spinal column meets the base of the brain. This warranted further examination - and given the fact that our neurologist knew we were seeing another HDVCH ENT NEXT week, he went ahead and ordered a CT scan of his head as well as an MRI (with full sedation).

(Hey! We've done this before!!)

It may sound like we are back where we started, but we are not. This order will combine with any additional orders that the ENT wishes to see - and it's already scheduled, so we waste no more time. The ENT can simply tack on additional images to the order and we will have our appointment ready. The Peds Neuro also went ahead and scheduled an immediate follow up after the MRI. So, we will have a longer day at HDVCH, but hopefully some more answers (without the waiting) after the next two visits. 

Upcoming appointments: ENT - June 8th; MRI/CT Scans - June 16th. 

We laughed today (sort of) that we had a brief reprieve in the financial storm for about two weeks. We paid (in full and in advance, bless GOD!) all of our adoption home study visits for our Post Adoption Reports. This was a big chunk of change that God provided for us in a miraculous way ...

I'll try to be brief ... but this one is worth the air time. 

Sometime in late January I received a phone call from a woman who will remain anonymous. She was deeply saddened by her broken marriage. She had this ring left and she was desperately hoping that a child in an orphanage, specifically, a little boy could benefit from the sale of this ring. She had no idea how to do it, but knew we were fundraising for a son from China and wondered if we had a way to sell it. If we could sell it, we could keep whatever proceeds were generated from the sale. (And what heavy, humble hearts that received it). I told her, without thinking much, that we knew some people. 

Friends of ours are in the business of jewelry. They graciously looked at the ring, the pieces, and agreed to help us.  

Our travel time came and the ring hadn't sold. God produced other ways to cover our needs. We came home. We sank into tight budgets, lots of medical expenses, and then the post adoption fees were due ... The money wasn't there, friends. We had no idea where it was going to come from. 

God didn't let us wait long.

Cue a call from the jewelry store. The diamond had sold. The amount of money (I scarcely dared to hope) was exactly what we stood missing. Only God. (And the listening hearts of his faithful followers who felt called to contribute so generously to God's story in our lives). 

So as we stare at unending tests that come with co-pays.
We look at a longer stretch of Mommy being on drastically reduced income. 
We look at more kids in Christian education (our story is evidence as why this isn't a luxury item for us).
And we look hopefully to God. He receives the glory (and oh I pray we do it justice as we tell it), and He provides at.each.turn. 

My little girl's words seem so much more poignant and real today (probably why she picked that date in my planner. She's so much wiser than I).

God loves you (I might add, He SEES you). Have Courage. 

So, we will press on. We will work to have courage. We will trust in God's Almighty provision because where He calls, He equips. And we will continue to share, to share our story for HIS GLORY.