a miracle. {recap of the last 15 days}

Jesus replied "What is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27

15 days ago we took Naomi in for a cough that she had for going on four days. I was really just tired of not sleeping, I figured it was croup and she could get some meds and we would be on our way. Or I should say Andrew on his way, he took Naomi in, so I could go into work, thinking it wouldn't be a big deal.

It was a big deal.

Dr. Beck, the amazing doctor who did such a thorough exam on Naomi's chest requested an x-ray after giving Naomi a breathing treatment and hearing that things just didn't sound right. Nothing else wrong with her-no fever or acting differently, just a cough. {And thank you to Dr. Beck for trusting her instinct and not just sending us on our way with meds!}

An x-ray for a cough. Really? Yes, God knew exactly what was happening.

We immediately were told to head to Riley because a large tumor was found near Naomi's heart and lungs.

I will never forget the moment we stepped in our home to gather our belongings as quickly as possible before heading to Riley. Andrew and I stopped right there on our wood floors and fell to our knees to pray. Really to cry out to save our baby. And God knew.

By the evening time at Riley we were told they were 95% sure it was Neuroblastoma based on the initial characteristics of the x-ray and the CT Scan they performed, but more tests would need to be ran to confirm. A hospital worker, seemingly unfamiliar with what to tell patients when they first hear the news that their two year old has cancer, told us Naomi would start chemo the next day after her biopsy and bone marrow check. Those words shocked us. What was going on? All of a sudden we were in the cancer unit at Riley and wheeling my baby around in a red wagon with IV's dripping fluids into her. But God knew exactly what was happening.

Thankfully, around 11pm that night, Dr. West came into the picture and she quickly crushed that idea of starting chemo the next day. She said we would try to do the biopsy and bone marrow check, but wasn't sure if we would. She has had a calm and confidence to her the whole time, that we respect so much.

That's all we knew. Neuroblastoma. I did not google it. I refused to go there. Only through stories that had reached me did I know that it appeared to be an aggressive childhood cancer that can require years of treatment. But God knew. And this surreal peace came rushing in. It was literally like God telling me not to worry, He has this. He knows. He is right there. Right here.

Then Dr. West gave us hope. She said if they can surgically remove 90% of the tumor, sometimes the rest of the tumor can regress on it's own if it had not spread yet. That is what I was holding on to, that is what I hoped and prayed and pleaded to God.

We ended up not getting a bone marrow check or biopsy on that Friday, but we did get an abdominal scan to see if the cancer spread there. It didn't. Which was amazing news, being that with Neuroblastoma, many times if it has spread, it is there. If it hadn't gone to the abdomen, could it possibly have not spread? We didn't know yet, but God knew.

We were sent home until Tuesday morning, surgery day. We were home for nearly four days to be showered with love, rejuvenate our bodies and souls. And just to be in the moment. God knew how much that would help our family.

Surgery couldn't have gone better. Not to mention, somewhere around ten countries were praying for sweet Naomi. And thousands of people. Every update we had was great news and the last update was just astounding--they were able to get 95% of the tumor. More than they had hoped. Because God is bigger. God knew.

 I'm sharing the before and after scans so you can you get a better understanding of the size of the tumor and how this is truly a miracle that it did not spread and ended up being mostly benign. The tube going down on the right picture is from her breathing tube. 

For recovery, Naomi was put in a general recovery area of the hospital, instead of the cancer floor because that floor was full. At that moment, God spoke to me and said it was because we weren't going to be dealing with cancer. Sounds crazy? It's true.

Naomi recovered from surgery so well. She was able to move onto her side almost immediately, which wasn't even a goal until the next day. She went potty within 20 minutes of her catheter being removed. Two days after the procedure, the goal was to walk three times. She got up and walked six times.

And then the news came. What we had been waiting on...had it spread? Is it in her bone marrow? The thing is, I knew the answer. God knew the answer and He gave me that peace that surpasses all understanding. My usual self would have been worried sick waiting for that news, scared, in full anticipation. But I never felt that. When the news came, we obviously were ecstatic and Andrew and I slapped each other a high five and I did a little dance in the halls of those white, sterile rooms. But what God had been telling us, was just confirmed.

It didn't spread. In fact, most of the tumor was benign, what is called Ganglioneuroma. Some cancerous cells did show up, but they wouldn't require treatment because the surgery was able to remove it all. The 5% that was left? Benign. [That was confirmed today when Naomi had an mIBG scan to check for hidden spots and anymore cancerous cells.]

That's it. Surgery. Done. Only follow up testing.

I never looked up stats or wanted to know what treatment might look like. I knew chemo and radiation could most definitely be on the radar, but I also knew God gave me a peace that could only come from Him. And whatever was going to happen, He knew.

On the way up today to get Naomi's scan I asked Andrew to look up a stat. I told him to find out what the chances would be that when diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, that you would only need surgery to remove it. He found an article that stated 6%. (And here is where I should give credit to the article, but I honestly don't know where he found it, and yeah, I'm sure there are other stats out there that say differently. But the point is, it is a very low number.) SIX PERCENT.

So Naomi beat the odds. But the thing is, God doesn't run on chances or 'beating the odds' nor is he constrained by time or age or stats. God sees eternity. And that is why His plan is so much better than mine. I'm going to continue to throw stats out the window.

None of this is by accident. The way everything happened. The outcome. The chances of Naomi's Neuroblastoma actually being low-grade, especially for her age (usually low-grade is in infants, not 2.5 year olds). The fact that the tumor was in a location fairly easy to remove, in other words, not wrapped around other organs. The way Naomi responded to her IV injection today and yesterday with barely a blink. The way she wasn't even bothered when her drainage tube was removed today. A tube out of her chest, did not phase her.

I'm not saying this to make it look like this journey was easy. Or that I was happy the whole time. I cried and had to watch Naomi be in pain and recover and spend nights sleeping on a hard tiny sofa, if you can even call it that. I was away from my other two children more than I ever would have wanted to be. But I did feel peace. And comfort from God the Creator of all things. Naomi's story cannot be told without God being mentioned. Because He was and is clearly present. Prayer is powerful and we gathered an army to pray for her. {Thank you for sharing our story and praying.}

We have one more test on Tuesday, a bone scan to make sure Naomi's spine or other bones weren't affected by it, being that part of the tumor was resting on her spine. But pretty much in the last 15 days, God worked a miracle in Naomi. God is real and relevant. And that in despair and when you are in your darkest moment, a nightmare, God will carry you through. And light will come. In His time, which is not of this world, but with eternity in mind.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

I don't know what tomorrow will bring. But what I've learned from this, is to take today for what it is--a gift. I know that we will face more hardships in the days ahead, but I'm thankful that I can document this miracle and be reminded of how God used our little Naomi to bring glory to Him and He saved her. Being at the feet of Jesus, clinging to His robe is a place where grace abounds.

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