I have felt extremely overwhelmed this week. It has been a week of ongoing health battles for some, and some really tough diagnoses for some close friends. I have been driven to my knees in prayer more this past week than I can remember in recent times. I am glad that God has held me up during these tough times, but when life gets so overwhelming it seems like the only thing I can do.
Firstly, little Ethan. I wrote a post about him going to California for surgery a few weeks ago. He made it down to the hospital and had his surgery (after a few bumps in the road). He came through surgery well, and the doctors were able to do everything that they needed to do to fix his little heart. It has now been two weeks post-op and it has been a fight to get this far. With the updates that we have receiving via Facebook it really has felt like a one step forward, two steps back recovery. Lisa did say a few days ago that the doctors are still optimistic that he will eventually recover. As for now he is fighting an infection, he is on dialysis because his kidneys are not functioning well, and they are having a hard time keeping his blood pressure stable. They were able to close up his chest though (they kept it open for a few days after surgery to allow for swelling). I cannot begin to imagine how exhausted that family must be. I was so glad to know that Lisa's dad and step-mom were going to be able to be down there with them to help out and give Shaun and Lisa breaks when they need them.
Secondly was a tough diagnosis for a friend. I didn't realize until I chatted with her a couple of weeks ago that she was even having health problems. But last week it was confirmed, Teri was diagnosed with MS. She is married with two young sons (and a step daughter). MS does seem to present differently, and progress differently in different people, so I have been praying that Teri's symptoms will ease off and will not progress too quickly. She is in her early 30s....I can't imagine how tough it must have been for her to learn that diagnosis. Not that something like this was/is preventable, but hearing about terrible diseases really makes me never want to take my health for granted. I want to look after myself and be healthy, because I only have this one body and I don't want to abuse it.
And lastly, about a week ago my friend Karen got a call with a diagnosis for her son Oliver. They had traveled to the Alberta Children's Hospital the previous week to meet with a doctor who specializes in metabolic disorders. They did some blood and urine tests, and after what they expected would be a long wait for a diagnosis, they got one. Oliver has Tay-Sach's Disease. When she told me that, I had definitely heard the name, but could not remember anything about it. It is a rare genetic degenerative neurological condition that will eventually take his life. There is no cure or treatment and even with the best care he will likely only survive until he is 5 years old. If you want to read more about the specifics you can click here.
My heart broke when Karen told me about this. It is hard to imagine that such a horrible disease even exists. Oliver is still doing well and he is an adorable and content little guy. He will be 18 months old in about a week. Karen and Levi are doing surprisingly well. I think that they have had a lot of time to think about what possibly might be wrong, and Karen has tended to lean toward the idea that Oliver would get worse and not better. I don't think anyone could be prepared for a diagnosis like this, but Karen is such a strong woman and an amazing mom. I will do my best to be there for them in the next few years whether it is an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or physical help with kids, house stuff, cooking, etc.