Grace

Highlight: Joseph handled his fasting time, the lumbar puncture and bone marrow sampling very well.

Highlight: The very important bone marrow sample was taken on Monday for his MRD (minimal residual disease) test that will tell us if the leukemia is gone from his body.

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Grace.

A simple word that we hear often but what does it mean? God’s grace is receiving good from God that we do not deserve. Actually, it is more than that. It is receiving good from God when we ill-deserve it. That is to say that we are not neutral. Rather, as we fight against God to be in charge of our lives, we bring destruction into our lives and the lives of others and add to the brokenness of the world. So we really deserve God’s judgement rather than kindness. Yet, because God is kind and loving, He pours out on us good things all the time, even on those who reject Him. Every day is full of good things from God but most of the time we never notice. On Monday the day was so filled with God’s kindness for Joseph I was amazed and grateful afresh.

After a great weekend at home with his family, it was time on Monday for Joseph to go back to the hospital for the day for treatment of his spinal fluid with chemo and for a bone marrow sample to be taken. It meant getting up earlier than the rest of the family and getting Joseph his breakfast of toast and dilute juice. After that he would be on a total fast until the afternoon. I was concerned that when his brothers came in wanting a more filling breakfast Joseph would be asking for the same. However, when the other boys came down all they wanted was toast and were so busy playing that they ate very little.

Then it was time to get Joseph in the car and take him to the hospital. I wondered if he would dread going back there and if he would have any strong negative reaction. Again my concerns were brushed aside by God’s grace. When it was time to get in the car Joseph started to say “Goodbye! Goodbye!” and was waving to his brothers. It was like we were going on a special outing.

At the hospital it was as if he were returning to see friends and have a good time. Every interaction, whether it was having blood taken or having a screening review to make sure he was healthy for surgical theater, was all positive. Every nurse and doctor was a friendly face and he was chatting and smiling the whole time.

After the formalities we had a few hours to wait before Joseph would be called to the surgery. So I took him in the buggy for a walk. Within a few minutes he was asleep and stayed asleep right up until it was time to go the waiting room.

Once we were in the waiting room Joseph was playing with toys until called to theater.  I went with him and held him in my arms until the anaesthetic took effect. While in the surgical theater a dentist looked at Joseph’s mouth in detail to see how he was recovering from the infection that had been there. The dentist came out with a huge smile – she had not seen him up close in weeks. She told me, ” There has been some loss of tissue from the infection but what is there now is healthy. This should not have any impact on his adult gums and teeth.” Then she added, “It is really amazing how well he has recovered from the infection”.

Her comments are added to those of other medical folks who have commented that it is amazing that he was not disfigured and that his eye was not impacted. The infection had spread widely in his face and the loss of tissue in this mouth just shows how much damage could have been done to the rest of his face, if not for God’s grace. Then 30 minutes later I was called to the recovery room. Only this time when I arrived he was already sitting on the knees of a nurse having a chat. Within a few minutes we were cleared to go home and we went to the car. Joseph was singing and enjoying a snack. When we got home he had some soup while his brothers finished their naps. Once everyone was awake it was play time again!

So from Joseph’s perspective, it was a day of seeing friendly doctors and nurses, playing with toys, spending time with daddy and then capping it all off by playing with his brothers. No fear, no reactions to treatment, no residual pain from treatment, no stress about fasting.

It was an amazing day.

Such days do not just “happen”. It was a gift from the Lord to Joseph and us. A gift that the Lord freely gave and one that was the answer to many prayers for Joseph. Thank you for