I'll just start at the beginning. In June we went to the pediatrician to get Gracie's routine middle school check-up. We thought we were going to get a handful of shots, and be on our way. However, things quickly took a very shocking turn for the worse. The nurse practitioner, whom the kids love, noticed that Gracie's spine was terribly asymmetrical. She was very troubled by it, and insisted that we not waste a single second getting x-rays. In fact she wanted us to go RIGHT NOW! I thought she was totally exaggerated. I mean she has always had a cute little crooked wobble, just like her mamma! Why make a big deal of it?
Despite our busy summer plans, we were headed to the pool, we added a trip to Children's to our agenda. I didn't even worry about the x-rays. I knew they would just show a slight little curve. Maybe we'd be headed for physical therapy, at worse, a back brace. Let's get out of here and head for the pool.
Fastforward a month later, and we find ourselves sitting in a specialist office. One that insists that Gracie's spine is so curved, that our only hope is surgery. Excuse me? No way! There is no way I am simply going to parade my baby down the hall and let some surgeon reassemble her spine! No sir! Like any good mom, I insisted on seeking a second opinion. Kevin thought I was crazy. We were at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Spinal Surgeons. Where are you going for your second opinion? This IS everyone's second opinion place! No matter. I needed for at least one more doctor to tell me this was our only hope.
Well, after seeing THREE surgeons, we were told that not only was this Gracie's only hope, but that we were in a race with Mother Nature. That as soon as Gracie meets her "womanhood," her problem would worsen exponentially. We were told that it would effect her quality of life before she was out of her 20's. Since then, we have talked to and SEEN so many people that have and have not opted for the surgery. Those that have say it was the best decision they have ever made. Those that hadn't are regretful, and some even walking with the help of canes. God has truly been verbal in the matter. He has led us to the decision that we made, and I am confident that he will be with us every step of the way as we travel this journey.
Gracie is scheduled for spinal fusion surgery on December 4th. I am writing this post on Thanksgiving night, which means we are exactly one week away from the big day. We have been told to prepare our daughter for unimaginable pain. For what, we hope, will be the worse medical procedure/experience she will ever have. She will be in the hospital for about a week, and will recover at home for another 6-8.
We often ask ourselves why God puts us in certain situations. Why he chooses for us to travel hard roads, undergo hard times. I know that it is not our place to understand. It is simply our job to seek his guidance and wisdom as we do. And, that is what we have promised one another that we will do.
I recently watched a friend go through the worst experience any mother should ever have to endure. I watched in awe as the strongest, most amazing woman I know said good-bye to her precious baby after just 17 days. I couldn't imagine the pain, and yet, she has been a picture of strength and faithfulness through it all. I have learned so much about obedience and faith by watching her. She has been, and will continue to be, a source of courage and strength for me throughout this entire experience. I know that this experience will bring our family closer to one another, and most importantly, closer to Him.
Gracie has a favorite song that she sings constantly. It is called Greater by Mercy Me. (If you haven't heard it please, look it up.) In fact, the entire family seems to have it stuck in our heads lately. (Although, if you're going to have a song stuck in your head, it's not a bad one to stomach!) Basically, the song takes its theme from 1 John 4:4. "Jesus Christ, the one who lives within us, is greater than the devil or any other power in the world. There is thus no reason to fear or be intimidated by anything we encounter." The verse has been Gracie's mantra lately, and the song her theme song. It will be one we use daily to remind us, that as long as He is with us, what shall we fear?
In the meantime, I ask that you will pray for our little girl, and for our family. We appreciate every prayer, and know that with prayer and faithfulness, this too shall pass. Our little girl is one strong cookie, and after all, "Greater is he!"