Yesterday, we found out that our son has Crohn’s disease. He’s 10 years old. Too young to face a life sentence, which is essentially what Crohn’s is: an incurable auto-immune disease which attacks the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, causing chronic inflammation. During his colonoscopy, his small intestine was so inflamed that the doctor couldn’t even get the tiny scope inside to see, so Phinehas will have to have an MRI next week to find out the full extent of his condition.
I can’t think too hard about it, or my heart will break, like it does each time one of my children faces pain or hurt beyond my capacity to fix. I imagine mothers’ hearts have a crackled look to them, from a lifetime of heartaches they endure on behalf of their children.
My son is still with me, though. He woke up from the anesthesia, came home with me the same day, and returned to school the next morning. Everything is back to normal– on the outside, at least.
Not like Caroline, the little girl across the hall from Phinehas, who was being prepped for her own procedure. She is 10, too. Only, she wasn’t there for a colonoscopy/endoscopy. She had been transferred up to Wisconsin from Illinois to undergo deep brain stimulation for the seizures she has been experiencing over the past nine months. The only problem was that- unlike Phinehas, who fell in and out of consciousness easily- sedating Caroline sent her into more seizure activity, making it nearly impossible to prepare her for her surgery.
A healthy, athletic, straight A student, Caroline began experiencing mild seizures nine months ago. As the year has progressed, so have the seizures, in frequency and severity. They have impaired her cognitive function, and in the past ten days, they have stripped her of her memory.
Caroline doesn’t know who her mother and father are.
How frightened and lonely she must feel, not knowing that the very people who know and love her best, who wait heartbroken by her side, are her own mom and dad, desperately hoping and trying any measure that will return their little girl to them.
How does one rejoice or experience “peace on earth, goodwill to men” when so much has been lost and so much is still at stake with each new medicine and medical procedure? My heart breaks for Caroline, whom I have never even seen, and her parents, as they walk this hard road with her.
Jesus walked a hard road as well, on the way to the Cross. He watched as friends betrayed him, grieved the loss of his friend Lazarus, wept for His unbelieving community. He also saw and healed those broken by sin and sickness. He held the little children in His arms and blessed them.
He knows Caroline. He created her, and He sees her suffering. His heart breaks for her, too.
Will you please join me in praying for Caroline? Pray for a Christmas miracle for her and her family: that her memory would be restored, that the seizures would abate, that the doctors would find the cause and be able to bring hope to her family. Pray for the peace only Jesus can give to settle in their hearts and minds.
And, if you have an extra minute, pray for us too, as we begin our own journey to understand and manage Phinehas’ Crohn’s disease. Thank you.
Our God is greater, our God is stronger;
God, You are higher than any other.
Our God is healer, awesome in power,
Our God, our God
(To watch the Chris Tomlin video, Our God, here is the link.