When What You Wrote As Fiction Has Become Reality!

If you’ve followed the medical history of my youngest son, Christopher, you’ll understand what I’ve got to say now much more. In any case, if you aren’t up on his history, a little tidbit of info on this for the past fifteen years can be found in my blog post, Maternal Moxie: Tenacious Moms of Special Needs Kids.

This morning, I took Christopher for his every-two-year MRI scan. It is to check on the remnant of a brain tumor attached to his brainstem since he was diagnosed with it at 13 months old. Surgeries and radiation therapy followed, the latter to try and stop regrowth. Since 2007, the tumor has been lying dormant, thank God.

There was a scare in the fall of 2008 that the tumor and the cyst it creates had grown a tad. I had to return with Christopher for another MRI scan the next month to make sure before starting up a long, dreadful year of chemotherapy, that he’d been able to avoid all those years.

Feeling desperate, I turned to the Saints of my church. Something I’d never done up to that point. I asked the Panagia (Virgin Mary/Mother of God), Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, and Saint Nektarios to pray for my son.

Within 15-30 minutes, I felt the heaviness sitting on my shoulders be literally lifted off of them and has never returned. I felt at peace.

The next month, I took Christopher in for the MRI scan. The doctor came back to tell me that, for some reason, the tumor had shrunk back a bit, as well as the cyst. He didn’t know why, but I did. The Saints had and still pray for my son, and the prayers of the righteous are powerful!

Since then, the tumor has been stable and dormant, thank God.

Today, I was hoping for the same result.

But that’s not what I got this go around.

Via my Facebook post this morning (minus one of the MRI scanned photos):

First and foremost, Glory to God. The oncologist said that the portion of the brain tumor that has been attached to Christopher’s brainstorm for just over fifteen years has disappeared/gone away!

However, he said he and the radiologists may need a closer look on that at some point, but still, it’s not there on the scan! 

Here are the two pics from 2013 scan to today’s. The first picture shows the white portion next to the gray section in the middle of the head is the remaining tumor back in 2013. Today’s scan — the picture on the right— doesn’t show it there anymore! 

Having said that, the doctor said Christopher will be getting scans every 3 years for the rest of his life, due to the damage of the radiation that can cause benign tumors outside the brain. However, those are easier to remove!

Along with this, he’s referring Christopher for a multi-disciplinary clinic check up for him transitioning to adulthood. So, he’ll see a neuro-psychologist, endocrinologist, and rehab specialist to check his ability to drive and other things. He’s also being referred to “plastics” (what the doctor called it) to discuss working on his face through nerve work to even out his face. The left side of his face droops a bit and is partially paralyzed (with 7th nerve palsy in his left eye, with an eyelid that doesn’t totally close, and severe hearing loss in his left ear).

Of course, at first Christopher said he wasn’t interested in facial plastic surgery (basically what I’m thinking the doctor meant by “plastics”) because he doesn’t want scars. The oncologist explained there won’t be any scars. That’s what “plastics” does and gets rid of. Ha ha!

Nevertheless, the oncologist told him he can say, “No” after meeting with the “plastics” doctor if he still doesn’t want to do that. 🙂

Also, the nurse put in a referral to an ophthalmologist/eye doctor per the oncologist’s recommendation. I’m very happy about this, because I wasn’t sure who to go to for this. He’s overdue for an eye check. 

The third picture farthest to the right is damage on the left side, lower portion of his brain from the tumor, surgeries and radiation that is lit up in white. But the oncologist said the thinking portion on the top and upper portions of his brain look good and are okay, thank God. 

Again, this is the best news we’ve gotten on Christopher’s tumor since years ago when it was stabilized. Thank God!

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Remembering The Known and Unknown

all saints orthodox icon

When I logged onto Facebook a week or so ago, a memory from seven years ago shown at the top of my newsfeed. One having to do with my favorite Old Testament book–The Wisdom of Sirach.

The Wisdom of Sirach is part of the Orthodox Christian Old Testament Bible. It is as true and valid as the other Old Testament books other Christians of other traditions have. So, perhaps knowing that The Wisdom of Sirach is canonical for us Orthodox Christians, you may be able to better understand why we commemorate and remember the Saints of our Church.

It has been done since the early years of Abraham and Moses, etc. The tradition has carried on to this day in our Orthodox Churches.

Incidentally, I’m leading a women’s Bible and Orthodox book study during this Nativity Fast, in which we will begin to read and study this treasured book together.

The verses on remembering the saints before us from The Wisdom of Sirach are here:

44 Let us now praise honored men and our fathers.

2 The Lord established His great glory and majesty from the beginning through them.

3 There were those ruled in their kingdoms and were men renowned for their power, giving counsel through their understanding and proclaiming prophecies.

4 There were leaders of the people by their counsels and understanding of learning for the people. Wise in their words of instruction.

5 There were composers of music, and they set forth verse in writing.

6 Wealthy men with great resources, living in peace in their dwelling-places.

7 All these were honored in their generations and in their days were a source of boasting.

8 There were those who left behind a name that men might declare their praises.

9 There were also those whom no one remembers, who perished as if they never existed; and they died as if they had not been born. And so have their children after them.

10 Nevertheless, these were men of mercy, whose righteousness lives with God.

11 The good they did remains with their seed, and their inheritance with their children’s children.

12 Their seed stands with the covenants, and their children as well for their sake.

13 Their seed shall remain forever, and their glory will not be blotted out.

14 Their bodies were buried in peace, and their name lives to all generations.

15 Peoples will tell of their wisdom, and the assembly will proclaim their praise.

 

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The Holiest Woman in the World Came To Be With Us This Morning

holy Iveron icon

 

She came at the sound of the thundering bells, the melodic, harmonious hymns of the chanters, and the people awaiting her with feelings of respect, reverence, and love. The Mother of all poured out her nurturing stream of tears through the Holy Iveron Icon—one of God’s many holy paintings in His Church. The subdeacon, Nectarios, who travels with her, shared the miraculous healings and protection of The Theotokos’ maternal prayers and love. Each of God’s children received her sweet-smelling tears through anointment of our cheeks, chins, foreheads, and hands. Furthermore, we experienced her loving presence at the end of the service, kissing her and her Son and our Savior via this glorious icon. Glory to God!