Jared and I had dinner with Michael and Ashley Smith our first Sunday in Huntsville, AL. Ashley and I were both pregnant, at the time, with our oldest daughters. I immediately felt a connection with her because we had so much in common, silly things that I won’t bore you with. However, the main connection I have with Ashley is her sincere love for our Jesus. She’s eaten up with our Savior and you can’t be around her and not know. I am so excited to have Ashley share Nolan’s story with us. Ashley is an amazingly talented worship leader and you can learn more about Ashley and her music by visiting her website.
“You will need to go see the pediatric oncologist to rule out that this isn’t cancer”
Those were the last words I heard before my knees hit the ground and my phone was wet with tears. What did this all mean? Not my son. Not the perfect son God gave me?
It was right after the fourth of July in 2012 and my husband, Micheal, and 18 month old son, Nolan, were wrestling in the living room. As Micheal buried his head in Nolan’s chest to tickle him, as he normally did when they are playing, Nolan screamed out and quickly Micheal pulled back to see why. As if it had always been, there was a lump on the middle of Nolan’s sternum and was sensitive to the touch, according to Nolan’s obvious painful reaction. We had never noticed it before and had been to the lake the previous weekend where he had his shirt off and we would have noticed it. We had no idea where it came from.
When Micheal told me what happened, the worried mother in me quickly made an appointment with the pediatrician to see what this was. We went to see our doctor the next day and they told us it didn’t look like anything to worry about but lets take an x-ray just in case. This would turn into a series of tests that I was not prepared for.
After ultrasounds,bone scans, and MRI’s with sedation, they finally told us “You need to go to see the pediatric oncologist to rule out that it isn’t cancer”
This had never even been on my radar. We walked into the oncologists office, pictures of children cancer survivors and current chemo patients on the wall. My eyes began to well up with fear of the unknown.
We had our meeting with the oncologist where she looked over the previous tests and immediately set us up with a pediatric surgeon to get a biopsy of the mass.
The biopsy was scheduled on Micheal’s 31st birthday. The surgery went well and Nolan did fantastic. The days came and went and it was time to find out the results.
We walked in and without hesitation, she says “Well, good news… it’s not cancer”. WHAT?!? PRAISE JESUS! Thank you thank you God… So what is it? She threw out a lot of medical terms. I can honestly say I can’t remember to this day what she said, but it was some type of tumor/mass that at some point may have to be removed. She told us they would send the biopsy out to other oncologists around the nation because they hadn’t seen anything like Nolan’s tumor. Weeks passed and the mass in the middle of Nolan’s sternum stumped ALL of the doctors. Not one could say exactly what it was or how it got there. We were left with the conclusion it needed to be watched and we would do another MRI in two months…
Then ….. it happened.
We had the MRI and went straight up to see our oncologist and she sat down and said this.
“Well… um… After looking at the scan this is very strange but… It’s gone. All we see are the surgical marks from the biopsy”
Could God have performed this miracle in my son? Overwhelmed I looked at Micheal and instantly burst into tears. My Jehovah Rapha healed our son. The doctors were stumped at this case in all aspects but God was in control the whole time.
The doctor went on to say that we would probably need to do an MRI in the future to make sure everything is gone and stays gone but we knew what God had already accomplished in our lives and in Nolan’s. To this day all that remains is the 3 inch scar on his chest that Nolan sometimes touches and says “Jesus took it out!” in his 2 1/2 year old voice. My emotions are still high even writing this now.
Our family was spared the agonizing road of cancer that is so frequent today especially in the United States. Though I do not understand, my heart goes out to those who do walk this heart-wrenching, difficult road.
We are blessed because death has been defeated and the enemy can no longer hold us down. No matter the circumstance we always have hope in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We held on to multiple verses during this season
Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord but will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
None was more deeply penetrated into my heart more than this familiar verse that I clung to dearly.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The Lord is sovereign and good and he is our hope. I give praise to the one who created me to live for Him.
I had always wanted to go to Africa and knew that one day God may fulfill this desire for me to go. An opportunity had come that year and I just kept feeling like it wasn’t my year to go. I fought with God and over many, many weeks of prayer had to refuse the offer to go.
The week, that particular team I would have gone with left, was the week that Nolan’s biopsy was scheduled….There was no way I would have gone to Kenya. God always knows better than we do. Always.