It was just a few weeks ago, I believe it as August 8th. The day started out pretty much like any other. I woke up, brushed my teeth and began to pray. I don’t consider myself a religeous man. To me that means you spend a lot of time discussing religion. In my opinion, there are just too many to say that one is right and the others are not. However, I am a very spiritual person. Anyone that knows me well will tell you that. I serve one God and one God only.
I won’t bore you with details of my prayers that day, but I will tell you that the Lord was telling me to “prepare myself”. For the life of me, I didn’t know what for. I kept praying. . .Father I know you want me to get ready for something – but what am I preparing for? During this same week, my dad and I were trying to plan a little getaway. Nothing elaborate mind you but perhaps driving down to Mexico for 3 or 4 days. Well, first we were gonna drive, then we decided we were gonna fly and then back to driving. For “some” reason, we never settled on the final details of the trip. I finally told dad that I wanted to wait until a later date so we didn’t have to feel rushed. He had taken some “last minute” time off from the office so we were trying to schedule the trip within his days off. Consequently, we didn’t go.
The sounds of my sick son disrupted my prayer. I listened closely. He threw up. I kept listening and then he threw up again. My son is 24 years old and I’ve been through every illness with him that he’s ever had. This time, it was different. My beliefs teach me that God has never given me the spirit of fear so I choose not to believe in it. But this time around, I knew something was wrong. My first thought was, he had the flu. The regular medications weren’t doing anything for him. My next thought was, an ear infection. When he was much younger, I recalled him having a difficult time when he developed one of those. The vomiting continued and became more violent. In addition to the vomiting, extreme dizziness, balance issues and blurred vision set in. I was well beyond concerned now.
I called his mother in Phoenix to give her an update on his condition. Her response was, “Take him to the ER now!”. On the way to ER, all I kept thinking about was the morning prayer. God said to prepare myself, to get ready. I had no idea what to expect but I knew I was going to have to put my TOTAL faith in God. Again my beliefs teach me that regardless of appearances, conditions, reports or doctor diagnosis’ my Father in Heaven is in charge of all things at all times. Once there in ER, they ran all sorts of routine tests and exams. About 2 hours later the doctor came in to discuss their findings. . . I couldn’t believe my ears.
Still trembling from what I just heard, I thought, how am I going to tell his mother. She’s going to hear it in my voice. She’ll have a breakdown. I gathered as much strength as I could and pressed redial. “Tracy, I just spoke with the doctor. His CT scan is showing a significant blood clot in the cerebellum of MC’s brain.”. The disbelief hit her first, then the sobbing, then the realization of it all. The next 12 days were the toughest times in our lives that we’ve ever had to endure. The entire family was in disbelief and on pins and needles. It was the same question over and over again. “What happened?, Why does a 24 year kid’s brain start bleeding on its own with no initial trauma or impact? When doctors questioned MC about any recent impacts of trauma to his head, he recalled only one incident. Back in April, he was playing basketball and took an elbow directly to his head where the blood clot was located. The doctors all agreed, in all likelihood, the elbow did not cause the bleed. The scan shows the clot was fresh blood. An injury 4 months earlier would show a much different picture if anything at all.
My son was moved into ICU at Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank, CA. Although he was completely conscience, his symptoms were excruciatingly painful. Watching him suffer broke my heart. I felt completely helpless. There was nothing I could do but wait. The next step was to have more tests and evaluations completed in hopes of determining a cause. CT scans, MRIs, Angiograms revealed nothing more, yet still no answers. During his 12 day stay in ICU, daily CT scans were performed to keep a close watch on the size of the blood clot. M C’s mother had arrived from Phoenix days earlier – and I don’t think I have to tell you how distraught and physically drained we both were. Tracy’s spiritual beliefs are just as strong as mine. We prayed daily, hourly, every chance we got. The reason I tell you the story is this. We knew there was a chance we could lose our son. Our prayer was NOT one of, “Father please save our son.” Our prayer was, “Father you come first in our lives, even before our son. When we put You first, we know all other issues will be worked out according to Your will. We know that regardless of conditions, circumstances, reports or diagnosis’, You do not work within the limitations of man or medicine. You are God over all things and we accept and thank You for Thy will. We will continue to praise Your holy name no matter the outcome. Our complete faith is in You, Amen.”
I think it was the evening of 8/19/11 and Tracy and I were driving home from another long day at the hospital and she said to me, “Its time to be still and let God finish his work.” and so we did. The following day when we arrived at St. Jo’s, the neurosurgeon advised that there was a reduction in the size of the blood clot from the most recent CT scan. Tracy and I pleasantly smiled, nodded and thanked the doctor for his report. Again, we didn’t care what the reports said. If we didn’t care about bad reports, we certainly weren’t going to care about good ones either. That would be hypocritical!
MC began to improve every day. He was finally discharged on 8/22/11. We are being told that with a few weeks of therapy, along with time (about 3 months), he will make a full recovery. The symptoms of headaches and dizziness that still occur will slowly disappear as the blood clot naturally gets reabsorbed back into his body. We thank God because there was no neurological damage. The bottom line here is that my 24 year old son had a stroke – the bursting of blood vessels in his brain. It still sounds very strange to say the words. There must have been 7 doctors on my son’s case. A team of Neurosurgeons, a team of neurologists and different brain and spinal experts were assembled, but no definitive answers. Some specialists say that it was a delayed reaction from the elbow. Others say it may have been the bursting of an abnormal blood vessel that he was born with. We may never know the true cause. But what I do know is that My God is God. Do you know yours?
I stated earlier that without a doubt, this was the most difficult challenge we’ve ever had to face in our lives, but God didn’t just have us go through this without purpose. I have truly learned that through God, I can endure anything! I have come out stronger than before. I used to think that becoming successful in the music biz was gonna be tough and of the utmost importance. Nonsense is what I say to that! I know tough when confronted. I know importance when I see it. Them ain’t it! (pardon my english) I believe God really challenges those who truly love him. I think about, Abraham, Moses, Noah, Job and Jesus and what they had to endure. I may never end up being named in the bible but I too strive for that kind of faith. As far as my son is concerned, I believe God has blessings beyond his wildest dreams in store for him. If I’m right about God challenging those in whom he finds favor, try this on for size. My son has broken an arm, broken an ankle, broken both wrists, broken his thumb, dislocated his knee, endured not one but two back surgeries, suffered a stroke and had major brain surgery all by the age of 24! My son has also realized his blessings throughout this journey and knows his true purpose has yet to be fulfilled. If God didn’t want him here, He’s certainly had plenty of opportunities to take him away.
Yes, we have all learned a great deal from this test of faith. The key is to continue to use it to show others how wonderful God is! So I ask you. Do you think the trip cancellation was a coincidence?
Our son is going to be just fine. Oh yeah, God loves my son alright. Did I forget to mention that he was born on 12/25/86??
Don’t forget to Praise His Name.