All Praise to Him
Well known author and missionary widow Elisabeth Elliott writes, "God will not protect you from anything that will make you more like Jesus."
Certainly, God is using recent events to refine us and draw us nearer to Him.
A Seven-Day Battle
On January 11 Cindy and I arrived home from Nashville, after an unexpected 7-day battle. Physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausted, we reached home at 4pm.
Within half an hour all three of our daughters and our grandkids surrounded CiCi to celebrate her birthday and to thank God for restoring her life.
We have remained a bit stunned since Dec 28, when we learned that Cindy's multiple myeloma had returned. On Thursday, January 5th she was scheduled for the removal of a 1.6-inch cancer-destroyed section of her collar bone. The doctor described this as outpatient surgery. Not so in our case.
After the successful surgery, Cindy fought pain, nausea and fatigue. Little did we know that her sodium had dropped to life-threateningly low levels (115). By Saturday, January 7th at noon Cindy experienced a low-sodium-induced seizure that left her non-responsive for three hours. We clung to every twitch and breath as a glimmer of hope that what we were seeing was not Cindy in a coma.
Last night (Saturday, Jan 14) Cindy asked our kids and their husbands to get babysitters and come over for an adults-only meal of reflection and praise. We looked back together as a family and we each retold our view of the last few days - declaring the evidence of God's goodness and His divine intervention:
- Miracle #1
Cindy's insurance required that the collarbone surgery become at least a 24-hour inpatient procedure. Honestly, the post-operative discomfort would have made it hard for her to leave the hospital so soon. Who knew that staying in the hospital would end up saving her life.
- Miracle #2
On Saturday afternoon at 12:30 pm, just minutes before we were to drive on an icy road back to Memphis, Cindy had a low-sodium-induced seizure.
If the seizure had occurred on the road and the low sodium level had not been quickly corrected (as it was in the hospital), Cindy could have potentially reached a comatose state, experienced permanent brain damage, or worse. God's timing was perfect.
- Miracle #3
A skilled young nurse made the quick decision during the seizure to reconnect Cindy's oxygen, clear her airway, suction her mouth and call for the code team - all while Mark held Cindy on her side for what seemed like a very long two minutes. After the seizure, Cindy's body collapsed, remaining catatonic for three hours - not usual for a typical seizure.
- Miracle #4
Emily (on speaker phone from Turkey) encouraged a young medical resident to alter his well-intentioned efforts to further raise Cindy's sodium at a dangerously rapid rate, which could have left Cindy brain damaged. Emily's intervention occurred at just the right time. The resident's supervisor later agreed with Emily's recommendation, putting Cindy on the correct course of gradual sodium normalization.
- Miracle #5
Another sharp young ICU nurse made the life-saving decision to quickly begin Cindy on "pressors" to keep her alive during an extremely low blood pressure crisis, which occurred as she was being transported back from an MRI to her ICU room. If the nurse had failed to act decisively, Cindy may not have survived.
- Miracle #6
Emily's pharmacy classmate, Allison, who was present with us through one crisis after another, along with Emily (by phone), convinced the ICU team to consult endocrinologists. We are so thankful that the endocrinology team corrected and safely restored Cindy's sodium levels.
- Miracle #7
The persistent efforts of a skilled ICU medical fellow saved Cindy many times. He refused to give up on her as he and his team made some timely decisions, such as inserting an arterial line to better monitor Cindy's blood pressure. He and his team became God's instruments, clearly guided by His Hand.
- Miracle #8
Allison, Emily's pharmacy classmate, gave non-stop devotion and advocacy to Cindy. She remained day and night at Cindy's side with Mark, along with Emily by phone, helping with every critical medical decision -- encouraging Mark when things seemed hopeless.
- Miracle #9
Prayer works. When Cindy was being rolled into the ICU Mark texted all three girls, "Mom seized and crashed. Unresponsive. Pray." They jumped into action, notifying many to pray. At the third hour of her non-response, Mark prayed over Cindy, begging God for help and healing. Almost immediately Cindy woke up.
Later during the low BP crisis Mark prayed with Cindy and the medical team for God to guide their hands. He answered our prayers.
Some of you awoke in the night, interceding on Cindy's behalf. Our refugee friends were so kind to contact us, letting us know that they too were praying. Within three hours Betsy and Kelly and their families arrived at the hospital in Nashville. By late Tuesday evening, Emily arrived from Turkey with her youngest son Luke.
Wednesday, January 11 we reached home--followed soon by the kids and grandkids. All our little toddlers followed behind Maddie, age seven, to gather around Cindy in wonder. Charlie asked, "CiCi are you still sick?"
Maddie shared that at school last week a question was posed to her class, Which would you choose, to be a famous actor or to find the cure for cancer? "Cici," Maddie explained, "I would choose to find the cure for cancer!"
On Skype from Turkey, Caleb asked to see CiCi. Immediately after seeing her face and talking to Cici on the phone, Caleb said to Emily, "Okay, Mommy, CiCi's better. Would you please come home now?!"
God is good. We can't stop thanking Him for undeserved mercy and for His unending love, not withholding even painful events that point us and draw us close to Him. We pray that each of us will steward well the days appointed for us.
So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Mark and Cindy Morris