Surgery Day

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Surgery day was finally but quickly here.  It was all happening so fast, but I know that it was a good thing.  It was also a hard thing.  I don’t think dragging it out would have made it any easier, probably just harder.  If we didn’t move this fast, I would have been so worried that it was going to spread before they could do surgery.  Still, all I could think was that we just went to the eye doctor on Monday.  It started out as a lazy eye, then a columba, then retinoblastoma.  That is pure craziness… it was just suppose to be lazy eye!  Yet, I am praising God because the retinoblastoma was found because our pediatrician noticed Zach’s lazy eye.  Thank You, Jesus!

Before we could get to surgery, Zach woke up at 1:30 am.  He was burning up!  I immediately went into panic mode because that is what I do, but also because we all know that you cannot have surgery if you have a fever.  I grabbed our St. Jude binder and started looking for the number for the Medicine Room at St. Jude.  We were instructed on our first night to call anytime Zach ran a fever because fevers are obviously a very big deal for their patients.   The nurse I talked to said to go ahead and give him Tylenol.  It was not a real big deal since he was not going through any treatment and did not have a PICC line.   The most important thing was to get his fever down so he could have his surgery.  We gave him Tylenol at 1:30 and then again at 5:30 (as we were told), and we headed over to the hospital for 6:00.  Zach did not have to be there until 6:30, but we couldn’t sleep anyways.  We wanted to be able to take our time and pray, rushing would only make us more anxious.

We met up with our family and went to the waiting room.  We are also so thankful that our pastor and his wife came.  For those who don’t know, Memphis is a good 6 1/2 hour drive. They could not leave their house until late Thursday night, so they did not get much sleep that night.  They did all that driving so they could be here with us even though we weren’t much company.  It is just another reason why I am thankful to be apart of a local church.   I remember when we were sitting in the eye doctor’s office, and they told us there was an “object” in Zach’s eye.  We didn’t know what that meant at the time, but all I knew to do was to pray.  I remember looking at Andrew and telling him to text Bro. Sam and tell him to pray.  We are so thankful for the special friendship we have with Bro. Sam and Tonya, and as far as I am concerned, they don’t come any better than those two people.

st. jude

Anyways… we all gathered around to pray for Zach.  I was doing a decent job at keeping it together.  We brought Zach back to pre-op and were fortunate enough to recognize some of the same nurses and nurse anesthetists there.  It was such a great feeling knowing they cared for Zach.  Zach even had a nurse anesthetists that was with him during the MRI that came in because she heard him fussing and brought him something to play with that he liked playing with the day before.  He had to go through eye drops yet again, which he hated.  It was at this point where I was barely keeping it together.  All I could think was that he was so young and innocent.  It just didn’t seem right or fair that he had to go through this.  I hated seeing him upset over something I had no control over.

When they did the final set of drops, they told me to go ahead and put on scrubs.  Andrew kindly let me be the one to go back with Zach again until he went to sleep.  Andrew kissed Zach, and we headed back to the surgery room.  The room was once again filled with wonderful, caring people.  They put his anesthesia in via his IV he had from the day before, and he went to sleep.  He was not happy about it, though, so he went to sleep crying.  It broke my heart.  I know I had tears in my eyes, but I was trying not to let them see.  I do not know why I feel the need to always be composed, but this week made that nearly impossible.  I guess the nurse could tell because she looked at me and said, “We will take care of him as if he was our own.”  I already knew they would, but it meant a lot that she would say that.  I kissed Zach and headed out to the waiting area.

I thought I would be okay and could hold it together, but I wasn’t.  I did the only logical thing I could do.   I went and sat in my mom’s lap and cried and cried and cried.  Yes, I know, it’s quite pathetic, but I surely didn’t care at the time.  All I could say is that I don’t want this.  I wanted Zach back in my arms.  I wanted this nightmare to be over.  I wanted to make everything okay without the surgery.  I so badly wanted it to be me instead of him.  All I could say is that I don’t want this.  Who would?

Eventually, I calmed down.  I had had my moment, and it was time to move on.  We were suppose to go to our D clinic to meet with Dr. Brennan while Zach was in surgery to go over some things.  We went and met with her, asked questions, and went over some what-if scenarios.  She skipped over most of the chemotherapy stuff since we did not know at that point if it was necessary.  She mentioned some of the things Zach would have to go through just to be able to do chemo, and it was then that I said I was claiming it in the name of Jesus that He would not need it.  What can I say?  I was feeling bold.

We went back up stairs to wait and found out that Dr. Wilson had already come out looking for us.  It had been right at an hour, just like he said.  He met with us and told us Zach did great.  I know we talked for a few minutes, but I was just ready to see Zach.  Right about the time, we left the conference room, the phone rang to go back and be with Zach.

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When we went to recovery, we saw Zach still sleeping but taking a bottle.  That’s my boy! They brought me a rocking chair by his bed and let me pick him up.  He was still my sweet, sweet baby boy.  They unhooked all of his monitors and took out his IV.  The nurse explained all of his medicines and care we needed to provide until we came back.  Andrew sweetly took care of that, so all I had to do is rock and soothe Zach.  After somewhere between thirty minutes and an hour, we were allowed to take Zach with us back to our room to rest.

We went back to our room and spent the rest of the day resting with Zach.  It had been a LONG week, and I felt relieved that we had this past us now.  It was like I could finally breathe.  The dread I had been feeling was gone.

God brought us through this week.   Even though it took us by surprise, God had us all in His hand.  He had and has a plan for Zach.  It was not and is not a plan I would have chosen, but I know that God will use this for His glory.  I had no idea when we were picking out names for our baby boy how true his name’s meaning would be.  I fell in love with the name, Zachary, because of what it means, “Remembered by God.”  I know now that his name is not a coincidence, but that God remembered Zachary this week.  He remembers Zachary today and tomorrow.  He has a plan for his life that is not my own, and while that scares me, it comforts me.  God is in control of my baby boy, and His plans are always right and always good.  Praise His Holy name!

Not even surgery can keep Zach from giving kisses!
                                          Not even surgery can keep Zach from giving kisses!

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3 thoughts on “Surgery Day

  1. Andrew and Natalie I am so proud of you. I know that this has been tough on you, I see your faith growing stronger everyday and know that God is using all three of you in a special way. Love you all very much.

  2. Keeping this beautiful and Godly family in my prayers! Your strength is incredible and inspiring, and I know God is working wonders with His plan!

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