Perception is a funny thing. Two equally intelligent individuals can watch identical events with the same factual basis uncontested between the two, and yet still believe they saw something entirely different. It happens all the time. A waitress comes up to take an order and is extra-friendly. The husband thinks she's nice. The wife thinks she's a flirt.
Yesterday, during an especially low point of patience, I pointed to the Bible on the table. It was a brand new Children's Bible that Chris gave Mal earlier that morning. The cellophane had just been removed from it, and I think one or two people had thumbed through it to look at the illustrations. I looked at Rach and said, "Just flip to a page, any page, and let's read." We both needed some comfort and a distraction from waiting for the phone to ring with an update. Rachel reached to the middle of the book and flipped the Bible open. It opened to John 6, the book and verse that describes Jesus' miracles. We read of Jesus feeding the masses, walking on water and declaring that he was the bread of heaven. You may look at those facts as a random occurrence. I perceive it to be divine intervention.
Yesterday was a brutal day on many levels, but overall we are overjoyed. The removal of Mal's tumor was by all accounts of the surgeons a success, and she suffered no nerve damage in the process. It was fused to the nerves and spine in two places, and would have likely been worse had we not caught it when we did. The bad news is that there is a high chance that Mal will need to undergo further treatment for cancer. I think that Rachel and I are the only parents in the history of the world that were told our kid probably had cancer and it still couldn't sink our spirits. Again, it's all about perception. There is a long road ahead, and many challenges to come. We could choose to focus on that. But we saw something truly amazing accomplished yesterday, and very soon we will get our little girl back. I perceive the situation was the best possible outcome for yesterday. Mal is intact, and now we will wait for the lab to perform the biopsy.
As for the princess, she remained intubated and in an induced sleep overnight. Still, she was restless and had to have her arms strapped to the bed to restrain her from trying to pry out her tubes in her sleep. She is undergoing an MRI as I type this to check for any residual tumor that was not detected before, as well as hemorrhaging or stroke. With all the monitoring that has gone on since the surgery, they told us there is a very low likelihood they will find anything abnormal, but we still need to check. Malorie also had neuro-sensors placed on her tongue that checked the stimulus to the brain during the surgery. That, combined with laying face down for 11 hours caused some swelling in her tongue, and so the doctors are concerned that she will be unable to collect her saliva and swallow, thus precluding her from breathing on her own right now. Because Mal has earned a feisty reputation over the past couple days (ripping out her own catheter, biting the nurse who put in her breathing tube while she was in an induced sleep, etc.), they will likely keep her in a sleep until the swelling subsides, but they will be checking that periodically throughout the day. Mal's earned reputation has also come with some benefits, as she's seemingly won the hearts of many of the staff here. Yesterday, when we arrived back to the room, she had a gift from Kendra and the Judkins family waiting here for her. When we got to the PICU on Friday, they laid the groundrules that any gifts had to be removed from the room to keep it clear for the medical personnel. Last night, Mal's nurses tied her oversized Elmo balloon to a table in her room. "As long as it doesn't touch any monitors, the doors, curtains or doctors... it can stay," they told us.
As for Rachel and me, we are exhausted. I got some good sleep considering it was in an ICU room last night, and Rach and I traded off a couple hours in the parent's lounge for rest as well. I am truly speechless at the acts of kindness that were showered upon our family. We have long known we were loved, but I don't think any of us imagined it was to this extent. On behalf of my entire family, I thank all of you for your thoughts, prayers and kind words to us during this difficult time. You have provided more comfort that you can know.
A lot of times public displays of faith come off as forced and a bit overdone to me. I believe that Jesus knows the content of my heart and thus I know it is probably unnecessary for me to type this in a public forum, but I feel compelled to do so. Thank you Jesus for guarding Malorie yesterday and bringing her back to us. I can never repay you; but that's the point, right? I have long held it as reality that Christ has a presence in my life, but from yesterday forward, my perception of that presence has changed.