Today's blog is especially dedicated as a tribute and honour to an unbelievably brave and courageous "warrior for Christ", Deqlan Ross and his remarkable and loving parents, Samm and Mark. The ability of this precious family to meet their challenges and accept God's will in total surrender is what makes them extraordinary, and in my role as mother, mother-in-law and nanna, I salute them in great humility and love.
After Deqlan's victorious success regarding his very positive response to his first round of chemotherapy, things "got back to normal" last week Thursday and Friday and we had 2 unbelievably "fun days" together in the playpen and "travelling to magical places via our trainset and animal farm". Our system of infection control was piloted and proved effective. However, during early Friday morning, after having had breakfast, Deqlan had a projectile vomiting spell of dark green bile fluid. Samm and Nanna looked at each other and without using words, our eyes met and locked in the realization of what this could potentially mean. The vomiting spells continued unabated over the weekend, and in increasing quantities that were clearly cause for concern. After numerous calls (from Friday to Sunday) to different members of Deqlan's team of specialists, they unfortunately did not share the same concern as Samm and Mark regarding this persistent vomiting and inability to keep any fluids and solids down. After Deqlan, Samm and Mark had not slept for 2 whole nights, and the real danger of the possibility of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance occuring as a result of this problem, an assertive and persistent call was made by Mark to the paediatric oncologist who then finally agreed to see Deqlan in the paediatric ward at Kloof MediClinic on Sunday afternoon. After consultations by the oncologist, paediatrician and the paediatric surgeon on call (as the usual paediatric surgeon was away on leave), x-rays were done and it was agreed that the problem could be one of constipation as an intestinal obstruction was not detected at this time. A nasogastric tube was inserted and drainage was minimal throughout Sunday night, although Deqlan could still not retain any fluids or solids. Intravenous fluids were given via his port-a-cath and Deqlan was then given an enema, but with poor result. On Monday morning, 25th June, the quantity of bile, gastric and intestinal fluids ejected was so serious that a barium x-ray was ordered. This revealed a dangerous and potentially life-threatening intestinal obstruction and the "stand-in" paediatric surgeon, an academic specializing in neonatal surgery, promptly organized an emergency laparotomy and Deqlan went back into surgery this evening at 18h00rs.
In a surgical procedure lasting 2 hours, the intestinal obstruction was found to be due to the incisional hernia (which we have previously reported was caused during the second laparotomy to remove the haematoma and intestinal obstruction caused by the first procedure when the biopsy, bone marrow aspiration and insertion of the port-a-cath was initially done). Many other potentially problematic abdominal adhesions were found and "freed" during the operation. Deqlan was re-admitted to Neonatal ICU and is in a stable condition at this time. After his chemo, it is imperative that he is nursed in isolation to limit the risk of infection as his immune system is suppressed after chemo. He is being kept rehydrated, sedated and is on morphine for post-operative pain. It is almost incomprehensible that this was Deqlan's third laparotomy in as many weeks (with two of these laparotomies necessitated by complications caused by previous surgical procedures). Despite his discomfort, pain and exhaustion, as Daddy put him down on the operating table tonight, Deqlan was still able to give Daddy and the anaethetist a beautiful smile. Mommy did a sterling job, in her own imitable, devoted and loving way, of reassuring him that Jesus would look after him, of how much she and Daddy and his whole family loved him and that what had to be done was part of his healing process. And so it was that for the third time, that the family sat outside theatre, waiting, and using the time for prayer and coming to grips with the reality of the situation.
We fully trust in the Lord that Deqlan will make a full and prompt recovery from tonight's surgery and that he will be discharged over the weekend (the latest) to spend some time at home before commencing the second round of chemo at the Oncology Unit at LCM next Monday, 2nd July.
I have seen the doubt in Samm and Mark's eyes, but I HAVE SEEN FAR MORE FAITH.
I have seen their fear but I HAVE SEEN FAR MORE COURAGE.
I have seen their sadness, but I HAVE SEEN FAR MORE JOY.
I have seen their fatigue, but I HAVE SEEN FAR MORE STRENGTH
I have seen their despair, but I HAVE SEEN FAR MORE HOPE.
Their brave and unquestioning acceptance of God's will in their lives is to witness the greatest kind of faith in action. It is pure inspiration and is enabled by the acknowledgement that Jesus Himself is the Great Physician.
Please continue to lift Deqlan, Samm and Mark and our whole family up in prayer; your prayers for healing set in motion God's spiritual power. Prayer has great power and in our asking you to join us in faith and prayer, forms a united prayer - a powerful intervention. His word tell us: "come to Me when you are sick and afflicted; receive My healing and be made whole, for healing is one of the manifestations of My love for you" (Isaiah 53;5). We ask that God answers their prayers in His way, in His time and on His terms.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place our trust in You. Please renew our strength, encompass us with Your mercy, enfold us in Your love and bathe our spirit in Your light and wisdom.