Easter Miracle

Apr 4, 2021

I spent this Easter morning exactly like I wanted to. I woke up slowly and without an alarm, the early light filtering in through the blinds. A quick peek out the window revealed Mt. Olympus looking dazzling as always, brushed by a few soft pink clouds. I somehow managed to wake up before my kids, despite their anticipation of Easter baskets. I pulled out my scriptures and read the accounts of the resurrection in both Matthew and John. 

I love these words so much. They are as familiar to me as the Christmas story in Luke 2: I love the early morning rush back to the sepulchre in order to finish the tasks that had been so hastily done before sunset on Friday. I love the angels sitting on the stone to greet Jesus' followers and tell them the good news. I love Mary's lack of understanding and quiet anguish. But most of all, I love when the Savior comes to her, and the only word He has to utter is "Mary" for her to know who He is. 

Following the general chaos and excitement with the Easter baskets, I stole away for a short walk. I put in just one AirPod so I could listen to my Easter playlist in one ear while I listened to the birds singing in the other. I walked the streets at a leisurely pace--not for exercise, but for meditation. Gratitude came in great, undulating waves, and I let it immerse me.

We've experienced a series of miracles this week. On the surface, they might appear small, but they have not felt that way to us.

On Monday, Maxwell's genetic test finally came in, and it was normal. We all breathed a sigh of relief. I felt almost as giddy as I did when we originally found out he was a perfect match for Aaron. After two and a half months of waiting, we could finally move forward with a plan. 

At Aaron's appointment on Thursday, they handed me a schedule--an actual schedule with dates and times. It made my type A personality very happy. That is, happy until I looked at the actual dates and realized they weren't going to start anything for three more weeks. The schedule showed Aaron being admitted to the hospital on April 20th; this felt like an eternity away. I thought back over the last three weeks, which had been filled with fevers, fainting, bleeding, unplanned trips to the hospital, and multi-night stays. It seemed likely that these coming three weeks could include more of the same.

I felt frustrated. Everything that was on the schedule between now and April 20th was all stuff that seemed like it could have been done weeks ago: a hearing test, a pulmonary function test, a radiation consultation, and an appointment with pharmacy (I mean, seriously? We're putting off the transplant so that we can talk to the pharmacists about all of the medication that we are already very well acquainted with?). None of these things were dependent on knowing whether or not Max was going to be the donor, so it seemed like the coordinator could have gotten them out of the way during all of the weeks of waiting. But no. 

You always hope that your doctors have your child's best interest in mind, but I've found that they are as subject to human nature as the rest of us. They have many patients to worry about, most of whom are very ill and in need of treatment right now. They have overloaded schedules with too much to do in too little time. They have their own families and interests and outside responsibilities. An extra week or two before transplant honestly doesn't make any difference to them.

But it does for us. And that's why Mike called the coordinator that afternoon and asked if there was any way to get things bumped up a little sooner. She acted kind of surprised, like, "Oh, we were trying to space things out so that you wouldn't have to come into the hospital several times a week." And we were like, "Um, we come into the hospital several times a week anyway. It might as well be for something productive!"

Unfortunately, the radiation consultation couldn't be moved up, but everything else could, which means we were able to change Aaron's admission date to the 16th instead of the 20th. It's not much, but we'll take anything at this point. If this experience has taught me anything, it's that parents actually do play a vital role in medical care. We are advocates and are constantly taking in information, checking up on things, asking questions, and pushing for the best care possible. 

But I said I was going to talk about miracles, and here I've been mostly complaining. Actually, getting the date moved up even a little (and having the coordinator actually call us back!) really was a miracle.

Aaron was discharged from the hospital on Monday. He and Mike stayed at Mike's sister's house for a couple of days while the other boys recovered from their colds. But later in the week, we were finally all together again. As we sat around the table eating dinner on Friday night, we realized it had been over two weeks since the last time that had happened (and we are generally very dedicated to eating dinner as a family).

Maxwell went to Aaron's appointment with him on Thursday. Even though he is cleared to be Aaron's donor, they still needed to run quite a few more labs in preparation for the transplant. So he had to have another blood draw (not his favorite, but he is getting better and better at not freaking out). I knew Aaron's doctor wanted to meet Max and get to know him a little bit, so before the appointment, I reminded Max to be friendly and talkative. "Okay," he said, "but I just hope they don't say anything about me being brave." The first thing Dr. Rayes said when he walked in was, "So this is our hero!" I just had to laugh. Max might not like it, but that's really how we all feel. (Incidentally, they've scheduled the harvest of Max's stem cells for April 12th. Rather than have extraction and transplant happen on the same day, they will freeze Max's cells until Aaron has gone through all of his prep.)

Aaron has felt good for almost the entire week. He and Mike had to make a midnight platelet run on Wednesday night, but other than that, there have not been any unexpected medical events. His heart rate has been good. He's had energy. He hasn't had any fevers.

But even more than any of those things, Aaron has had a complete attitude shift. I don't know if it's that he's completely off of the steroids now or that he didn't have any schoolwork this week due to spring break or if angels have taken it upon themselves to buoy him up. Regardless of the reason, he has been cheerful and kind and just so indescribably nice all week. This is the Aaron we're used to, and I'm so glad to have him back.

I have to admit that I've become rather distrustful of good days. I don't like being led into a false sense of security only to have another bomb drop. But I'm trying to just take the approach of living in the present and being grateful for what is right in front of me without worrying that it will all come crashing down. It very well might, but the good days will come back again. 

Besides Easter, this weekend was also General Conference, a semi-annual worldwide broadcast from our church, filled with inspirational music and messages. I loved so many of the talks, but Elder Rasband said something that has stuck with me: "The magnitude does not distinguish the miracle." In other words,  miracles do not have to be big to qualify as miracles.

Every good thing comes from God. This week has been filled with many good things. Each one was a miracle to me.

Aaron and Max, 2010

4 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you've had a good week! What marvelous news! I'm writing down the 12th and 16th in my planner right now 🙏

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  2. So glad you had a Happy Easter. Did the boys get books in their Easter baskets?

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  3. So grateful Aaron is on the schedule for April 16! Sending love and prayers to you all!

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  4. Our love is sent to all of your family. We think about you a great deal and admire (not strong enough a word!) how all of you are handling these difficult times. I check your blog every morning to see if there is any update. Hugs to you and Mike and to all 5 boys!!!!!

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