I have always believed in God, and knew he was “there” but I didn’t always know he was “here”, right with me. The first time I realized how close God was to me was when I was in a bad car accident. One that was called in as a fatal accident. The car I was in rolled several times, over my arm even. There was a lot of blood and my arm looked very broken. It was also the first day I was to start college online. I walked away from that accident with a little road burn and a cut on my pinkie and Faith in God. I knew that He had plans for me and I wouldn’t use that accident as an excuse to not go to school.
I didn’t graduate from college until after Stryder was born, but I did graduate with a Bachelors in Accounting and the first one in my family to graduate college and still the only one. As you all know, Stryder is my son and he has a lot of medical challenges, so for a little while, I wondered why God sent me on the path of school if I couldn’t use that education since I had to stay home with Stryder, but I still had faith, just not answers right then.
Stryder was a great baby and as he was growing, and we were enjoying the moments you expect to have with a growing baby, but I had a feeling something was wrong. There were signs that didn’t make sense. He was not gaining weight and never cried and didn’t babble at all.
We had many questions and many tests. Stryder endured years of speech therapy and in the end, we were told he would never talk because at the age of almost 4, he still could not say one word. We didn’t know why he wasn’t talking and we started to learn sign language.
After numerous Dr’s saying the same things over and over “We just don’t know” as the number of appointments kept growing, my faith grew as well. We saw Dr’s that don’t normally see children or don’t see anyone any more for that matter. Doors were open that couldn’t have been opened by anyone other than God. We learned that Stryder was having seizures, you couldn’t see them. They were silent and 1-2 seizures every single second while he was sleeping. Once put onto seizure meds and intensive speech therapy, he began talking almost immediately. This was our first Stryder miracle.
We have been down a long road, a lot of sad times and a lot of happy times, but most of all, a lot of blessings that others never get a chance to experience.
We’ve been told that Stryder’s collagen is so bad, he wouldn’t make it past the age of 6 because he could have a dissected aneurysm, but I knew no matter what happened, it was in God’s hands. Now he is a happy 7 year old.
Several times, when Stryder was three and four, before we knew the seriousness of the his problems, we would travel to the Mayo clinic and random people would come and say how they felt he was an Angel on earth. This happened over and over from people not knowing what was wrong, if anything and it was at that time, that I knew Stryder had a special presence on this earth, he brought hope and peace to everyone.
Time and time again, we have been tested, but my faith has never wavered for I believe that God has shown me the way and I trust in him completely. Every time something bad has happened or been told to us, we are blessed with something or someone, even if it’s a smile, a warm hug or kind words, I embrace everything knowing that God is involved. Not everyone gets to see the good in people every single day, but we do. There is not a day that goes by where I am not thankful for the people in our lives and if Stryder wasn’t who he was, I would never have got to experience it day in and day out.
In July last year, Stryder was scheduled to see his specialist in Baltimore and I really didn’t want to go because Stryder seemed to be doing so well. Yes, he was still having seizures, but his pain was manageable and I thought I had everything under control. Someone at his school came to me and said that we should go and I explained to her that if we were to go, God would show me. Stryder had a cardiology appointment not long after and she told me that we HAD to go. She didn’t have a specific reason only that the Dr’s over there know his condition. So, we went.
It was then that the Dr ordered a standing MRI, one where no one on the west coast will perform on children under 14 and on the East coast they put them under sedation if under the age of 10. But as you already know by now, Stryder is special. For three hours he sat completely still in that MRI machine, only moving once every hour to change positions.
When the results came back, it was devastating. We were expecting some abnormalities because his collagen is weak, but I was not expecting them to be as drastic as they were. None of the Dr’s had seen a brain stem kinked so severely. They said they didn’t know how he was walking, let along thriving as well as he is. He needed to have several things done to his brain and neck.
I was so scared leading up to the surgery. There were many times I wanted to back out and just not do it. The Dr’s rarely did surgeries like his, in fact, the last one done was in 1998- but I knew that God opened the door and showed me the way and I knew I had to listen. Without surgery, Stryder would surely not make it to see his teen years, if not sooner.
The day of surgery, he had a CT scan and the surgeons told us that it was worse than they thought, his brain stem was being chewed up but his top vertebrae. The surgery lasted 8 hours and most would think it would be the worst 8 hours in their lives, but for me, it was the most peaceful I had ever felt in my life. It was in God’s hands and I knew God helped those surgeons do what they had to do.
Stryder’s surgery went very well, but we were challenged again after surgery. He needed a blood transfusion and he couldn’t stay awake very long and even couldn’t walk for several days, when the expectation was one day. They prepared us for him never to walk and then on day 5, he woke up like nothing ever happened. He wanted no more pain medication, not even Tylenol and walked out of the hospital.
I know most of us are afraid to talk about our Faith, afraid to offend someone or share our feelings, but I will tell you that when I tell Stryder’s Story, there is no question that God brought us many miracles. I do not have to preach God’s word, only tell our story, for God shows his own presence. There is no question that we are not touched by God’s hand and not just once, but every day.
We are facing new challenges and even possible heart surgery, which by the way, doesn’t seem as scary as brain surgery to me and while I don’t know where they will take us, I do know that God will show me the way, just as he will show you the way, you just have to have faith and listen. Don’t question God’s will, but do follow. Believe in the good of people and don’t doubt good intentions. Remember, we all have our own stories and often can’t look at someone and know where they came from, just look at Stryder and see what I mean. We have experienced miracles time and time again and I know God is not through showing our family many more miracles.