Is a triumph bigger than a victory? Can you achieve either without our Father’s help?
My family had a huge victory not long ago. My son, who recently turned 4, fought a tough battle as an infant. I carried him to term- 39 weeks, 4 days- and he was mostly healthy, except for the jaundice. His pediatrician soothed our concerns about Elijah’s yellow skin for 2 pediatric visits, but on the third, Eli’s dad was insistent. He asked the doctor to take a second look at two-month-old Elijah, at the whites of his eyes that had never actually been white. Instead, they were yellow. Dr. Mike urged my husband and I to take our son to the nearest hospital for an ASAP blood test. I had never heard of it or had to have this type of blood test done for myself, but the results came back fast.
We had just arrived home from the hospital when we got a call from Dr. Mike’s office regarding the test results. They had set up an appointment at the children’s hospital with a gastrointestinal doctor. We saw the doctor on a Friday and she asked us to return for a brief stay on Monday. Her team would have to perform a biopsy on Elijah’s liver tissue because something wasn’t right, but she couldn’t be sure of the issue until the tests were completed.
On Monday, the liver tissue biopsy was inconclusive, so the doctors had to do another test- a dye test. The goal was to see how the dye moved through Elijah’s liver… but the dye didn’t leave his liver. It stayed, just like the bile had been doing all along. The doctor determined that my son’s bile ducts were too scarred to function as they were supposed to, which led to an overabundance of bile and caused my son’s yellow skin and eyes.
The condition is called biliary atresia, which we had never heard of prior to this diagnosis. Few people are born with this congenital illness which affects 1 in 18,000; the rarity of the illness means that researchers are still making lots of breakthroughs. The fix, the doctor told us, is temporary. Elijah received the Kasai procedure, where the surgeon connected his small intestine to his liver, allowing his bile to finally drain. Our boy looked so relieved and comfortable for the first time ever as we were reunited with him after he spent 4 hours under the knife. My husband and I had known our son for 2 months and he rarely smiled, despite the fact that my husband and I can both be pretty silly. Seeing Elijah smile after his surgery gave me that taste of victory. Elijah’s GI doctor and the surgeon who performed the surgery warned us that this procedure wasn’t the be-all, end-all when it comes to his illness. The Kasai was done because Elijah was an infant and doctors would rather not do transplants on patients younger than age 2. That being said, Elijah is a “potential candidate for a liver transplant” but I don’t worry about it anymore.
There’s so much power in God’s name- Elijah means “I am God” and I’ve never doubted his promises and power, especially as another birthday passes by where we aren’t seeking an organ donor for our little dude. Our whole family wins every year that Elijah makes it without a transplant. Statistics say that of all Kasai patients, 80% need a transplant before they turn 18. We’ve got a lifetime ahead of us to pray away what the doctors say. I was always aware of God’s mercy but having gone through this with my son and my husband gave me an outlook that I could not have otherwise gained and I am grateful. Our support system grows every time I tell someone about my little dude so no matter what happens down the road, I know I’ve been given the best team to lift me and my family up in prayer and positiveness.
Don’t be afraid to ask for those prayers, ladies. You never know how long they’ll last or how far they’ll take you and your family.
Do you have a testimony of victory of your own or experienced with your family? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Thanks for reading,
Jeannelle “Jean” Lundy