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The fingerprints of God

Every Friday during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month we will be sharing Patrick’s journey.

Time. It provides us with perspective; a historical roadmap if you will. It illuminates our milestones and achievements. It obscures the insignificant. Most of all, time provides us with the ability to recognize the power of predestined intervention at critical moments in our lives. The mark of this intervention is nothing more than… the fingerprints of God.

My husband and I have six children. Patrick and his twin brother, Trent, are our youngest. They became our children by choice. We loved them, we wanted them and we adopted them. Looking back, I realize they were predestined to become our children. Patrick would need our care and he would need access to Texas Children’s Hospital. I firmly believe that Patrick wouldn’t be alive today without Texas Children’s and his oncologists, Dr. Crystal Louis and Dr. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, to treat his disease. At the time of diagnosis we were told that without treatment he would have had only months to live. We clung to the belief that God didn’t bring them to us only to take Patrick away. Their adoption and access to good medical care is just the first of many divine appointments we recognize when we look back across the landscape of Patrick’s journey with cancer.

Patrick was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma; a cancer of the nervous system. He had tumors along his spine and one of his tumors was located in the spinal column. All tumors are concerning, but this tumors location made it especially frightening. Not only could it cause paralysis, but the location made its surgical removal impossible. We prayed specifically for the destruction of that tumor. Six rounds of chemotherapy later, the tumor was gone. The fingerprints of God!

Cancer’s journey is fraught with frightening and painful therapies. As a mother, the idea of my child experiencing painful treatments burdened my heart with worry. Most adults couldn’t endure the modalities of treatment prescribed for Patrick without shedding tears. However, Patrick faced his therapies with unspeakable joy. I faced his painful therapies with prayer. Of course, he did experience pain and the doctors and nurses were amazing at helping to manage it. But it was Patrick’s ability to endure it that was miraculous. One such example is MIBG radiation therapy. The MIBG treatment room is a lead-lined room covered with sheets of plastic wrap to contain and properly dispose of any radioactive waste. Prior to treatment, I wrote a verse in magic marker on his wall. This verse, laid upon our hearts and written for him to see, were the words of 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Many children have to be sedated to make it through MIBG radiation therapy, Patrick was not one of them. Another example of a difficult treatment that Patrick would endure was an antibody therapy called Ch14.18. Because his cancer is of the nervous system, this treatment causes severe pain. It was necessary for Patrick to be on a high dose of painkillers to endure it. Amazingly, he made it through the six-month treatment. His ability to go the distance was nothing more than an answered prayer and the mercy of God. Thank you, Lord!

The opportunity to use Ch14.18 was itself, a miracle. We exhausted all available options to rid Patrick’s body of cancer. With no other therapies available to treat him, Patrick’s oncologists made a Plea of Compassionate Use to the FDA. This experimental drug targets the cancer cells and destroys them. We needed the antibody therapy to work. I refused to give up on his healing. The Lord can do anything! I began praying with renewed fervor and armed myself with the following promise from Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings, and you shall break loose like calves released from the stall.” I visualized that moment when Patrick would break free from disease and the miracle we prayed for would come. On Aug. 21, 2014, Dr. Louis called to say Patrick’s scans showed no evidence of disease. The news brought overwhelming joy! Yes, we found ourselves jumping up and down with excitement like baby calves released from their pen. Thank you, Lord for your word and your healing touch! The fingerprints of God!

The Lord still holds Patrick in the palm of his hand. It’s been two years since we received the news that Patrick had no disease. Medically speaking, the doctors say he’s in remission.  Spiritually speaking, we say he’s healed. To God be the glory!

Time. It weaves a picture of our lives through a pattern of moments. For some, highlighted is a moment of instant healing. For others, like Patrick, a larger pattern emerges into a story of progressive healing. Looking back, it’s clear to see, Patrick’s predestined journey with cancer was simply the providence of God. Now, looking forward to the tapestry He will weave and with thanksgiving in our hearts, our eyes are stayed on… the fingerprints of God!                                               

Laurie DeClaire, mother of patient