Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mom's Story - Part Eight

Click here to read Part One
Click here to read Part Two
Click here to read Part Three
Click here to read Part Four
Click here to read Part Five
Click here to read Part Six
Click here to read Part Seven

Part Eight:

The years passed, with Vicki undergoing reconstructive surgery nearly every year. With my husband’s new job, along with its astounding medical benefits, we were able to get back on our feet financially. It took many years and a stringent budget, but the day finally came when every single outstanding debt had been paid in full. Again, we remembered the vision I had seen years before, in the basement of our church that dark night, when we knew the Lord would lead us into the future. All we had to do was follow Him, and that is what we had tried to do. Now, years later, our bills were paid, Vicki had successfully undergone many surgeries, and our family was happy.

The first fifteen years of Vicki’s life were peppered with doctors’ appointments, surgeries, recoveries, adjustments, disappointments, and fears. As the years passed, she and I grew closer and closer. As I look back, I see how those countless hours spent together in waiting areas and hospital rooms provided precious times of bonding, understanding, and love. I wouldn’t trade those times. Amazingly, she has said that she wouldn’t trade them either.

One day, when she was about 16 years old, Vicki announced that she had had enough surgery. “If people can’t accept me, that’s their problem,” she stated. “I’m happy with the way I am, and I don’t want any more surgeries.” My husband and I decided to respect her wishes. As all of the critical life-sustaining issues had been addressed, we agreed that she now deserved a life free from the constant threat of surgery, along with its pain, fear, and difficult periods of recovery. I marveled at her resolve and her inner strength.

One day particularly stands out in my memory. Vicki had just been released from the hospital following another complex surgery. A new nose had been fashioned for her, using bone taken from her own hip. Surgical “buttons” had been temporarily sewn onto each side of the bridge of her new nose, to keep the structure from collapsing as it healed. It was not a pretty sight, especially accompanied by heavy black stitches and areas of dried blood. Added to this was the fact that her hip was in pain, resulting in the need to laboriously limp whenever she tried to walk.

We were on our way home from the hospital that day, and I needed to stop at a drugstore to have her prescriptions filled. As I pulled into a parking space at the mall, I was shocked to see Vicki open her car door and begin to painfully push herself out. I stopped her with a firm, “You wait here in the car; I’ll only be a minute.” Her reply amazed me.

“I’ve been cooped up in the hospital for days,” she said. “I want to go in the store and see people and feel normal again.”

It was difficult to hold back my tears as I helped her out of the car and assisted her to slowly walk through the parking lot and into the store. People stared at her, as I knew they would, but Vicki decided to ignore the stares and focus instead on the joy of being out of the hospital. I thought my intention for leaving her in the car had been to spare her embarrassment, but now I wondered if it hadn’t been more to spare myself the embarrassment. As I watched her painfully limp down the aisles, I felt a rush of pride as I realized what she was overcoming just by walking through that drugstore. I saw, as never before, what an amazing child she was, how filled with inner strength and courage, courage which I myself lacked. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt more pride, nor been more filled with humility to realize that God had chosen me for the honor of birthing and raising this amazing little girl.



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