We are now only about two weeks from Daniel’s surgery, and there are moments when fear rears its ugly head. It is to be expected, of course. Now and then Daniel will express fears of various sorts – “Will it hurt?” “Why can’t Mommy be in the operating room?” “Will I feel Dr. Park cut my back?” “Will you be there when I wake up?”. Oh, boy, these are hard questions for parents! Not hard to answer, but hard to answer in a way that is honest, preparatory, and calming. Not so expressed are the fears we have as his parents that leap to our minds, not welcome and not helpful. You know how it is – “What if” has a plethora of possible sentence endings. So, the fears are there for all of us and they must be handled as a normal part of this process.
But lets talk about hope! The potential benefits of this surgery for Daniel are huge and wonderful. Prior to our move to St. Louis we were aware of Dr. Park and SDR. We met a little boy in Winston-Salem who had his therapy appointment right after Daniel’s and we watched his amazing progress in the year after his SDR surgery. His family had traveled to St. Louis for the surgery and it was obviously worth it. We had begun looking into SDR but were dragging our feet out of fear. When we ended up moving to St. Louis we suspected part of God’s purpose related to the potential of Daniel having this surgery. I (Mom) still was very hesitant about submitting our paperwork for an evaluation appointment. In February, I attended a weekend where I was able to focus on areas of healing needed in my life. The big issue addressed that weekend was my anxiety in regard to Daniel’s well being. I was able to let go of a significant burden of fear in relationship to Daniel and leave that at the feet of Jesus. When I got home I knew it was time to move ahead with looking into SDR for Daniel, and I did so. The potential benefits for Daniel from this surgery are such that I could not look him in the face when he is 18 and say, “I didn’t pursue that surgery for you because I was too afraid.” Surgery always has risks, but everyone who undergoes surgery does so because the benefits outweigh the risks. The hope that Daniel may be able to stand by himself, to walk independently, to have fewer orthopedic surgeries in the future, to have spasticity and contractures taken away, to have less neurological stress, to be able to focus better and have improved cognitive function, to have increased use of his left arm… these fill the surgery with a lot of hope for Daniel’s future.
Over the weekend we read a post on the SDR Facebook page which asked the question, “What were Dr. Park’s predictions for your child post-SDR, and has your child met, not met, or exceeded those predictions?” Almost everyone said Dr. Park’s predictions had been spot on. One indicated their child had exceeded the expectations, another that their child was slightly behind those predictions, but was also lacking motivation and didn’t work very hard after the surgery. (This is a concern we have for Daniel. He has resisted walking practice and strongly resists at-home exercise programs. Please pray that he will have the motivation and enough reduction in discomfort after the surgery that he will want to work hard to recover strength and “be all that he can be” in his post-SDR body.) We feel we are in very good hands. We are very happy that Daniel’s regular physical therapist works some weekends on the post-op floor with the SDR kids and is very familiar with all that is involved. There are several reasons we believe God brought us to St. Louis, but this is definitely one of the biggies and we are thankful, and we are HOPEful! Hope is an exciting and wonderful thing. We serve a God of HOPE and we are entrusting our family and specifically our son into His care.