My story starts with a middle aged woman and her husband going to deliver their third child; it was a chilly Nov. 17th morning that started with us checking into our local hospital as Cole was to be a C-section.
Prepped and ready to deliver, he made his appearance just fine, and we were soon reunited in a room on second floor, family and friends surrounded us, as all wanted to meet Cole. You see he had been a long time coming as my husband and I struggled to have more children after having our two girls with 3 miscarriages one where I was rushed to the operating room. But this was to be the answer to our prayers, our little boy, pride and joy of our family but our short lived happiness (less than 12 hours) with Cole was about to take a turn that we would never forget, nor will we forget the ANGELS that God had placed in the path of Cole.
As if orchestrated by a higher hand the night unfolded into a blur of events that at the time we did not see how everything melted together for a single reason, His master plan.
5:30 and the change of doctors on the floor, and my nurse Bobbie (angel #1) thought she heard something in our son’s lungs that did not sound quite right. So before the switch she asked the previous doctor what he thought, he said it was just probably amniotic fluid, and that it should clear by morning. But Bobbie was a friend and previous co-worker and that answer did not sit with her. So she again asked about the noise in the lungs when the switch took place. This time Dr. Benson (angel #2) asked that she get my permission for an x-ray. Of course I did sign permission only to have them both come in my room not 15 minutes later, Bobbie (my nurse and friend) held my hand while the doctor told me that this spot (right here as he pointed to x-ray) should not be there. I feel that Cole may be developing pneumonia and we do not have the care facility to take care of him. Bobbie will help you fill out the paperwork for the life-flight to Fargo.
My mind raced, not my boy, not now, Oh God why, where is Mark (my husband) he should be here, my parents, I need my parents, not now God…I signed the forms and the order went out. I looked out the window and held back the tears that were threatening, it was starting to snow. I hoped and prayed the flight would be ok with the snow. My friend at the reception desk put the call out for pediatric life flight and had someone cover for her at the desk and rushed upstairs, walked into my room, gave me a hug and said it will be ok, now who can I call for you. Wendy (angel #3) proceeded to surround me with love by getting my family back in my room; Mark came over by police (angel #4 and 5) escort as he was in at our daughter’s school lock-in for the night. The police were the only ones who could get in (security reasons) but he came without Carrie (our daughter) and had to go back and get her. So while he did that we tried to get ahold of my parents who were watching our other daughter Cassie. But no such luck phone line rang busy…they must be on the internet (dial up) so we called their next door neighbor Dan (angel #6) who was happy to run over and tell them they needed to come back up to the hospital. Mark’s parents rushed back, so did his sister, and our cousin Nancy, also the call went out to our church and two pastors came up as well as Mark’s parents’ pastors and his wife. All in all when Cole was packed in the isolate for his flight we had 20 + (angels #7-30) people in the room, we joined hands and prayed for a safe flight and that Cole would be ok. The life flight nurse even joined in prayer and whispered to me as she left “it will be ok I will look after him tonight.” (angel #31)
Our family and friends left, our parents left with our girls (who looked so sad), and Mark & I were alone with our thoughts not wanting to voice anything for fear we may lose Cole, (I think we both felt the raw gut feeling that something horrible was about to happen) just as we lost the three previous of him. Mark finally left about 2 am when we knew Cole was resting just fine in Fargo. The snow continued to fall and I let my tears fall too along with my thoughts of maybe never having another child.
The next morning the roads were not passable to Fargo, so we had to wait to get to Cole, it was a very long day. Word came from the doctors that they would like to perform some tests so with much paperwork faxed back and forth some tests were started. Mark left with my dad and his parents Sunday morning for Fargo. My mom stayed back to watch our girls. While the girls and my mom came up for a visit, we got the call from Mark, “Cole has a tumor,” he stated into the phone in almost a whisper. Our world stopped, “A TUMOR,” I repeated back, with the cold realty that this was not going to be easy sinking in.
When I was finally released from the hospital (remember I had surgery) and could make the trip to Fargo, Cole was already 5 days old, and today when he was hooked to even more machines was to be his first surgery…a biopsy to see if the tumor was cancer. Dr. Bowdie (angel #32) performed the surgery and he told us that he was not even supposed to be in the state as he had a new position in Philadelphia, PA waiting on his arrival. Yet their home had not sold here yet and he had a few patients that he could not leave yet. So as our family waited for news that Cole surgery was complete; calls started flooding our answering machine at home. Every message was from someone that had added Cole to a prayer list or prayer chain by the end of his cancer battle we had over 1,450 churches from MN to AZ and TX and thousands of people praying for him.
The news for Cole’s biopsy came in but it did not come from the lab, it came from a wonderful doctor, who just happened to be going through the lab area while they were getting Cole’s samples packed to ship to New York (3 days of waiting for results). He took a look at one of the slides and said he needed to speak with us. His name Dr. Nathan Kobrinsky (angel #33), we would soon find out that he would be Cole’s cancer doctor, his specialty being pediatric cancers. Cole was diagnosed with stage 3 Neuroblastoma cancer, the tumor was the size of my fist in his small 8 pound body, it has masked itself as part of the lung (so it was never seen on any of my ultrasounds) and pushed his heart down so it fluttered below his rib cage.
Day 7 of life and the start of chemo, the first round hit Cole’s immune system so hard he was put in isolation and for the next 4 days we did not know if Cole would ever have an immune system again. His counts stayed a 0, but on day 5 his count went to 103 and the next day 3,000 then to over 10,000. Our little miracle baby was going to pull through the first round of chemo. (angels came and went over the course of our time in and out of the Roger Maris Cancer Center and Merit Care Hospital now know as Sanford Health that I lost track of how many touched our life because of Cole)
Three more rounds of chemo and one more surgery (Feb. 22, 2001) to remove the remaining part of the tumor that was performed by none other than Dr. Bowdie because his house had not sold yet (it sold two days after Cole’s last surgery). One week later, Cole was sent home with a clean bill of health. Today he is a healthy 13 year old full of happiness, and smiles.
He has shown us true courage and love, and how one small child can change your world, as one small child (Jesus Christ) did thousands of years ago. We are blessed so much, with wonderful everyday angels, and we know God truly answers prayer. May your 2014 be rich with everyday angels because God is always working in the background you just don’t see the whole picture till you take a step back! Today I am connected deeper to more families and people that have went through or are in the process of Cancer especially pediatric because our son touched my life. For more information on neuroblastoma cancer or others cancers.