Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cade's Story (Find The Cleenex Before Reading)

During a year of student teaching, my St. John's friend and colleague Tedda Duhey worked with a teacher named Mike whose five-year-old son, Cade, suffered a stroke following an operation a few months ago. Mike's wife is Erin; Cade's newborn sister is Lucy. Mike takes it from there:
It was a Thursday. Ten days after the surgery and stroke, and six days after Cade had a four-hour seizure. Cade was laughing a lot. Laughing too much. He wasn't responding the way he had been before the seizure. His eyes seemed to be staring through us.

We didn't talk about it. I didn't write about it. Part of us was still so encouraged that he was smiling and laughing.

But we knew it. Something was off. He wasn't "there."

That night Erin's dad stayed with Cade while we went to Main Place mall to get away for a bit. To get our minds off of everything. It didn't work. As the night went on, a dark cloud hung over the both of us. A sick feeling. A feeling of uncertainty and sadness.

We didn't talk about it. But we knew it.

When we left to come back we couldn't find our car. We looked through almost every exit more than once trying to see something that looked familiar. After an hour of searching we finally found it inside a parking structure. I had absolutely no recollection of parking in that structure. I think my mind was so heavy with Cade as we drove there, that I couldn't remember where we parked. The truth is I probably shouldn't have even been driving.

As we headed back to Children's Hospital of Orange County, the sick cloud still hung over us, only now it was coupled with an urgency for Erin to get home to Lucy. I dropped her off in front of the hospital while I parked the car.

I was alone. I thought of Cade. I thought of him on Christmas Eve a month earlier. He was so excited that night. Excited to be at church. Excited to see everyone. To be with everyone.

I thought of Cade upstairs. Was he gone? I broke down in that car. I remember just saying sorry to him through my tears.

I'm so sorry, Cade.

Honestly, part of me said goodbye to him that night.

The next morning. January 28. A Friday. Cade woke up early. He smiled. No, he smirked. Something had changed. Something in his eyes. He was looking at me, not through me! I spoke to him. He responded. And then we had a Thumb-War.

Cade came back to us that morning. God gave him back to us. He couldn't speak. He couldn't move his right side at all, but he was back,

...and he has been back ever since.

Things were so different after that point. We knew we had such a long road of recovery ahead of us, but strange as it may sound, we were okay with it. Cade was here, with us. I remember Erin and I both saying to each other, "We can do this. With Cade back with us, like this? We can do this!"

Every day since, Cade has got a little better. His body is catching up with his mind. No, with his spirit! We have been using the story of Lazarus as a picture for what we believe God is doing in Cade. After Jesus had brought Lazarus back to life, they began to remove the linens that covered him. God has been slowly unwrapping the linens that cover Cade. Although there is still more to go, we are so thankful for every miracle along the way. Miracles that so many of you have shared with us through this amazing website. You have been here with us, in his hospital room, walking beside us, praying for us, praising God with us!

We thank you for every prayer, for every guestbook entry, for every Facebook message, for every email, for every time you logged on to CaringBridge to see how our little Cade was doing. This little guy that so many of you have been praying for everyday, that so many of you have never even met.

Thank you.

Shortly after the stroke, Dr. Loudon came in and tickled Cade's foot, and Cade moved his right leg a few inches. I remember being so encouraged. I remember saying out loud, "He's gonna walk out of this place!" I didn't really know what I was saying.

And Thursday we are going home. After being away for 86 days, we are finally going home. By no means is this the end of the marathon. We are simply changing the setting,

...simply changing arenas.

We are bringing Cade home for the first time since Christmas Day. We are bringing his sister, Lucy, home for the first time...ever.

And Thursday, sometime around noon, holding his mommy and daddy's hands, our little Cade, our little superhero,

will walk out of this place,

...leaving a huge pile of linens on the floor behind him.

God is good all the time.

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