In the village: Our prayers are answered

January 2018 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Dixon CMYK 2016There’s just something about Lucy. Maybe it’s the smile, or the pterodactyl laugh that comes deep from her cute little belly out of the blue. Maybe it’s the absolute joy on her little face whenever she hears the “Happy Birthday” song. “Alexa, play Happy Birthday!”.

Beaming smile, knowing she is the only one who has ever had, is having, or ever will have a birthday song that is exclusively hers. Maybe it’s the way she lights up when “Big Bird”, aka Uncle Trevor, strolls into the room and whisks her away in his Giant Condor-like talons and eight-foot wingspan, holding her high enough to come close to getting her first buzz cut on the ceiling fan. Perhaps it is because she is “Mama’s girl one week”, “Daddy’s girl’ the next, and then suddenly, her parents are chopped liver, all because “Gramma” walks in the room or, on rare occasion, “Papa” wants to nibble on her “chickey meat” (tender baby neck meat that is both juicy and ticklish).

Or maybe it is because she is simply a precious little one-year-old niblet, our first grandchild, who was suddenly and inexplicably saddled with a 2.5 cm abdominal mass over the Christmas season. One moment – huge smile, pulling herself up as she slowly prepares to walk, thinking of yanking the Christmas tree on top of her, and trying her best to say, “I Love You.” Then the next – is it cancerous, or benign? Is it  neuroblastoma, an extremely frightening word that can cause parental nightmares and wreak havoc on a family’s
collective psyche?

It is often fatal. But thank Heaven for Legacy Silverton Medical Center’s stellar ER, which helped Lucy get diagnosed quickly and fast-tracked by ambulance to Randall Children’s Hospital, a world-class facility in Portland that has some of the best pediatricians and surgeons around.

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook and social media in general. It has many uses, good and bad. It has an ugly tendency to impersonalize relationships and never clearly articulates the poster’s intent. Was that sarcasm? Are they mad at me or did they just forget to put in a “happy face” emoji or “LOL?”

But then along comes Lucy. What a God-send Facebook turned out to be. Simply put a brief post about what is going on and you won’t get 30 status questions from 30 well-meaning people in the produce aisle at Roth’s. You can also dispel rumors quickly.

Lucy is blessed to have her “village” raise her, along with some awesome parents. One message posted, “It’s a tumor, and we are praying that Friday’s surgery is successful and shows it to be benign” on Facebook, and well over 1,000 “thoughts and prayers” replies come back, heart-felt, not mechanical. A Texas buddy of mine from the Air Force, a friend in Pennsylvania, a bucket of strangers, and a lot of friends and families, feeling the hashtag, #ILOVELUCY. The village hits its collective knees, asking God to give us a Christmas miracle in this holiest time of the Christian year. Make the tumor benign and give this precious child a chance to take her first steps, use the “big girl potty,” drive a car and, Heaven forbid, have some boy show up at the door for the senior prom in a tux with his baseball hat on backwards.

Time moves with the speed of a glacier to what will be the happiest or worst possible Friday ever.

Friday arrives, a surgeon and anesthesiologist with beaming smiles pop into the waiting room and, like God, say “All is good.” The tumor is benign. Highly unlikely to ever come back. Lucy is cancer-free. One prayer is heard, but a thousand is like an enormous and beautiful symphony. God is great and life is good in the village.

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