by Tammy Harris
In March of 1994, as a young mother of my first child, I found myself watching an example of God’s “perfect timing” play out in the life of my 13 month old baby girl and choosing to believe in the Power, Provision, Peace, and Protection of a Great Big God!
My daughter, Haley had been sick with what I thought was a stomach virus for several days. During that time, we had been in and out of the Dr.’s office a couple of times. On the third day, Haley’s pediatrician called our house to check on Haley. (This was the first and only time I’ve ever received a house call from a Dr.) I explained to the Dr. that Haley was better; no longer nauseated, but just sleeping a lot. The Dr. insisted that I go check on Haley while he was on the phone and tell him exactly what she was doing. When I walked over to her, I saw her having a seizure. It lasted only a few seconds, but it was clear to me what had happened. After the seizure, Haley was lifeless, limp. The Dr. advised me to bring her to his office (in Gardendale). I immediately took her to his office where he examined her with no answers. From there he told me to take her to Children’s Hospital where they would be expecting me. I arrived at Children’s Hospital, holding my lifeless/limp baby. I knew she was breathing, but that’s all. We went immediately to admitting. Haley was first taken for a CT scan before going to a room. The scan was completed and Haley started having a seizure that did not stop. Alarms started going off and hospital staff came rushing in and ushered me out of the CT scan room immediately.
The technician in the CT had reviewed Haley’s scan just as she started seizing. They knew exactly what was going on and what to do.
Haley had a brain tumor. As the CT scan was completed, the tumor had just completely blocked the passage where the spinal fluid drains, which caused the continuous seizure. I don’t remember the name of the procedure, but in the CT scan room, they had to insert two tubes in the top of Haley’s head to start draining the fluid off her brain.
Once this procedure was completed, Haley was moved to ICU. It was at that time that we received an explanation of what had just taken place and what was to be expected over the next 48 hours.
First, they had to get Haley stabilized. There was no guarantee she would make it through the night. Then, we would need to wait approximately 48 hours for the swelling of her brain to go down before operating would be an option. There was no way to determine at that point how much (if any) brain damage Haley would suffer, and certainly no indication if the tumor was benign or malignant. The attending physician that night did not give us a lot of hope.
After having been at Lakeside Baptist Church, we had decided to find a church in our own community and had just joined GFBC (Gardendale First Baptist Church) weeks before this day occurred. We did not know a lot of people at GFBC, but Craig called one of the few people he could even think of at the time. He also, made one phone call to a friend from Lakeside. In no time at all, we had a waiting room full of family, friends, and staff from both churches. What a blessing to have been surrounded by faithful prayer warriors from two different churches. The very thing that calmed me through that night, the following days, the next five years, and life, was the group of people there that night that circled that room and prayed on Haley’s behalf asking God to allow Haley to live and live life to the fullest. That night, I had to choose to believe God would hear each and every one of those prayers lifted up on Haley’s behalf and trust his answer, regardless of the answer.
The next morning, we met the neurosurgeon assigned to Haley. He said no guarantee, but he was 99% sure the tumor would be benign, based on what he was seeing. Thank you God for answered prayers and for a peace and calm in the lives of two young parents.
Day 3 – Haley had surgery to remove the tumor. The top of her head was shaved and cut open, to remove the tumor underneath her brain. Surgery went as planned and the surgeon was still positive about the tumor, but we needed pathology testing results to verify. However, we were reminded that due to brain trauma, brain damage was still a possibility, as well as Haley not remembering anything from prior to the surgery and having to re-learn to walk, talk, etc.
After recovery, we were pleasantly surprised (but not really… we believe in a great big God!), that Haley recognized us, and seemed to remember her favorite songs (Jesus Loves Me & You Are My Sunshine!) We were so very thankful!
Day 11 – After having major brain surgery, Haley was discharged from Children’s Hospital and headed home!
The tumor was confirmed to be benign. However, due to no explanation for the cause of the tumor, Haley would have CT scans for the next five years, to confirm no recurrence. This was a very emotional, but necessary experience to have to go back to the same CT scan room where so much had previously taken place.
Even though Haley seemed to have no brain damage or memory loss due to the brain trauma, we were advised to expect learning disabilities, later in life. (Middle & High School). This child who went through so much at only 13 months of age became an honor student in elementary & middle school, a member of the National Honor Society in high school, and graduated May 2016 with honors from Troy University.
So very thankful for God’s perfect timing. We have been reminded over and over again, how important the timing of that first house call from the pediatrician was. And also, for the timing & completion of that CT scan before Haley was taken to a room, that allowed the hospital staff to respond quickly and efficiently when Haley started seizing continuously.
I believe in a great big God who answers prayers, (even when I wasn’t given much hope) and in HIS power, provision, peace, and protection, as this was not the only time we would be challenged to do so.