Sometimes doctors are right. Sometimes the man with pancreatic cancer really has only four months to live, or the injured baby survives just 10 more hours. Despite all their medical training and experience, though, doctors are not prophets. Stories abound of people who have defied the doctors' worst predictions and have gone on to improve and continue their lives. When life and death decisions have to be made, it pays to not give up, but to have hope and - most importantly - to trust God.
Ben Parkinson, a British soldier from Bessacarr in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was horribly injured in an explosion in Afghanistan three years ago. Parkinson lost both legs in the blast and suffered brain damage, and doctors said he would never walk or talk again. After undergoing a surgery to straighten his back, which experts said could have left him paralyzed, Parkinson has recovered quickly. He is in the gym every day, determined to walk on prosthetic legs by the end of the year. Through speech therapy, the muscles in his face are strengthening and he's learning to talk again.
"A lot of people would have laid down and just given up if they'd suffered the injuries Ben has," said his mother, Diane Dernie. "But it's just the way he is. He was always such a happy little boy and he was always determined to make the best of everything. Nothing ever got him down. It's quite extraordinary to think about what he has been through and that still remains the case. He's still the same Ben."Cerebral Palsy
Doctors originally thought six-month old Annie Mae Cortez's cerebral palsy would leave her a blind quadriplegic. Catching the problem and starting therapy early made a great difference. Five years later, she's living a pretty normal life despite her disability. Anna Mae still has vision problems as well as other difficulties associated with her disability, like seizures and an urgenic bladder, but she's a very happy little girl. She loves to ride her bike and swim and play with her little cousin Kyle. Annie Mae is about 18 months behind in her mental development, but she attended pre-K last year and will go to kindergarten this year at the local elementary school.
Annie Mae's parents call her their "miracle child", and Louisiana Cerebral Palsy asked the Cortez family if she could be their poster child for fundraising.
"It's exciting and an honor," Marsha Cortez said. "If we can just give one family hope that things can get better, then it's worth it."Down's Syndrome & Pulmonary Hypertension
When he was two-years-old, Greg Fears parents learned that their little boy with Down's syndrome also had pulmonary hypertension, a condition which can result in low blood oxygen levels and commonly leads to heart failure. The doctors told the Fear family that Greg would probably not live past 8 years old. In July, Greg celebrated his 18th birthday with a huge party that included 100 guests.
"He was king for the day and got loads of presents and cards. He lapped it all up," said Greg's father Paul.Multiple Organ Failure
Greg's 15-year-old little brother Tom said, "He's everything to me. When I feel down or upset about anything I just go and see Greg."
Sister Megan, 10, said: "I love him to bits."
Mom Jackie added: "I wouldn't change Greg for the world. I would have 10 of him."
Twenty-six-year-old Cheryna spent 21 days in the ICU of a Fort Worth, Texas hospital after heat stroke caused a seizure that led to a variety of problems, including kidney failure, acidosis, and septic shock. Cheryna's organs all began to fail, her skin turned nearly orange, and the doctors' prognoses were dim all-around.
Her mother Charlotte Stewart, who edits the Religion section for the Longview News-Journal, writes,
"There is nothing quite like looking at the battered body of your child, too ravaged by too many medical maladies to donate even one body part, and considering a 'do not resuscitate' order."And yet, people were praying. Stewart's own church and several others began praying for Cheryna. Prayer came from a variety of places; the cashier at the clothing store, a lady in the hospital cafeteria, a lady filling out paperwork for her own upcoming surgery all volunteered to pray for the dying girl. And amazingly, miraculously, Cheryna recovered. Even the doctor who said, "We might need to amputate her legs below the knee" agreed that Cheryna's recovery was like nothing he'd ever seen. Stewart writes:
"Without discounting one thing any doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, EMT or any other medical professional did, I firmly believe my daughter's recovery is nothing short of divine intervention. I believe when my friends, family and some strangers boldly went before the throne of God and asked him to intervene, he intervened. Furthermore, I believe when we asked for a healing of my shattered mind, we got it."We wrote to Charlotte Stewart, and as of Tuesday, August 11, Cheryna still has her legs. She will likely lose her toes, but her mother told us that Cheryna is able to stand, and she can talk again after weeks of paralyzed vocal chords. Her story is simply amazing.
Tragedy is normal fare in this fallen world, and we all lose loved ones – sometimes through a long illness, and sometimes in a terrible, unexpected instant. Yet, it is vital that we not lose hope when difficulties come along that are too great for us to bear. These news stories are all recent ones from just the past month, and we left out others for the sake of space. There is great hope in this world of suffering, and God is always at work, even when we're not aware of it. He is faithful, He absolutely loves us, and He can hold us and our burdens when hope just seems pointless. No matter what happens, we need to put ourselves in His hands.
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Hero Ben Defies The Doctors As He Starts To Talk Again - Doncaster Free Press
Family’s Joy As Greg Defies The Odds To Hit 18 - South Wales Echo
Poster Child Is Family's 'Miracle Baby' - Tri-Parish Times
Medical Or Miracle? I Have Faith In Both - Longview News-Journal
Faith In The Dark Night - Koinonia House
Are Night Seasons Part Of God's Will? - Koinonia House
Clouds Ahead? Weathering The Storm - Koinonia House