Since the birth of our son, although we’ve certainly faced some very testing times, we have always clung unto the fact that Joel was getting better, but due to recent events we were forced to face a period that in turn meant we had to be strong regardless of what we were being told and what we were seeing.
When I left Lisbon to go back to London due to work, Joel was doing remarkably well. He was no longer on the ventilator, drinking milk via a tube and was growing at a surprising but positive rate. And then came the relapse. Within 24 hours of being home, the bad reports came in like a flood. Without going into much detail, Joel had to go back on the ventilator, and was really struggling to breathe. With Joel being born prematurely, it’s very easy to forget that he should actually still be in his mother’s womb. He’s being asked to work harder than he was supposed to. Although we understood this fact, it was hard for us as his parents to comprehend.
The next three weeks were very difficult for us because Joel was using every ounce of his strength to stay alive. Although my wife had great support from my mum and eventually my sister whom stayed with her, the reality is, the fight can be very lonely, and only God kept her through such a horrific time.
Before I continue, I must make mention of my Mrs, she’s a bloody rock. Being forced to live in a strange country away from your family and friends would cause most people to go crazy but she remained strong, even when it became overwhelming. That kind of woman is not instantaneously found, but formed and shaped through adversity. I as well as Kayla and Joel are blessed to have her in our lives.
I felt helpless. While my family is in another country, I’m stuck here in freezing South East London trying to calm down a patient who does not speak English, that’s had their surgery cancelled…twice. I was losing it to be totally honest. I tried to distract myself but all I kept thinking was why the hell am I here and not in Lisbon.
This might sound really strange but for a moment I actually resented hope. I felt that having hope was actually a bad thing. The relapse was not only a setback for Joel but also my mind-set as well.
I learned you can’t depend on hope in times like this, you have to depend solely on God alone. God, whom evidently is the author of hope, is truly unfailing. I stressed and panicked but I kept hold of God, even if it wasn’t a great amount.
Joel eventually turned a corner, a good one. The issue miraculously resolved and he went from strength to strength. Joel keeps showing his Dad that you have no excuses, if I can keep on fighting then so can you. Ironically, my father whom I lost to cancer 5 years ago had the exact same mentality. Naming him after my old man was certainly no coincidence.
I’m sure in times like these, there are people that would certainly make the claim that they would just keep on trusting God without any doubts, but I have to be real, when you’re faced with hell, you don’t know what is always the best response. Yes, you trust God but sometimes, your faith becomes so unstable based on what you see in front of you. Hearing my wife tell me some of the things Joel faced devastated me. However, the fact that he was resolute also helped me to keep hold of my faith.
My son had succumbed to a relapse that was very hard to bear, but this is a picture of real life. When you face an obstacle that forces you to take a step back it can also help you to take several steps forward in the right direction.
Joel is doing really well and is now off the ventilator again, the kid just refuses to give up, just like his grandad.
Words by, Daniel (db Captures)