Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Miracle Baby

We would call her our miracle baby.

How many times did my wife ask me for one more baby.

A thousand? A million?

Perhaps some number in between.

It never really mattered to me.

Globetrotting through the USA we lived a great life many of those years.

Dinners at Ruth Chris, movies four times a week, shopping trips when we weren't at the movies.

Those were the days my friend.

We thought they would never end.

But to a couple who met on a Tuesday, were living with each other by that Saturday and married two weekends after that, we were used to living life at NASCAR speed.

After we had our beautiful son, less than two years into our marriage, I had figured, male chauvinist that I was, that a family of three was the best family to be.

And that was my answer to my wife on each one of those occasions that she inquired about increasing the size of our brood.

Fourteen years passed and I failed to see any justification for a change of mind.

One day, my wife fell flat on her face in the street.

A bit dramatic I suppose.

If I hadn't wavered in 14 years, it wasn't likely that I was going to allow a pratfall to influence my way of thinking.

She wasn't hurt, but a strange thing happened.

Her left heel was burning in pain and she was not able to put any pressure on the base of her foot.

A doctor soon told us why.

X-Rays revealed there was no bone in the heel of her left foot.

An aggressive tumor had eaten through the bone and tissue in her heel.

There would be no more walking for my vivacious wife.

We looked at each other in shock.

She was only 35 years of age.

Our life had been a ride on a rocket ship until that very day.

I had met her on the beach.

My penthouse apartment overlooked the water

One month into my two month vacation, I decided to take a walk on the beach.

At the same time, she was visiting her sister, who lived in the building next door.

I caught a glimpse of her as I was refreshing in the July surf.

Her sister broke the ice.

"Look, he's doing tricks for us."

That evening, instead of doing more tricks, I took her to dinner and the track.

Twenty days and nights later we were married in a formal wedding in front of nearly two hundred guests.

We became the inseparable couple.

She was only 19 years old.

And now, seventeen years later, it was all about to be taken away from us.

We cried that night in each other's arms.

A biopsy was scheduled.

The doctor wasn't hopeful.

He recommended an oncologist at the famed Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.

We agreed to go there.

We had to beat this thing.

But we had no idea what we were dealing with.

Whoever heard of the melting away of the bones in a heel.

As we held each other that worst evening of our young lives, I struggled with the words.

We are going to beat this thing, you hear me.

She tried to say yes, but the words wouldn't come out.

You know, I said, this seems like a little much just to have me say yes to another baby.

That made her look up to me with the most beautiful brown eyes you ever did see,

What did you say she asked.

Well, I continued. Despite the fact that I made my living as a motivational speaker, at no time were words tougher to come by.

I was thinking. If we don't have that baby girl in the next year, our son will be out of the house and in college and (now I was crying and she was holding me up) he will never know what it is like to have a baby sister in his home.

So the die had been cast.

We were going to go into the storm and come out the other side.

And when we did come out from this nightmare, a baby was going to be in our arms.

And not just any baby.

A baby girl to go with our almost adult son.

A matching set.

What my wife had only dreamed of.

I hoped that I had sent the right message to the abundant universe which had delivered so many blessings in my life.

Most of all, it had given me her.

The next day, we left for Jackson Hospital to meet with one of the top cancer doctors in the world.

His first words to us were it doesn't look good.

When you walk into a storm, keep your chin up high and don't be afraid of the dark.


Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida is not a happy place.

If we didn't realize what we were facing, a walk through the halls of JMH, is a sobering punch to the gut.

Children shouldn't be in hospitals as patients.

We saw dying children in our stay at JMH and that is an image which burns your brain.

Dr M, a pleasant but deadly serious man, quite understandable knowing what he did for a living, scheduled the biopsy to her left heel.

She was learning how to live her life in a hospital.

In our home, we laughed while she flew around the tiled kitchen in my office chair on wheels.

The irony was that the wheels she counted on to now aid her mobility functioned better than her own wheels.

If this biopsy proved this was cancer, was she facing a death sentence?

Finally, the morning of the biopsy arrived.

The expressionless physician walked in the room ans stared at us.

This is one of the most vicious tissue eating tumors I have ever seen....but we have no idea if we are dealing with a malignancy or if its benign.

What was hopeful news didn't sound so great coming from him.

This was not an office procedure, but rather a mini-surgery.

Dr. M was blunt as we found most oncologists to be.

This tumor is eating way at the bones in her foot,

We don't know what we are dealing with here.

The doctor was becoming monotonous.

This is a most unusual event.

Unusual? You could say that.

We were living in the Twilight Zone.

The day arrived for the definitive surgery.

We packed her bag and checked into the hospital for admission.

One problem.

Dr. M had suffered a major heart attack overnight.

The surgery was cancelled.

What the hell was going on?

We had fallen into a black hole that had swallowed our idyllic life.


Dr M's office recommended Dr. C in Fort Lauderdale.

Just getting away from the austere scene at JNH was a blessing in disguise.

And things would only get better.

Dr. C was as positive as Dr M. had been negative.

He shared with us that he didn't believe the tumor was malignant.

He scheduled the surgery, assured us that things would go well and danced out of the consult room in the suddenly sunshine filled chamber.

We felt like dancing right after him.

But there was still work to be done...................

Dr. C was whistling on November 13, 1991...the day of the surgery

It was the longest day of my life, but after many hours, DR. C came out of the OR, his scrubs soaked with sweat, but his manner as cheery as was from that very first day.

I want you to know, he said. This was the most insidious, vicious looking angry tumors I have ever seen in my lifetime of medicine. I can understand why Dr. M had reservations.

I do know one thing, he continued.

It is not cancer.

I started to weep and I hugged him.

You just saved both of our lives.

Even Dr. C, a veteran of countless procedures, was finding it difficult to be dry eyes.

He wiped at his eyes.

You can see her now. May I ask what you are going to say first.

I am going to say thing I just told you.

Dr. C just gave us a second chance at life.

Then I am going to tell her we are about to have a baby.

I didn't expect what happened next.

DR. C rushed over and gave me a big hug.

Life was changing by the minute.................

Almost a year to that date, on November 5, 1992. my wife delivered our baby daughter in Coral Springs, Florida.

In 50 days, that miracle baby will graduate at the top of high school class.

She expects to attend college this Fall, studying to become a filmmaker.

My wife and I had turned a cancer scare into one of the most beautiful babies the world had ever seen.

We both knew we had dodged a bullet heading directly at us.

This made our daughter's birth the sweetest day of all.

My wife's procedure included taking bone from her hip and regrafting the bone in her heel.

It was a most painful procedure and difficult rehab.

Soon after the surgery, she began to walk.

And a couple days after our daughter's birth, we walked out of the hospital and into the future with our new family of four.

We had survived the storm and had come out the other side.

After over a year of doom and gloom, we had our lives back.

And another little bundle we had never expected.

Our miracle baby.

1 comment:

KleoPatra said...

Wow. Quite a read there, Steve...

~Karen P.