Monday, September 29, 2008

Joey - Nothing is Impossible With God

"He only has 5 years to live...he'll need a double lung transplant."

This photo is of my nephew Joey & me, 10 years ago when he was 3. Joey was my baby. Not by birth, but I didn't have any children yet, and my sister (ET) was very generous in letting me keep him. He'd spend the night at my house and I'd do all the things you'd never do with your own kids, like feed him too much sugar, buy him too many toys and let him stay up late and watch TV.

When Joey was 4, he started getting easily winded. Just walking from his home to the car in the driveway, he'd need to stop and rest. He started to wake up nights, crying "My belly hurts!" and then collapsing into what appeared to be a seizure. My sister, ET, began visiting doctor after doctor. Each time she'd return to her primary care for another referral, only to be told "we can't find anything wrong with your son." Joey continued to get worse.

Finally one day the primary physician said "Perhaps you should take him to see a psychiatrist." My sister refused. She knew something was physically wrong with her son. She requested to visit a specialty hospital and got yet another referral.

At the specialty hospital, the dr examined Joey and said they needed to immediately go to another hospital that had a better Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). My sister, having been put off for 8 months now asked if they could go home first and pack a bag. The dr looked her in the eye and said "Your son is very sick. We are going to medi-flight him to the hospital, because we don't know if he can survive an ambulance ride." Probably first the relief hit my sister "Finally someone realizes there is something wrong with my son." Then immediately and swiftly "Oh God, no, don't let anything be wrong with my son."

Joey was taken to another hospital where he spent 3 weeks in PICU. His diagnosis was Pulmonary Hypertension, a lung disease that effects the heart. He would need a lung transplant and probably had 5 years to live. He was 5 yrs old by now, that would mean he might make it to age 10.

Our lives were changed forever during that time. There were many near death experiences for Joey, who lived on a portable life support system. Many times he inadvertently ripped out the line to the cath port in his chest by mistake. Once around age 7 when he did it, he cried "please just let me die." He knew he was facing another surgery, another hospital stay, and he didn't want to do it. We all cried, and as usual we prayed, and prayed, and prayed.

Medical advances occurred. Joey was able to go off of his life support system and onto breathing treatments that provided the same medication. With that his quality of life improved, as well as his health. Doctors now suggested his life expectancy was 20 years. A relief...until you think he'd still only be 25. Still too young.

More medical and drug advances. Now the drs tell us Joey will probably life to be an old man. You see, drs originally gave Joey 5 years to live... but nothing is impossible for God. I am so thankful for the gift of life for Joey. He is now 13 and doing great. He is in all honors gifted classes at school, and plays soccer. I thank my friends who all prayed ceaselessly for him, and I thank my God the healer. Amen!

Luke 1:37 -- For nothing is impossible with God.

Psalm 30:2 -- O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Jeremiah 17:14 -- Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.


Dorothy Champagne said...

What an inspiring story! Never underestimate the power of God!

Kay Martin said...

Handsome Joey! Great testimony of God richness through physicians, etc. Won't it be exciting to see Joey grab that vision within him from God? So much coming at him at such a young age...that makes me think God has greatness in him.

What a great way to start the week hearing of the miracles around Joey's life. Loved it.

The Patterson 5 said...

Wow,look at him so grown up! A long journey for your whole family. Some days I'm sure there were feelings of, where is God in all of this? Your faith, prayers and prayers of others have no doubt helped carry you all through. Joey's life showing that nothing is impossible with God could be the healing testimony that will change others lives for Christ. May God continue to do the impossible in his life and bless your entire family.

Sue J. said...

I hadn't seen Joey before today, though his story has been a part of me for as long as I've known you.

God works in the things and people that I do not see. And He still works miracles....every day!

Praise God for the miracle that is Joey and for what He will yet do through him.

DidiLyn said...

I don't even know what to say. I can't imagine the fear you have all had to live with for so long.
Bless Joey's heart! The pain you all must have felt when he asked to just be allowed to die is unbelievable.
But God....
Praise God. Just praise God.

Truth4thejourney said...

God is so very good. I am so thankful that Joey's life will have a happy ending - when he is good and OLD! :)

May God hold onto his spiritual heart, as well.

My ADHD Me said...

The only thing I can add to this is to tell you what an incredible job ET and her husband did raising Joey.
Because he was so sick, it would have been easy to give in to his every whim and to "protect" him in a plastic bubble. Instead, they raised him, punished him when necessary, and allowed to to run and play with the other kids whenever possible.
Because of that, he is a self-assured, friendly and out-going young man and is my son's best friend......and yes, sometimes they do get into trouble!

Edie said...

Wow what an incredible story. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to go through that. This is an awesome reminder that Doctors are human and don't know how long a person has to live, that is always in the Mighty Hand of our Creator.

Jessica said...

OH my gosh!! This is making me cry :-(
What a beautiful post. He's so handsome and you guys look so happy.
I don't even know what to say, except that this was SO touching.

Nothing is impossible with God.
So true.

Beverlydru said...

Wow - this is God's perfect timing for me to read your post. I just posted an emergency prayer need for Cody, a friend of our son's who is in ICU with a big need.
A faith builder and encouragement that "Nothing is impossible with God".

Thanks for praying for 23 year old Cody's healing and salvation.

Runner Mom said...

What a great testiment to our Lord, the Great Physician!

Kelly, thanks so much for this incredible story.

Love ya,

On Purpose said...

Celebrating life and praising God for His healing hands!

Pinkshoelady said...

Loved the story! I can relate! The doctors told my mom I wouldn't live 2 years. THat was 44 years ago!

Only God designes a persons days!

We serve an incredible and mighty God!

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

I will say--on another note--his disease helped me--It taught me to stand up for myself--when I knew I was right. It taught me I had to learn about things parents should never have to learn about. It also allows me to talk to other parents who are going thru this. I am asked to talk to parents who's child was just diagnosed and show them life continues and there have been a lot of good times. Joey was/is blessed. Most people with this disease don't respond as well as he. It got to the point when I used the emergency pager for the drs. they recognized my number and when I answered they would say what is wrong with Joey. Now they call me and say what is up with Joey. It has also taught Joey patience and understanding. He is 13 years old and will still come sit with me and hold my hand. He's very sweet. Kelly, thanks for the blog--what a handsome boy--he must take after his mother!!


Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

God bless Joey! And your sister! Wow. So glad he is doing well! Praise the Lord!

We all know we and our children have a "life expectancy", but to deal with those two words...makes me cry.

And isn't fun being the "aunt" to Joey? Very different from being the parent! :)

HisPrincess said...

Brought tears to my eyes. I love encouraging stories like this one, thanks so much for sharing.

sailorcross said...

WOW!! I work in a physicians' office, so I see heart breaking stories quite often. And many times, the physicians are correct--many times they are not. Why? Because of the wisdom of God, the prayers of so many being answered. God's guidance and direction to physicians and all those who care for the sick.

This testimony proves the richness, wonder and awesomeness of God!!