Tuesday, 19 August 2008

How Are You?

Well, it has been over a week since I posted an update. All has been good at the McGibbon house. Liam has not had any migraines. Praise God. Your prayers have been pouring in and we as a family are so grateful. Liam has even been eating better over the past four to five days. This is partially because he is just eating more and also because I am trying to make every mouthful count. The worship team even got to try my new brownie recipe that included spinach and blueberries! Liam ate them up and so did they! I guess I am getting sneaky in my old age!

Since Liam was diagnosed I have been asked the same question almost everyday, "How are you?" It is the type of question that is easy to answer on the surface. It the polite thing to ask people when you see them. It has become part of our cultural greeting. "Hi! How are you?" You say it to your neighbour as you see them putting out their garbage in the morning. "How are you today?", you ask the cashier in the checkout line. Often it is asked so automatically that we do not really want an honest answer we are just being polite. So that being the case most of the time we as respondents only need a surface answer. "Oh fine. How are you?"

The problem for me is that when your son has a brain tumor, people actually want to know how you are. The "How are you?" question is followed with "Really... how are you?" And people wait for a response and they are actively listening.

Although, it is such a simple question I think it is the one question that we often don't really want to be honest about. It is the type of question that we should ask everyday in our quiet time with God and yet for myself it is the question that scares me the most. To answer it with honesty requires self examination. It requires being alone with ourselves long enough to let the noise die down in our head. Maybe it is just me but at first I was a bit afraid of what the answer might be. I didn't really want to wrestle with hard questions. How did this heartbreaking situation fit with my image of Jesus? Why would God allow this to happen to Liam? I had so many questions I thought I would never find answers to them all. Here is the part that I have been learning. When I have exhausted myself in asking all the questions that I may or may not ever find answers to I realize that they all lead me back to one central question. What is my greatest fear about God?

I had a good friend who said to me recently that people usually take one of two paths when they are faced with a tough trial. They either run to Jesus or they run from him. Do I trust the word of God? Do I trust who Jesus said He was? Do I believe in God's promises? I settled those questions in my heart long ago. This situation does not change any of my answers. Circumstances will continue to change. Some will be good and well I guess right now I am experiencing the not so good but God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And I will continue to need Jesus all of those days. So I have my answer.

So how are you?

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Liam's Visit to McMaster for his Plan of Care

Today we left for a visit with Dr. Singh who talked to us about the plan of care for Liam's brain tumor. Liam had his prayer book with all of your prayers. He was reading it in the car on the way there. They are a real blessing for him. If he doesn't recognize a name he asks who it is and where they are from. He thinks it is really cool that people would pray for him even if they don't know him personally. We still have lots of room in his book so if you would like to send one just comment to this blog or send an email and I will print it out for his book. Liam also brought a bible that he wanted to give away and leave in the waiting room. Liam's prayer is that this bible will be taken by someone who needs it. The following is the note that he dictated to his Grandma Lynda for the inside.

This Bible is a gift for you

I would like to give this bible to all the sick people in the hospital, kids and parents, aunts and uncles, grandpas and grandmas. I am Liam McGibbon and I am 8 yrs old and I have a brain tumor. I want you to take it and read it because it is not just a story, it's true and it was actually way before in olden times. It is so amazing how God does things through Jesus and other people. Some things are sad parts and some are happy parts, maybe not happy to you but to the family of the person who was blind or sick or a paralyzed person. One of my favourite parts is about what a man’s friends do for him to get him to Jesus so He can heal him. You can find this story three different times. Read it in Luke 5 pg156, Mark 2 pg 90, Matthew 9 pg 24.

Please pray with Liam and our family that this bible will be a blessing to someone at the hospital who needs to hear about real hope. Liam wants to continue to bring a bible to all the waiting rooms for his appointments and tests in the future. ( We took this photo of Liam today at the hospital with his bible and prayer book)

Dr. Singh was great again with Liam today. She is recommending surgery to remove "tubby" the tumor. She explained to Liam that she thinks it needs to come out and that she is booking the surgery for October. He then went to play in their playroom while she explained to Jason and I why she feels this is the best course of action for Liam. Although the surgery is a difficult one because of the position of the tumor (the ventricle is the middle of his brain) she believes that it is better to deal with the risks of this surgery then to deal with the complications that could arise in a wait and see approach. By waiting we take the chance that the tumor could affect Liam's health making the recovery harder. We also take the chance that the tumor could begin to branch out and attach to other parts of the brain making it harder to totally remove it.

Over the next 6-8 weeks, Liam will be undergoing more investigative procedures that Dr. Singh will use to map out his brain. From what we understand they will be able to create a three dimensional map of Liam's brain. This will include all the positions of the veins and arteries and functions and they will use map to decide which approach she will use for the surgery. Please be in prayer for Dr. Singh and we ask that you continue to pray for complete healing for Liam, for wisdom for Jason and I as parents and for his brothers and sisters. We will continue to update this site and to send out email updates when we know the dates of the new tests and the surgery.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Family Camp and next steps

Well, last Sunday the McGibbon clan headed to the shores of Lake Erie and their favourite Christian camp called Ryerson. It was an incredible week with each other and with God. We were privileged to meet some other amazing families and to serve along side the Ryerson Camp staff. We took the week to look at God's simple truths in our complex realities. Worship, sessions, theme games, theme meals, swimming, archery, teen adventure, kid's cookout, parent's night out, media-faith-culture workshop, sponge wars and the list goes on and on! We had so much fun and Liam was migraine free!

Jason also had the privilege of baptizing two of our friends, Steve and Laura during our last worship service on the beach.

Praise God! It really was an amazing week!

Coming up this week, we are looking forward to our meeting with Liam's surgeon Dr. Singh on August 7th. She has reviewed Liam's MRI with some colleagues and she will be presenting us with the plan for Liam's care. We will update this blog and send out an email as soon as we know. Thank-you again for all our prayers.