March 9, 2009

Positivity: McKenzies share miraculous healing, giving God glory

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Tennessee:

An 8-year-old boy who has been unable to go to school for over three months is going back next month.

His parents, who naturally feared the worst when doctors told them Jonathan had a tumor on his spine, have replaced worry with gratitude and give credit to God for what they say is a miracle they witnessed firsthand. Actually more than one.

Jonathan, his father Steve explained, had been suffering from neck pain for over a year, usually after having played for a lengthy time on his video game system. Steve and Faye would ask Jonathan to lie down and rest for a while, and the pain seemed to go away.

But one day when a nurse friend was at their home, the McKenzies told her about the problem. After looking at Jonathan’s neck she advised them to see his pediatrician.

Following some x-rays, the family was sent to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville for further tests. That same night, they got a call that an appointment had been made for them to travel to Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. “Your son has a tumor,” they remember the doctor telling them.

The doctor’s prognosis

It was there in Nashville they met Dr. Ginger Holt and where they were also relieved to find out that there was a 99.9 percent chance Jonathan’s tumor wasn’t cancerous.

It wasn’t, further testing revealed. The McKenzies learned Jonathan had an aneurysmal bone cyst that was growing in toward the spinal cord instead of out, like most cases. It was actually wrapped around the cord, Steve said, and also a major artery.

“There were two major areas of concern,” Steve said. “Bleeding because of the artery and the possibility of injury to the spinal cord and possible paralysis.”

Holt told the family that surgery would be risky, but it was the only option they had. A date was set to remove the tumor, and doctors told Faye and Steve they would have to fuse three of Jonathan’s vertebrae together while also removing the invasive tumor.

“We were told the tumor had grown so long that it had prevented the C-4 vertebrae from growing,” Steve explained. It would not be strong enough to support his neck after surgery.”

Through all of this, the McKenzies relied on their faith in God and the support of other members of the Christian community. The family attends Freedom Freewill Baptist Church in Friendsville and Jonathan was placed on several prayer lists.

Armor of faith

One night before Jonathan and his parents left for Nashville, a pastor friend had asked to see them and pray. They ended up meeting the friend in the parking lot of a local restaurant the night before the trip. Out the restaurant doors walked the family friend and strangers who had been told of Jonathan’s condition and who wanted to meet and pray with the McKenzies.

“There were people we didn’t even know,” Steve said. “They came outside and encircled our van and laid hands on our van and on him. The parking lot was full. I had never seen anything like it.”

Those prayers became like armor. First, the doctor who was to perform one of the surgeries ended up not being available to, so the best surgeon in the nation for this procedure did it instead. His name: Dr. Robert Mericle, pronounced like miracle.

Then, a surgery that was to take seven to nine hours took only two. Where there was concern before that all of the tumor might not be removable, that was remedied when doctors discovered a protective shell had somehow grown around Jonathan’s spine. It protected the spine from injury and allowed surgeon to scrap out all of the tumor.

“Even the doctors were scratching their heads over the protective shell,” Steve said. “I like it when God stumps the doctors.”

And what about the spine fusion? Not necessary, the doctors determined. Instead, Jonathan had to wear a halo for a few weeks until his neck got stronger. It has been removed and now the second-grader wears a neck brace, which he can take off periodically.

The surgery was done in early January and Jonathan spent a week in the hospital, three of those days in intensive care. He just celebrated his 8th birthday last week. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.

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