God works through difficulties and uses seemingly impossible circumstances to make Himself known.
When we spent a week in the ICU with our son last month, things certainly seemed impossible. It seemed difficult to even imagine that Calvin would make it through this trial, and yet as most of you know already, God has allowed just that. We are so thankful to the thousands of people who were praying around the globe and sending words of encouragement and offers to help. Your prayers saw us through this time and reminded us of God’s faithfulness.
We sent out a brief email immediately after being released from the hospital last month, but we wanted to take the time and give a more thorough accounting. We hope that this testimony is an encouragement and a reminder to you of God’s goodness, as much as it has been to us.
We had traveled to Waukesha, Wisconsin in order to visit Cameron’s sister, Bethany and family, at the Ethnos360 Bible Institute. The day we arrived Calvin was complaining of a headache. His headache persisted through the following day and on our second day there we took him to a nearby urgent care. There they recommended that we go to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in order for them to do some blood tests.
It was after arriving at the hospital, and while waiting to have blood drawn, that Calvin had a life-threatening seizure and respiratory failure. We now know that the seizure was most likely caused by the viral meningitis and encephalitis that he was later diagnosed with. The excellent staff at the hospital immediately rushed into action and intervened to stop the seizure and put Calvin under sedation and on a respirator. He was then moved to the ICU.
We ended up spending eight full nights in the ICU. During this time they ran hundreds of blood tests and multiple MRI’s and CAT scans, as well as an EEG monitor of his brain. The doctors were puzzled because all the tests came back negative and they were unable to pinpoint the exact cause of his meningitis and encephalitis.
Over the first four days in ICU, Calvin’s condition rapidly deteriorated and his mental state became more and more agitated, up to the point that he was no longer able to recognize us and was crying out in fear. These were very dark days and truly our only hope and assurance was in God’s faithfulness no matter what the outcome.
During this time Katy’s mom traveled from New York State to Wisconsin and she was a huge help to us. With three of us there we were able to spell each other off and get small amounts of sleep. Cameron’s parents were on their way to Pennsylvania for some training with our organization and had a layover in Chicago. They decided to cancel the training and rented a car for the short drive up to Milwaukee from the Chicago airport. Cameron’s brother also flew up from Texas to be with us.
On our fifth day in the ICU, we were hopeful that Calvin was making a recovery. Although he was still asleep and unresponsive, he seemed much calmer and did not seem to be in pain any longer. At this point, his blood oxygen levels began dropping and the doctors determined that he has suffered an acute kidney injury and his lungs were filling with fluid. They recommended that he be sedated and put on a ventilator again, and then placed on dialysis.
This was a very difficult time and we were thankful for the many hundreds of people around the world praying for us and Calvin. We gave the doctors the go-ahead to place him on dialysis.
Over the next 24 hours, they performed two rounds of dialysis, as well as additional scans and tests. We were hopeful that soon Calvin would recover but at the same time we were anxious, tempted to imagine the worse. God comforted us and gave us peace during this time in spite of the circumstances and once again we were encouraged knowing that so many of you were praying.
On the sixth day in the hospital, they brought Calvin out of sedation. He slowly began to be able to respond to simple commands like moving his feet or squeezing hands. After so many days of uncertainty we were over joyed even with this small progress. Calvin continued to progress and by the next morning, he was able to open his eyes and talk to us.
We were discharged from the hospital a short time later and then stayed in the Milwaukee area for three weeks in order for Calvin to go to follow up doctor visits and attend physical and speech therapy sessions. During these weeks Calvin rapidly regained his strength and mental and physical capacity.
During this time, the Creech family, coworker of ours from West Africa who are on furlough right now, graciously allowed us to stay with them. Our kids are good friends with their kids and it was the perfect environment for Calvin to recuperate in.
After three weeks Calvin finished his therapy sessions and we finally said goodbye to Wisconsin and traveled to Midland, Texas, where we are currently staying. He still has more doctor visits to do here in Texas and there are a few lingering issues, but we are trusting God for a full recovery. He has already brought us farther than we could have ever imagined. God has once again provided a place for us to stay, this time with Cameron’s grandparents who are graciously allowing us to stay with them in a spare apartment behind their house. We are thankful for the stability this gives us for this time.
The final diagnosis given to us by the doctors in Milwaukee: Viral meningitis and encephalitis, which triggered a seizure. Followed by an acute kidney injury due to acyclovir. (one of the anti-viral medications given to him initially)
I wanted to retell this story in detail for two reasons. Firstly, in order to give a report to those of you who faithfully prayed for us during this time. And secondly, and most importantly, to highlight several areas that I count as God’s miraculous intervention.
Early on, we suspected meningitis and after seeking God’s will in prayer, we took him to the hospital. I see God’s miraculous hand at work when I realize that God brought us right into the emergency room of one of the best children’s hospitals in the States at just the right moment. We could have been ANYWHERE when Calvin had his seizure, but God graciously and miraculously brought us to a place where professionals were able to intervene instantly!
I also see God at work in the various ways He made it possible for Katy’s mom, and Cameron’s parents and brother to travel up and encourage and help us. Katy’s mom, in particular, was able to stay with us at the hospital and because she herself is a registered nurse, was able to help us understand what was going on.
We were continually asking God to give the wisdom to the doctors to find the problems and help Calvin. We clearly see God’s hand in how he accomplished this. The kidney doctor who finally discovered that Calvin’s kidneys were injured and recommended the dialysis is a believer. We see that God used the years of training, experience, and intelligence that He has given this man to allow him to discover this issue and save Calvin’s life.
We saw God’s intervention in the way that he provided a place for Gracia to stay while we were in the hospital. Since we had been visiting Cameron’s sister, Gracia was able to stay there with her, and it was a safe, stable environment for her during this frightening time.
God also provided miraculously for us in a place to stay in the weeks following the hospital stay. As I mentioned previously, we were able to stay with our good friends and coworkers from Africa. The house that our friends had rented for their furlough time had an unused “mother-in-law” apartment attached. Their landlord agreed to let us stay in it for several weeks, and the Creech’s then cleaned it and found furniture for it and even stocked the kitchen with food for us! It is amazing to see how, even in small details such as this, God was already at work setting up this house for us to stay in long before any of us knew that we would have need of it.
And finally we see the hand of God in how he used the entire community of believers around us. Everyday we received calls and messages of encouragement from people around the world. We saw our prayer requests reposted many, many, times and even translated into other languages as they spread around the globe. The Bible school put us on a meal plan. We even had those who sent funds to us to help with costs. God chooses to work through His people and we can honestly say your prayers and messages were like a buoy in a storm to us.
These are a few of the moments that stand out the boldest to us. Clearly, God was at work and we give Him all of the glory for choosing to preserve the life of our son. We hope that this testimony is a reminded to us all that our protection, safety, and lives ultimately rest in God’s hands. We can rest in Him, knowing that nothing happens outside of the will of God, that He sees things we cannot see, and that He knows things we can’t know. Our responsibility is to trust in Him and respond to His direction for our lives.
May God continue to give all of us the grace and wisdom to walk with Him, living every moment for Him. Thank you again for your faithful prayers and support.
-Cameron & Katy
I had the honor of taking care of Calvin and his family. Even when Calvin was at his worst and didn’t recognize his parents he called out “I love God!” This is an amazing family and I am so glad Calvin is doing better.