I completely realize that you could chalk up what I'm about to tell you to just about anything... you could say it is luck, or medical science, or whatever it is you believe in. But I'm confident that the reason my news is all good is because of the work of God in the life of my family.
First off, our insurance issues are completely resolved. Caleb's disability insurance got re-authorized and his coverage never lapsed. We didn't even have to use our backup plan! He still has the "Cadillac" of insurance coverage... ALL of his bills related to his transplant will be 100% covered by Medicaid.
Second, Caleb's liver issues have greatly improved, to the doctors' pleasant surprise. Today his numbers looked so good that they could go back up on his TPN (that's his IV nutrition). His kidneys look completely fine. He shows no signs of other organs failing because of his poor heart funtion.
Third, Caleb's energy level and appetite have increased. He has been out of bed to play and walk every single day for the past week, with no problems. And he has started to show interest in food again, even if it is tiny bites here and there. For lunch he had 3 grapes and I was SO proud of him. For supper he had one pepperoni, one bite of a breadstick, and 2 ounces of Sprite, and we were thrilled. This may seem like nothing, but it is a victory for Caleb, considering how many weeks he went without eating or drinking anything besides water.
Last week, I was praying desperately for God to have mercy on Caleb and give him a heart that very day. And while I was praying that, over and over saying "Please God, have mercy on him", God responded, "I am having mercy on Caleb. You don't always recognize My mercy." Caleb may not have gotten a heart yet, but God IS merciful to us and is continuing to keep my son going and giving us help in many ways. We know in our hearts that God's mercy is the reason Caleb is still alive and the reason I can tell you that he is doing much better. Thank you for your prayers! They are powerful and effective.
You know, I've had several conversations about just how many people are praying for Caleb... there are thousands of people, all over the world. One thing people say to me sometimes is that it's hard to imagine how thousands of people are praying for Caleb and yet he still doesn't have a new heart. To me, that is pretty easy to understand. See, every day we see ways that God is active in our life and using us and Caleb along the way. For example, let me tell you a crazy little story. Daniel works for a Christian missions organization, working with missionaries all over the world. One day he was on the phone with a missionary in Costa Rica, and he shared with Daniel about a family that needed prayer. The couple had just found out that their unborn baby had a heart defect and they didn't even expect the child to live. The couple were Costa Rican, but they were serving as missionaires in Bosnia where medical technology was not very available. Daniel got off the phone and started praying for them, and as he prayed, he felt overwhemed with grief for them. Because of all we'd already gone through with Caleb, Daniel knew the fear and disappointment they must be feeling and he begged God to provide for them.
As months went on, many people were praying for this family as well. Well, someone from the U.S. heard about their situation and generously paid for them to come to the U.S., helped them to get visas, and to get the kind of medical help they needed. Their daughter was born here in the U.S. and after being at a children's hospital in Oklahoma for a while, a friend of a friend offered for them to stay in a missionary house in Valporaiso and guess what.... they ended up at Riley. Four doors down from our room. And they are now our dear friends and a great encouragement to us. It's so crazy to think that in the whole wide world, this family that we prayed for ended up right next door, at the same time we were in the hospital. The missionary house where they live is 2 and 1/2 hours away from the hospital and they are only able to stay there for one year, the lease ends in a few weeks. When they shared that with us, both Daniel and I immediately thought about offering them to come stay in our house, our old house which hasn't sold yet (much to our frustration, but isn't God interesting the way He works?). They were thrilled... our house is less than an hour from the hospital and they can be near new friends. They will probably be discharged from the hospital in the next few weeks, but their daughter cannot fly home to Costa Rica yet because she will need ongoing care for several months. So in that time, they will be living in our hometown, in our house.
If Caleb had gotten a heart back a few months ago, we would never have gotten to know the Espinozas. We never would have been able to offer them to move to our house. And there are so many other things every day that help us see how God is not late in answering our prayers. He is always using our circumstances for His purposes, and we are just His servants to submit to what He lays out in front of us. That's what I have been praying this week... I'm your servant, Lord. I'm your servant in this hospital. I'm your servant at the Ronald McDonald House. I'm your servant in this family. I'm your servant wherever you put me. If I hold on too tightly to what I want God to do for ME, I will miss out on what He wants me to do for HIM.