Sunday, March 27, 2011

Remember


March 27 is a special day in our home.  It's a day to thank God for intervening and healing our son.  It's a day to celebrate, retell a story near and dear to us, and remember.

Today marks the five year anniversary of when Hayden got to eat dinner with the rest of our family.

Five years ago today we ate spaghetti with tears in our eyes and an epipen on our kitchen table.

Five years ago Hayden ate all his spaghetti, stayed alive, and declared noodles and sauce the best food ever.

Five years ago God healed our son.

We will celebrate this day for as long as we live.

Spaghetti Day, March 27, 2006

Very shortly after Hayden was born we knew that something was not quite right.  His entire body began to break out in hives.  He was sick.  His skin was constantly hot to the touch, felt like leather, or he had open oozing sores all over his body.  I remember with my first baby sitting and nursing my child rubbing those precious legs.  Soaking in that baby skin.  The feel of those soft baby arms and legs seemed like one of the sweetest gifts this side of heaven.

Hayden's skin was nothing like that.  His skin was not normal baby skin.  He looked like a burn victim.  We kept his skin covered at all times.  If not, he would scratch his skin and would quickly get secondary infections.  Some of my saddest memories were walking into my son's room to pick him up out of his crib and finding his sheets with blood all over them.  His skin was such a source of misery to him that if he had any access to his skin he would claw at it, quickly causing gaping, bleeding wounds.  Socks were sewn into his pajamas. He wore socks on his hands.  For years he lived his life in long-sleeve, long-pants pajamas and with socked-hands.  We kept his skin covered to keep him from clawing at his skin, but we also kept it covered because his skin was so damaged that if he even touched things he was allergic to (dust, food, etc.) he would break out, his nose and eyes would start running, he'd have to be given benadryl, and his skin would have to be covered in topical steroid.  With major reactions, it would take a week for him to recover.

After allergy testing, he could only eat eight foods.  Leaving the house with Hayden was always a gamble.  The times we risked it, we usually ended up coming home frustrated and in tears.  We'd definitely pay for it for days later as we watched Hayden react and us have absolutely no real idea what was happening to him. Hayden paid for it the most as it was him who physically had to suffer.

We took Hayden to all sorts of doctors.  We were sent to specialists.  I've written about what our life was like and some of the things God taught us during this difficult time.  There was a lot of suffering.  Hayden was in constant pain.  We will always look back and say that watching our child suffer for years was hopefully the hardest thing God will ever ask us to do.

When Hayden was three he was put through his yearly round of allergy tests.  This time the allergist called me at home with the results.  No nurse.  I was startled.  I remember him telling me that out of the eight foods Hayden was eating, he was now reacting so strongly to four of them that we needed to remove those from his diet as well.  Four foods.  We were down to four foods.  The allergist also told me that I needed to understand the severity of this.  He explained that with Hayden's body reacting so regularly that this would cause long-term damage to his major organs.  He gently said he'd like to set up a meeting with his team so we could determine how to keep this child alive.  They seemed to be finished trying to find a solution.  The best doctors had already looked at Hayden and could not figure out what was wrong.

It was a devastating day.  I already felt like we were doing everything humanly possible.  Our lives had completely shut down.  We rarely left the house with Hayden.  I cooked all of his food.  I fell into the bed every night exhausted trying to keep him safe, the house swept and mopped every single day, and the house dusted from top to bottom.  Every.  Single.  Day. 

What more could we do?

The next Sunday I shared with our church what we had just found out from the allergist.  They prayed for Hayden.  The most beautiful part of this story happens now.  Don't miss it.  Standing in the front of the church with people praying for my son, I wanted so badly to open my eyes, look at my three year old son and see his skin had miraculously been healed.  Like those stories I heard in Sunday School...wide eyed as a little girl...those stories of when Jesus healed the people with leprosy.  The sores were there one minute.  Gone the next.  One flannel-board lady had leprosy.  Then a new flannel board lady appeared whose skin was soft and beautiful.  I wanted that.  I wanted our family to be a flannel board family.  One minute a wreck.  The next minute healed.  The people said, "Amen"...I opened my eyes and Hayden looked the same.  I was so disappointed.  I was used to being disappointed.  This was not the first time we had  begged God to heal our son.

God did not miraculously reach down and heal Hayden that day.  Instead...on the day I shared about Hayden in front of our church....a new family was sitting in the congregation...they had just started visiting our church.  The father of that family was a doctor.  He listened.  He prayed.  He later contacted us and asked if he could see Hayden's chart.

As a church body we began praying for Dr. Bacak.  God help this man help our son.  Dr. Bacak found that Hayden had an amoeba in his body that he had probably gotten in utero during our trip to Mexico when I was seven months pregnant.  It had gone untreated for three years.  The results were life debilitating for Hayden.  To make a long story short, after a couple rounds of medication, our son's body began to heal.  In October his allergist was trying to figure out how to keep the kid alive, and by March...with Dr. Bacak's help Hayden's skin was clearing up.  Hayden was wearing shorts!  We took him places.  Healing was happening.

A few months later, Hayden was getting so much better...his skin healing up...that Dr. Bacak said something outrageous at one of our visits.  He looked at Hayden.  Looked at me.  Then he said, "Heather...let's do something crazy.  Let's feed this kid."  I answered, "Like real food?"

Yes.  Feed him real food.

I went home nervous.  I held my three year old son in my lap and asked him a simple question.  "What is one food you have always, always wanted to eat?"  There wasn't even a pause.  "Seggi!"  Hayden wanted spaghetti.

We ate.  For the first time Hayden ate the same thing his family ate for dinner.  He lived.  We cried.  We celebrated.  It was a day we will never forget.

Exodus 13:8-9 and 14
On that day tell your son, 'I do this because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.' This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. "In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."



We remember this day with a spaghetti feast and a retelling of the story.









This day causes lots of thoughts to hip hop around in my head.  Thoughts about suffering.  As a three year old Hayden suffered with such joy.  That touches me.  It teaches me.  I have thoughts about the church.  How God uses people.  I think of the sin and selfishness I saw in my life parenting a child so needy.  How God's grace covers those dark places.  I remember how human I am.  How weak.  How it didn't matter how much I wanted to serve my child selflessly...I was selfish.  I tried hard, but I was no hero.  I think of how loved we felt by our church family.  How God gave us not only an incredible doctor, but great friends through the Bacak family.  But mostly I think of the things in my life that seem hopeless right now.  The things I think are too big.  The things I feel frustrated and hurt over.  I think of those things on this day and remember....God is powerful.  He restores.  He frustrates science.  He takes situations that have been labeled "hopeless" and completely changes them.  There are places in my soul that need to be reminded of that truth today.


I don't know why God allowed Hayden to suffer for three and a half years.  I will never understand it.  But I do know that for some reason, God wants Hayden to remember that He is big.  He is strong.  God is faithful.

36 comments:

Our Beautiful Life said...

God is sooo good! Thank you for sharing this precious, grace-filled story. Spaghetti for all :}

Gwen said...

Beautiful story! God sure works in mysterious ways. Now I want some spaghetti:)

Melda said...

One would think after 5 years that I wouldn't still cry about spaghetti day............but I do!
Just love that little Hayden although I haven't seen him since he was tiny, tiny........
His personality shines so much just through the photos and his silly faces.........what a joy he is!!

Gwenn Mangine said...

Amazing story. Totally absolutely and utterly amazing. Thanks for sharing it.

It's amazing how many missionaries we know that have had brushes with their children's mortality...

June 4 is our version of "spaghetti day." That's the day God used the hands of Dr. Andrew Lodge to repair the heart vessels coming out of the hear of our sweet Josiah when he was just 3 days old.

Amazing what God can do.

And it's really amazing that these kids live in HAITI now, huh?

Thanks for sharing...

Dr. Jenny said...

Wow Heather! A lesson for sure for us all in faithfulness. In case I ever see a similar patient scenario, what kind of ameoba was it? I'll admit this is one I'll have to read up on.

John & Perla said...

Happy Spaghetti Day!

Zoanna said...

Utterly amazed as I sit here. Wow. Praise God. You can't manufacture things like "prayed in front of church" with "new family there/Dr.Who Diagnosed an Amoeba" to heal your son.

I am so thrilled for your Spaghetti Day celebration. What an Ebenezer!

Makes me wonder also how many other diseases out there are really the cause of a parasite going undetected. Seems most of the sufferers DO suffer for years, hopping from dr to dr.

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

"He frustrates science".

This is the bomb diggity. And I couldn't be happier that he chose Seggi. Impeccable taste, that one.

Bye.

Bob & Judy said...

We printed the post from 3 years ago and read the story to our church in Mexico today. So many prayer partners cried with us today and gave thanks.

Spaghetti Day, celebrated around the world today. God is so good.

Mike said...

Praise God! What a story!

mbs said...

I love that story. Our God is so amazing.

Brit said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing this miracle. Happy Spaghetti Day! =)

jeremytarpley said...

Hendricks, I never get tired of hearing the spagetti day story. God's grace makes great stories.

Susan, wife of 1, mother of 4 said...

I love how you write this story each year, and each time it's so emotional and each time you capture it perfectly, even though it's written differently each year. You are gifted. It goes without saying that I'm SO GLAD that God healed Hayden! I'm so GLAD that you remember each year. Thank you for your great writing and your spiritual stones.

Jen said...

I don't remember how I came across your blog but I've been following you for several months now.

I live in China. I have a community here that has been devastated by a tragedy very recently. This post was deeply touching and so perfectly expressed the truth I know but feel sometimes gets overshadowed by grief. Thank you.

Ashley said...

Wow! Thank you for this post! I can completely relate to the selfishness of our humanity...my husband has rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I want so desperately for him to be healed of these debilitating diseases. But we trust God that He is in control of it all. Please if you could, add us to your prayer list. Thank you! God Bless! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Heather. I had no idea you went through all that. Must have been a heck of a three years but I'm glad it had a happy outcome for all of your sakes and to the glory of God! You always inspire me. Bless you as you bless your family and all those around you.

-Paula

eliz@thesweetlife said...

What a beautiful and precious story. God bless your family!

Ruth said...

Wow. This brought tears to my eyes. (Not that tears coming to my eyes is that unusual, but this was really a great story. Thanks for sharing it.)

Anthony & Sharon said...

I can't even remember how long I've been blog-following you...but every year spaghetti day makes me cry and marvel at our powerful God. Praise God for Hayden's precious life!

mandi said...

I love the retelling of this story. Such a big, powerful story. Yesterday I was teaching the first 8 verses of Revelation to my jr. high kids. We were talking about referring to God as the One who is, the One who was, the One who is to come. I was struck by "the One who was". This importance to remember who God has been to us in the past to get us through today. When I think, "surely the God who sustained me when we lost our baby can sustain me through today", I am remembering the One who was. And that He still is.

That's what your story here made me think of...

stephanie garcia said...

What an amazing and glorious testimony! I shared this with my husband and we rejoiced together. GOD still does miracles.

Amanda said...

I remember when I first found your blog and heard this story about Hayden's illness. It touched me deeply as a mom who has also seen both of her children suffer and on the brink of death (my boys were both born severely premature at 26 and 23 weeks gestation four years apart). Much like Spaghetti day we celebrate Homecoming Days for each of our little guys. This is like a second birthday for them, the anniversaries of when they actually came to live with us in their own home after months on intensive care and not knowing if they ever would. The "why's" of it all we will never understand but how amazing to come out the other side and marvel at what has been survived. :)

T & T Livesay said...

Loved being with you on Spahetti Day - ours is called Jen Halverson Day and happens in January.

I so understand your desire to share what God did ... when you see a miracle like this happen it is something you want to share as often as possible!

We love Hayden and are so glad he is well!

legosandlightsabers.com said...

That is a beautiful story of hope and faith and love. Thanks for sharing. I am so glad he was healed.

Anonymous said...

I was there the day you presented this to our church...the day you pleaded for prayers, for Hayden's life, basically. It was heartbreaking...and God saw. And he provided your miracle. He is in the business of miracles...and I'm so glad yours was one I was able to see unfold!

CathyT

hopefuloffive said...

I have read this before on your blog, but read it again today with fresh eyes. I love your heart, your mother's heart. Thanks for sharing.

McElroy Family Happenings said...

Tears in my eyes, as they often are when I read your heartfelt posts.

Lisa

Kristen said...

"I wanted our family to be a flannel board family. One minute a wreck. The next minute healed. The people said, "Amen"...I opened my eyes and Hayden looked the same. I was so disappointed. I was used to being disappointed. This was not the first time we had begged God to heal our son."

These are my exact thoughts as of late. Your story is such an encouragment to me. Thank you for sharing. It blessed me.

Ken Summerlin said...

These are the stories that we need to tell again and again.

Angela said...

One of my blog readers pointed me to this post bc my daughter has suffered for years... We have been to doc after doc after doc. How do you test or parasites? Help!

Hendrick Family said...

Angela...

Email me and I'll give you more medical details:

hendrickcrew@gmail.com

Laura said...

I started following your blog a few months ago and can't tell you how many times I have been blessed/challenged/encouraged by your words. This story is just one more way that I have been encouraged. I am thankful for the way that God uses your words in my life and most likely in the lives of many others. Praise the Lord for your son's life and the story that he can use for the rest of his life to bring glory to God!!!

Jeremy Maurer said...

Wow, your story is such an encouragement. All 4 of our children have had significant GI issues. They are on the specific carbohydrate diet with a rotation. It's been a long nightmare. My bride cooks day and night for our kids. Their stomach issues are unbelievable. We know the rashes from eating foods they can't tolerate. This includes one daughter who has fruicton malabsorption. This has put a crimp on our plans as a family to serve as missionaries in Haiti.

We PRAY for their healing.

mamamargie said...

Such a wonderful miracle story. You are a flannel board family!!! You just need to show the flannel board amoeba getting zapped by the flannel board doctor and then everyone celebrating with flannel board spaghetti! Seriously, I really love that you have not forgotten this day, but have, like the Israelites of old, set up a memorial to remember what God has done. That's powerful! Thanks for sharing!!!

TJ said...

Thank you for sharing your story!!! :) Our son is four years old and was suffering from severe asthma attacks, now we think was severe allergic reactions to food, was on several steroids, injection and oral, suffered from eczema, pneumonia and such. We changed his diet significantly and he is now breathing well! :) God is soo good! :) Also, I just found out that I have multiple food allergies! :) So your story offers me hope! :)) I am hoping that God will heal me as well, but either way, I will tell others and remind our son, that God is BIG!!! :)) Thanks soo much for your inspiring story! :) Lots of love! :))