posted on CarePages May 13, 2011

“The body of Christ is the body of God, the body of ultimate reality, the ground of all existence. We do not have to look anywhere else for it. It resides deep in our own being.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

“Rounding the bout” at Mud Island a few minutes ago, I could see very clearly that the water-marks on all of the trees was at least a foot higher than the current water level. Sometime between be picking the boys up from school yesterday and now, the devastating flood waters have begun to recede.

I saw this on my way to pick the Brothers up from school early. After what seems to be yet another record grueling day and night, things are such that I am going to make the trip home with Christopher for his first communion Saturday.

Some folks have probably not even had time to read last nights carepage; but suffice it to say that Brennan has once again befuddled the experts. The ventilator, which he was predicted to be on between three days and two weeks, lasted about an hour. By the time I hit the rack around 2am, he was not even using supportive oxygen, maintaining 100% 0/2 absorption on his own.

I woke up at 7:30 from the parent room (in the regular BMT rooms, we always stay in the couch next to Brennan’s bed; but in ICU, it is almost imperative to use the parent room provided, There is just too much commotion to stay all night). Draped in my blanket and shuffling in my pajamas, eager to see that he was still breathing well on his own, I met the attending ICU physician who was preparing to turn off the propofil, which had been keeping him asleep for the last 12 hours. “Your boys is real pro,” he told me in his beautiful West African accent as he fiddled with various dials on Brennan’s anesthesia support. “He seems to be doing everything right.”

Since the infectious gallbladder had reach the crisis stage and been removed under basically emergency surgery circumstances, everything has been cooling down. His ANC has dropped back. his white blood count has dropped by 40%. His CRP (representing c-reactive protean, which is the barometer for inflammation and infection) has also dropped exponentially. As I am receiving this glorious information, his BMT team entered the room, all grinning form ear to ear and shaking their heads.

Dr. Srinivasan, normally the most reserved and quiet of the entire team (sometimes I have to literally stand directly next to him to hear him talk) clapped his hand and shouted joyfully, “Yes!” Brennan’s GVHD symptoms have also been subsiding along side everything else. “His immune system was working so hard to clear the infections that it was simply working overtime in all areas, manifesting itself not only in the white count, but in meaningfully classic GVHD symptoms. Thanks God they are coming down. It looks like he pulled it off!”

The relief among everyone is pervasive. Speaking to the surgeon a few minutes ago, the gallbladder itself was a real nasty animal. Given the infectious tailspin that Brennan was in prior to surgery, had we waiting until today we would have most likely missed the window.

He is in some pain, certainly. after all he had his gut cut into. I guess he and aunt Julie can commiserate with war stories as they hold baby Ward together this summer. Everything once again lined up the way it absolutely had to. And with just a bit more grace, we can focus again on coming home (clearly later than we thought last week, but the finish line is back in sight).

Everything for which we are grateful for this day, must be acknowledged as a product of love. The love of Brennan;s medical team for this boy, and the commitment of St. Jude’s never to quit. The love of so many people in Brennan’s court, praying and sending positive vibes our way. The love of a family, who with the birth of a new child deserved to celebrate. And the love within a little boy that has proven to me that the kingdom of God is indeed within.

The bread which feeds Brennan is life itself. Because of his love of life, tomorrow, his little brother will get to look Father Ferry in the eye; and, with mindfulness, he will accept the bread and say “Amen!”