Hope managed to smile even through her pain and distress.....here she is surrounded by the many stuffed animals that were sent to her room.....there were more, if you can believe it, but I couldn't fit them all in the picture.
We are thrilled to be home with Hopey! The hospital almost didn't release her, because the lower part of her left lung is still collapsed a bit. We convinced them, however, that she would do MUCH better at home. YEH!!! Consequently, we were trained on some respiratory therapy techniques and sent on our way.
We were able to ask some questions about the echo cardiogram today.....the aneurysm that was located on Hopey's heart, in particular. All I can say is we received many different opinions, some very optimistic and some very negative. In a nutshell, her condition is an anomaly. No one has ever seen anything quite like it. So, understandably, the doctors are concerned, but also unable to give a definitive prognosis. The surgeon, this afternoon, said: "Think of it like this....Hope's heart is unique....it makes her even more special". I like that positive attitude, so I have renamed the aneurysm (I have always hated that term anyway). It will now "officially" be called, "Hope's Love Balloon", since it expands and contracts with every beat of her sweet heart. She already had a Love Shack, and now she has a Love Balloon, too! Perfect.
Our plan of action is to responsibly follow up with regular echo cardiogram appointments to allow the cardiologists to watch the "Love Balloon" for growth and change. Meanwhile, the medical staff will continue to debate whether anything needs to be done or even can be done about it, and they will do research and attempt to find another case in the US that might mirror Hope's in some way to give them a point of reference.
Please know Chappy and I are united in our decision to trust the Lord completely with Hope. We had made that decision, as you know, before her surgery on Monday, and we have not faltered. While it was our desire to return home today with no further heart issues for Hopey, that was obviously not God's plan or purpose. He is not finished with this journey yet. The Lord has called Hope to this task, and we have been called, as her parents, to walk beside her. You, friends, I believe, have been sent by the Father for Hopey as well...... to cover her in prayer. I am hopeful that each time you hear the word "HOPE" used in a phrase or song, you will be prompted to breathe a word of prayer for little Hopey.....just a simple, "Father, Bless little Hope". Each faith-filled "breath" will then be used by the heavenlies to wash over her heart and continue to bring protection and healing.....this is the picture I have in my mind.
You see, this isn't about Hope at all. It is about each of us and what we can learn from a child......a disabled child who cannot even speak but says so much to everyone she comes in contact with. She continues to teach me and others through her strength and trust......her perserverance and joyful spirit.....her eager acceptance of different kinds of people and her willingness to be a friend to all who extend a hand to her. The elation I feel this evening, knowing she is safe and sound at home, is more than I can impart. Thank you, Jesus!
As we were about to leave the hospital today, a lady came in to clean our room. She didn't have alot to say to me, but had plenty of encouraging words and bright smiles for Hopey. At first Hope didn't respond to her. Throughout Hope's hospital stay, she feared many of the doctors and nurses since they always seemed to come with the stick of a needle or a prod of a finger. Often, the pain was just overwhelming for her. Eventually, Hope realized this lady was different and just wanted to be her friend. After sweeping the floor, the lady turned to walk out of the room. Just before leaving, however, she turned to me and simply said: "Your little girl is a soldier".
I couldn't speak.....words wouldn't come, but tears did. She left. That was my message today. It was a short one, but it was mighty clear. God's calling for Hopey is for her to be a little soldier. Why? I don't know. Possibly because He knows she will carry out her calling so beautifully. Finishing Strong! Managing to smile through the pain! That's it......Hope is a little soldier in this life......but in the Kingdom to come.....no more heart defect, and no more pain......she'll speak with clarity, she'll run with strong legs, and her hands will no longer be limited.
Thank you, Father, for choosing each of us to welcome home your little soldier today. May we have a "ticker tape" parade in our hearts....full of praise and thanksgiving! Hope fought her battle with great courage. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to pray for her, and in doing so, empowering angels to surround her and protect her in all of her ways! Thank you for Your plan to use the weak to confound the strong, and thank you for the journey. May we glorify You in all we do as we answer "yes" to Your call! I believe in You.....Oh, sweet Jesus, I believe! Amen.