Monday, November 22, 2010

Little things

I started this post in the middle of September, and then forgot about it while we were getting ready for Kol's birthday party. It's time I made it public.

Throughout this whole trial, "little things" have worked out for us. By "little things" I mean things that are really unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but which certainly make things better, or easier in the moment. Even when we were dealing with big problems, God was there, taking care of all of the little things, making them work out for us. It is reassuring to think that if He cared enough to make the little things work out, He can make the big things work out eventually, too. It's been comforting to know that I don't need to worry about those things. I just knew that they would all come together. I don't know how I knew, but I did. And, if the little things fell so easily into place, then I just knew that the big things would, too. I'd like to share some of these things with you.

At the E.R. in Saskatoon, before the tumour was discovered, Kol was being treated for a migraine. When he felt better after a dose of morphine, at about 4:30 am, they decided to send him home. Someone asked Kirk if he could drive home. When he said no, a cot was brought in for him to sleep on. The morphine wore off around 6:00 am, Kol started vomiting again, and his headache was back. It was then that the decision was made to do a CT scan. If Kol had been back at home when the morphine wore off, we might not have gone back to the E.R. right away - and even if we did, we would have had to wait for Kol to be seen again. The tumour wouldn't have been found until several hours later, and we might have had to wait much longer for the MRI, the neurosurgeon, and an operating room. As it was, the neurosurgeon already had the O.R. booked for Saturday morning.

When we took Kol to the E.R., I sent e-mails about Kol's progress, and the doctors' findings to our family. Everyone responded but Obert and Connie, who were on holiday in Europe. We weren't too surprised, knowing that they would have limited access to computers, depending on what services their hotels would have. However, the night before Kol's surgery, we felt we needed to do more to inform them. Kirk was talking to his sister late Friday night (maybe even Saturday morning) and they decided it was important to contact their parents. For the first time that I can ever remember, Obert had given all of the kids copies of their itinerary, with hotel addresses and phone numbers. Kirk couldn't call Europe from his cell, so Ulla called instead. It turned out that it was the perfect time to call them. They were awake, but hadn't left the hotel yet. The pastor from our church, as well as other friends of ours were on the same tour, and were able to support them. The entire tour group gathered to pray for Kol later that day - while Kol was in surgery.

News of Kol's illness spread fast - we are still hearing about groups and individuals that were praying for Kol while he was in surgery, from all over the world. His surgery took place only 36 hours after we first took him to the E.R. I didn't know he was going to have surgery until 5:00PM on Friday - and the surgery was at 8:30AM Saturday. Hundreds of people heard in those 13 hours, and were praying that morning. There was a youth gathering in Edmonton the weekend Kol had his surgery. Many of the attendees prayed for Kol during his surgery, including the youth group my sister was chaperoning, and a group of L.C.B.I. students.

While Kol was still in the hospital I drove home with the girls for a piano recital. On the way home, I had a flat tire. While I would rather not have had a flat tire, I couldn't have chosen a better place to have one. Sixty seconds earlier I was in the middle of a long line of vehicles, following the pilot truck, with piles of dirt on one side, big machines on the other, and nowhere to pull over. If it had been just a few minutes later, I would have been around a curve, and the construction workers that helped me wouldn't have seen me. I would have had to change the tire by myself, and we would probably have missed Julianna's piano recital.

Kol was given a toy light saber just before his radiation started. One stormy night, just after we arrived at Connie and Obert's for the night, the power went out. Kol's light saber gave us just enough light to help us find the candles, matches, and real flashlights.

The times that we were late leaving Outlook because of a last minute phone call, (or last minute potty runs or other typical chaos) were the times that we had virtually no wait for the pilot car on the highway. When there was more traffic through the city than we expected, we found good parking places at the Cancer Center. The times we couldn't find a decent parking spot was when there were 2 of us, so that one of us could get Kol to his appointment on time, and the other could find a parking spot (usually on the top level of the parkade).

When we couldn't take everyone to an appointment (or they didn't want to go), there was always someone available to stay with Birgitte and Mari, or take them somewhere. When we went shopping, there often seemed to be sales on the things that we needed. We got letters, or messages that said just what we needed to hear. When I needed a connection, someone would call me on the phone. We met people at the Cancer Center or hospital that had answers for the questions that were bothering me at the time. While we couldn't always get our pick of appointment times for the radiation, the times we absolutely had to have specific times (because of other appointments) were the times that it was easy to switch. Then there were the radiation therapists who did such a wonderful job of making the radiation treatments easier for Kol, re-arranged their schedule so that he could go to VBS.

When I was really starting to worry about what I would be doing this year for a homeschool curriculum, I got the results of the standardized tests Kolbjorn and Julianna did in June. That gave me the courage to decide to do something unconventional this year, and buy a fun science program instead of a more complete, traditional curriculum. We are all very excited to build our own remote controlled vehicles, hydrogen cell vehicles, hovercraft, kites, and alarm clocks.

This may sound strange, but even the timing of the discovery was great for several reasons. It was summer time, so there were lots of things for the girls to do to keep busy, and the bulk or the driving occurred in the summer. At 3.5 months, Annika was really at the perfect age to be 'hauled' around the hospital. She no longer a newborn, and we had gotten over most of the initial stresses of having a new baby around. She was still small enough that she couldn't roll over, so it was safe to lay her down on the bed when I needed to help Kol, and she was too young to want to play on the floor. Julianna had just started to babysit, and was very eager to help out, which has been a huge blessing, too.

There have been other, fun things, too, like the day we went out for lunch at Jerry's after an appointment, and it turned out to be the day they were giving away free samples of their new gelato and ice cream flavours. On the day we risked taking Kol to the library in spite of his low blood counts, the library was completely empty. In spite of the short notice, everything fell into place extremely well for Kol's birthday party.

We have come across many people that had connections to us - like the doctor who used to work at the plant Kirk's grandpa built, and whose brother went to L.C.B.I., and the nurse whose brother is married to Kirk's cousin. When we went to the zoo, we met someone who recognized me from L.C.B.I. I don't think she's seen me for 20 years, but she still knew my name. We met a family at the cancer center who didn't know who we were, but who had heard about Kol and had been been praying for him since his surgery.

I know that I feel much better when I look at what is working than when I start to ruminate on the uncertainties. We have lots to be thankful for. God is good. I see that when I start to look at the little things. We still don't have answers, many things are still uncertain, but life will go on, and we will thrive.


  1. So true, we all need to look and be thankful for all the "little things" in our lives. I pray that you have many more "little things" that help your family on this journey.

  2. oh kristen, i loved reading this. It is so easy to miss those "little things" and yet they add up to such a big God moving in our lives! praying for you today!