What began as a typical Sunday afternoon at the swimming pool ended with our world turned upside down. Our eight-year-old, Blake, came to us with a headache that quickly escalated from “my head hurts” to our precious boy clutching the sides of his head and weeping, “I’m gonna die!” 

We rushed to the ER and doctors discovered a severe intracranial hemmorhage — Blake’s brain was full of blood. He was eventually diagnosed with an Arterioventricular Malformation, or AVM, for short. This tiny tangle of vessels had ruptured, causing significant bleeding which drained into his ventricles. 

In the days that followed, we held our breath as Blake underwent surgery to stop the bleeding, and then was placed in a medically-induced coma to allow the excess blood to slowly drain and the swelling to reduce. 

We’re a family of faith, and from the first moment in the ER, we began asking friends to pray for our boy to survive. Our community supported us so beautifully, and prayed so fervently for Blake. There were very, very discouraging diagnoses, and very dark nights of the soul, but after 23 days in the Pediatric ICU, Blake was discharged to Pediatric Inpatient Rehabilitation, where for another 25 days his healing journey continued as he re-learned to walk, talk, eat, and use his left side (among other things!) 

We were overwhelmingly blessed by the incredible care Blake received (and truly, our whole family received). We have never been through something so hard, and yet somehow felt so, so held.

I’ve been writing for over a decade, and writing became both a source of quiet and peace in the midst of our hardest season, and a way to share what we were going through with our friends and family (and eventually even strangers around the world) who joined in prayer for Blake. Every evening, I shared an update on what was happening during Blake’s hospital stay — except for one night where we received very, very difficult news, which we decided to share with our families first.

After that very dark night of the soul, we found joy in the morning, as Blake gave his first thumbs-up, and we began to see signs that there was the very real possibility he would be okay.

After the hardest 48 days of our lives, it was a joy like no other to drive home from the hospital with our son. We were given a gift we don’t deserve, and we will never stop being grateful.

 

We’re grateful to report that Blake is a happy, healthy, growing ten-year-old at present. While he has experienced some visual field loss as a result of the aneurism, his recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. He is living the life of a typical ten-year-old, and loves playing with his brother and sisters, reading goofy books, drawing, and laughing. A lot.

There is so much more of this story to tell — so many unexpected places where God showed up. An angel in the form of a nurse practitioner changed our lives forever, so many hospital staff members and friends carried us through this fiery trial — we look back and smile with so much gratitude at a special custodian kneeling by Blake’s bed to pray for him.

I’ve written a screenplay to tell the story because it truly does feel more like a movie than an actual story from everyday life. (If you’re a screenwriting agent, please get in touch!)

If you’d like more of the behind-the-scenes of our life while Blake was in the hospital, these blog posts will give you a taste of those hard days:

Faith Like a Ketchup Packet

How to Keep Your Eyes Above the Waves (Even in the ICU)

Piecing Together Who’s Behind the Curtain When Affliction is on the Stage

 

Dear friend, if you are experiencing a crisis of your own, I’d love to welcome you to click the button below to receive the ebook I created, It Won’t Feel Like this Forever,  to encourage you through your own hard place. We didn’t handle the fight of our lives perfectly, but we did learn a lot in the battle, and I’d love to share what we learned. I believe you’ll find a deep sense of hope and very practical help in this free book. Whatever story you’re living right now, I believe God can work it out for good, so hold tightly to Him, and stay in the story. It Won’t Feel Like this Forever.