If We’re Honest

Honesty has been hard won in our house.

I have perfected the specialist visit banter.

“Oh this isn’t our first rodeo,” I’ve quipped more than once, always with a polite smile and a nod from the medical assistant.

The medical lingo? I speak it.

I have casually walked into the hardest of visits, sharply inhaling, so I don’t completely lose it.

It’s how moms of preemies and special needs kids roll. We know the drill. Ask all the questions, even the hard ones, know when to push and when to let up, how to handle billing and where all the best parking spots are at the doctor’s office. I can fill out medical history forms in my sleep. I have the insurance numbers – all of them – memorized. Luke knows exactly where to stand for his weight, where to turn for his height and how to hold his arm for the blood pressure cuff.

He’s pretty seasoned himself.

Yesterday, we went in for his annual visit to the cardiologist. Luke was born with two holes in his heart, one we corrected with surgery and the other we’ve been monitoring closely. I have said more prayers to close that heart, without medical intervention, than I’ve drunk Dr Peppers.

True story.

Just before the doctor walked in to check out Luke, I heard a knock at the door. A sweet pediatric nurse practitioner bounded into the room and extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Julie. You don’t know me, but I’ve been reading your blog.” She continued, “I’ve read your story and been praying for you all along.” For a moment, it felt like I wasn’t really in a doctor’s office, but in the company of someone who knew about the preciousness of life. Indeed, she does. That moment of grace, that encounter with Christ, has happened every step of the way of Luke’s journey. I have no other explanation except to say that God has great plans for Luke, just as He does for all of us.

During the echocardiogram, my eyes have been trained for what to look for on the screen. Where exactly blue (outflow of blood) and red (inflow of blood) should be and what muscles should and should not be moving. My eye caught it, but I held my breath, afraid to say it out loud, for fear that it might not be true.

So when Dr. J came back into the room after the echo and gave us the news that his heart was completely healed, I did not believe him. The hole had completely closed, without complication. There is no buildup of tissue, no obstructions, no prolapsed heart wall. Nothing. We thought it might close before he turned ten, but I stopped pinning my hopes on it.

And then it happened.

Dr. J looked at us, smiled, and said, “Well, I guess you get to fire another specialist.” And then I cried.

luke, dr j, blog

There is a part of me that feels tremendously guilty. I feel guilt because the news was so good for Luke and I knowย the same isn’t true for other kids. It’s the mom in me, I think. When we’re happy, we want the world right along with us.

As we left, I glanced into a patient room and saw a mom holding her newborn tightly to her chest. I could see the fear in her eyes. It was like looking in a mirror six years ago.

You see, back then, the tears fell because I feared that I could not take one more bad diagnosis. Not a single other specialist. I could not walk this road. I couldn’t. The road looked so long, so hard, so full of suffering.

It was. Damn, was it ever.

Today, we walked out into the hallway and I gripped Luke’s hand with my left and caught the tears with my right. You know that ugly sob that starts deep down? I was trying hard not to let it escape. Today, my tears fell out of thanksgiving.

“Mom, do you think I’ll miss P.E.?” Luke asked.

“Nah,” I replied, quickly swallowing those tears. “You’re going to be right on time.”


  1. Leigh Ann on January 21, 2016 at 7:58 am

    What wonderful news. I’m so happy for you and your family. This was beautiful.

  2. Bridget on January 21, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Oh, what wonderful news! I’m sitting here barely able to keep eating my breakfast as the tears roll down my face. God is so good and I’m so happy for this wonderful news for your family ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Veronica on January 21, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Tears. Falling. Down. My heart is so full of joy for you! It’s no coincidence that Julie was there, I know you know that. Seriously, of all people?! God bless y’all!!!

  4. Adrienne on January 21, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Sitting at my desk crying happy tears for you all!

  5. Mary on January 21, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Congratulations! No doubt it was your faith in God (and prayers)! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Smiling through tears for the family! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Deme on January 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

    I read this on Facebook yesterday and the tears are still falling fresh as I read your post today. God is just so good. And kind. And doesn’t miss any small detail. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for your special Luke.

  7. Julie G. on January 21, 2016 at 8:25 am

    God is so good! *Big sigh and smile* for your entire family.

  8. Rozella on January 21, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Congratulations to Luke (and you for hanging in there)! I KNOW that guilt all too well… Why was I/we so lucky? Why? Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord Jesus, but why? I especially feel that when I see or read of another 24 or 25 weeker who does not have the same outcome as we did. We are blessed and truly grateful.

  9. Gina on January 21, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Tears of happiness for you are filling my eyes! So happy for you all! Hugs!

  10. Verdina on January 21, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Kathryn, you’ve made my eyes leak again (in a very good way)! I’m so happy for y’all!

    God is good!

    God bless you!

  11. Bea on January 21, 2016 at 11:10 am

    You know I’ve cried. You should also know I grin ear to ear knowing that hole closed. VICTORY! A win for one of us is a win for all of us! That’s how this sorority of special kiddos rolls. Just as much as we understand the pain and heartache, oh we savor the the victories, are elated for the miracles, and thank God for his grace throughout. Luke is a special favorite so I am thrilled for you all!

  12. Jenny on January 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Tears are spilling down my cheeks as I read this. Go Luke go!

  13. Yesenia on January 21, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Congratulations to you. I’m here holding back my tears.

  14. Laura on January 21, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Awesome news!! My preemie twins had a list of specialists and I know the feeling when they say “I don’t think they need to come back unless they need something.” It’s an awesome feeling but scary at the same time….it’s like someone that has been monitoring them isn’t anymore…it’s up to us now. Congrats on the wonderful news!!

  15. Sarah on January 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Hurray! For the healing and hurray for not missing PE!

  16. Lynn A. on January 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Yeah for Luke!!!!! What wonderful news.

  17. Lenore on January 21, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    awww! Tears of joy for you and your family. Blessings!

  18. Annmarie on January 22, 2016 at 4:40 am

    He has great plans for Luke – and obviously you as well ;). Keep on inspiring and thank you.

  19. Catholic Lawyer Mama on January 22, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Love this. Just love it. I’m so happy for you. Sharing your tears of joy and sending hugs your way.

  20. Nicole on January 22, 2016 at 8:49 am

    SUCH incredible, exciting, relieving, uplifting, amazing news. I cannot imagine how overjoyed you felt in that moment. What a blessing. Congratulations!

    My dear friend is getting ready for her 8 yr old daughter’s heart surgery in March. It’s her 4th since birth, one they expected, and I am always so amazed at her and her husband’s strength going through this journey. Hoping that the power of prayer is able to help her, too.

  21. Elisabeth on January 23, 2016 at 11:08 am

    So good to hear such a good news !

    Thanks God, for Your grace.

  22. Joel on January 26, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Wonderful news!
    Thanks be to God!
    If anyone asks when your conversion took place, you have two answers: one, the date you were received into the church. The second, from the day you got the preemie news until today.
    I know — we had a similar experience. Different problem. Different outcome. A real test of faith.
    Congratulations on persevering!
    And thanks for introducing us to Julie.

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