Front Porch Stories: Remembering a very challenging journey
By Kathy Bohannon, Special to The Shopper
I’ll probably never forget February 15, 2016. It was the day we found out our sixteen-month-old grandlittle Wren was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer.
Wren and her family traveled from their home here in Newnan to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) last month. Several specifics about her cancerous tumor qualified her for a clinical trial that was available only at CHOP. Though the meds would eventually become available in Atlanta, this was a three-year checkup and her CHOP doctor wanted to see her.
They did a COVID test, and thanks to a video from the Mayo Clinic for pediatric COVID testing, she was aware of the procedure and actually giggled when the swab reached its destination. They also performed her standard tests which include bloodwork, MRI and MIBG.
On Thursday, September 17, our daughter called with the news. This child, who has been fighting for years, is in remission.
The journey from that first news to the most recent diagnosis has been the hardest days of our lives. But we are stronger in our faith because of this experience. I cannot speak from her mommy and daddy’s standpoint, but this grandmother’s heart reached a level of accepting God’s will that surpassed any and everything I’ve ever dealt with.
He provided time and resources for me to become half of Wren’s care team. I was able to travel from the Savannah area to Newnan every month to take my daughter and Wren to appointments. Big sister Phoebe Jo wanted her daddy, so he worked from home and kept her during our many trips to CHOA. Almost two years later my husband retired, we relocated to Newnan, and he would step in and help. My new job was to stay home and breathe.
Of course, I knew without a doubt that God had a plan for this child. We didn’t know what it was or if we would ever know, but accepting His will was a stronghold. Jeremiah 29:11 states this: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I knew regardless of the outcome, that God would fulfill His will with this child.
God blessed us.
So many people helped in small and large ways. My best friend in Savannah took care of me, arranged a team to help us prepare to move, managed a private social media group that would keep everyone up to date on Wren. God provided donations to our daughter and her family to help with unexpected costs and finances.
It wasn’t just the monumental things, it was also the little things that allowed me to see God working in this. The pastors who prayed as every single first drop of chemo that went into this child, the cafeteria worker I’d never met who saw me from a distance and just walked over and put her arms around me. The hospital staff, the parking attendants, the lanes that opened up for this grandma who would never, ever, drive in downtown Atlanta.
At the end of one of the many prayers during chemo, Wren whispered, “Bees Dod.” She was pleading “please God.” He heard.
Years after this tiny, precious petition to God, we would receive the best news of all. She is in remission. And September 29, 2020 marked Wren’s sixth birthday.
This family celebrated.
Kathy Bohannon is a Christian humorist and inspirational speaker. She and her husband John live in west Newnan. She can be reached at [email protected].