Update

African Connection links are now in the sidebar to the right, just below the My Travel section.

Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eight Years Ago Today...

It is November 9, 2017, now eight years since the successful procedure to rid Stellan of the SVT that battered him for the first year of his life. Here is the post I wrote on the 1 year anniversary of the first (and unsuccessful) procedure in Boston, amended after his second (and successful) procedure there and which I now share on the anniversary of that miraculous day:

One year ago today...

...grandson Stellan had his first surgery in Boston. It wasn't the end of his troubles, but I am moved to write him my thoughts on this anniversary. The blue text items in the note below are links to posts about the week in Boston that I wrote during and just after my trip there.

Stellan, April 21, 2010

Dear Stellan,

It is hard to believe that it has been one year since your call to come join you in Boston. As I made my way to New England, I thought about that day just a week earlier when we shared a laugh at the hospital in Minneapolis. It was hard to think about you being so terribly ill and I'll always treasure this picture - it is such a good example of your strong spirit and ability to laugh when life gives you half a chance. And that did not happen all that much during your first year with us.


It was a privilege, being with you in Boston. Helping your mom in small ways and having those opportunities to sit with you - and all of the tubes and wires you were sporting - in my lap. Of course, there were SO MANY people, all around the world, praying for you and following your story. The Boston Red Sox even gave you a "shout out" on the big scoreboard at Fenway Park, making them my second favorite baseball team (the Atlanta Braves, in case you were wondering).


People in the Boston area brought gifts to the hospital in such quantity that we had to organize a sharing program with the other families on the cardiac floor. The Dunkin' Donuts gift card? That one I got to keep. You know, something I could use in case I got Lost in Boston.

And, it was hard, being with you in Boston. I remember it so well, that painful night before the surgery. You were not allowed to have the medicines that were, for the moment, keeping your little heart from racing. You were not allowed to eat. Your mom called at about 2 a.m. She needed to rest, to get ready for the long day. So I came. Slept - sort of - on that hard little bed near you, getting up when you woke. Holding you. I was so glad that I was able to do that. But it was hard.


The medical team came and took you away and time just stopped. Your mom needed to be alone while she waited. I understood and sat by myself in a hallway. It seemed like forever, but then the call came. It was over and the SVT that had dogged you had disappeared. It was what we wanted to hear and, optimist that I am, I felt very good. But Dr. A was reserved. What they had done, they did cautiously so as not to damage your heart. There would be a test in two days to see if the procedure had worked.

The next morning, the day I was to leave for home, I walked to the hospital listening and singing along with a Cat Stevens song on my iPod: Morning Has Broken. So hopeful I was, in spite of the uncertainty and reservations of the doctors, that your heart problems were behind you.

But it was not to be. When the doctors ran the test to see if the SVT had been cured, they found that, as they feared, it had not. I was moved to mutter words I will not repeat, !@#$%. Then, just a few days later, I cheered you home as you started the next phase of your journey.

It was an amazing, wonderful, difficult, fulfilling, challenging week. I will forever wish that you would not have had to go through what you did, but be forever grateful that, since you did, you let me spend those few days with you. And, in spite of the circumstances, I was able to savor the expereince of being in Boston. In fact, I even wrote notes of thanks to the city and people that so gracioulsy hosted us.

===========The Rest of the Story===========

Of course now we know the rest of the story. Dr. B's heroic struggle to keep your SVT under control with drugs. Having to finally give in and send you back to Boston in November. The terrible 24 hours where we feared so much we would lose you. Then, on November 9, the HOME RUN as Dr. A and his team, blessed as they were with talent and compassion and determination, used all of these gifts to rid you forever of the SVT that had controlled your life.

So, one year later, I have cause to pause and reflect on that day, that week and the last six months. I am so proud of you. And your mom and dad. And your sister and your brothers. You are all special. Grandmother and I love you all very much.

Grandpa

Stellan, April, 2010

Stellan, November, 2011


Stellan, November 2015

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I linked over here from your daughter's site. What a precious note for Stellan years from now. I have a little guy that is within months of being the same age as Stellan so I always felt like in some small way a little more connected to his story. It again brought tears of joy to my eyes to remember how miraculously God healed Stellan's heart. I can't wait to see how he uses that strong heart for God!

Gretta said...

What a beautiful letter to your precious grandson. Stellan (and all the other Mck's) are so blessed to be able to call you "Grandpa". And one of these days, his strong little heart will be joining you in those adventurous bike rides! :)

Kate Carney said...

I came here from MckMama too.

What a beautiful letter you wrote to commemorate this one year anniversary of a surgery that bought him some time to grow old enough for a second surgery.

How wonderful that you were able to be with Jen in her time of need. I started following Stellan's story in February 2009 and became hooked.

Enjoy those bike rides.

Sheri said...

Stellan is so lucky to have a grandpa like you! When I first saw that picture last year that you posted above of the two of you it brought tears to my eyes. It still does! What a picture of love! We are all so grateful that Stellan was cured and is now so perfectly healthy! What a blessing for all of you!

JD said...

Loved seeing this experience through your eyes... what a God-given miracle...

Meghan said...

This is a beautiful letter to a beautiful little guy! What a blessing to have you in his life, along with a blessing to MckMama for having YOU for her father, to love and support her during that time of uncertainty. Stellan is truly a miracle that has brought so many people together over many nations. Have a great day sir!

Anonymous said...

I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful letter. Stellan is such a blessing. Mckmama sent me <3

Keri said...

Mck Papa,

I'm from Mckmama....probably not a big suprise! But, I must say I was at tears reading this but then I linked to your thanks to Boston and got a good laugh which tried up all my happy tears. If only you knew how much I needed this today. Your family is wonderful....well the ones I know. Thanks for all the work you do for other countries!

Keri
frog317@hotmail.com

my family said...

I am from Mckmama too and so beautifully put

Christy said...

Such a beautiful letter! It has me choked up and tears in my eyes remembering that week in November. We prayed so hard and cried so many times for all of you. So blessed are we all by Stellan and his story God is writing for him. :)

Hannah*Lily*Ben said...

Wow. You brought me to tears. I loved everything you said to Stellan. What a wonderful letter to him.

Liz
Loving This Mom Stuff

Toni :O) said...

Beautiful letter! I, too, came over from MckMama's blog...wow, so moving. Now we see where she gets her talent from! Stellan is so blessed to have such wonderful family and so many people praying for him. I prayed so hard and cried out to God to heal him, I truly believe in the power of prayer. Can't wait to see what great things are in store for him!

anne said...

Beautiful!!!

Anita Grace said...

You are a talented writer, now we know where your daughter gets it from! :)

I was on the verge of tears reading this... what a beautifully written letter. Stellan is an amazing miracle and it's been a blessing to have been reading along with MckMama the past couple years and to see who Stellan is today.

Mama4Real said...

I came from Jennifer's site too. What a beautiful letter for him. I have tears as I remember it all with you!

Beth said...

I also came from your daughter's blog. Your letter is truly beautiful and has moved me to tears! What a treasure for Stellan to have and look back on!!!

Sarah said...

AWESOME letter. It is amazing what this little guy has been through. Praise the Lord for the healing of Stellan's heart! I'm so glad Stellan and the other Mckids have a Grandpa like you! :)

Geerts said...

What a beautiful letter to your grandson. Every child deserves to have a grandpa as awesome as you!

Heather said...

This is such a beautiful letter for Stellan. He will treasure this when he is older.
Also, I am a Cat Steven's music fan and "Morning Has Broken" is a beautiful song. :)

Hilary said...

That was absolutely beautiful, dad!
What a blessing that you were there for Stellan and Jennifer.
I love you!

Anonymous said...

This had me in tears in today. It is such a wonderful letter for a special boy. Thanks for sharing.

Jen L.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't prepared to cry so early this morning, but that letter brought me to tears. Stellan is one lucky little boy to have a grandpa as eloquent and well spoken as you. What a beautiful memory for him to cherish. KUDOS!

Sarah said...

That is so beautiful! I love heart-written letters! Now I know where Jennifer gets her great writing style from! We are some of those blessed enough to live near Boston and help in what little way we could. I'm sooooo thankful he's well!! :)

BetsyZ said...

I have been tracking Stellan for quite some time. Him and his family has been very close to my heart. My little guy is just one day older than Stellan. Makes me so thankful that he's healthy, and that Stellan is now a healthy and happy little guy.

Spiffer said...

Lovely.

Momma Lioness Michele said...

Gorgeous letter, just spilling with love. I prayed for Stellan back then and was thrilled to hear he was cured. So happy for you and your family!

Cindy said...

I'd like to thank you for my makeup running five minutes after I put it on :) beautiful post.