The Editor asked me to write about the three months I have just spent in Kenya but today, March 12th has a special significance for me and I feel it is right to share why it is special. So Kenya will just have to wait until the next issue!!
Three years ago on this date we received a telephone call from our son-in-law to say that our daughter Fiona was unconscious in hospital, that the doctors had just told him that she would not live for more than a few hours, and that her condition was too unstable to fly her out of Jersey to London to perform a lifesaving operation.
Fiona had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in June 2009 just one month before we were due to leave to take up a ministry post in France. Our departure was postponed and we were able to spend 3 weeks in London at her bedside. We left for France mid August trusting God for her healing. During that time Fiona underwent an operation to de-bulk the large tumour on her brain, but no other procedures were carried out. The scans taken every three months afterwards showed all to be well. However on the 12th March 2011 we received the telephone call that no parent wants to receive, telling us of Fiona’s imminent death. In that moment of our distress we did what any Christian should do when all hope seems lost – we immediately cried out to the Lord for help. Following which my husband telephoned many friends to ask them to pray for Fiona. Within an hour of our prayers the doctors changed their minds about Fiona’s condition and she was taken by Air Ambulance to London. We quickly packed our bags and rushed to take the first available Eurotunnel train to be with her.
We arrived at the hospital at 1.00AM. To be greeted with bad news from the nurse who met us “Your daughter is in theatre but she is in a very poor condition, in fact, most people in her condition would be dead already.” It was not the most comforting words to hear! Especially when they were coupled with what our son-in-law had been told on arrival at the hospital “that if Fiona survived the operation she could be severely brain damaged.”
An hour later the surgeon arrived. She said the operation had gone better than expected but only time would tell how much damage had been done. Fiona’s husband and my husband were exhausted and went to sleep in the relatives room; but I sat by Fiona’s bed for the rest of the night. She had been heavily sedated since the operation, however, at 6am the nurse told me that they would stop the sedation and commence some tests on her. After half an hour the nurse asked Fiona to squeeze her hand. We saw some slight movement – surely a good sign. A few minutes later the nurse pinched Fiona’s shoulder and said “Stop the pain Fiona.” Fiona stretched up her right hand and started to push the nurses hand away. What joy! What excitement in my heart to see this. I wept tears of joy, and rushed off to share the great news with my husband and son-in-law.
Fiona remained in hospital for three weeks before flying back to Jersey. At home her two little boys had to lead her everywhere. Her memory was so badly affected that she couldn’t even remember where the kitchen, bathroom or bedrooms were in her small apartment. This also meant that although she had taken her son 500 yards along her road to school every day for 3 years she no longer knew which way to turn when she walked out of her drive.
In the years that have passed since the tumour was diagnosed, God has been doing a real restoration in her life. Such that on 12th March this year she telephoned me with great excitement in her voice to say she had taken the bus into St Helier, had found her way to the Hospital, and to a department within the hospital without anyone helping her. She then found her way into town where she had arranged to meet a friend for coffee, then afterwards had walked to another area of town, to meet her support worker. Life is almost back to normal. How we thank God for giving us back our daughter.
It is interesting that on the first anniversary of Fiona’s life being saved that the Jersey Airport was closed for three days due to very heavy fog, then last year on the anniversary the Airport was again closed for three days due to heavy snow. Surely God was telling me that he had made it possible for Fiona to be Airlifted out of Jersey. The plane arrived at Biggin Hill Airport just a few minutes before it closed at 10pm. God’s perfect timing.
Fiona’s sickness has been a rollercoaster of emotions for us as a family, in spite of that words cannot express how thankful we are to God for restoring her to us.