Sunday, January 19, 2014

Toothpaste Jesus and Other Miracles

Move over Grilled Cheese Virgin Mary, make room for Toothpaste Jesus. That's right. Toothpaste. Jesus. 




He miraculously appeared on the back of my medicine cabinet nearly two years ago. Probably as an encouragement of my lax inner-cabinet housekeeping, but I can't say that for sure. I don't know what it means, but I am utterly convinced that it's Jesus. In toothpaste. In my medicine cabinet. 





Not miraculous enough for you? How about this . . .

Seven years ago, my husband was diagnosed with stage III melanoma. It began in a tumor on his shoulder and spread to his lymphatic system. He had multiple surgeries and started a year-long course of debilitating interferon injections (while I gestated and gave birth to baby number four). The statistics for a cancer diagnosis like his aren't great, but the surgeries had seemed successful and he had tolerated the interferon. 

There was no way to know for sure, but things were looking up. We decided to cover all of our bases by planning a pilgrimage to the the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. Then, just weeks before we were set to depart for France, Jim got a call from his oncologist that a routine check of the original tumor site had turned up evidence of cancer. Again.

That meant that either they hadn't removed the entire tumor in the first two surgeries OR that the cancer had returned. Either way was bad news because it meant that the year of misery on interferon had basically been for naught. And he was statistically back in the unlikely to survive camp.

We decided that if at all possible we'd still go on our trip, and he was able to get scheduled quickly for yet another surgery. We were sitting there in the hospital. Me with a nursing baby, him in a terribly flattering hospital gown. We prayed the rosary and asked Our Lady of Lourdes for her intercession.

And then his surgeon walked brusquely in, holding some slides and some paperwork. He announced that HE didn't see any evidence of cancer in the tissue samples. He thought that the slides had just been misread, and that the cancer was not in fact back/still there. He did another excision just to be sure, and that biopsy turned up clear, just like he thought it would. All of a sudden, just like that, Jim was cancer-free again.

A week later, he and I and baby Gus headed to Lourdes, feeling like we had been given our miracle early.



It's been nearly seven years now and he's still cancer-free. He goes in for regular check-ups with his dermatologist and they're always cutting off a mole here and there, but it looks like Our Lady of Lourdes + a whole bunch of drugs and surgeries was just what we needed.

I think Toothpaste Jesus would agree.





Oh, and there was THIS miracle too. That's three. Three miracles. Ah, ah, ah.



Do YOU have a miracle? Share it in the comments. Or if you have a blog, write it up and link it up. The link-up will be live until next Feb. 17th. I can't wait to read them!






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18 comments:

  1. Awesome! I was picturing an actual blob of toothpaste, but the smear is way cooler. I bet none of you will have cavities. Oh, and your husband being cured of cancer…that's cool too, I guess ;) I had a friend who did interferon for a year…not fun. Like chemo at home was how she described it.

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  2. Great idea for a link-up Kendra. I'd love to link up too, just trying to sort out the words: my father-in-law cured of Crohn's Disease after Sr Briege McKenna prayed over him, my little Adam, healthy and busy despite a 0/8 APGAR and a "the pediatric doctor will do what she can" as they removed him from my tummy 3.5 years ago and a close relative happy and healthy and better than ever...despite a gloomy mental illness diagnosis. I believe in miracles!!

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  3. Shut the front door! I just read about all 3 miracles and I am amazed.
    I would like to submit to you a 4th miracle. That Jack behaved himself for 2 hours at the age of 7! (that's not a comment on Jack, but a comment on 7 year olds)

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  4. My best friend brought an endocarditis back from a charity trip to Senegal but didn't realise she had an infection. Two months later she was admitted to hospital for what we thought was meningitis. However, when she didn't get better after three weeks, the doctors decided to look for another explanation. They discovered her heart was infected, they didn't know how bad, but it had been so long by then that they performed an emergency valve-replacement. She had multiple heart-failures on the operating table. They could only stabilise her. When I saw her again, she was in a coma, heart, kidneys and lungs had failed. Her only hope was a heart transplant, but even then, she was so weak they only gave her a 0.01% chance of pulling through at all. The night of the operation, some of our friends organised a prayer-relay to Our Lady of Lourdes for 48 hours. She got a heart. She survived the operation. All within 48 hours. Two years one, she's mostly back to normal, working, planning ahead for her life to come. So that's my miracle. Also, Our Lady of Lourdes brought me back to the Church in the process.

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  5. Squeee! LOVE this! Are you doing this every Sunday? I have a miracle story but would like to post it on my blog on Feb. 11 (Our Lady of Lourdes)

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    1. I've extended it through Feb 17th, so you can link up through then!

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  6. I have many miracles some big and some small. I think there are miracles everyday for everyone. My husband also had a severe cancer--caught late, he wasn't expected to live. He lived. Its been 14 years cancer free.

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  7. This is extremely encouraging.
    Thank you.

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  8. When my husband and I first got married, we rented a basement apartment of a friend's house. We didn't even have a kitchen -- We cooked on a two-burner camping stove! We were recent college graduates working entry-level jobs in our fields. I was pregnant with our honeymoon baby and planning on staying home after baby's birth. We felt really strongly about this, but we didn't have the resources. In fact, we had loads of credit card debt, and we couldn't hardly pay for gas and food every month. I wouldn't even visit my parents, who lived 30 minutes away, because of the gas money.

    The owner of the house inherited the house and everything in it. Everything was insured for full value. She had a stained rug in the basement, and she told us that she didn't want to deal with it. If my husband would figure out the value of this rug for an insurance claim, she would give us half the value. She thought it was probably worth $2,000. Oh, we prayed for that grand! My husband discovered that the rug was made by a a designer who also designed rugs for the White House, and it was worth $25,000 joy. One month before our first baby was born, two broke, stressed, and scared newlyweds got $12,500 to pay off their debts and tide us over for that first year adjustment. What a miracle!

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    1. That is awesome! Yay God for providing through a rug!!!

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  9. Our 12 year old son's leukemia had relapsed and standard treatment had failed to put him back into remission. We went to the National Institute of Heath in hopes of getting him into a trial treatment. He had however developed a mass in one of his lungs - leukemia or pneumonia - which no treatment was able to touch, and it made him too sick to enter the trial. On September 5, we told him that no further treatment would be possible. He had worked so hard for so many months, endured heavy-duty chemo and radiation and done everything the doctors had asked him to with the hope (and expectation) that he'd be better. He couldn't believe there was nothing else left to do for him. Minutes after this conversation, he fell asleep. A few hours later, early in the morning on Sept 6, he woke up in a more intense pain than I'd ever seen him in: something had happened in his one clear lung, and his breathing turned agonal. We called a priest for last rites. In between breaths, Sam told me he wasn't dying. I wasn't sure if indeed he wasn't dying or if he was in denial. Shortly after that, he was no longer conscious. His breathing slowed and he turned blue. We stopped every fluid/medication he was receiving with the exception of pain medication. He was given a few hours, maybe a day or two. On the morning of September 7, his breathing wasn't so loud and I thought maybe even sounded more even and his color was pink. That evening, his godmother came and put an icon of St Therese in the room. My sister then said she smelled flowers. On the morning on September 8, Sam started communicating to us through blinking his eyes and making groans. When a doctor examined him the next day, his lungs were clear! What doctors hadn't been able to do for his lungs, God did. One of the doctors even proclaimed it a miracle. And then the next day, his lungs sounded a little bit crackly and his leukemia continued to grow. Over the next 7 weeks, we constantly smelled the flowers of St Therese and the beautiful fragrance of St Charbel, and I was amazed at how Sam's already strong faith grew even more. I felt like St Therese was teaching him her little way. "Jesus, lead me. Mary, wrap your arms around me," he'd pray. He said he was ready to die; he wanted to become a saint. He told us his final wishes. His periods of lucidity started to decrease again, and at 1 a.m. on October 28, the feast of St Jude (Sam's middle name and his confirmation saint), Sam slipped away very quickly, quietly and peacefully. It was such a contrast from the time he nearly died in September. I think he was brought back to grow more in holiness and to make peace with death. We have a Facebook page we kept for him (look for We Support Sam), but I didn't post very many of the details about the very Catholic stuff (like the fragrances of the saints). There's more to the story than this but I really wouldn't know where to begin.

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    1. What a beautiful story. It gives me such hope to read stories like yours of being able to find peace and beauty in what is every mother's greatest fear. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. I hope it's okay if I link up an old post. :) I wrote about my experience with Our Lady of Guadalupe a little more than a year ago.

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  11. When I was very young, my little sister died from complications of a congenital heart defect. Four years later, my little brother died of a brain tumor. When my parents went to the local cemetery to buy a plot for my brother, and hoping to have one nearby to my sister's grave, they were told that that section of the cemetery was full, so they'd have to be in different parts of the park. They pulled out the map to see what available plot might be closest, only to find that when my parents bought my sister's plot, their name had accidentally been written down on two spaces even though they only bought one. So the plot right next to my sister was available for my brother to have. To some people, this is clearly just a coincidence (and to some, even a creepy one), but to me at eight years old this was a miracle; it was a gift from God to assure me that he was taking care of both of them (and the rest of us) and that even though we were heartbroken it was somehow part of a master plan.

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    1. Amy, this is so beautiful. How tragic and wonderful at the same time.

      Great idea for a link up Kendra!

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  12. I do have a pretty miraculous story about my son's near-death accident, but due to a pending legal matter (humph!), still can't write about it. Maybe I'll add my link-up in about a year or so!

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    1. Oops - and I also meant to say: "Great story! Thanks for sharing. Toothpaste Jesus may seem a little silly, but I'd be pretty excited if one showed up at my house :-)"

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