Against All Odds
A Great Day in Trent's Journey of Healing
August 22, 2014
By Laura DiFatta
Four years ago today, on August 22, 2010, we were at UAB in the Pediatric Cardiovascular Unit, waiting…We had been there for nearly three weeks since our three month old son, Trent had gone into sudden and unexpected heart failure followed by multi-organ failure.
Incredibly, just two days before that, on August 20, 2010, Trent was awaiting a procedure that would result in his being officially placed on the heart transplant list. The cardiology team had already begun preparing us for that and counseling us on the many life-changes to come, including Trent being in the hospital indefinitely. They introduced the term, “new normal” into our lives. And I didn’t like it, not one little bit.
As we approached the point of no turning back, and we learned the deep implications, Ken and I issued an urgent and immediate request for prayer. Many, many friends as well as strangers responded and though they had already been praying fervently, they began interceding with a new intensity understanding the implications of the path that had been laid out for Trent and for us by the medical team treating him.
Mid-morning of the day that was supposed to be the day he was listed for a heart transplant, the doctor came in and with a smile, said simply, “He can eat.” With those words, a corner was turned! He explained that Trent could be fed because he would not be having the procedure which in turn meant that he was not being placed on the transplant list!! The doctor had just reviewed labs that showed that Trent—in the past few hours—had successfully weaned from an IV-only heart medicine after the third attempt to wean him. If he had not been able to successfully wean from that powerful med, a heart transplant would have been necessary.
So, here we were, two days later, waiting for discharge! It seemed too incredible to believe.
I have my journal from that time open now, and here are a few of the verses I wrote down that morning as we awaited the cardiologist’s final word about his pending discharge:
“On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…” Isaiah 9:2b
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (I had prayed this verse for Trent while he was in my womb.)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death…” We wait in hope for the Lord.” Psalm 33:18, 20
I also journaled prayers and praises as I waited:
“Lord, you know Trent and his needs fully and You will meet his needs abundantly…”
And statements of faith in God’s provision:
“We wait in hope and expectation for God to fully heal Trent’s heart.”
“I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2b
“He sent forth his word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave…Let them give thanks…” Psalm 107:20, 21
And a verse that had taken on a new meaning for us:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
At 11:55 a.m. on August 22, 2010, the incredible against-all-odds word came: “Trent can go home!!”
We praised God and we entered a new phase of our journey in Trent’s healing. It would be a sometimes terrifying, exhausting and all the time seeking, searching, waiting, hoping, praying—based on faith and not facts—agonizing, joy-filled, praise-filled journey. A time of experiencing love in action through friends and acquaintances who gave love and hope and encouragement to us in many, many ways.
We were discharged with Trent who had the same weak heart as when he had entered the hospital, but was now being managed on 11 medications administered three times a day on a very strict time regimen at very strict doses. The medical team had been educating me on how to give all these meds that even the nurses had had difficulty getting down him in UAB. Now it was up to us, and largely me, because Ken was going back to work.
They also sent us home with an infant CPR kit. That thing haunted me. I hated having to have it in my house, while at the same time feeling grateful to have it in case I needed it, while praying every day that I wouldn’t.
I’ll always remember the shock of being in the car on the way home with the weight of our responsibilities settling over us. We knew we could not do this on our own. And we didn’t have to.
It would take a book to tell of all the deep and incredible moments that made this journey all the more remarkable. God ministered to us where we were, all the while leading us into a deeper trust in Him.
The deepest and most abiding lessons for us were these: No matter what happens in this life, we have eternal life through Christ (that is a deep and certain comfort like none other when facing the possibility of losing someone you love,) that Trent—and all those we love—are loved more deeply and more perfectly by God than we can imagine and He can be trusted with them (this is an on-going lesson for me,) and that God Himself is our very Great Reward.
At the time of Trent’s discharge from UAB, the best hope that the cardiologists had given us was that Trent could be “managed” at this level on medications. His doctor had tried to comfort us in saying, “I even have a teenager in my care who is being managed on these meds.” They could not assure us that he would improve. We had to place our hope fully in God.
After many months, we were able to rejoice again and tell the great news: Trent is fully healed!
Today, his heart remains strong and he is on no medications. He is vibrant and active and joyful!! We regularly marvel at what God did in Him. It humbles us. We look at life very differently now. We pray with a faith that came with seeing God’s power on display. We are honored to pray for those in need.
I hope that you will rejoice with us today over this monument from our past that stands to honor God’s active Word, His faithfulness, His love and His surpassing power!
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
2 Corinthians 1:10-11.