At Doernbecher and Emanuel Hospital
On the same day, 22 of July, late in the afternoon, we arrived at the hospital
and we were met by one of the doctors from the oncology group right
when we exited the elevator,. “Welcome. This is the Oncology section, a
place where we treat kids with deadly diseases, especially cancer”. Her
nice word and short presentation sounded rather peculiar.
We were hospitalized immediately. More tests were done to find exactly what kind of cancer our little daughter has. Then something extraordinary happened. It was on Friday afternoon. We were waiting for the test results. My wife’s (and my) family came to visit. Along with them came Beniamin Zagrean, my brother in law, who is a pastor. He anointed Stephanie with oil and prayed for her. It was about 10 o’clock that night.
Everybody had left. Before going to sleep, I asked my wife to wet a towel with cold water and wash Stephanie’s face. It was a hard day for her and we were not able to give her a bath. She started gently to wash her face with the wet cloth. When she arrived at the swollen chin, she stepped back shocked, “Marcel, the swollen chin is gone!” Then, by instinct, she looked for the lymph nodes behind her head. “They are gone too!” she cried out. “Marcel, this is a miracle,” she added. I looked too, and the swollen chin was gone, so were the lymph nodes! We believed at that time that God had touched Stephanie. We were waiting for the final tests from the bone marrow so we could start the treatment. Meantime, they tested the blood every 8 hours to see the evolution of the cancer in the blood, which would also indicate the percentage of the cancer cells (blasts) in the blood. We would get a copy of the test results too, and we were trying to understand their terminology. When the miracle of swollen chin and lymph nodes occurred, she was not in any treatment because she did not have the final bone marrow tests.
The next morning the blood tests came, these test results that would show the percentage of the cancer cells, showed 0%! We asked the doctor, a great guy named Nicholson, what happened with the cancer cells? “The machines probably did not read well” he replied. ‘We know that this is a miracle,” my wife said. “We are Christians and we believe in the power of healing!” my wife said while the doctor was looking over the papers. He quickly changed the subject.
Despite the miracle, we were encouraged to continue the treatment and because we believed that it would not hurt her, we agreed. We did not know what was to follow. After a couple of weeks, we had to move with the treatment at another hospital, Emanuel, because of insurance issues. Stephanie’s veins were tinny and fragile, the nurses and doctors had a tough time getting the blood out. One time I was holding her and the nurse was trying to “access” her. Half an hour passed as my daughter would fight for her life in the arms of her own father. After the nurse tried numerous places: arms, legs, and behind the neck, with no success, (it was like the blood refused to come out) the nurse called for help and along with it the doctor came too.
Doctor Janice Olson, one of the wonderful doctors that is part of the Oncology group at Emanuel Hospital, saw that I was very pale and told me to get out and take a break. I got out while my daughter’s crying was breaking my heart in pieces, “Daddy don’t let them hurt me! Daddy help! Daddy! Daddy …” her voice continued to fill the building. I felt helpless and broken. I would do anything to help her, to calm her down. Finally, the team of nurses and the doctor gave up unsuccessfully. We had to come the next day for another try. Two months passed and she had a surgery implanting a so-called subcutaneous port, a port under the skin connected with the main vein that goes into the heart. Anytime Steph would need chemo, a blood sample, medication, or a blood transfusion, they would access her only at that one point. Continue