"Where are YOU gonna be?"  

Posted by Cyndi Lou in ,

Yesterday, on April 21st, we visited the office of Dr. Jerry Oakes, a pediatric neurosurgeon, for the first time. Before we left that doctor's office, we learned that we will be visiting him at least once a year for the rest of Austin's life...

Dr. Jerry Oakes was honest, kind, and straightforward, but he had to deliver the news that Austin does, indeed, have hydrocephalus. Simply translated, 'hydro' means water and 'cephalus' means brain. He has 'water on the brain' that is not draining away from his head as it should. We found out that our bodies make 1 quart of cerebrospinal fluid per day. Our brains (mine & yours) drain the fluid off, but Austin's does not. Dr. Oakes asked several questions to alarm us. Among those questions, he asked:

  • Is he developmentally delayed in school?
  • What did your previous neurologist say?
  • Are you sure you didn't see symptoms before February 4th of this year?
  • Does hydrocephalus run in your family?
  • Are you his biological parents? (This one was the kicker!!)
He asked all of these questions because he was simply shocked that we hadn't seen problems and symptoms in Austin before now. He said that the brain MRI images he just reviewed do not match up to a healthy 6 year old boy with only a few symptoms over the past 3 months. He was very surprised. That alarmed us, but then we realized this: God's touch on Austin's life is the only reason we haven't seen all of the problems that the doctor was asking about!! Only a supernatural, powerful, loving, gracious God can explain Austin's 'normal' health, given the swelling in his brain!

So, we had a talk with the doctor and asked many questions and listened to all he had to say. His recommendation and the best course of action is to put a shunt in Austin's brain. The shunt will be permanent and life-long. We will need to monitor it and he will have yearly check-ups with the neurosurgeon to insure that the shunt is still doing it's job. His surgery is scheduled for June 10th in Birmingham at UAB Children's Hospital. We will go over on the 9th for pre-op, lab work, and an anethesia consult. Dr. Oakes will make 3 incisions to perform the procedure- 2 in his skull/brain and 1 in his stomach. This 3 inch shunt along with tubing that runs internally down into his stomach will drain the fluid off of his brain for him.

It was a surreal day, but we know God is in control and He has gone before us EVERY step of the way so far, and June 10th will be no different. We know our God is going before us even now to prepare us for Austin's surgery and recovery.

Again, Austin broke everything down to 2 things that mattered to him. Let me share with you our experience when telling him about his upcoming surgery...

During the day yesterday, after we found out, we were careful not to let Austin see me (mom) cry nor let him hear us call family & friends to tell them what is going on. We decided to tell him last night about the surgery, after he asked us to please tell him what is going on. Joe explained the events of the past few weeks very simply and told him that the doctor we met today will perform surgery on his brain to fix the problem. Austin's first question was: 'OK. Daddy, hold on, will I be put to sleep for this surgery so it won't hurt and I won't feel anything?' Joe, of course, told him, 'Yes, son, you will be asleep so it won't hurt.' Austin was good with that and was perfectly fine to keep listening to his daddy explain things.

Then, Joe told him, 'Son, you won't feel well when you wake up and you will have to stay in the hospital overnight or for several nights.' Austin looked shocked & a little concerned and immediately looked over at me and asked, 'Where are YOU gonna be?' To that, I answered, 'Son, I am going to be right beside you, sitting in your room or I will be in your bed with you holding you if you need me to. Daddy and I will both be there in the hospital room with you the entire time.' Once we assured him of these 2 things, he was fine. He had no more questions and he is 'good' with the fact that he is having surgery in 7 weeks. Amazing!!

I am thinking to myself, 'Where ELSE would we be son but right by your side or holding you while you hurt or helping you while you are sick or scared? We wouldn't ever let you go through this alone, son.' I was surprised he asked that question, but he did.

And, then it hit me, how many times have I asked my Heavenly Father that question just before descending into a valley in life or while I was in the middle of a difficult or gut-wrenching time? How many times have I asked my Daddy, my Abba Father, 'Hey, where are YOU gonna be while I go through this very difficult time?' or how many times have I asked, 'Where ARE you in this mess Lord?'

And how many times did my Daddy, my Abba Father speak to my heart and say, 'I am going to be right beside you supporting you! And when the journey gets very painful and very tough, I will hold you and carry you through!' Don't you know He wonders why we continue to question Him during these times? Just like I couldn't believe Austin thought his daddy & I would be anywhere else, neither is my God going to be anywhere else but walking with Joe and I and carrying us through this valley.

I asked my Heavenly Father this afternoon, 'Where are YOU gonna be, God, on June 10th?' And His response was loud and clear, 'I am going to be right there with you my child and I will carry you through if it gets too painful!'

Austin's simple faith and simple belief system allowed us to see how BIG our God is and how faithful He is when we are facing a valley. Whatever valley you are facing, I challenge you to go ahead and ask God, 'Where are YOU gonna be?' I bet I know His answer...

This entry was posted on April 22, 2009 at Wednesday, April 22, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I so love it that God can use our children to teach us more about Him! You are sooo right...God is right there with you, every minute of every hour. And I know you know it, but just gonna remind you, we are with you too...all of us...your family. We are gonna be there to hold your hands up, just as Aaron and Caleb (I think those are the 2) did for Moses. WE LOVE YOU!!!

Thu Apr 23, 12:46:00 AM 2009

Cyndi, I love that you already recognize that you are not alone in this crazy chaos. I adore that Austin helped you see that. We're here and remember AG is welcome anytime at the Richmond house. Erin's actually begging for her to come. I love you and your family immensely and am so thankful to call you guys my close friends.

Thu Apr 23, 10:30:00 AM 2009

Such a sweet story and a great part of an already awesome testimony that the Rogers family has.

Tammy said it best when she said, not only is God with you, but we are too. Please don't forget that. And, please don't hesitate to call for absolutely anything.

We love you so much!

Thu Apr 23, 10:54:00 AM 2009

Hey Cyndi and Joe,

We are praying for Austin and your family. Your children are such blessings and what a testimony they already are!

We know our God can heal and can heal completely! I pray that God reach down and touch your little boy's body with His healing touch. We understand His authority in our lives and we pray for a miracle in Austin's life.

All I can see is the picture of the woman that was bleeding and she was pushing her way to Jesus because her FAITH knew just touching the hem of His robe would fill her with His healing power. I reach out in that kind of faith for Austin's healing. May our Father give you peace and comfort during this time.

We love you guys and we will be here with you too!

Sandy and Tammy

PS - Tammy Hi... it was Aaron and Hur that held Moses' arms during the battle. Cyndi and Joe, just remember your church family will be there to help you hold up your arms and to place you upon a rock...THE ROCK!

Thu Apr 23, 03:39:00 PM 2009

I was with Joe, Cyndi & Austin for the doctors appointment and I can testify that GOD too was there. Thanks to all of you wonderful friends for praying and uplifting my family. We all know the healing powers of our Heavenly Father and we know HE will be there for Austin for always. I am so proud that Joe & Cyndi raise my grandchildren in the steps of GOD and they have taught them all about HIM. What a wonderful blessing to know your family has been to calvery and are saved.


NaNa (Joe's Mom)

Thu Apr 23, 04:17:00 PM 2009

I live in Gainesville and teach at the elementary where Connie Daniels is now the principal. She shared your blog with us today, and the Lord used words to bless me today. Thank you for your candor. I will be praying for your family through this ordeal...God is the HEALER--the Great Physician & He will protect your child--no, HIS child.

Thu Apr 23, 08:08:00 PM 2009

(((HUGS))) to you, Cyndi.

Thu Apr 23, 08:24:00 PM 2009

Thank you for the update. So glad that you feel comfortable with the doctor!

We will continue to pray for all of you. We know that God is with you and love the way He caused you to remember that fact!


Tim & DeLynn

Fri Apr 24, 08:23:00 AM 2009

Cyndi, I am glad to hear that you have been brought to this doctor who will help your son. I was so moved by your words in the last update on 4/22. "Where are YOU gonna be" should be a Sunday service sermon! Children are so strong and your little Austin is very brave. I am thankful that he has been raised in the light of the Lord - and has the faith that will carry him through this ordeal. You and your husband are truely wonderful parents. God never gives us more than we can handle. You have been given this challenge in life because he knows you will have the faith to overcome. In response to your positive words to your children every night, I totally agree. I say similar things to my son along with all our prayers and we sing the song "he's got the whole world in his hands" - making sure we mention everyone in the family, all his friends and our pets! Our children can do anything. They are awesome and they will continue to do great things. Our gift from God is our life and our gift to him is what we choose to do with that life! I will keep you all in my prayers for a speedy recovery! Take care and God Bless!

Fri Apr 24, 11:00:00 PM 2009

just wanted to let you know that my family & i have Austin and the rest of your family in our prayers. may God continue to give you all the peace that He can only give. Find rest and comfort in His arms. Love ya ~ Trina

Sun Apr 26, 03:15:00 PM 2009
Paige Miller Rivera  

Hey, Cyndi...My usual eloquence escapes me every. single. time. I try to write what's on my heart for you and your family as you walk this difficult and painful road. Just know that I think of you and check in on you guys (via FB and your blog) OFTEN...and that I'm sending you (((hugs)))...and wishing you Peace. Love, Paige...

Tue Apr 28, 11:26:00 AM 2009

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