I approached today, December 22nd, with some apprehension this year. It’s my sweet Evie’s 5th birthday, so it should be a day to happily celebrate another year on earth with a funny, smart, adventurous boy. But it’s also the one year anniversary of the day Ryder was admitted to the hospital after mysteriously losing the use of his right arm. Alllllllllllll the feelings accompany a day like today… excitement, thankfulness, and joy for Evan and guilt, fear, and sadness for Ryder.
About a month ago, Ryder showed us a lump he noticed on his right arm. It was quite large, and very hard, but wasn’t causing any pain… it was just there. Everyone we talked to suggested getting it checked out, but it got smaller within a day or two, and it didn’t seem like a very urgent matter. We were smack-dab in the middle of moving, and a (now) tiny, non-painful bump on a 7yr old kid just seemed like it could wait. Fast forward a bit, and I made an appointment to see Ryder’s pediatrician that had to be rescheduled at the doc’s request. The next available date happened to be December 22nd.
When we arrived, he checked out the lump and casually suggested that we grab an x-ray “just in case.” He agreed to call us in a day or two with the results. We drove to the hospital and after he completed the x-ray, the technician came out and asked if Ryder had ever broken his arm. Immediately, I launched into a quick and dirty rundown of the last year’s events and explained the paralysis. He just blinked his eyes and asked again, “Yes, but has he ever broken his arm?”
“Well, in that case, I think you ought to go back and see your pediatrician right now so he can discuss the results with you today. Our policy is to suggest this when we notice something that… Well, you just need to go back and talk to his doctor.”
“So you’re saying you noticed something of concern.”
“We’re not really supposed to comment on that, but if he’s truly never broken his arm, you need to talk to his doctor.”
Wellalrightythen. This was supposed to be a super quick appointment in which they’d either give us an obvious explanation or hand us a referral for the orthopedist, and we could be back on the road to Grandma’s house to bake cookies. This is turning out to be more than we bargained for. This is the Barr way… we don’t do anything halfway. We don’t follow the crowd. We go big or go home, and we march to the beat of our own crazy drummer.
To our surprise, this is the picture that greeted us:Not only is Ryder’s arm paralyzed, but it’s also broken… fractured completely through the humerus. I’m still struggling to process how my son could’ve broken his arm so badly with no indication that it ever happened until it had already begun to repair itself, but here is what we know at this point:
- First, God’s plans are perfect, and he’s twisting our path a little bit, but he can see the final destination so we will trust in Him.
- We believe he broke it after soccer practice in September. He was playing with a teammate and when their feet got tangled, he fell hard on his elbow. At the time, we were more concerned about his shoulder. He was treated at home with ice and ibuprofen, and although he was really sore over the next few days we never had any reason to believe there was a problem.
- It’s possible that he has re-broken it up to three times. He has taken three other hard falls since that first one, but each time his treatment and recovery were the same.
- The lump we feel (which can be seen as a very faint halo around the break) is a calcium build-up, which tells us that this is an older injury that has already begun to heal.
The doctor immediately sent the pictures over to an orthopedic surgeon and I thought for sure we were destined to spend our second Christmas in a row in the hospital. Fortunately, since the bone is healing fairly straight, the doctors both agreed that there is no need for a cast or surgery at this time.
Just as He was last year, God is still faithful. If Ryder’s arm wasn’t paralyzed, the strength of his muscles would’ve pulled on those bones, causing a great deal of pain and making surgery and/or casting necessary. I still cannot wrap my head around how we were able to go so long without any indication… sheer curiosity led to this discovery. And I’m so grateful for God’s protection over Ryder… protection from pain and complications from simply living his life as a busy, rough ‘n tumble boy!
At first, Ryder was scared. He cried a little, but once he understood that it was already healing and he wouldn’t need a cast or surgery he relaxed.
I want, more than anything, to fix this for him. To take away any pain, fear, confusion, or frustration, and make his arm just as strong as it was before. I can’t do it for him, but I can at least pray to the One who can. We are praying for our very own Christmas miracle. We believe God can reach down and heal him in an instant… so we continue to pray that He will. Woudln’t it be amazing if next December 22nd was doctor-free?!
Thanks to those of you who have faithfully prayed all year long… please keep it up! Clearly God’s not done with our brave warrior yet!