After I recovered from my spine surgery and was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, I resumed normal activities, and I went back to school during the second half of my fourth-grade year, But I wasn’t back to school very long when my right foot and leg began to swell up and red stripes developed. Maw Maw took me to see Dr. Nazar. I think Dr. Nazar must have been in surgery, or something, because I remember Maw Maw taking me to the McDonald’s in Kosair Children’s Hospital while we were waiting for him. While I was munchin’ on a Big Mac, Dr. Nazar, still in his operating clothes, came into McDonald’s to look at my foot. He sent me to Dr. Goddy, a foot specialist.
Dr. Goddy had me put on antibiotics to fight the infection in my right foot, and he said that I may end up losing that foot. Dr. Goddy did a biopsy on my foot at Audubon Hospital in Louisville.
I spent a few weeks in the hospital with constant antibiotics going through an I.V. in my arm. Did I mention that I really hated needles? Well, that was one of the best hospital stays that I had ever had. The food that they serve in the hospitals for kids is excellent! I looked forward to every meal. Dad also brought my Nintendo to the hospital. About a week or two after my biopsy, a male nurse came in to remove the stitches from my right foot while I was playing “Super Mario Bros. 3.” He told me that he could show me the secret to getting ninety-nine extra lives in that game. In other words, he could show me the secret to getting ninety-nine extra do-overs. But he never got around to showing me the secret.
While I was in the hospital that time, there was a boy in another room that was about my age, or a little older, who had been through more than forty operations. This boy was also a diabetic and he couldn’t be released from the hospital until he learned to give himself shots. I thought about how much I hated needles, especially I.V.s, and I nearly cried for that kid when we passed his room coming back from a test.
A physical therapist taught me how to use crutches while she sang “I Can’t Dance” by Phil Collins (very funny when there’s still talk of me losing a foot), and after a few weeks, I was sent home on crutches, an I.V. still in my arm, and I was given a small machine that slowly pumped a syringe of antibiotics through my I.V. Many times throughout the day, Dad or one of my grandmas set up the machine and plugged the tube into my I.V. There were so sharp needles involved, only plastic.
After weeks on antibiotics, the infection finally cleared and I didn’t lose my right foot, but it was left deformed. Actually, the heel remained a bit larger than normal, but the main thing is that my foot was there and I could still use it. Dr. Goddy sent the samples from the biopsy to Cincinnati, but no results ever came back.
Getting more chances
I had a tutor during the time that I was out of school in the fourth grade for my spine surgery and infected right-foot, but my grades were so horrible that I, and most everyone else, thought that I was going to fail the fourth grade. But my teacher Ms. Weatherbee gave me a do-over when she let me pass the fourth grade with straight “D”s, allowing me to get a fresh start in the fifth grade.
My first spine surgery left a scar, but God gave me a do-over when He allowed me to walk again. The biopsy done on my right foot left scars, but God gave me a do-over when He allowed me to keep my foot and the ability to walk on it, and even continue to run and play like a kid again. Little did I know at the time, but God wanted to use my hardships to show me Jesus, the secret to getting those extra do-overs in life that I needed, and those scars would one day serve as a reminder of what it took for God to drive me to Jesus.