Wow! Whew! Thank, God that part is over!
From about 4am until 12:30pm today, I’ve been going through one of the top 10 most emotional moments of my life. Whether one thinks it right or wrong, I usually keep my emotions pretty well in check. It’s just the person that I’ve become. I still felt it was necessary to act confident and strong about the decision to have the surgery – to try to help Marena feel the same way. But my compassion for my daughter’s pain and my own fear for my daughter’s ordeal were still too much! So here come the tears….

The long waiting began after she disappeared in to the hands of the doctors and nurses. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Then Dr. Light appeared. He was confident and reassured us that the “surgery went exactly as we’d planned.” Hoo-Ray! What better thing could the Dr. say? So now the road to recovery is underway. We have pain management issues to deal with but no reason to be hoping for anything but the best. We’ll return on March 4th for our first chance to check out the Dr.’s work. Now it’s time to praise God!

Dear God, thank you for delivering Marena back to us in a hopefully much better situation than we left her to You in. Thank You for the talents of the caring doctors and nurses that have helped Marena to this point. Help us to help Marena. Give us all the strength to support her in a way that glorifies You. Amen.

Happenings In Dreamland….
The night before Marena had her surgery, I had a strange but cool dream. I promise not to blog about my sleepy dreams very often, but this was by far an exception.

In my dream, I was in earnest prayer to God for all aspects pertaining to Marena’s surgery. At one point when I was about to tear-up in my dream, I looked up enough to notice I wasn’t alone in my dream. There were dozens and maybe even a hundred people around me praying the same way. I wasn’t alone. I saw flashes of faces of the people that are closest to me in my life. Too many faces to list them all here. It was peaceful. Almost Heavenly?? I awoke feeling comfort in being able to remember the dream unlike so many other dreams I have. I’m grateful to believe that God has placed me in a wonderful position of having people to help pray for my family, including me; to somehow carry me with their prayers when I was feeling almost too scared to breathe!

Feb 192009

Pictured Left To Right: Becca Schott & Marena Hickey. The Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago is an incredible place. We arrived and were walked straight to Marena’s room by Sandy. They had her name on the room and bed! Marena’s roommate, Kailey, had similar hand anomalies and was awaiting a similar surgery to be performed by Dr. Light, also. Kailey, Marena, and Marena’s b.f. Becca seemed to quickly get along with each other. After a bedside intake with several doctors and helpers, we were given a meal voucher and headed to the cafeteria. They have a large common area with all kinds of games, billiards, air hockey, ping-pong, etc. The commons also had a large basketball court, pre-k climber (McDonald’s style), a TV/Internet area, and even a grand piano! We went back to the room after lunch and almost immediately after we got back, they announced that a magician would be in the commons!

It’s clear this facility goes all out, over the top, to provide a unique experience for the children here. It was probably the first time in our lives together that Marena was in the same room with another little girl with almost the exact same problems. And there was yet another girl with similar challenges that participated in the Magic Show!

Dear God, thank you so much for this wonderful place (did I mention it’s free?). To see all of these kids that have varying difficulties and to see them with smiles on their faces, almost at home with each other here at the Hospital if that’s what you have to call it. I know Marena deals very well with her challenges, but here it almost seems like she has no challenges – for once she has a true peer group. Thank you.

PS – Just after I finished today’s blog and I thought this place couldn’t get any better, the “Recreational” Therapist came into the room delivering a Build-A-Bear for Marena to keep! The evening’s recreational options were outlined for us including access to a Wii and the wheelchair basketball game at 6pm. This place is too cool!

Feb 182009

Dear Marena,
Back in the 90’s when you were born; Dr. Louis was at the forefront of the hand and especially the children’s hand field. He was the president of the American Society For Surgery of the Hand back when he operated on you. You were supposedly his last patient that he took on and that was somewhat of a surprise and/or miracle! I think he did an excellent job!

Now you are ready to have the next series of hand surgeries. Dr. Light is the one operating this time. Did you know that he, too, is a past president of the American Society For Surgery of the Hand! When you Google Dr. Light, he pops up in all kinds of different locations and his education clearly puts him near the top of the qualified list in this country! Even the Cleveland Clinic Dr. vouched for that!

I don’t know what will happen in the end. But I know that you want this surgery. And if you are going to do it, my job is to put you in the best possible situation that I can. I’ve done the best I can kiddo. I love you. I pray that this surgery improves your quality of life
– you deserve it!

Dr. Dean Louis Surgery

Dr. Terry Light

Feb 172009

On February 20th Marena will have the first surgery on her hands since she was a little baby. God delivered Marena to us with anomalies to both her hands. This first of potentially three surgeries is to redirect her ring finger on her left (non-dominant) hand. Presently the ring finger lays across her pinky finger and that causes some challenges for her.

We’ve been relentless on Marena in our expectations for her. We’ve ‘ignored’ her hands in terms of making her ‘different’ than anyone else. She has been very successful socially. And now it seems strange that for the first time in a very long time, her hands get the center stage of attention. But I think it is the right choice for us all.

God, thank you for my beautiful baby Marena. She is such a blessing to her mother and me. We’ve took great pleasure in her presence in our lives! Please be with each person that has a role to play in her surgery. I want those people to feel Your presence, like a father’s arm around their shoulders. Give Tasha and me energy and strength to bring comfort and Your compassion to her. And most of all I pray for Marena. I pray that she will be edified as the wonderful young lady she has become. I pray that she will know You stronger than ever before. I pray for her pain to have long periods of drought and for her recovery to be faster than we could humanly understand possible! I pray for miracles!

Jul 242008

On my day off I came into the kitchen and see my 13.7 year old daughter, Marena, standing there. I say, “Would you like to take the bikes down to Pokagon for a bike and run?” I know her well enough to see the wheels spinning. Her thoughts, “If I go with him, my friends won’t be able to get my attention…” I pictured it from her point of view as being some kind of hostage situation.  But she decided to go with me anyway.

There are so many stories I could tell from this one day. We biked. I planned to bike along side her while she ran – but she had a surprise challenge in store for me. “Daddy, will you run with me?” Now I’m scared. Just the other day I did an 8:00 warm-up run with my team and had to act like it didn’t hurt a bit when I thought I was going to die. Marena was going for a 10-12 minute run! What’s a dad to do? I say, “Sure, Marena. I’d love to!”

I motivated myself the whole way thinking about putting my steaming feet into the lake at the end of the run. We finish and I didn’t do half bad, and we get to the water. My feet are cooling for about 30 seconds when Marena says, “Ok. Let’s go home.” All total I think she spent 1.5 hours biking, 0.5 hours in the running process, 1 hour at lunch, 1 hour in transit, and 3 hours on the phone! But I’m grateful just the same. I love you, Marena.

Dear God, thank you for a wonderful day with Marena. A beautiful child of God. Please help me to always remember and cherish these moments. I can screw a lot of things up, but today’s memory can never be taken away. Praise God!

Mar 222008

I was blessed today in spite of being the sickest I have been in many years! Marena and I went to the church to lock up and check over the media for Easter Sunday. At the end, Marena was proud to show me a Nicole Nordeman song on youtube. It was a wonderful video portraying the last moments of Christ’s life. It was inspiring.

Then we went to the drug store to get Tasha’s medicine (she is VERY sick). On the way home Marena surprised me by saying, “Dad, can we take a drive before we go home?” Of course! We went to the ice cream store in Girard and ended up eating chili and sharing french fries w/chili. I guess it was too cold for ice cream. Marena ended it off by saying, “that satisfied my appetite.”

Dear God, thank you for these wonderful moments with my children. The moments are remarkably simple but I suspect they are priceless. Please be a loud and constant voice in my children’s ears. I pray they will seek You out and will love You the way I have loved them.

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