For the first couple of months of 2016 Melanie complained of headaches. After three visits to doctors and no diagnosis, she was finally taken to Emergency where she was sent to have a CT scan. The scan revealed that the shunt implanted in Melanie's head had stopped working.
Melanie has spina bifida - is paralyzed below T2; she has hydrocephalus and required several attempts to get a working shunt implanted after being born. She died on the operating table more than once, and she contracted meningitis as a result of one of the surgeries. The meningitis robbed her of much of the use of her right arm and hand; it also left her such that she would never function beyond the level of a 5 or 6 year old. Mel also has food allergies which can be fatal.
Now, with that history the thought of having shunt replacement surgery was not something we looked forward to. But Mel was hospitalized in some considerable pain that was just increasing almost hourly. Abbotsford Regional Hospital does not do shunt surgeries, so she was put on a list to go to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C. She would have the surgery there.
A day went by, two days, 3, 4. On the 4th day Mel was in so much pain she was crying way harder than I had ever heard her cry in the 27 years I have been listening to her cry. My wife, Pat, was beside herself. She was texting several members of our family while controlling her anger at the delay in Mel being moved to RCH, and the apparent inability of the nurses to get Mel sufficient medication to control the pain.
I know people were praying for her, nevertheless, I asked the family members who were chatting with us to pray, to really pray. Within minutes Pat was informed Mel would be transferred that day, and they soon got her medicated sufficiently to endure the pain of the spinal fluid filling up her head.
Mel was transferred that evening and had great fun in the 45 minute ambulance trip with a medic who had met some of the top stars in country music. Mel is a country music nut - loves Faith Hill, Shania, etc.
It was the next afternoon before she got another CT scan at RCH. The following morning the neurologist informed Pat that that CT scan was greatly improved over the one taken in Abbotsford. "Shunts don't normally fix themselves" he said, but that is what appeared to be happening. Pat responded that we were used to things like that happening around Melanie.
They decided to keep her in RCH for observation over the next several days. Mel had been prone to panic attacks while in the hospital in Abbotsford and the first couple days in RCH, and then they just stopped.
A few days later, another CT scan showed little improvement over the previous, but by then, we had reduced Melanie's medication to almost zero and she was in a great mood. Pat was beginning to wonder why they were there.
A few more days go by, another CT scan showed significant improvement. In fact, it looked completely normal. We expected that would be the case because Mel was acting completely normally and was pretty much off all medication. So given that she felt well and the shunt somehow fixed itself, Mel was released from hospital having completely avoided shunt replacement surgery.
That everything began to happen almost immediately after several of us prayed is by no means a coincidence. God listens to intercessors, and He has always looked after Melanie, often in absolutely amazing ways. But you will have to wait for my book to read about them.
Why didn't God completely heal Melanie from all her handicaps? God made her perfect the way she is. The extraordinary effect she has had on hundreds of lives would never have been possible without her special needs. God has glorified Himself through her much, much more than through most people.
We all have handicaps of some sort, some more visible than others. But Melanie, and those of us who believe Jesus is God will live without handicaps in Eternity in the Presence of Jesus Christ - He Who is risen. Blessed be His Name.