Sam. Conqueror. Overcomer.

On the 15th May 2009, Samuel Christian made his way into this world...two month's premature and in severe respiratory distress. Within hours, Sam was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome - a very rare congenital disorder, of which little was known. The diagnosis together with the immediate challenges Sam faced to thrive became our core focus and it was with joy and thankfulness that we eventually brought Sam home, after nine weeks in the NICU.

As time pressed on, it became obvious that Sam's development was falling behind that of his RTS peers. Shortly before his 5th birthday Sam underwent a brain scan and it was confirmed by a paediatric neurologist that in addition to Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, Sam also has Cerebral Palsy related to his premature birth, as well as Autism.

This blog chronicles our journey through these challenges...
Our world has crashed, been blown apart.
This can't be happening....why us? Why now?
Your fragile life shaken before it could barely start,
How do we get through this...please, Lord, tell us how?

Drowning in our sorrow, waiting for answers that just don't come.
Our baby "special needs"? It simply can't be true!
The heartache overwhelms us, we're left feeling cold and numb.
The diagnosis tells us little - these children are so few.

But then we finallyget to touch you, to see your precious face
And all the heartache and questions fade, replaced with love and pride.
It's obvious from the very start you're showered in God's grace,
And with His love and guidance, we'll take this challenge in stride.

When once we couldn't pronounce it, Rubinstein-Taybi's become our norm.
When once the future seemed dark, we now welcome the journey as having an RTS angel brings lessons in unexpected form.

Our world has crashed, been blown apart!
This IS us.....right now!
We've been blessed with a gift, so precious from the very start. How do we get through this? Here's how.....
By believing in a God, so merciful and great,
By trusting that He's right beside us as we journey through the narrow gate.
By believing His love for us is not determined by a human frame,
By trusting that we draw Him near by merely calling His name. This precious baby we asked God for,
Prayed he'd be perfect and complete.
And, as Samuel means "God hears", He's laid His answer at our feet.

(Nicky de Beer : 27/05/2010)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Haven of Hope

Okay, here we post attempt no.4!

The blogging powers-that-be seem to have concocted a conspiratorial plan to prevent me from blogging...those "powers-that-be" being our new internet service provider and my little Acer notebook. The notebook and the new modem together are about as fast as a snail on a heavy dose of Prozac...hence the almost 30 mins it can take to download just one picture, when u plug the modem into the pc the pc crashes for some reason so that's not an option and when I finally out-patienced the notebook and shuffled through a painfully long blog threw a saving error at me and the whole post was gone.

Moving swiftly along (MY swiftly that is, not the Acer's) was back to school here in Cape Town this morning, amongst the normal chaos that goes with the first week of school. Meg and her little clique sat waiting anxiously for their names to be called out to see whose class they'd been placed in (with their sights set on one teacher in particular) and, perhaps more importantly, to see whether their group would be split up. Well, the teacher concerned, Mr V, is obviously extremely popular so the whole process had the same kind of vibe to it as a live episode of Idols or X Factor. All the other classes were called first leaving just one group and one teacher behind, Mr V, and although you could see the almost-there look of relief on our kiddies faces there was still that anxiousness of waiting to hear their names called out one-by-one just as confirmation that there was in fact no mistake and they were all in his class. But Mr V kindly set their minds at ease and announced that all those left behind were in his class.....the group erupted into cheer. So Meg is super thrilled to have not only all her friends with her again this year, but to have such an awesome teacher too.

The school holidays have whizzed by relatively quietly and uneventful. We were desperate to at least do something with the girls before the school year began and, after contemplating various outdoor activities which would have been loads of fun for Meg and Chrisna but not so much for Sam, we settled on a trip to the Aquarium last week. Once we'd recovered from the initial shock of having paid the entrance fee (a great big OUCH! and, from an adult's point of view, nowhere near justified as far as the experience being worth the money goes), the girls did seem to enjoy themselves. Sam tolerated the outing more than enjoyed it and was not too impressed with the great big tanks, high noise-levels and general overcrowdedness of the place. Still, now at least we know. We had to walk through a craft market to get to the entrance and there was a stall selling African drums, with some drumming demonstrations and Sam really loved that. It was the most entertaining part of the trip for him.

Then, as my FB friends know, last Thursday we were invited to visit the Haven of Hope Equine Centre on Kaapzicht wine farm, just minutes away from us. Haven of Hope is an awesome ministery born of the love and passion of two stunning ladies, Juanita and Maryke, for both horses and children with special needs. Sam was delicately introduced to the horses and ponies benefiting from Juanita's and Maryke's care and dedication, with a special focus on him getting to know Strawberry, the little pony in the picture upon whom Sam will begin his hippotherapy.

Thembi and Jabu, two beautiful spirits with a heart-breaking history

Jabu kind of stole the show for me, he has the gentlest most enchanting aura...haunts you for days

Haven of Hope relies solely on donations to keep their establishment going. If memory serves, there are five horses and three ponies and that's quite a number of horsey mouths to feed and take care of. All riding sessions for special needs kids are FREE! and almost all the physical work on the farm has been carried out by these two ladies. Donations or even secondhand building materials are greatly appreciated. HOH's banking details are : Acc Name : J Lourens, Bank : FNB, Branch : Bellville Civic Centre (Code 200910), Acc number : 62013287348 (Current account), Ref : HOH. If you would like to contact Juanita or Maryke, kindly send me a mail.

Smurfy News : We are eagerly counting down the days till Sam's surgery on the 20th. I am a little anxious that Sam might come down with something by then, preventing the surgery but pray wholeheartedly that this won't happen. We've had our usual tango with our medical aid provider who, although this will be the fourth such procedure, are refusing to authorise payment of Sam's glaucoma examination from our hospital plan. Their reason for this is that the procedure code falls under the category of procedures carried out in the specialist's consulting rooms! Mmmmm...okay! And if the patient is a special needs little kid who would not quite understand having to sit quietly in a doctor's chair while having his eyeball probed? And the reason why this procedure was authorised in the past? Well, the explanations I got was then that they will pay for the procedure, but without issueing an authorisation number and not from our hospital plan but from our day-to-day benefits (Okay! And so then how are YOU paying for it?). I was also told that the procedure should never have been authorised before but was due to the incompetency of this consultant's colleague and that if I wished to take the matter further with this consultant's team leader, I could but at the risk that they might then just decide to deduct the cost of the previous procedures over the last two years, from our savings account NOW! Threaten much? The best part was finding out the description of the procedure code Discovery are refusing to authorise out of our hospital plan benefits : "Examination under general anaesthetic" Know many doctors who do examinations under anaesthetic in their consulting rooms???

So our choices are to either not go ahead with the glaucoma examination for now, but without knowing when next Sam will be under anaesthetic giving us an opportunity to do it at a later stage or to just foot the bill and not take any chances. Obviously we're going with Option 2.

Hold thumbs guys as I click the 'Publish Post" button....

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