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  • Kamila Tan

Our Thanksgiving Miracle

Updated: Jan 6

I woke up this morning in a decently negative state of mind. All I wanted to do was get outside and get active, but my ankle is badly sprained and it’s painful simply to walk. The first emotion I felt when I woke up was anger at my immobility.


So, I made myself a coffee, iced my ankle, put on the audiobook for Radical Remission remission by Kelly A Turner Ph.D., and began methodically cleaning my room.


Ever since Xavier was diagnosed in October, every day I wake up and immediately wrack my brain to think of ways to help my little brother in his battle with stage 4 malignant brain cancer. Every day, different options present themselves to me, and yesterday... well yesterday I felt hopeless and unequipped to help. Sometimes it’s all too overwhelming.

As I listened to the words of Kelly about her research on cases of Radical Remission - in which cancer patients “miraculously” heal and achieve remission in the most severe cases of cancer - I thought about Xavier’s journey over the past couple of days.


Then...I felt God himself laughing at me. Not in a malicious way — just giggling, gently. Because He delivered us a straight MIRACLE through Xavier in the days before Thanksgiving. And I didn’t see it right away.

This past weekend, Xavier was suffering from extreme fatigue and random bouts of nausea and vomiting. We’d notified his doctors and had been monitoring him closely, but they instructed us to keep him at home for the time being and increase one of his steroid medications. On Monday he threw up again, this time violently and with bouts of shaking. I was alarmed but my parents wanted to keep him out of the emergency room and contacted his doctors to make an appointment in the clinic instead. We waited apprehensively for an appointment to open up.


After taking a nap and drinking some water, Xavier started vomiting violently again, shaking even more than before. I watched in horror as he sat in our den chair, convulsing over a bowl in front of him. His face went back and forth from bright red to extremely pale to bright red again...and my sweet mother, with tears in her eyes and fear riddled all over her face, held his hand to let him know he wasn’t alone. She directed me to get a wet rag to wipe his face and cool him down. And as I gently swept the rag across his forehead, I was shocked at how hot his body and face were. His sweat dripped everywhere.


Taking in the whole scene, my mind went to the worst possible scenario: “Am I about to watch my baby brother die?” I saw the same thoughts in my poor mother's face too.


And so I silently prayed and implored God to save Xavier’s life as I continued to help. After his violent vomiting calmed down, we got him dressed for a visit to the emergency room. When we got Xavier into the car, Kaz (my younger brother and Xaver's older brother) and I hugged him goodbye and he started to vomit again. I watched my parents drive off and then collapsed to the ground on the sidewalk, crying and staring at the place where my parents’ car had disappeared around the bend. Kaz sat down with me and said... “Sometimes, there’s just no words.” I agreed, and allowed the tears to roll down my face.


Xavier made it to the ER in time and thankfully, those in charge were able to stabilize his condition. He was in rough shape, though: his eyes were glazed over and his speech slurred. He was put on a protocol in which his steroid medications were increased and his body was fortified with necessary fluids through IVs over the next 2 days. Meanwhile, Xavier's doctors deliberated on whether he needed another brain surgery. It was unclear what the cause of inflammation in his brain was, and that would determine the course of treatment.

Our family stayed in this stage of limbo for 48 hours before the doctors determined that he was stable enough to return home for Thanksgiving. Surgery was not needed for now.


Xavier came home with rosy cheeks, a smile on his face, renewed energy, and a sparkle in his eyes for Thanksgiving.

A miracle.

Nothing short of a miracle.








The day after Thanksgiving, my family had an argument over the course of Xavier’s treatment and what’s ultimately best for him. It’s really not always clear, and there are so many different routes that we could take. Emotions and tensions often run high. Sometimes we don’t speak to each other with the utmost kindness. That argument left me feeling hopeless. After all, how can I help if we can’t even agree on WHAT to do?


So this morning, as I was cleaning and praying, I felt God looking over me and just chuckling as I realized the miracle that was presented to my family over the past week. And I laughed back.


DUH! How did I not see it sooner?! I went downstairs to celebrate with Xavier—I grabbed his hands and put on some Christmas music, and we danced in the living room to “jingle bell rock” to celebrate the miracle:


Xavier is home.


Xavier is feeling well, after nearly dying on Monday.


Even after arguments, my family still comes together after emotions die down.

I think the shock of the entire situation really threw me for a loop. After all, we are living through multiple traumas at once. But I’m grateful to have acknowledged the miracle that’s been given to us, even if I did so a little late.


Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you all. Here’s to being aware of the miracles that are right in front of our faces.

All my love,

Kamila

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Hermosa Beach, CA

©2018 by Kamila Tan