Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I do not know blog etiquette,  when I should stop Endurance's blog.  If anyone does, feel free to comment.

I had said previously that I would tell you about the passing of Endurance.  I'll do my best, in the short time I have...

The morning of Endurance's surgery was exciting!  We spoke again with Dr. Galantowicz, and then prayed for him.  Endurance was awake and ready!  I held his little hands which both had splints on them holding in IV lines.  I put my forehead on his and told him I loved him and that he was going to do great!  I told him I loved him...

That day we had so many visitors I am still thanking God for all of the brothers and sisters that took their time to drive to Columbus just for our family!  We were truly blessed by all of the fellowship.

Endurance's surgery went quite well.  It took longer than expected, as Dr. Galantowicz had to put a stent in Endurance's pulmonary artery, but everything went well.  Dr. Galantowicz came out and saw me first, away from the rest of our group, smiled, put his arm around me and said "let's go!"  He told us all how the surgery went.  He told us that Endurance "flew off the heart-lung bypass machine" (he knew we were told he'd never get off of it, so he made sure we knew Endurance had with flying colors!!)  He gave us pictures.  Wow!  What a difference of before and after the surgery!  God is amazing how He has given certain people this gift.  He said we needed to watch out for the next 24 hours, as they are the worst...

Once Endurance was back in his room, Mike and I zoomed up to see him.  Most people new to looking at post-op patients might think what we saw was gruesome.  But I didn't.  Yes, Endurance's chest was open, yet covered with gauze.  There was a lot of blood, wires, tubing, and so much more, but Endurance had made it through!  He was alive!  He was at a point where the surgeon in Seattle said he would never get to.  I just stood there in amazement to see where God had us.  Thank you God!!!

Mike went and got some of our visitors, now close friends, to see Endurance and pray for him.  After they were gone, I went back one more time to kiss him goodnight and tell him that he made it, he did such a good job, and that I was so proud of him!! That I loved him.

Mike took us home and then went back to the hospital for the night.  He said the doctors would call Dr. Galantowicz with updates and concerns.  Around 3:30 am Dr. Galantowicz came to the hospital to tend to Endurance himself.  He talked to Mike quite a bit.  He said they might have to put Endurance on the ECMO machine, which we all had agreed not to put him on directly after his surgery.  Dr. Galantowicz said that this was different.  Endurance was spiraling down, and he said that if Endurance was put on ECMO, even for just a day or two to give his heart a break, he should pull out of this.  Dr. Galantowicz said Endurance was okay for the time being, that they would continue checking his gases every thirty minutes.  Mike called me at about 5:30 am to say he was coming to pick me up and bring me to the hospital.  He'd told me some of what they've spoken about.  I was in full agreement with whatever the doctor said.

Mike called from the cell on our way back to the hospital at 6:30am to check on Endurance and they said he was stable still.  We walked in at 6:51 am and they were in the middle of giving Endurance chest compressions, bagging air into his breathing tube, giving him a lot of different drugs, and taking lab tests.  They said they'd been doing it for the past 5 or 10 minutes.  What?  Dr. Galantowicz came over and said that Endurance went downhill quite quickly.  There had been no time for the ECMO.

Endurance's room was FULL of doctors and nurses.  They had opened his room's huge sliding door.  The outside of his room was full of doctors and nurses.  I stood outside his room, and a sweet nurse named Nikalia came and put her arm around me and asked if there was anything she could do.  I said "pray."  She told me she was.  Mike motioned for me to come into Endurance's room and stand with him and Dr. Galantowicz.  Everyone was working so hard on Endurance.  Taking turns compressing his chest.  This was hard work they were doing.  A cardiologist would take a turn, then a nurse, followed by an interventionalist.  Everyone was doing their absolute best for Endurance.  Dr. Galantowicz was in complete charge of everyone there.  Like a captain of a ship.  It was amazing to watch.  At one point, Dr. Galantowicz's eyes were closed and I truly believe even he was praying.  I was praying that God's will would be done and that no matter what, He would be glorified.

We talked to Dr. Galantowicz again. Mike said he wished he would've just told him to put Endurance on ECMO right then, before he left the hospital to pick me up.  Second guessing decisions, etc.  What Dr. Galantowicz said is exactly what we needed to hear..."Don't beat yourself up.  There's a higher force at work here than us."  Yes God, we surrender to you again.

As the minutes passed,  Dr. Galantowicz turned to us and said they'd try one more "circuit" of meds, labs, and compressions.  After that, the doctor had everyone stop.  They watched for a minute to see if Endurance's heart would kick in on its own.  I really thought this would be when God would show everyone in that room how powerful He is, you know, last minute when everyone else says it's impossible, and God brings Endurance around to "stable" again.  No, this time Dr. Galantowicz turned around to us and put his arms around Mike and I and said that he was sorry. Just like that.  That was at 7:15 am.  Endurance passed onto a better life. 

The machines were turned off.  The noises stopped.  People started leaving Endurance's room.  His nurse for the day, Sarah, came over and gave me a hug.  She was wonderful in the short time Endurance had her.  She went to bat for him every time he was her patient.  I'm glad she was there the last day.  Then Sarah and another nurse cleaned up the huge mess of mess.  They clean Endurance's bed.  They clean Endurance's body.  She wrapped him in his blanket and let me hold him.  For the first time since he was one day old, I got to hold Endurance in a quiet room, with no tubing, machinery, and the like.  I looked at Mike and in loud tears, I said, "I'm holding his bodyHe's in Heaven."  What a strange joy I felt.  I cannot explain it.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
   and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,

   and he will make straight your paths.

So, now our family is temporarily living in a house in a small town called Steilacoom, WA.  We don't know where God is going to lead us on our next adventure.  We've gotten rid of most of our belongings, but still need to get rid of more.  Material items just don't mean as much as they used to, even when they didn't seem to mean that much.

We've really appreciated all of your prayers, encouraging words and comments.  People we don't even know (yet!) have let us know they've prayed for Endurance and our family.  God, again, is just so good.

I hope this wasn't inappropriate to write in this blog.  I can say a whole lot more, but I really just want to say that this is God's will and although it hurts terribly that Endurance is no longer here, God's will was for him to be with Him.  I'm assured of this.  Again, I'm not sure how and if I should end this blog.  But, maybe I'll just put pictures of Endurance and our family a couple more times?  I'm unsure at the moment :)


  1. Our family has been following your blog since our friend Steve (TN) told us about little Endurances passing. I am so sorry for your loss and pain! We lost our little baby girl in Nov. Even though we have never met I wanted to Thank you for letting us get to know you and your precious little baby through this blog. We will continue to pray for God's comfort and peace for you and your family!

  2. Thank you for sharing this story! <3

    You should do what Mrs. Pollock did with her husband's blog... change the name, and make it your family blog! We'd love to continue to hear about your lives, and blogging is therapeutic! :-)

  3. Thank you so much for doing this blog it really has been encouraging!

    Whatever you do, DO NOT change the name!!!!!!!

    Run With Endurance, percevere and continue to use this blog to bless others. Endurance has passed away, don't erase this testimony! Don't let it fade away......use this blog to tell people who you are TODAY because of the life of Endurance! And what God has and is doing in your family's life.

    Please keep going! I will always be blessed by this blog!


  4. You should keep this blog up, even if you don't do very many more posts. At least for a long while. It is such a great testimony of God's love and care for your family. It could be such a great blessing to anyone and everyone who stumbles across it. And I think you should keep the name the same.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about Endurance's last day here on earth. I do not think that anything you said was inappropriate to post.


  5. Sorry, I wasn't thinking when I said change the name. I was writing what Mrs. Pollock did. I think your blog name should remain the same!!

  6. Thank you for telling us this story. It really means a lot and there's nothing inappropriate with posting it.

    As for closing down the blog, I think you should leave it up for at least a little while so that people can read Endurance's story and be blessed by it. It's almost kind of like a journal. Actually, there are printers who can print your blog as a book. Kind of a neat idea. That's what Jasmine Baucham ended up doing with her blog.


  7. Hi Sweet Mama! It's Dina here. Friday night and I just read the blog you wrote Wednesday. I think you did a SUPER job, nothing "out-of-etiquette" there! In fact, for those of us following the blog, we needed to know how it was on Endurance's final morning here on earth...I thought about it for days, wondering what it must have been like for you. That's so cool when you told your husband "I'm holding his body. He's in heaven!" Amen!!! I hope you'll keep the blog up, it helps us know how to pray for your family, especially now when you have so many new "friends" who love and care for you all! We want to lift you up as you continue on this path called life...Sooo glad that we are in His hands!!! (And that Endurance is in Jesus's arms literally!) Love you, Hon. Take care, Dina

  8. I know I am a stranger, and I hope I am not imposing, but someone left me a link to your blog on my blog Raising Arrows. We lost our daughter Emily when she was 7 months old and I blogged my way through the grief. and continue to do so...

    I just wanted to encourage you to continue writing if you want to (only if you want to) because the name of this blog honors a very precious child who will encourage you to run with endurance the rest of your life here on earth.

    You do not have to always write about your grief to keep this blog (the name speaks of so much Truth!). I was given a Scripture passage a couple of years ago which made me realize what I write isn't just for me. It is 2 Cor 1:3-7. I want to encourage you to read it and know that some day...some day you will be strong enough.

    {HUGS} from a mama who understands.

  9. Oh Heather, I so appreciate your blog, please don't stop... in fact, I'd
    love to hear from you more often! I check in every couple days to see
    if there are any updates, and I was thrilled to see your diary of the
    last day, though tears were streaming down my face by the end.

    Thank you for sharing. I would like to hear details of how God is
    providing and caring for your family along the way.

    Love and blessings,

  10. Dear friend,

    I feel the Lord will continue to show you how to share your journey of love, grief, hope, and healing with so many people around the world... You have a great ability in writing, painting with words the difficult realities and emotions that you and your family have been through these last 9 months... I have been blessed by your words, by seeing God giving you strength day by day... He is with you and your family. He loves and cares for you. Continue to run this race for His glory... with His strength, by His wisdom. I love you dear friend...

  11. ~solo gloria deo~

    Thank you Lord for bringing the gift of Endurance through my life, I am only more blessed by it.

    We also would like to thank you so very much for allowing us into your hearts and lives by sharing with us God's mercies and greatness throughout Endurences life.

    Is it not from the hand of God? A merical how Endurence's life has been used to work in us ~ and how we are brought closer to God through the prosses.

    Count it all pure joy James says... pure joy(really???)...

    Yes really!!! For we will know pure joy when... "...we see...face to face.[for] Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." Oh, to know as we are known, to be with God, what unspeakable joy this will bring.

    So we rejoice to let patience have its perfect work, and we, putting our hope in Christ Jesus, wait. Praying we may be able to bring but a little honor due His glorious name.

    Endunance has served His God well! He has, amoung many other things, illuminated how temporal this fallin world is. How it's only true value can be found in a closer walk with Christ. May we, like Endurance, be granted the ability to bring about in our own small little lives honor and renoun for Jesus.

    There is little I could ever say to ease the pain of your loss, for even with great faith we must still endure the pain. But if there is anything I would say, it is this,

    "Your son Endurance will not be forgotten, in his short time hear on earth we were taught, while being brought even closer unto the heart of God, lasting lessons from our Lord Jesus Christ. And this thing for which I speak is a great honor for your son. It is few who will walk this earth who could ever boast a more valuable legacy. And you have done well to shoulder your burden with stamina thus far, now know that Christ will not leave you alone in your grief. He is close to the broken hearted. So REST in your faith, and cry upon His chest, for in time His purposes will be revealed, you need not strain to search them out.

    Oh what an honor to have been allowed to eat at this table with you. For Christ has drawn nigh, giving us much substance and even more to which we have the great honor to digest.

    With much love in memmory of Endurance, may you have some rest and peace at this difficult time.
    The Frees Family

  12. We would love for you to continue this blog in memory of Endurance and see updates on y'all.

  13. Hello
    I don't know if you will still receive this comment as it is now August 27, but I followed the short life of Endurance daily, honestly, with mixed emotions on various treatments, but always with prayers that God would not allow Endurance to suffer from the continued trials to his little precious body and for intellegence to the medical team, each and every one to make decisions that would be the "right" ones, and also for the comfort of you, His Mother, his father and siblings especially, who I know had to be going their own trials on a daily basis.
    Your comments on the last day of life of your little baby brought such sadness to my heart for you, being a Mother and Grandmother. I hope you have since commenced receiving some comfort in the renewed caring for your other children who need and needed you throughout all of this and now for the restructure of their lifes. I know that there had to be some purpose in this child's struggles, in addition to medical knowledge from the various trials, but also to reach to others, both in the areas of the hospital(s), and through people who followed his life, plus to his siblings.
    There is a little six year old girl who has been in my granddaughter's daycare since she was 8 months old, who was suddenly diagnosed with a tumor the size of a lemon at the base of her skull,causing her many medical problems that seemed like internal upsets, but that caused her to show some serious signs at my granddaughter's home, after having been nausous for several days and out of school. My granddaugher immediately called her parents (both nurses)who rushed to ER, and within hours had the diagnosis, and within a total of less than 24 hours she was in surgery to remove the large tumor, and also to find that it is a rare form which throws off thousands of things that spread to her spine. She has been in hospital now for over 2 months, is receiving chemo and having a very difficult time with heavy pain medications and many other medications with nasty after effects. Even with survival, she will suffer certain effects for a lifetime (which may be only 2 years worse case)and she is a very strong, determined little child, TARYN, Her Mother sent the following that I thought you might like to read and share and add her to your prayers: TARYN'S PRAYER
    Lord Jesus we pray, Hold our baby in your arms and keep her safe from all harm.Rock her genty when she cries, softly wipe the tears from her eyes. Almighty god please Lead us through our darkest days, and hold our hands along the way. Help us through the blackest nights, and keep us safe within your Light. Through your Grace we seek the Courage to accept your will, and the strength to follow you still. Guide us with coices we make and heal our most painful heartaches."
    On a personal note, my heart aches for you and your family and I pray that you will heal from the worse pain day by day.