Saturday, January 30, 2010


All four of my daughters are soundly sleeping in bed. The house is quiet, the hum of warm air pushing through old, cold pipes the only sound.

It soothes me.

I can't believe that Polly completed her second surgery this week. She came home today and after dinner was already 'shopping,' walking at the speed of a jog with plastic bracelets jingling on her wrists and a Blues Clues purse swung over her shoulder. Along the right side of her face from her ear up to her temple a sewn crimson incision is stitched with fine thread. The healing process already in full swing. Eventually it well match they faded scar on the other side of her head from the first surgery.

Two days ago my daughter was put into a deep sleep while a capable surgeon sawed through her skull. He found healthy arteries to replace those that had thinned and attached them to her brain to create new blood flow, stuff that will help her to think; to learn her ABCs and how to do math, as Sergei and I ate salads in the hospital cafeteria. The surgeon tonight, the guy with a firm handshake, the one I trusted to help my child reach out for her potential, in all likelihood is having a late dinner with a loved one or watching a mindless movie with a drink in his hand.

And Polly's smile is back. She became more and more herself at the hospital today, asking after her sisters and apologizing to the sweet nurse for crying when her IV was removed.

On October 18th Polina had three seizures and a stroke. On October 19th after a day of testing; an MRI and an MRA, an EEG, no food, no sleep, we learned that she was not only born with Down syndrome but also with Moyamoya disease. A syndrome that thins arteries in her head to the point of strokes; if untreated, a debilitating disease and scary as hell.

Today Polly is home. With God's help, a ton of prayer, baked Ziti from friends and play dates for the other children, the gift of modern medicine and a renown hospital ten minutes down the street, Polly not only weathered the storms of two brain surgeries and what they entailed but she treated it all as a mere vacation...a time to get away from every day life and catch up on back to back Caillou episodes, cuddles with Mama and Papa and all the apple juice and pizza she could stand.

Tonight as she sleeps I feel like my recovery is going to take longer. I have to process God's provision, his unbelievable care for his children, being in the right place at the right time for Polly's distinct needs to be met. And other, more subtle things like my own mother who gives up her life for weeks at a time to come and fold my underwear, love on her granddaughters and wash the kitchen floor on her hands and knees and my husband, who does every night shift at the hospital so I can have a good night's sleep in my own bed because he loves me. Friends calling just because they care and our girls, those amazing creatures who get upset about the wrong cereal bowl and pull each other's hair... girls who are being molded by these experiences, God-willing, into people who not only understand the gift from God in Jesus, but who actually believe it for themselves and not just to please their parents.

I'm not sure what people without faith in God do in times like this? I suppose they muster up energy and ability and focus all the good vibes and thoughts they have towards a positive outcome.

I myself am so unbelievably thankful that stuff like this isn't left up to chance or to my own strength.

My daughter is sleeping soundly in her bed at home tonight.

I am amazed.


  1. Gillian. Your beautiful posts always move me so deeply. I thank God for his grace and for your friendship. Sleep well tonight.

  2. that little girl of yours is amazing... so is her mom and family! she is so lucky! hugs!

  3. Amazing little girl, amazing mama, amazing family and a truly truly amazing God!!!

  4. Oh, Gillian, tears here. Our God is so good to us, isn't He?

    Praying still for you all as you recover.

  5. Beautiful post! I am so happy for your whole family!

  6. Amazing Polly!! She is such a strong little girl, no doubt as her parents are so strong in their Faith! Love you!!!

  7. I love watching God at work in the lives of those who are faithful to Him. Giving Him the glory for the great things He's done.

    What an unbelievable 6 months you have been through. Take a deep breath and enjoy your family today. You are loved and lifted up.

  8. Gillian, I am so happy your family is resting under the same roof tonight. This post was beautiful! Praying life can now return to "normal" for your family. Love you guys!

  9. Rejoicing with you, sister! May you have some calm and relaxation in these months to come.

  10. I love reading your writing. it's amazing and brings me almost to tears. i'm holding them back! :) you are such a blessing and i am so glad for you and your family that polly has made it through both these surgeries. thank you for being an inspiration to me

  11. What an amazing God we serve who cares for things such as this. It's wonderful to hear she is already home. Hugs

  12. Gillian, Praise God your little Polly is home and safe! We do serve a mighty God who loves and cares for us more than we will ever understand! He has brought you through another storm. Sit back and rejoice in His amazing love!

  13. rejoicing and praising God with you... He is good. All the time! I am amazed at all you have been through and how strong you have become through it all. You are one of my heroes!

  14. With tears in my eyes, I thank God for all of you and especially for Polly safe at home with 3 amazing sisters and 2 amazing parents. I don't know the mysteries of Divine Grace but I know that somehow it's working through your family and you sharing your story. Thank you


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