When young Maddie discovered a problem in her knee some months ago, the doctors gave her the bad news first – an invasive bone tumour known by the medical acronym ABC (Aneurysmal Bone Cyst). What is the good news in all of this?
Young Maddie was intelligent enough to take in all these big new words and she developed a bravery that has been stunning the adults in her life ever since!
The bone tumour (75mm in diameter and growing) needed to be removed through an operation that would then require six weeks in a wheelchair and then eventually a crutch to support body weight. For some children, this would seem like a mountain that was too large to climb.
For Maddie’s mum, Kirsty, her faith gave her the courage to face this challenge.
“I really felt that this was not going to be a setback, but it was going to set us up for life in the future,” says Kirsty.
“At that stage, it looked scary. But when we change our mindset, we can see that sometimes really difficult things can set us up for our lives going forward.”
Maddie is a bright little girl in Mrs. Venter’s class and the doctors tried to use simple terminology when talking to her about the process. But she wanted the whole truth!
“Funny thing,” says Maddie.
“…because I know how to say a lot of hard words; when I was sitting at the anaesthetist’s and she told me that I was going to have some sleeping thing to help me rest I told her I can say anaesthetic!”
The vocabulary work in the Year 3 class is working wonders!
“Maddy is an auditory processor,” says Kirsty.
“She copes by talking and asking questions. When she has all the information, she feels she can face everything but when she doesn’t have all the information – that is when she frets a lot.”
The operation took place, the wheelchair weeks saw Maddie smiling as she faced these big challenges, and her strength came from a Praise & Worship song that her mum would play while driving to and from the hospital on days when there were appointments and procedures to take place.
As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us, You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter to Your love
You make me brave, You make me brave”
You Make Me Brave – Bethel Music
For Maddie’s mum, the stories from the Biblical book of Job were a comfort through the process:
“Even after he [Job] lost everything, including his family and children, his latter days surpassed his former days. You think that you’ve lost everything. You’ve lost your kids, lost your meaning in life. Yet there is something that happens in the faithfulness of God and what God does within us through turbulent times.
The fact is that we will encounter suffering but we are promised peace too. You can’t eradicate suffering in this life but we are promised that God will be there with us.”
Mrs Richelle Schokman (Head of Primary – Northshore Christian Grammar School) visited Maddy in the hospital on the night of surgery. She has known Maddy for six years since the family began at NCGS when Maddy was in Kindergarten.
Maddy’s words are profound for a Year 3 student:
“Sometimes, we just have to do things, even if we are still scared. That’s when we might surprise ourselves and be brave!”
With the Christmas season upon us and school finishing up soon, the Primary Awards Day at NCGS saw Maddie receiving an award with a single crutch to support her body weight after the wheelchair was no longer needed.
As we go to print this week, Mrs Schokman tells us that Maddie is bravely heading into school today without crutches as her knee strength grows daily.
What a way for Maddie to enjoy this festive season!