Harrison is Home

Steve McKinionUncategorized14 Comments

This morning we “woke” up (if you can call turning on the lights after a sleepless night awakening) to the doctor telling us to pack and get ready for dismissal.  It was GREAT news!  Obviously, we have a LONG road ahead, but home is better than hospital any day.

After getting home Harrison ate for the first time since Friday morning.  He had eight, yes eight, pieces of toast and a chocolate milkshake.  It is so good to see him eating again.

I recalled as we left the hospital one of the last activities Harrison and I did together before his diagnosis.

A few weeks ago Pat Teague, former NC State and NFL linebacker and one of Lachlan’s football coaches, invited Lachlan and me to the FCA Banquet to hear Dave Dravecky.  Lachlan was excited.  We’ve been many times before and he loves hearing the speakers.

Harrison and Blakely really wanted to go as well, but we only had two tickets.  I decided to ask Pat if there were any additional tickets.  He said, “Bring them on.”  I am so thankful he gave us that opportunity.

Dave’s story is quite inspirational.  Dave was a major league baseball pitcher who contracted cancer.  After surgery and treatment he returned to the mound.  During a pitch his arm broke in half.  I still remember seeing him writhing in pain on the pitcher’s mound.  Doctors subsequently amputated his arm.

Dave’s talk that night was one of the best gospel-centered sports talks I’d ever heard.  Too many athletes talk about trying to do their best, about God giving them all these good things, and about being thankful for all the good things they have.

But Dave said something that night that still rings in my ears: “Was I going to trust God even when things were not going my way, and my baseball career was over?”  I thought that night as I sat at the table, “God, if I get cancer, no problem.  Just please don’t let one of my kids get it.”  I prayed that verbatim.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought something similar.  I’ve had serious medical issues in the past (and present) stemming from a motorcycle accident in 2003.  And I have prayed that if anyone is to get sick or injured, or die, that it be me.  I guess I am selfish that way: it kills me to see my wife or kids suffer.

But that was not to be.  For some reason it is my son with the cancer.  I admit it is harder to trust with him suffering than with me suffering.  I’d take the cancer from him in a second.

I never thought that I’d be living something similar to Dave Dravecky’s story through my son.  Many parents (including me) want to live Brian Roberts’ story, or Eli Manning’s story, or Sandy Kofax’s story.  Few would pick Dave Dravecky; I wouldn’t.

But I didn’t pick that story for my son; it picked him.  After ten years of health and happiness we’re now struggling to live a life of illness and joy.  Can we do it?  I doubt it.  But we believe, and trust, that with our Triune God as our joy and strength, and the family and friends he has given to us as a source of great comfort and courage, that we can in fact endure.

Just as the “beads of courage” have already proven to be an encouragement to Harrison, so too–and even more so–have the stories of courage we’ve heard from so many people we’ve never met have been to our family.  When I read the stories to Ginger or Lachlan or Blakely or Harrison we are each reminded of God’s faithfulness.  Please don’t cease to intercede for Harrison.  Besides his healing, there is the daily struggle of living with cancer.  He stills cries, “I don’t want to have cancer.”  I don’t want him to have it either.  We pray for healing, and thank you for joining us.

14 Comments on “Harrison is Home”

  1. How wonderful that yesterday is over with and Harrison got to go home today! I hope that everyone sleeps well tonight in your own beds! Continuing to pray, pray, pray!

  2. Dr. McKinion, I just wanted to let you know that Harrison and your whole family are not only in mine and my wife’s prayers but also on the prayer list at our church. In His Service, Jewell

  3. Doc,

    Your posts are very encouraging. May God continue to sustain you through this suffering. At the same time, your posts are painful. You wouldn’t have to write this if your son Harrison were not going through great suffering. So, in my thanks for allowing us to share in your journey, please know that I am praying daily for your son, specifically, and praying for you and your wife as well. May God bring quick healing to your son, and may He be greatly glorified in it.

    With love and sorrow, yours,

    Wesley L. Handy

  4. My heart aches for your family and your son but at the same time, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God will use this experience to work many miracles. My son, Joshua, was also diagnosed with ALL on Sept. 12, of this year. He is 18 and is a senior in high school. The struggle is difficult and it would not be possible without the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. Josh and I have experienced many precious moments that undoubtedly we would have missed if not for his illness simply because he is a teenager and life and family did not always seem so important to him before – moments I will treasure for an eternity. Josh finishes his 2nd phase – consolidation – tomorrow and hopefully his levels will have recovered enough to begin phase three next week. I say hopefully because we are ready to complete the phases and put this in the past. He is doing his school work from home to stay away from unwanted viruses and illnesses. He plans to walk with his class for graduation in June, 2012. Julie Lyons shared your information with me. We are both members of the same church family. I have added Harrison and your entire family to my prayers each day. May God give you strength, love, patience and understanding each day. May He be Lord and Protector over Harrison and guide the doctors you have entrusted with his care.

  5. Praise the Lord that Harrison is home. I pray that you and Ginger get to rest and that Harrison will contiue to get well and there are o complications.

  6. My son Jamie was on Harrison’s baseball team this past season. We are so sorry to hear about Harrison. God has brought your family to mind many times this week and I will continue to pray for you all. I have no adequate words to express my great sympathy – I have been moved to tears many times this week while in prayer or with thoughts of your family. We are so happy Harrison is home. May God grant your family His true peace during the months ahead.

  7. So glad y’all are home and that he is eating. Praise God for little blessings and moments of joy, even something like eating toast! My family will be praying for yours. Tell Harrison he is not alone; he’s got God’s church praying him through.

  8. I just want to send a quick note to tell you that our church in Thousand Oaks, California is praying for Harrison. Blessings!

  9. Remember that the story doesn’t begin and end with Harrison. God wants to expand your territory into the world of “those with beads.” Praying for your, and yes, Harrison’s, influence in every life that touches his cancer. My husband and I were overwhelmed counting the number of health care professionals whom we did meet, and then those whom we could never thank for their kindness, having never seen them, who worked behind the scenes for my surgery. May God give you His heart for the lost who are sick in the new pasture he has given.

  10. We are praying for healing for Harrison and the strength for the family. We were heart broken to hear the news. So glad he is home. We hope that he will be able to enjoy Christmas. Please let us know if we can do anything to help. I hope all of you will catch up on some rest this weekend.


    Anna, Landon, Trevor, Dylan and Lindsey Kirk

  11. I have never met your family personally but I was told about Harrison and his health issues through another person. I am praying for Harrison and your entire family. Keep strong in your faith and he will bring you through.

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