Brandon and Chelsea

Going All In

(Please listen to Brandon and Chelsea’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)

We’re at the breakfast table and he goes, “Hey, Dad?” Yes? “Can you pray for me?” I said, “Sure, buddy.” I said, “What do you want me to pray for you for?” He goes, ” Well, I want to ride the bike, my bike around the neighborhood and tell people about Jesus.” He doesn’t even ride a bike yet, he rides a tricycle.

I’m just like, “Who says that?” You can do anything that you want to, but God’s got a specific purpose for his life and he sees that. He sees the opportunity now that God’s given him and he just wants to use it.

We’re still like, Lord, we really want him completely healed. We’re not ungrateful that you have given him his voice, but we want him healed. We want to see him thrive and have the most abundant life you could have. And we continue to pray that his trach would come out. And the doctors would say, “You know, we don’t know. He’s, this is the only case like this. He’s an anomaly. We don’t know what his future holds. We don’t know if he’s going to be healed completely.” Just out of pure faith, we just started raising money so that we can have a sleep study. Basically to just check. To find out, hey, is the apnea still there? And so we raised $8,000, and had the sleep study. The doctor was like, “Well, he has zero obstruction.” And we’re like, I was hoping…We were praying for nine, because nine meant that he could have the trach out. He’s like, “No, he has zero obstruction.” So he went from 164 to zero. And so we were literally looking at the doctor and we’re looking at all the reports. I mean, these are like, the most legit doctors, I mean maybe in the world. The best of the best. Yeah, and they’re going, “I don’t know.”

I mean, you know when you’re on a journey, and you’re just fighting for every minute, sometimes? Sometimes every second and you don’t know when it’s going to end? And you just keep going and keep going and keep going and keep praying and it just becomes a long time that you fight for something. And then it’s like, you just kind of look up and you’re at the finish line. I’m like looking back at his life like, “Are you kidding me?”

It’s been five years. Yeah. But it still wasn’t over.

We went in. We went to Cooks [Children’s Hospital] and they pulled it out. [The trach.] I pulled it out. Yeah, you did pull it out. They said, “Oh Mom, just take it out.” And I’m like, “Wait, what? Are you sure?” She goes, “Oh, yeah, we’re just gonna stick a little soft Band Aid over it. He’ll be fine.” So I take the trach out. They put the bandaid on it and Landon sat in the hospital for three days while they watched to make sure he was good. And then sent us home.

Yeah. So his hole is supposed to close on its own within a few weeks, but his didn’t. And, and I said, “Landon, what’s the one thing that you want to do? Whenever you get your trach out? You know, that you haven’t been able to do that you just really wanted to do? And he goes, “I want to go under water.” Because growing up, he could never be submerged under water. Water would have actually killed him. You know, I mean, just water straight into your lungs. Even just a splash. Imagine a straw, and it’s just straight in your lungs. So we always had to be super careful. And so he said, “I want to, I want to know what it feels like to go under water.” So I’m like, “Okay, cool.” And then his little quote, “I want my first experience with water to be my baptism.” And then he follows up with that. So we’re like, “Okay. Done. Yeah, we can do that. Yeah.”

So this was in October. So his stoma didn’t end up closing. So Landon had to go and get a stitch put in, basically, that would close it? Well, whenever we started getting closer to that date (of his baptism), it kept getting worse. Because in faith, we planned the baptism, completely in faith, that the hole would close. We planned it for February 7, which was the day he spoke his first word. Literally three years later, to the day.

In the muscles, that were supposed to close all the way, there was a hole that was leaking air. So his neck would just puff up like a balloon. And that’s like, really dangerous. I mean, you can’t have leaking air. Trapped air and your neck cavity. Yeah, he also had an infection, a severe infection. He had two surgeries afterward to get it fixed. This is January, he’s back in the hospital with drains hanging out of his neck. We couldn’t–like, every attempt to get it healthy was such a battle. You know, like, none of it worked.

So now we’re a couple weeks away from his baptism, and we took him to an appointment. The doctor was like, “Well, we’re gonna have to go back in and, you know, stitch this thing up.” And he’s like, “But the recoveries like this…he cannot go in the water with these stitches. It could get infected again.” He’s like, “I know you guys have this plan, but you’re just going to have to push it out.” you know.

We had probably 80 people that were coming to this baptism. And we were, we were convinced that God wanted him to be baptized on that day, so it’d be significant for him the rest of his life, and that he knew that God is faithful in completing that. Because we’d always celebrated –we call it his hallelujah day– his hallelujah day on February 7, and so it was significant.

So anyways, I took him back to the doctor to have them look at it and take the drain out, which is usually the first step before the surgery. And he took the drain out and goes, “You know what? Cough, Landon.” And he coughed and nothing happened. He said, “Cough again.” Nothing happened. He goes, “Well, doesn’t look like we need to go back in there. It looks like the hole closed on its own.” So the muscles behind his neck had closed on their own. This is like 10 days before his baptism. The drain came out and this skin literally sealed up. Right then. Sealed up.

I learned more than anything, through this time in my life, that Jesus is real and He loves me. That He heals, loves, protects, provides and comforts. He always keeps His promises and He never lets us down.

No, it was actually faster than that. It was like three days. Because we didn’t, we had to, we would have had to push it [baptism] out.

You’re right. It was it was closer to the date. It was probably three days before the baptism.

So his doctor, the one that said, “Hey, you guys are going to need to push this out.,” was Dr. Patel, unbelievable doctor. At the party where a lot of his physicians and caretakers, nurses, and everybody but his doctor had been out of town when that had happened with the drain. I was seeing another physician. So he [Dr. Patel] did not know that it was healed up. And he’s thinking, why am I going to this. I guess they’re just not going to baptize him. Maybe they’ll just have a party to celebrate that his trach is out. Landon greeted the doctor at the door and he said, “Hey, buddy,” he goes, “Where’s your, where’s your drain?” And Landon goes, “I don’t have a drain. My neck’s, God healed my neck.” And he goes, “Oh, you’re not gonna get baptized are you?” And [Landon] goes, “Yeah, I’m gonna get baptized. God healed my neck.” And [Dr. Patel] was like, “That is unbelievable!” He just throws his hands up and he gave him the biggest hug. I mean, it was precious. He gave him the biggest hug. He goes, “I am so happy for you, Landon, that God healed your neck.”

So we went back in and Brandon was able to [baptize him]. [Landon] read his testimony. Yeah, I’m going to read his testimony right now, because it’s short. This was written from Landon. He’s seven at this point.

He said, “When I was born on May 4, 2012, I was already fighting for my life. Just like everyone here, God had a purpose for my life. After spending three weeks in the NICU at birth, I finally came home and was thriving. Everything changed when I was nine months old. And again, I had to fight for my life. I spent almost all my toddler years in and out of hospitals until the doctors discovered I had severe sleep apnea. I had lots of surgeries to try and fix my airway to breathe, but nothing seemed to work. One day in March of 2014, I woke up from a nap and was completely blue. My parents rushed me to the hospital to have a trach put in and on March 12, 2014, my life changed forever. I not only lost the ability to smell or taste, but also to speak. After a long time at Cook Children’s Hospital I finally got to go home. My family prayed for two years that I would start talking again and that I would be completely healed. On February 7, 2016, a Brazilian woman, named Bianca, prayed for me. She sang in Portuguese and prayed scriptures of healing over my family and me. After a little while as we were singing, I spoke my first word in more than two years, “hallelujah.” And from that day forward, I began speaking more and more every day. My family noticed pretty quickly I taught myself how to read, and spell pretty much anything. God gave me the gift of knowledge and I was just starting to experience Him in a personal way. I didn’t know when I would get my trach out. I was grateful for it. I got asked why I had it a lot. And I got to use my voice now to tell them about how God healed me and saved my life. On October 29 2018, it was finally time. I was so excited to get my trach out that I could learn to swim and be baptized and go under water. After two more surgeries, I was again miraculously healed. I learned more than anything, through this time in my life, that Jesus is real and He loves me. That He heals, loves, protects, provides and comforts. He always keeps His promises and He never lets us down. I hope that my story will encourage you. And I can’t wait to see how God blesses you this year. I’m so thankful for all of your prayers, support and love. Jesus loves you.”

Brandon baptized him and he came out of the water and was just all grins. Like, I’m baptized. He understands what it means to give God glory. He understands what it means to bless other people. He understands what it means to be fully healed, and for it to be miraculous. But that no doctor could have done it. And then no human could have healed him like he was healed. It’s so awesome to see how excited he is about his relationship with God. And it’s just like his best friend. Like, it’s not this distant being that he reads about. Or it’s not a God who loves the world but who doesn’t see him personally and see his little needs. He views God as the most amazing best friend on the planet. And as a parent, to see a child understand that and to have that closeness with the Lord has been such–It’s built our faith so much.

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