the tale of two MRIs

I have never sobbed over any medical reports for our family.

Before yesterday, that is.

I've gotten news about necessary surgeries and possible cancers (no actual ones, thankfully) and chronic diseases and serious infections, and while I did shed a tear or two over each, it was never much. I'm just not much of a crier.

(If I'm mad or insulted, that's another story. Bring on the waterworks then.)

On Friday, I received an email with the results of Zoe's MRI. A lot of the words are medical gobbledegoo to my brain, but these words from Dr. W required no interpretation:
This is much better than we thought it would be. This matches her clinical presentation much better than the prior MRI.
Oh, geez. I couldn't write this post or even call friends yesterday because of the happy tears, and now they've started up again.

She still has PVL, the type of brain damage shown in her MRI from Taiwan. Her diagnosis is still infantile cerebral palsy. In the past couple of days, Lee and I have finally been able to see the difference between the spasticity in Zoe's legs and the typical jerkiness of other baby's legs. We still don't know what her limitations will be, so we're still taking everything day by day and raising her in the same way that we have parented our other two blessings.

But Dr. W has reviewed both MRIs - the actual images, not just the reports - and what was severe PVL in Taiwan is now mild-moderate PVL. I don't expect that to make much sense to anyone who hasn't spent the last six months reading medical journal about PVL (yes, I am a nerd), but let me tell you why this is a very, very, very, very big deal:
  • First, a confession: I haven't admitted here about the bad news from our neurology appointment last week. While Dr. W said Zoe was exceeding all his expectations, which I told you, he also talked to me a little more about the degree of PVL in her MRI from Taiwan. Before that, I thought she just had small areas of PVL that were spread out, and I was wrong. The MRI from Taiwan showed a lot of damage all over. A lot. All over. The images of a patient's brain don't show her potential, but it was still bittersweet to find out that her brain was in worse shape than I had previously thought, even while we were finding out that she was doing better than the doctor had hoped for from the images he had seen.
  • But... wait for it... the miracle. PVL is a static kind of brain damage. In other words, PVL - by definition - doesn't change over time. It is a type of constant, non-progressive brain damage, meaning it stays the same without getting smaller, going away, or getting bigger. Having one MRI in Taiwan show severe PVL and another MRI here show mild/moderate PVL (both classifications given by the same doctor reviewing the records here, so it's not a difference in interpretation by two different people)? That, my friends, is a miracle. By all medical criteria, the news in my inbox on Friday should not have been true.
I need to bust out a thesaurus, because my usual go-to words - excited and thankful - just doesn't cut it. Elated. Blissful. Overjoyed. Full of praise. Those don't even quite hit the mark. 

These do, though:

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, 
according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
throughout all generations, forever and ever.
{Ephesians 3:20-21}

our sweet girl in my lap as we checked in to the hospital for her MRI

P.S. As you praise God for this news, would you pray with me for another little one from our church, who was also adopted and who also has unique medical needs? Some of his condition involves a lot of unknowns, and lately the questions (and the hospital stays) have piled up with very few answers. Join me in praying for conclusive medical findings for him, leading to a definite treatment and therapy plan.

I don't know why God would provide such amazing and clear news for Zoe while He hasn't done that yet for our friends. We do know, though, (as do they) that God is good, and we trust Him, as we look forward to all He has in store for both of our precious babies.