ARDEN UPDATE #2: Under the Mercy

Five years ago today, I was wheeled into the operating room at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. The pulmonologist who diagnosed me with Stage 1 lung cancer said it was a mercy they caught it so early—doubly so since I never had any symptoms.

Like happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose Stage 1 lung cancer was discovered during X-rays for a fractured rib, my cancer was “accidentally” discovered when doctors were checking for something else.

Every day I am profoundly mindful of God’s mercy to me.

Next Thursday, April 18, the little girl who turned Frank and me into grandparents will be wheeled into the operating room at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I must admit I dread that moment. But Arden is under God’s mercy too. A severe problem that remained hidden inside her little body for her first four years (still could be hidden) was mercifully caught in time for surgeons to do something to correct it.

Reconstructive surgery will take place at Seattle Children’s Hospital, one of the world’s most advanced children’s hospitals. Her surgeon, Dr. Todd Blumberg, was trained at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (CHOP), by Wudbhav N. Sankar, MD, CHOP’s specialist in orthopedic surgery for hip dysplasia.

The road ahead won’t be easy for our little one. Anyone who has ever loved a child will know this is exactly the kind of journey you’d do anything to prevent. Thankfully Arden’s journey is already bathed in mercy. We keep reminding ourselves of that. Only think of children with hip dysplasia who don’t have access this kind of help.

When we were first blindsided by Arden’s diagnosis and her medical crisis lurched into full gear, a close friend sent us this timely reminder—by Anglican Bishop Steven Charleston of the Choctaw Nation from his book, Hope as Old as Fire:

In heaven on high, a hand unseen turns a page, and your life changes. How much of life is spent changing? Waiting for a change, surprised by change, riding change like white water through an uncertain canyon. . . . In all things know change for what it is: your teacher. Do not be afraid for the Changeless One never turns a page without a purpose.

Friends and family who are praying us through this ordeal are part of the mercy. As one friend said, “You have a whole army of people praying for Arden.” Mercy is also showing up in those who are contributing to Arden’s GoFundMe which is almost at the half-way mark.

Reminder: Don’t forget Arden’s GoFundMe! She’s begun the long road to recovery from severe hip dysplasia. From what we’ve seen so far, we’re convinced she’ll go the distance.

Help us go the distance to our GoFundMe goal!

About carolyncustisjames
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to ARDEN UPDATE #2: Under the Mercy

  1. mimionlife says:

    Praying for Arden and the whole family.


  2. Violet Tse says:

    Praying for Arden and the whole family. It is always most difficult for the ones standing at the bedside. I spent many days in that dependent position (dealing with body casts more than once) but can say that the Lord was always faithful and taught me most about my need and His all-sufficiency during those times.


    • Oh yes. Violet you understand better than anyone. My eyes are flooding. Thank you for praying and for your gentle, incredibly comforting words. What a good reminder for both of us. Hearing it from you means everything. Frank joins me in sending love to you, dear friend.


  3. Cynthia Fantasia says:

    Two of my children were diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Our daughter spent 23 out of 24 hours a day in a pillow splint for the first year of her life. Our son’s condition was a bit less severe. We were told our daughter would probably be delayed in everything physical – she wasn’t. We were told she would not do well in sports: she was MVP in high school playing 3 varsity sports and played varsity soccer in college. Our son grew strong, played sports all through high school and was great. Arden will come through this beautifully, and she will excel in everything she chooses. The remarkable thing is that Bob and I watched the miracles unfold before our very eyes – as each child achieved amazing physical accomplishments. Truly miraculous gifts from God – that we might not have appreciated as much if it were not for the “bump” of hip dysplasia when they were young. Be assured of my prayers for all of you~~


  4. Peter Ahlstrom says:

    We will be praying 4 you, your daughter, and Arden. Because of Yvonne and her medical situation, we’re not able to give right now. But we can pray and will.


  5. Pete Hollingsworth says:


    We sometimes see them drawing near
    With fear and apprehension
    Approaching, like a juggernaut
    And bearing grief and tension

    There’s times when we’re caught unawares
    Alarmed and in confusion
    An accident or injury
    Some unforeseen intrusion

    At other times we feel betrayed
    By such as we have trusted
    A person or philosophy
    Or that for which we’ve lusted

    And though we would not wish to meet
    With crises and confusions
    Through them we re-evaluate
    Foundational conclusions

    We may be shaken to the core
    Disturbed with many questions
    What purpose is there to our life?
    We ask in our reflections

    When through such furnaces we pass
    As ore in its refinement
    The merely dross is burnt away
    What’s left finds realignment

    The superficial, false, and weak
    All that’s mean and vanity
    Are seen, if truth and love remain
    In their petty poverty

    There is a steadfast solid rock
    A sure and fixed foundation
    A sanctuary amidst the storm
    To calm our consternation

    There is but one eternal light
    The heart of man illuming
    For ever fuelled by love and truth
    And darkness all consuming

    When crises come as come they will
    We fret in desperation
    Christ Jesus is the rock and light
    In whom is found salvation

    Cry unto him when in distress
    Hold fast to him in sadness
    Let not your heart be overwhelmed
    Rejoice in him in gladness

    A poem by the author of the ‘Under The Mercy’ series of anthologies, inspired by these words of Archbishop Justin Welby:
    Crises are opportunities. They are times for thinking about the foundation of our lives. What do I depend on? What is the rock in my life that I cling too, or the light that I am guided by? Crises strip from our lives anything which is false, or weak, or not essential. The more I see of crises the more I know that, whether they come from great world events, or small personal upheavals, the only rock and light that is always there for us is Jesus.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s