Mortal Showers Bring Eternal Flowers

Scans and Scars

From Brianna–

We went back to St. Jude this past week for scans. Good news, scans were clear. Cancer free continues for Scott. It was good to see the many people we’ve gotten to know there over the months of treatment. The people in the pictures below are actually are Osteosarcoma fighters that fought alongside Scott last year. And Chealsea too! But we didn’t get a picture with her sadly. Next time haha.

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It’s been a year now since Scott’s major surgery on his arm. When I think of that I get chills. That was a miracle. When Scott went into that surgery, they told him there was a chance he would wake up without his left arm arm. Amputation would be an in-surgery decision if Plan A failed.
I can still see it clearly in my mind moments before they took him back to put him to sleep.

“Alright, so just lay back on the bed and we’ll wheel you back there.” The nurse said. Scott looked up from where he was retying the strings of his hospital gown.
“Can I walk?”
She blinked. “Walk?”
“I would like to walk to surgery.”
Everyone looked at each other. Doctors and nurses, the lady with the clipboard and the Childlife specialist. The surprise was evident. This was not a common request. Finally someone nodded and Scott slid off the bed. “I’m not broken yet,” he muttered. “No need to go wheeling me around.”
“Bye Scotty.” I whispered.
“Bye Bri. See you after my nap.” He put his arms around me and gave me a hug. When Scott gives hugs he doesn’t gently squeeze, he crushes with powerful pressure.
I still remember the thought that flashed through my mind. Was that the last hug my brother would ever give me with two arms?

The surgery took over eight hours. But there were few complications. Until the end, when the nerve nurse came in and told us with obvious sadness that because Scott’s surgery was unusual, the nerve block had failed. I remember my heart feeling like it was burning and breaking when she told us Scott would most likely be in extreme pain through recovery.
But The Lord had not forgotten us. Scott endured very little pain, and his recovery was almost perfect. Miracles were given generously to us.

As I have thought throughout this month over our time at St. Jude, I have recognized the power of love.
Loving comes through a price. Loving is one of the most beautiful gifts given. But oh, loving deeply comes with such another scale of emotion. Loving deeply means taking their pain truly and to the core of your soul. I will tell you that there were nights I fell to my knees and cried out for it to be me and not Scott. How I hated watching him so sick and so tired. I hated watching him turn away. I hated the way the glint went out of his eyes on those hard, hard days. I wanted to take it all for him. I wanted to give him my wings. I wanted to lie on the ground and watch him fly free and I would never regret a thing. I wanted to fight it for him. I wanted him to never hurt again.
I believe the Savior feels the same. How He wants to take that pain. How He wants to take it away for us and heal the brokenness that leaves our souls and minds in darkness. He has done that for me. I’ve heard some say that religion can be reasoned away by logic. But logic never healed my heart. Logic never comforted me when I was beaten to pieces.

I have felt Him.

It is not just a catchphrase to say that the Savior can take our pain. He can. I have lain in bed and been so worn out, so weary, so broken, so hopeless that it almost crushed me. I have cried out for Him in those moments. And then lay still when it all was gone. I felt no pain, no heartache. The absence of pain did not leave me empty, because I was filled with peace. Peace enough to make my heart full again to fill the cracks.
Even the scars across our souls need not ache our hearts. The Savior can take those and heal them just like the wounds.

Recently I sat next to Scott after we just got back from a run. He moved and for a moment his shirt folded over just where his port used to be. I caught my breath because it did look like it was back. Without thinking I reached out and put my fingers over it.
“What are you doing?” Scott asked, looking at my hand.
“I don’t know. It just looked like your port was there for a second.”
Scott pulled his shirt down to show the scars stretched across his skin from the port surgeries just over his heart.
“Nope. It’s gone.”
“Your scars are cool.”
Scott smirked, “No, they’re not.”
“Yeah huh.”
“Nuh uh.”
“What do you mean?”
He looked away. “They mean broken.”
I said nothing. But without thinking I put a hand to my own chest just over my heart, in the same place the scars on Scott’s skin stretched. I could feel my heart beating hard from running. There were no scars there on my skin, but underneath the skin, on that beating heart, there were scars of my own. Different than Scott’s.
Those scars need not stay, the Savior can take them.

Sometimes the memories of our pain can cause the scars in our hearts to burn. The present moments can sometimes snag on the past. A few weeks ago I went to Kroger with Scott to pick up a few things for Mom. We got out of the car and I walked ahead of him, hurrying through the parking lot. I turned around just in time to see him bend over to tie his shoe. For some reason I felt a rush of panic and I ran back to him. He didn’t even notice as I studied him closely, trying to understand why I felt so alarmed at the sight of him leaning over to tie a shoelace. Then a memory surfaced. Of just a few months ago. Scott had just gotten out of chemo and was so tired and not feeling well. We had stopped by a Kroger not far from the hospital to pick up some things. I had gotten out of the car and tried to catch up with the rest of my family who were already almost in the store. I had looked over my shoulder just in time to see Scott double over in the parking lot. Sick from the chemo. I remember the pain I felt in my heart as I ran back to him, wishing I could make him better. Wishing he was not hurting and sick.

I believe God knows the pain we feel and will not push us past our abilities. This summer I went to a camp with many of my friends. I loved it. On the very last night of camp, the girls all took glow sticks, snapped them open and splashed them all over the cabin until it looked like stars everywhere. We planned to stay up all night and sleep on the way home the next day. But soon, one by one, everyone fell asleep but me and one other girl. We sat there in the stars we had created and talked. I could hardly see her in the darkness, and maybe that’s why we were so honest with each other. Sometimes it’s easier to be real when you’re hidden.
She asked me to tell her about Scott’s treatment. I told her some simple things. Not sure how much she actually wanted to know.
Then silence settled among us. All I could hear was the breathing of so many sleeping campers. But then I spoke without thinking.
“They say God doesn’t give more than a person can handle.”
Her question surprised me. “Do you think he’s given you more than you can handle?”
No one had ever asked me that. I’d had people ask me many, many questions about my experiences. But never that one. Never the way she asked it. So simply and bluntly. I wished someone had asked me that sooner.
“No.” I said softly. “No I don’t think He’s given me more than I can handle. I think He sees how strong I am, even though I don’t. I think he knows I need just a little bit more to push me a little bit further to make me a little bit better. I trust Him enough to take what He has given. and He trusts me enough to give it to me.”

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The next video is one I made a long time ago and never posted… here it is now….

And also a video from Shaw Floors interview

3 thoughts on “Scans and Scars

  1. Mary Linde

    What miracles you, Scott and your family have witnessed and how blessed we are to read those special things you share with us so beautifully. We’re blessed to read them. And our hearts are touched when we ponder all the things you make us think about…but most importantly, how very evident your love of the Savior is and what a sweet and strong testimony you have to share to us. May you be richly blessed as you continue to be your twins strongest supporter. We love you both and pray for continued strength both physically and spiritually.

  2. Grandma Katie

    Brianna, your words and the videos are awesome. They tell such a magnificent story of faith and healing. The girl singing in the first video sounded a lot like you. I thought it was you at first. Great song. You are so in touch with your feelings and we are blessed that you share your truth and honesty with us. We can learn from your words.
    The second video shows how hard Scott worked to gain strength back in his arm. Scott you are a very strong young man and pushed through when it was difficult. You are an inspiration to others.
    Scott – It was also good to see the Shaw – Braves video and to hear about your journey.
    Stephanie – I was so touched by your story and how this has strengthened you gave you a different perspective on life and family. Thanks for sharing that. We can all learn from what you have shared.
    I am so grateful that the scans were good. We have much to be thankful for.
    Love you all, Grandma

  3. Daniel

    I love reading through all your posts on this website, it’s really inspirational, and emotional. The experiences you and your family had, has torn other families apart and yet it has made your family stronger. I really admire the merling family, strong faithful individuals. I’m also very grateful for Scott’s recovery and how blessed he was to havread a successful surgery and recovery.
    Thank you for everything you and your family shares on here.

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