Many people have stories of trials and tribulations in their life..... They are hidden in their hearts and rarely surface. I am blessed to have been able to share this testimony with you.
1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Life after the Alpha Interferon arrived is a bit of a blur now. I am sure that there were weekly visits to the hospital, appointments with specialists and the trials of fitting into the routine back home with the other children. I think it was about four weeks later that the doctors told us that the drug seemed to be working and the birthmarks were shrinking. Graphs, photos, Catscans and charts had been recorded since Janelle's first arrival in casualty at three weeks old. Janelle was nearly eight months old when we visited the hospital and I was shown these records. The graph is what I recall the most, it showed an rapid incline of growth, then slowed down steadily levelling out, then had the decline after the Interferon. I was fascinated that the levelling out had started soon after the time our church had fasted and prayed. Had God heard our cries and slowed, then stopped the growth back then? I believe He did. As the Hemangiomas decreased, Janelle was featured in medical magazines, articles and discussed at conferences around the world. One of those articles I still have.
Being hospitalized and having medical procedures never seemed to have an adverse effect on her early years and social skills, in fact I think it was the opposite. As a toddler Janelle would gravitate to men, often climbing up onto strangers laps or asking men to pick her up before I could stop her. I remember one visit to the local doctors surgery. In a waiting room full of children and mothers, Janelle headed straight to the corner, bypassing the toys and climbed up on an old gentlemen's lap. I believe her love of men was because of all the doctors attention she had received over those months in hospital.
Slowly her Hemangiomas shrunk over the coming months, she may have been injected for six or seven months before they felt they had it under control. Gradually some of my fears were dissolving. Being at home now, I was under the impression that our small town of Healesville knew about Janelle's condition, but when she was eighteen months old, I was in for a rude shock. While shopping in a local gift store, Janelle was playing on some stairs, just three steps that dropped to a separate level. The lady working there was quick to tell me to remove my child from the stairs, as she looked like she had already been hurt. The accusing tone in her voice indicated that she believed that I had hurt Janelle. I left the shop and went straight down the road to the local newspaper, where I asked them if they would do an article on Janelle to clear up any misconceptions. They had asked me to print Janelle's story when she was six months old, but because we didn't know if Janelle would live, I declined. So they agreed to do the story and Janelle was featured in the local newspaper and also the New Idea magazine..... I still have both the articles.
Over the next 3-4 years we still visited the hospital regularly and Janelle had only one operation to lower her eye so it was in line with her good eye. All the talk of extensive plastic surgery never eventuated and basically as Janelle got older it got harder to see that she had ever been so disfigured at all. I think the greatest sign God gave me that He had always been in control over the time of Janelle's illness, was her name. I mentioned in chapter one that her name was seen in the back of a newspaper, an unusual name, hardly ever heard in Melbourne. We three years later I was in a Christian Store and saw a book on the shelf of baby's names. I found the name Janelle and looked up her scripture.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
When I saw this I cried, standing right there in the store. God knew that if Janelle grew up still with the hemangiomas, it would concern her. It would affect her life greatly to look like that. Would she have ever married and had her beautiful family? However God did not forsake the works of His hands.... He did not forsake my precious little baby girl... Janelle Kylie Bartlett! ......My beautiful blessing...... My hope
A big thank you to my amazing Mother, who opened her heart to re live the memories of my childhood to share this journey. I have learnt so much more about myself and also about you and what we went through. I truly believe this was the start to the amazing relationship we have together. You're my best friend, through thick and thin. I love you Mama.
Thank you everyone for coming into my life and following along on this journey we have shared. I appreciate all the lovely messages I have recieved in response to both my story shared via Instagram, and this blog. xx