There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Before I tell you about baby Ayden, my sister's great grandson, I think I need to explain a little about our family dynamics. When one of ours is in jeopardy or need, we gather, as many as possible in prayer. Those who cannot be in the prayer circle physically pray as they can.

There have been times when we could not get together so we are praying individually because Jesus said that where two or three are gathered in His name, He will be in the midst, so He is in our midst even when we are gathered spiritually.  Always in the circle is our matriarch who is 91 this year.

 Ayden's saga I started several days ago is being replaced with this first hand account from the heart of my nephew, Gary Lee. He is Ayden's grandfather and they absolutely adore each other. 
Ayden Benjamin Popson was born on May 11, 2010 to Maria Carmela Monds Popson and Adam Popson 1V. Ayden is my grandon, the first grandchild born into my family by my first born daughter.
As you can imagine, he is very special to us. From the time he was born he has been the center of attention in my household. Myself, my wife, Linda and my second daughter, Mandy, have been overjoyed with his presence.  Maria and Adam have proven to be great parents and Ayden is one of the happiest babies I have ever been around. Ayden progressed with his motor skills, crawilng and had begun to pull himself up in the beginning stages of walking.
Ayden's pediatrician, Dr. Maryann Merling, had him on a schedule for wellness checkups at three, six, nine and twelve months. During his six month checkup she noted the diameter of his head was in the severnty percentile and put this situation on watch. At his nine month check up his head diameter reached the ninetieth percentile. This appointment was on February 14, 2011. At nine months and three days old, Dr. Merling scheduled Ayden for an ultrasound for Feb. 16th. She seemed very concerned with his diameter and the form of his head. Ayden was such a good baby, he hardly ever cried and was always smiling and very active. The famly just could not believe anyting could possible be wrong and therefore we were not overly concerned with this.
On Feb. 16th, his mother, Maria, Grandma Linda and aunt Mandy headed out for his ultrasound in northern Kentucky. Adam and myself both had to work that day. Adam had been laid off for some time as a carpenter and had just recently landed a new job with Kokosing and did not have any time off built up and financially needed to work for the reason of just coming off of a lay off. The test was completed and Ayden and the women headed home. On the way they stopped to eat and then stopped for clothes for Ayden because he was outgrowig everything he had. They had finished all they set out to do that day and were headed home to Blanchester. Aunt Mandy, 17 years old, was driving at 5:10 pm through Goshen, Ohio when Maria received a phone call from the radiologist. He stated that he read the ultrasound and that he saw a mass that is most likely cancerous in little Ayden's brain. Linda immediately called me with the terrible news and asked me to talk with Maria as she was frantic. Very concerned about my whole life coming up the road in that car, I headed down highway 28 to meet them and see them home safely.
That evening was very, very difficult to get through. Things just didn't seem real and Ayden was his typical self, laughing and playing. Arrangements were made with the hospital to set up the MRI. The following morning Adam had to return to work. We were very concerned for his safety, going to work on a construction site with all this on his mind. The hospital contacted Maria early and told her not to feed him and get on the way for testing. So on Feb.17th we headed for Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio for an MRI. At nine months old, an MRI on the brain that takes three hours requires anesthesia. Upon arriving at the hospital, Ayden was signed in and soon taken back. With Adam at work, Maria wanted her mother and me to go back with them. It was at this point, sitting in that room waiting on a stranger to come and take my grandson and put him to sleep with drugs for three hours I realized something that has changed me for life. After being married for 23 years and having two daughters of my own, I thought I knew how strong a father's love can be. You see, when you have your own kids you miss a lot of things because you are always so busy getting life started. I am noticing things with Ayden that I know happened when my girls were little and I missed them, right in front of me. What I realized was I never knew how much I could love another human being until this baby was born and this helped me to understand God's love for us.
Right before they came to take him back I gathered Maria and Linda around Ayden and said a prayer, begging God to heal him and make this go away. When they came to get him, we stood and watched them carry him away, all three of us standing there thinking that we would rather give our lives than to see him go through this. We headed out to the waiting room to be greeted by many family members. Approximately 4 hours later they called us back to see him. He was just coming around and was not happy. Shortly after coming out of the MRI they moved him to a room for the night. We waited for the surgeon to report before heading home. Dr. Stevenson came in to see Adam and Maria and told them of his diagnosis. He did not believe the tumor was cancerous due to the fact that it was attached by a large blood vesel and not attached to the brain itself. The tumor was believed to be in the liquid space in the center of the brain and approximately the size of a racquetball. He was to spend the night in the hospital and start taking steroids to reduce swelling, go home the following day and return in one week for surgery.
Everything I have just talked about was only two days long. You can imagine what the next week was for the family, with the anticipation and horrifying worry of what was going to happen. Adam's company gave him a temporary layoff so that he could be with his family for this period. By Saturday, Ayden's head was noticeably smaller due to the steroids. We all took turns spending the night with one another so that Adam and Maria could get rested up for the long weeks ahead of them and the fact of the matter is, no one wanted to be away from him for one minute. During this week of time all  anyone could do is just sit and stare at him and wander why this is happening.
On Thursday, February 24, 2011, Ayden needed to be at Children's at 6:00 am. We all headed that way absolutely scared to death. As we sat in the waiting room with Ayden and waited for them to take him to surgery, he was playing with my hat and didn't have a clue what was about to happen to him. I wanted to be able to talk to him and tell him what was about to happen and that he would be okay with God watching over him. The surgery was supposed to take around eight hours. The hospital was very good abut keeping us informed each step of the way. The whole family was there in support along with Brother Bill Webb and Charlie Tissancer for spiritual support. The surgery only took five hours instead of eight. Dr Stevenson came out to talk to the family and stated the tumor was actually the size of a tennis ball  but everything went better and quicker than he ever would have expected. he stated again that he did not think it was cancer and a few days later when the test came back verified his thoughts. It was not cancerous.
When we were able to see him in ICU that evening it was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced in my life. To see him in this way made me very angry and unable to control my emotions. I spent the next few weeks still angry as I  watched my daughter, grandson and son-in-law go through this experience. I kept my faith in God and asked him every day, all day, to help. About two weeks in the hospital had gone by and Ayden was becoming more alert and when he finally smiled at us I knew then he was going to get back to normal. Linda and I made the trek to the hospital every day for the thirty six days and Adam and Maria stayed at the hospital all but two nights of the thirty six in which  Linda and I stayed to let them go home and relax. On Apil 1st. Ayden was released to go home and is now continuing his treatments of physical and occupational therapy. He has made major strides to a full recovery and is expected to recover 100%. God blessed us with this baby and has now blessed us again by allowing us to keep him and have him healthy. I honestly believe that Ayden has a special purpose in his life. He has already taught me more than I have learned in 43 years of life and has kept thousands of people on their knees praying to God for his healing and their prayers were answered. God is great and through this experience for many of my family and friends has drawn closer to him. I thank him every day and continue to pray for Ayden and a full rehabiitation and that God will use this life experience for Ayden to save many.
We love our families and want the best for them. Sometimes families go through experiences that really grab a hold of them. This experience grabbed us, holds us and will continue to squeeze us for a long, long time. It has drawn us closer to one another and most importanly even closer to God.  
--------------Gary Monds, April 16, 2011----------

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
JOHN 14:13-14

Gary forgot to tell us that the surgeon said the reason Ayden did so well was the backing and prayers of all his friends and family. The waiting room was full while the tests and surgery were being done and someone was always in the room with him for the whole 6 weeks. He said some children don't have anyone with them.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Ayden with Mom-February 17 before tests
after surgery

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.
And patience, experience; and experience, hope.
ROMANS 5:2-4
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
being kept motionless
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
PSALM 91:11-12
                                               probably wondering what in the world is next

                    Finally, Mom gets to hold him                                               

Cuddling with aunt Mandy

                               Grandma Linda loves him                                                                                       

Great grandma, Jackie, gets a turn

Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
PSALM 63:7 
No one else counts when Papaw Gary is around
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Ayden had great doctors and nurses
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus  concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Dad and Mom didn't leave the hospital for 6 weeks except for 2 nights
"and a little child shall lead them."
At last, getting to sit up and play
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Great, great grandma Gibby , our 91 year old matriarch, always praying for all of us

Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
first trip out of his room in five weeks

Here is Ayden on April 3, two days after being released from the hospital in his new covered wagon going to see the horses with great grandparents- Gary, Sr. and Jackie, grandparents-Gary, Jr. and Linda, parents-Adam & Maria, cousins-Rob, Jenna & Kendall with great aunt Carolyn videoing

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