The Dose’s Story

Mar 29, 2016 | Stories

Dose1It is the devastating news that no parent is prepared to hear. As Nick and Allison Dose sat with their 19-month old son’s pediatrician, they were told that Isaac had a brain tumor. They didn’t get a lot of answers. The pediatrician prepared the young couple for the absolute worst, as they were told the tumor was in a very dangerous part of the brain near the brain stem and spinal cord. There didn’t seem to be a lot of hope in the doctor’s voice. The couple left in shock. They got into the car and the tears started to flow. It was a spiritual wake-up call. Allison vividly remembers Nick turning to her and saying,

“God is still good, and He can, and He will use this for the good.” 

The Doses were committed to glorifying God during this time and giving up this situation to Him. They reminded themselves of the story of Isaac in the Bible and how God had asked Abraham to willingly sacrifice his son. Nick stated, “We found ourselves praying the same prayer as Abraham, and it was extremely difficult for us not knowing what the future outcome was for our son.”

The couple consulted with a local neurosurgeon and oncologist, who indicated that the tumor was located in the worst place possible and if it kept growing, it could be fatal. “Basically, they said if a tumor can have a fatal outcome, they call it cancer,” said Allison. They were initially told the tumor was inoperable due to the placement, and then were later told that the surgeon would operate but with potentially devastating consequences: Isaac could conceivably be on a ventilator the rest of his life and possibly paralyzed from the neck down. The family clung to God during this time – for peace, direction, and guidance – and knew that they couldn’t get through this on their own strength. Allison stated,

“I feel like often times Christians just go through the motions when times are good, and then when something goes bad, you realize how empty you are without God and that you need Him every single second of the day. I’m so thankful we had a solid foundation to stand on. I honestly don’t know how someone would go through this without Jesus Christ. He sustained us from the beginning and I’m so very thankful.” 

God led the Doses to Boston Children’s Hospital for a second opinion, and He was consistently confirming that they were going in the right direction. Allison recalls the phone consultation with the Pediatric Neurosurgical Oncology Director, who stated, “The bad news is that your son has a brain tumor. The good news is that we can treat this.” The neurosurgeon reassured them she had seen this type of tumor many times and she felt very confident she could do this surgery successfully without any of the complications that had been discussed. “Before, because of our faith in God, we obviously had hope, but it was so small because of what we’d been told,” stated Nick. “But this lady gave us hope that we had a chance to keep our son.”

Dose2Even before Isaac was born, Nick and Allison had chosen his life verse to be Joshua 1:9, which says,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

This verse was so fitting for young Isaac. At the age of 19 months, he survived a grueling 8-hour brain surgery and started intense chemotherapy. “He is being called to live a life of amazing courage,” stated Allison, and he is living out this verse to the fullest. Isaac’s surgery was successful and Isaac’s long-term prognosis is good. He will be monitored the rest of his life with periodic MRIs, and he is continuing to receive chemo in order to make sure the tumor doesn’t grow. Amazingly, while the goal of the chemo has been to keep the tumor stable, the results of the first two MRIs indicated that the tumor had actually shrunk! Allison stated, “There are so many things that could complicate his life, but I have hope God will save him, and God will heal him, and he’ll be just fine. I have to live with that hope.”

Nick and Allison both talk about the immense support they received from family and friends as well as God’s provision during this time. A Go-Fund-Me account was set up for the family, and within two days their goal was exceeded. “There was no doubt we would reach our out-of-pocket maximum for insurance and God took away the burden of wondering how we’d pay for all the medical bills. We are so thankful that God is dependable,” said Allison.  Nick spoke about the support that they received through their church family from the moment they heard of Isaac’s diagnosis, sending verses, spending a night in prayer, having the congregation pray over their family, and supporting them financially as well. Nick stated,

“Community is strong at Veritas and everyone goes through trials. This Church is here to do life with you… through the good and the bad. Just the way you are and whatever life throws at you… people are there for you.”

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