Christmas Miracles Continue to Confound and Delight

By:  Bob Adelmann
Christmas Miracles Continue to Confound and Delight

The world asks, "How can this be?" Faith answers.

Every Christmas, Dr. David Steinberg, an oncologist at the Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, lifts the spirits of other doctors and nurses with a recitation of the year’s miracles. In 2003 it was Brandon Connor, whose tumor suddenly disappeared on the eve of his surgery. Doctors discovered a tumor growing near his spine while he was still inside his mother’s womb. Five weeks after his birth, doctors brought the bad news to his parents, Kristin and Mike Connor: Brandon had neuroblastoma, one of the deadliest forms of childhood cancers.

Surgery risked paralysis, so the Connors waited, hoping that the tumor might recede as they sometimes do. Not with Brandon. When he turned two, the surgeons scheduled Brandon for surgery. The night before the surgery was scheduled a final workup revealed no tumor, no mass, only some fatty tissue.

Kristin said, “It was a miracle. It was surreal to us that this could possibly have happened.” The doctors had a ready explanation: The neuroblastoma had “committed cellular suicide.”

There was Tim Kaczmarek, age 48, who had a mechanical pump installed in his chest after emergency quadruple bypass surgery following a massive heart attack. The pump would remain in place until he was strong enough to undergo a complete heart transplant.

After six weeks, Kaczmarek’s heart function had recovered to the point where the pump was removed. The doctors didn't call it a miracle, just “unusual.” Said Dr. Robert Kormos, who runs the artificial heart program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, "It’s relatively unusual to see a patient like him recover from a major heart attack. It was a pleasant surprise to find that he had enough cardiac reserve to be able to heal and have a good, functioning heart."

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