Wiersma Family Blog

A glimpse into our lives as a family with micro-preemies. Our twins boys (Lovingly referred to as our Miracle Men) were born almost 16 weeks early.

Our journey continues when our son Max was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 3. This is his story....

Monday, July 13, 2009


This will be a short post asking for prayers for Maxwell. I got a call this morning from Dr. Dr. saying that a decision has been made to move ahead with a hernia surgery for Max...tomorrow. I have not brought up the hernia situation yet, because it has frankly not been an issue so far. Disclaimer: the following description will contain frank references to the male genitalia. If this makes you squirm or giggle to yourself a little bit...it is probably time to grow up. Many of you likely know that all life starts off in the female form. The same organs that develop near the kidneys that become a female's ovaries are the "same" organs that descend into the scrotum of a male and become testicles. When little boys, i.e. Max and Wes, are born as early as they are, this descent has not yet happened. What does happen, since the babies are now lying flat with little to no gravity to help the process, is that their intestines loop through the hole into their scrotum that would normally be occupied and closed off in a term baby. Both Max and Wes have this "hernia" in both sides of their scrotum. The boys' motto is "go big or go home." They have both been seen regularly by a team of surgeons who examine the size and severity of said hernias, and these surgeons, upon examination, try to "reduce" the hernia or push it gently back into the abdomen. If this procedure is not met with much resistance, they are happy campers. The typical time line is for little boys to have this surgery done about 1 week prior to their departure from the NICU to their homes. The thought process behind waiting is to let the kids get as big and strong as they can and overcome all of the trillion obstacles that life throws at these babies. Wes' "reducing" procedure went as expected, but Max's did not. Nurse Emily said that when the doctor applied pressure, Max's eyes about popped out of his head and his face turned very, very red. At the risk of sounding off color, I will say only that I do not blame my son for having this type of reaction!! Needless to say, the hernia did not reduce. This is of concern because if the bowel or intestines were to twist or kink, the results, the doctors said, would be devastating. The implication was that it could easily become a loss of life scenario if that were to happen. They are okay with things right now because the blood supply looks good, but they are taking every precaution. So Max is having somewhat of an emergency surgery tomorrow morning at 10:45. The procedure is done by making two incision on either side of his abdomen and essentially lifting the intestine out of the scrotum, letting the testicle assume its rightful position, and then closing things up such that it can/should not happen again. The surgery is quite common, and the risk of blood loss is not even near what it was with the boys' heart surgeries, but there are some risks. The largest of which would be loss of blood flow to the testicle for a long enough period of time that there would be concerns about sterility down the road...a very, very long road.

We covet your prayers for Max and the surgeons tomorrow. Kate and I have been absolutely leveled by all of the information thrown at us about trakes and physical therapy and respiratory therapy and feeding clinics, etc. and our energy level is LOW. Please flood the gates of Heaven with prayers for Max. Pray that God send his Holy Spirit to hold Max before during and after the procedure. Our hearts are broken for all that these boys have had to endure, particularly Max, and just want him to be comfortable and safe. This surgery does not carry the "hope" that it will really help in the near future like the PDA surgery did, so our feeling has been more of a hope that this doesn't set him back too much.


  1. Prayers will be going up from our household as well as all of our extended families, for both you and Kate, for Max and the Drs.
    Cory went through this surgery at a little under 5lbs. He came through it very well with no immediate complications. One of his testicles never grew, and was later removed to avoid the chance that it could in later life cause testicular cancer, but the other matured normally and we have no reason to believe that he is sterile, although until he decides to try to become a parent we will not know for sure.
    May you all feel the strong hands of our Lord hold you and protect you tomorrow.

    Peace and Love,

  2. Mark and Kate-

    I will be praying for little Max tommorrow and pray that the surgery goes well and Max recovers quickly from it. It is so hard to hand these little ones over to surgery. Praying for you and Kate and praying for strength, peace and rest for you both.

    Tina Jacobsen

  3. Praying today for Max, that God would bring healing and guide the hands of the surgeons. Praying He will give you His peace and comfort as you wait and put all your hope and trust in Christ alone. Praying for perseverance for both of you!

    "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. But this has happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he WILL deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers." (from 2 Corinthians 1:3-11)

    Trusting the God of all comfort, hope & healing,
    Amy Sluiter

  4. praying today! praying a lot.


  5. I'm praying for you this morning!! May God protect Max and guide the surgeons today and provide support and peace to carry you all through this procedure.

    Lean on Him.

  6. Mark, Kate, Max & Wes,

    Praying the promises of our Mighty God over your family today...

    "The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace." Psalm 29:10-11

    If we had the eyes to see, we KNOW that the angels surrounding Max, surrounding Wes, and surrounding you, Mark & Kate, would be too numerous to count. May you feel the strength of our mighty God holding you... and may you feel blessed with the peace of knowing that the same God who rules and reigns over all creation is the same God who is holding you now.

    Jason, Mary & Bella

  7. Praying the sugery goes well for Max tomorrow. So sorry to hear he has to go through yet another procedure, after all he (and his brother and you) have gone through. We're praying for all of you and especially you as their parents as you are in need of some great news, good sleep and more energy.

  8. Just got word. Will pray now. So many things come into play for these little lives. Thankfully, they are in the hands of a perfect God. Lots of prayers for you and Kate as well. May you be lifted up into those same loving hands that are holding up your boys!
    Sue Nykamp and boys