Braeden’s Surgery: Conquering Fear


For his entire life, Braeden’s wrist has been bent the wrong way. Instead of bending up, his bent down. Each year, when we attend the comprehensive clinic where he’s seen by all sorts of doctors and therapists, we’re asked if we’d like to try and correct it. At one time, we had some testing done to see if the correction would improve his ability to use his left hand; it didn’t. So for years, we’ve said, “No thanks” to the offer of corrective plastic surgery. We didn’t want to subject him to the stress of surgery for an optional procedure unless it was something he requested.

Nearly one year ago, though, Braeden (then 14) asked us to fix his wrist. So we made the call and booked the surgery. In May, not quite a month ago, it was time…

Braeden's wrist pre-surgery, standing

When the minute arrived that we were to head down to the O.R., Braeden “changed his mind.” I put that in quotes because I don’t believe that he suddenly didn’t want his wrist fixed, but he was afraid. In that moment, the reality of surgery was imminent, and the idea of voluntarily allowing someone to put him to sleep and cut into his arm was terrifying. And I had one of those moments where I needed to do the hard mommy-stuff…

I dragged, cajoled, bribed, pep-talked, prayed, and pushed my 110 lb son down the hospital hallway. (Since when does anyone have to walk down to the O.R. on their own anyway?!) As his mother, I knew his heart’s desire. My job is to help him pursue his heart’s desire, even when fear wants to take him out. Even when people (medical professionals, other parents, etc.) are looking at me and judging me, thinking I’m forcing him to do something because it’s what I want (because they weren’t in my home for the dozens of conversations asking and re-asking him if this is what he really wants).

Braeden post-surgery

We toughed out two weeks at home with severe pain, crazy swelling and bruising, and endless self-doubt (not on his part, but mine). I had just allowed my son to go through a major ordeal, with months more hard work on the horizon – did I do the right thing? Should I have let him back out at the last minute? Should I have talked him out of it long before? Knowing in my mind that I did the right thing for him in those hospital hallways didn’t quiet the hurt and worry in my heart.

But last week, we went in to remove the temporary, plaster (read: 15 lbs), partial cast and replace it with a full, fibreglass one – in red, of course. The look on Braeden’s face when he saw his newly positioned wrist quieted that unsettled place in my mother-heart.

Braeden's wrist, no cast

He was sure. His certainty remained, but had been masked by the fear. I had done the right thing. The coming months of therapy appointments and ongoing therapy at home would be worth it, because a boy had the chance to go after something he really wanted.

Braeden with cast

See that little smile? That’s the smile of a teenage boy trying to look cool and pretend he’s not excited. Sometimes, we need a little extra push to keep on pursuing our goals when worry and anxiety get in our way. I wonder how many past dreams I’ve allowed to slip through my fingers in those moments when panic reigned… I am so thankful I’ve got a Parent who will push me, pull me, and even drag me when necessary, in order to keep me moving toward the future plans He’s called me to.

Do you have a dream that’s been waylaid by fear?

Be strong and courageous! Do not be discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9



  1. 1

    Thanks for sharing a glimpse into the journey you’ve been on… It brings me joy to see the ways things unfolded and of course the smile on Braeden’s face makes it all worth it!!! I really needed this encouragement today, as I’ve been contemplating a variety of new possibilities and feel paralyzed to make a decision. The recognition that this paralysis is probably based on fear and anxiety has brought a sense of peace and clarity, and I just need to face things head on. Thanks Tyler!!!

  2. 3
    Kelly Stoski says:

    Great great great post. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. 4
    Mark Allman says:

    Awesome story. I think you did great helping him pursue his heart’s desire.

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