The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


The Popes: A Blessing in Reality

By Cheryl Wilcox
The 700 Club They celebrated Miles’s fourth birthday not knowing if he would have a fifth.

“It’s very clear once we got all of the doctor’s notes that there was a very good chance for death,” says his mother, Shawn. “He also told us that there was a very good possibility, if he made it, that he would be a quadriplegic.”

A year earlier Miles had been a healthy vivacious child. Now, Barry and Shawn Pope were making life and death decisions about their son.

Miles was diagnosed with a spinal AVM -- arteriovenous malformation. An AVM is an abnormal collection of blood vessels in or around the spinal cord. This can cause hemorrhaging or a stroke and paralysis. Though steroids caused Miles to swell, they reduced the inflammation and gave him some much-needed time.

“The doctor at Vanderbilt told us that if he didn’t have surgery he would die,” says Shawn.

Surgery could leave Miles a quadriplegic. He also had an aneurysm. With this scenario most say surgery's not possible.

Shawn and Barry were referred to a neurologist at Emory University who was willing to operate.

Shawn Pope“The prognosis was up in the air,” says Shawn. “He couldn’t really tell us anything because it’s never been done before.”

What Barry and Shawn did know was that prayer works. Their church and immediate family continually rallied around them and cried out to God for help.

“That’s the only thing we knew to do,” says Shawn. “You’ve got to have more faith going into it than to go set your house up to bring a quadriplegic child home. I understand that [the doctor] was trying to be realistic with us but I’ve got a God that is much bigger than a little AVM in a spinal cord.”

As if all this wasn't devastating enough, Barry and Shawn had to sell their home. The timing couldn't be worse. They moved into an affordable basement to offset the huge medical expenses and the loss of a second income.

When surgery day arrived, Barry and Shawn placed their son in the hands of a skilled surgeon and in the arms of their Heavenly Father.

Barry PopeShawn says that was one of the most difficult decisions of her life. “Because we didn’t know if he would make it. We had no guarantee.”

Back in Nashville, their church was praying. Even the Popes felt led to go into prayer for Miles. Barry says, “It was the longest nine hours of our life.”

To everyone’s relief, Miles’s surgery was a complete success.

“You always think your children are special, but I know mine are,” says Barry. “They’re here for a reason, and if it weren’t for God, they wouldn’t be here.”

Today Miles is a bright young boy who loves swimming, ice skating, and bowling. His favorite subject in school is math.

“Hands down this has got to be one of the biggest miracles I’ve seen,” says Shawn.

The 'While You Were Out' CrewAt the end of this difficult journey a little something special was done by the While You Were Out decorating show. They took the Popes' basement area and turned it into a home for Barry, Shawn, Megan, and Miles.

“It blew my mind,” says Shawn. “I still can’t believe it. I would have never complained about the way this was, because we were just really grateful to have it… God not only provides our needs but there are a lot of times he provides our wants too. So to say we are blessed doesn’t even start to explain it.”

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