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Sophie Sparks gets divine reassurance

 
Sophie Sparks  gets divine  reassurance
On March 24, following a great report from her oncologist, Sophie Sparks and her godmother, Shannon Kosub, spot a mobile shrine on a San Antonio street, as if in answer to their prayers. Sophie’s father, Steve, prayed at the same shrine last year, on the road from Sabinal.

This is from an e-mail sent March 24. Many in our community have been following the progress of little Sophie Sparks, 5, who is battling cancer. Her godmother, Shannon Kosub, takes Sophie to many of her appointments to help Sophie’s parents keep their work commitments.

Today was nothing short of a great day! My heart was truly kissed by God many times today, and my mind is desperately trying to absorb and translate my feelings into words. This week has been full of emotions with today delivering the best!

Sophie underwent a CT-scan on Monday. The results left her parents frightened that two of the tumors in her left lung had significantly grown and the possibility of another “new” tumor was forming. The radiologist who gave the initial results had not called these findings out and her parents were very distraught. He met with Sophie’s oncologist, Dr. Patel, and reviewed his findings with him.

Dr. Patel looked at the results and then told us that he would give them to two other radiologists to review and he would let us know what they found at our next scheduled appointment. The news he gave us left me wanting to jump from the building -- with a parachute of course -- proclaiming God’s greatness!

He said what we thought were tumors growing in the left lung is just Sophie’s liver invading the space that used to house the tumors that were surgically removed from her lung in December. The third tumor that was in her left lung was gone completely. He went on to say that one of the tumors in her right lung had completely disappeared as well, and that the other was smaller than a grain of rice, and they weren’t even sure if it was actually a tumor; it could just be scar tissue. They would note this as a point of interest and would keep a close eye on it. He said Sophie would continue as planned for her next round of chemotherapy in two weeks.

I kept looking at Sophie’s dad, Steve, for a reaction of excitement over the news, but got nothing. Leaving the appointment, I asked Steve if he was as overjoyed as I was and his response was, “Yes, but I am just not convinced.”

I reminded him that we had to put full trust and faith into the doctors treating her. He agreed, but still wanted to have her radiation oncologist review the results with yet another set of radiologists. They, too, came back with the exact same results as the first set of radiologists.

So, as it stands, there is now only one area that they feel they have to keep an eye on but are not 100 percent sure if it is even a tumor. Where there were five tumors in Sophie’s body, there is now only one and that might just be scar tissue.

Steve called with the latest reading while we were eating lunch in San Antonio. Again, I asked Steve if he was excited yet. He responded, “Yes, I just hope they are right.”

I reminded him to put the faith and trust into the doctors and quietly wished that he could celebrate this wonderful news. Being the overprotective and loving father that he is, he just couldn’t calm his worrying soul.

I prayed for something to show Steve that God had it. And this is where the story really gets good.

You see, we are Catholic and we put a lot of faith and trust in Christ’s mother, Mary. Last October, St. Ann’s in La Vernia held a prayer vigil to celebrate the date the Blessed Mother appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal, and later performed a miracle. Father Stan Fiuk of St. Ann’s dedicated the service to prayers for Sophie’s healing. That night, he prayerfully placed Sophie fully into the hands of our Blessed Mother. Who better to ask for help with sending our pleading prayers to God, than the one person Jesus loved with all of his heart, His mother?

From that night on, Sophie has had a connection with Our Lady of Fatima, that surpasses all understanding coming from a 5-year-old. She eagerly learned to pray the rosary and to this day wants to learn more.

Some readers may recall that Steve shared a story of the day he was driving home from Sabinal, when he decided to make a point of doing his best to recite the rosary daily for Sophie. He spoke of the sign from God that gave his soul the peace of mind he had so fervently sought since Sophie was diagnosed with cancer. He told how before he started to recite the rosary that day he asked Pope John Paul II to hear his prayers and intercede on Sophie’s behalf.

Steve was praying the rosary when something caught his eye. On the right side of the road in a vacant parking lot was a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima. He was blown away, and immediately turned into the parking lot and got out and stood there with several others and prayed. He couldn’t contain his emotion because of the overwhelming since of calm that came over him.

He knew this was a sign from above! It was a mobile shrine housing a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. To him it was a powerful sign that prayers were being heard. Steve called me immediately upon leaving the shrine to tell me what he had just experienced.

I remember telling him to “bottle this feeling up and to store it somewhere safe” for he would no doubt have to drink from that bottle on the difficult days that were going to come.

Fast forward to the present. When I was driving along, privately wishing for Steve to retrieve that bottle of excitement from that day and hoping he could feel that reassurance again, that’s when it happened.

Not even 10 minutes after hanging the phone up with Steve and wanting so badly for him to feel that wonderful feeling of calm again, something caught my eye. At the same time I saw it, Sophie gasped loudly in the back seat and I immediately made a U-turn.

There she was, Our Lady of Fatima, staring right at us! It was the exact same shrine that Steve had seen many miles away that gave him the sign he so desperately needed just months earlier! Sophie’s gasp said it all!

I yelled in celebration that we had to call Steve. I took a photo of Sophie sitting next to the shrine and sent it via my mobile phone to her daddy, who was in complete disbelief!

How blessed are we that God gave us the sign yet again at the time we most needed it and in the loudest, most obvious way that He is in full control.

Needless to say, we are going to bed tonight with full hearts and huge praise to God! We thank you all for your heartfelt prayers, and overflowing love for Sophie.

 
 
Steve Valdez
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