Sometimes Broken Plans Are God’s Way of Saying Let Me Handle This

They might be part of the bigger picture; to make you the person you are today

Shabaira Junaid
5 min readDec 8, 2021
Photo by Stefan Stefancik from Pexels

Nothing had gone according to plan that day. I’d already had enough of the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the recent turn of events. I had arrived at the hospital early morning, only to receive news that only exacerbated my anxiousness — the doctors had decided not to go ahead with the planned surgery.

I went looking for my husband. He was standing outside the doctor’s room, waiting for me. I tried reading his face from the distance. I was overwhelmed with pessimism; all kinds of questions and thoughts crossed my mind as I walked up to him.

“What’s happening? Why did they cancel the surgery? Is everything okay?”

“Just calm down,” he’d replied. “Everything’s fine; the doctors want to discuss some more options with us before they go ahead.”

Now, this thing called change irks me. Change in plans that have taken my time and energy makes it to the top of my list. The decision to go for surgery, in this case, had been one which was well thought out and seemed logical. So it didn’t make sense to me why, after everything we’d done, should we back out at the last moment.

We had been living like any other ordinary family out there, going about our normal business and daily routines when one day everything changed.

My son, seven years old at the time, had come to me pale-faced and told me about this excruciating pain in the left side of his abdomen. We took him to the hospital, where, at first his doctor suggested it was due to constipation and stomach gases.

My son had previously been treated for those and I could tell it was different this time. He was in terrible agony. His pain was intolerable.

An ultrasound revealed that his left kidney had severe back pressure, known as ‘hydronephrosis’. The doctor ordered some more tests to determine what caused it. I held his hand while we waited for the CT scan.

He looked up to me teary-eyed, hoping mommy could lessen his pain, and all I could do was stroke his hand, rub his back and tell him everything would be okay.

The doctor gave his diagnosis after the CT scan. It was a case of ‘ureteric stricture’. An obstruction in the left ureter had caused the backpressure. It was affecting the kidney muscles, and if not treated, could cause permanent damage.

They told us to take our case to a pediatric urologist for further treatment. I spent hours researching everything there was to know about ureteric strictures and made appointments with several urologists for a second opinion.

I wished they’d said it wasn’t a big deal; that there was nothing to worry about. But to my dismay, it wasn’t the case. All doctors told us the same thing. The pressure was damaging the kidney muscles and surgery was required to remove the affected part of the ureter.

The thought of my son going under the knife was terrifying. We had to be prepared for the risks associated with major surgery. We had to put on a brave face for our kids who had no idea of the severity of the situation.

Arrangements were made for the surgery. I tried to stay composed even when I was swamped with stress and anxiety.

I didn’t want our eleven-year-old daughter to get the faintest idea about the predicament we were in. She was and still is, extremely protective of her little brother. Any problem has to go through her before it reaches her brother. She has always been his saviour, his guardian angel.

I guess this is what parenthood is all about. You shield your kids — no matter what you’re going through, you still put on a happy face and pretend everything’s fine.

So, here we were at the hospital on the day of the scheduled surgery. We sat in the doctor’s room. My husband and I stared at him from across the table, but he paid no heed to us and carried on scrolling and typing into his laptop.

After what felt like an eternity, he finally rose his head above the screen. I don’t know what had crossed his mind, but he’d decided to explore other treatment options first, instead of surgical intervention. Major surgery is complicated and it could have implications for the rest of my son’s life. He told us about endoscopic procedures — non-invasive and less risky.

While the doctor briefed us, all I could think about was why. Why didn’t he tell us about these procedures before? Why did he choose to tell us now? Why did he suggest surgery if he wasn’t sure about it?

I’d heard about instances where hospitals and doctors would opt for surgeries just to make money, even if it wasn’t necessary. So, was he trying to make money out of it previously? What had caused this change of mind?

I was already nervous; this added to the anxiety and confusion. My initial thoughts were to go according to plan. I’d already put in a lot of my time and energy in collecting information and visiting doctors.

This delay was frustrating — I just wanted treatment for my son as soon as possible. My husband had the same opinion but he was willing to explore other alternatives.

Consequently, we consulted other urologists who specialised in using endoscopic methods. My son’s condition was treated by inserting a tube — known as a DJ stent, into the ureter. Fortunately for us, this meant we’d barely dodged major surgery.

Although he has to go for routine checkups now, he’s like any other normal ten-year-old — healthy and full of life.

This ordeal made me reflect on how we live life, our behaviour and our reactions to difficult situations. Things turned out okay for us at the end of the day, but this experience gave us some valuable lessons for life.

One of the biggest lessons learned was that God works in mysterious ways. A hiccup in our plan might seem disheartening, but it could be in our best interests. We can’t see the bigger picture — most of us aren’t cut out for that.

More often than not, we lack the patience required to get through a difficult phase because we want immediate results. At times we pray for things that aren’t good for us.

So, every time a prayer is unanswered or things look bleak, and you find yourself complaining, slow down and take a deep breath. Be patient — things will work out and maybe, just maybe, they’ll end up even better than you’d planned.

I still think about what would’ve happened if the doctor hadn’t postponed the surgery. It was a risky surgery after all, and if something had gone wrong, it would’ve affected my son’s life and health.

I tell myself it was a miracle and it helped save my boy’s life. Who knows how things would’ve turned out if the doctors had proceeded with the surgery, even if they weren’t sure about it.

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