Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My little strawberry man

When Liam was born, he had a small patch of red squiggles on his right cheek.  They looked like faint broken capillaries and were almost invisible on his jaundiced little face.  The only thing we were told at the hospital was "it will get worse before it gets better".  They didn't even tell me what it was!  It took a lovely doctor at my church to tell me it was an haemangioma (blood lump/benign tumor/strawberry mark).  And it did get worse!

I used to never really notice it getting worse, or rather didn't want to as all I wanted to do was to love and nurture him.  But I was always reminded of it in public.  Really stupid people would come up to me and blatantly ask me what was wrong with him! What's that on his face?  Did you burn him?

The crazy thing is, no one wanted to actually listen to my answer.  It's like their eyes and tongues were disconnected from their brains and they just blurted out their shock of his appearance like an uncontrollable verbal fart.  In my head I would scream don't ask if you don't want to know!  I did tell more than one person to mind their own business and what's that on YOUR face?

And then there were the double-takers and the starers.  Some people, I've discovered are extremely underdeveloped socially.  I would come home and have a little cry.  Not out of embarrassment or shame of his face, but from fear that this silly red splotch on his face could one day tell him he was a freak or worthless because that is how some adults were viewing him.  Even at my church a few people recoiled in disgust at him!

Not everyone though.  There are some people in our lives who have always seen his beautiful eyes, smile and funny personality.

I started doing some research on haemangiomas and was overwhelmed.  I went to a plastic surgeon at Sydney's Westmead Hospital who told me that there was nothing you can do and it may go after 20 years!  This is after he stuck his unwashed, tobacco stinking fingers in Liam's mouth!  It took me months before I went to a private surgeon for advice.  Months that were critical and therefore meant I missed the boat with one of the treatments available.

Then I just gave it over to God.  All of it.  And I believe He told me to wait.  Wait and see.  And you know what, it began to involute quite quickly.  The redness and bulkiness have all but gone.  We are still facing the possibility of surgery but I also believe God may have another plan yet.

This is the same little man who suffers random seizures and yesterday I was told he has significant hearing loss in his left ear.  I am praying for God's direction and trust Him to guide me as Liam is not only my son, he is His son too.



  1. Your little boy has such beautiful eyes and a happy smile that shows how much he is loved. As mums we are always protective of our children and I cannot begin to imagine how it would feel to be subjected to such insensitive and uninformed comments. My eldest daughter was born with a small strawberry mark on her arm. It did darken a lot but almost disappeared after she was one.
    May you find strength with God at this time xo

  2. What a brave and honest post. Yes I can see the changes in the photos.
    It's hard to believe that people in public can be so unfeeling, I've seen that kind of thing happen, but it's always surprising and upsetting.
    So exciting that it's fading and that God has it all in his hand! And to hear about your trust in Him.
    I'm deaf in one ear too, since being pregnant, would you believe. I could have surgery .... But haven't ... Hearing aids these days are amazing, I hope he can use one.
    Take care and keep trusting God!

    And by the way, your son is such a cutie! What a great smile!

  3. Beautiful post. Your little men are both adorable.
    People say the strangest things sometimes. When our baby girl was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a family friend said 'oh another one gone wrong'. We laughed about it afterwards because ..well who says that!! I think sometimes people don't know what to say and sometimes they don't know any better. Keep trusting.

  4. Fi Fi!
    I can't believe how much Liams strawberry has improved!! I never took any notice of it before, and seeing it in pictures now and being able to compare... WOW such an improvement! If those rude people actually took the time to look past his strawberry they would have seen who Liam really was - a beautiful little boy. It's their loss now!

    Looking at the pics make me sad, because he is growing up way too quickly :(

  5. People can be so cruel and insensitive at times. Our oldest had an unusually large head when he was younger, seriously as a preschooler it was almost bigger than mine and we were forever getting horrible comments about it. It made my love for him even more fierce and no matter what others said he was perfect in our eyes. He eventually grew into it at school but doesn't like looking back at photos as he too remembers the taunts and remarks.
    Liam is so gorgeous Fi and the change these photos shows is amazing! Keep trusting in our Lord :)

  6. He is delightful and proving that God really does know what he is doing. xxx

  7. I love this post. It shows that your little man is happy. What more is important? It is hard to understand other peoples reactions. I suppose it is hard to not look twice when you see something you don't expect but what you choose to say or do next is manners. It is good to see the redness slowly fading. It will bring hope to other mothers whos child may only just be starting this path with similar birth marks.

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  9. Wait is the best advice you could be given. I was born with one on my backside and in the wisdom of 1970s medicine the dermatologist burnt it off with acid. I now have a dirty great scar! ...and they tell me it would have just gone away in its own time.

  10. What a gorgeous little boy you have their Fi, you can see by his smile in all the photos above what a loved and happy little soul he is. It's amazing how insensitive people can be, I'm so sorry for what you have had to put up with. Liam's strawberry mark has improved so much. My eldest daughter was born with a strawberry mark smack bang on her forehead, I used to be quite conscious of it but being a winter bub, she often wore beanies which covered it. Gradually her fringe covered it too and it flattened and faded over time. I remember getting lots of questions about it too. Did Liam ever knock his? I remember a doctor telling me that because there are lots of blood vessels there, a cut/knock can bleed quite badly...

    1. The forehead would have been a better spot than the cheek as the skin also lies more flat across there. Liam's cheek will always be a bit flabby as the skin was stretched for so long. Fortunately, Liam has never cut himself there as yes, I would imagine it would bleed quite badly! I'm glad your daughter's one came good too!

  11. Hi Fiona, have just discovered you blog and this post.Our 3 year old niece has a haemangioma under her tongue.She also has lymphangiomas around her neck poor kid.She has had horrible treatments in Brisbane, injections of toxins in tongue and so on. They did at one stage say her tongue had died and needed to be cut off! A Dr Lord (would you believe) in Sydney has had success for other patients, just not her. She is now off all treatment and everyone is believing in a miracle. Your little boy looks amazing, people can be so cruel.


Hey thanks for popping by! I read all your comments and really try and get to your blog too. Despite my good intentions, I don't always reply to each message but I am very grateful for the time you take in sharing your thoughts with me. Word verification is back up because I am getting spammed big time. So thanks for taking that extra step in commenting. Blessings, Fi xxxxx

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