By Dr. Gordon Handy
“But we did find something else,” the ER doctor at Brenner Children’s Hospital said. Words that no parent ever wants to hear. And words that mark the moment life will never be the same again.
This last year has been full of challenging life lessons for the Handy family, both in orthodontics and their personal family life. Holly and Gordon Handy welcomed the birth of their precious daughter, Marie Claire, on October 30th, 2017. They were ecstatic to be second-time parents after praying to be blessed with another child in God’s timing. Their four-year-old son, Thomas, was so excited to finally get to be a big brother to his “baby sister.”
A Challenging Journey
But little Marie Claire’s life was going to be a struggle: Code APGAR called for trouble breathing shortly after delivery; ten days in NICU for aspiration pneumonia; two ambulance trips to Brenner for severe coughing and inability to breathe; time again in the hospital for RSV; and the dreaded diagnosis of a childhood cancer called neuroblastoma.
It has been the trial of a lifetime for the Handy family. New parents’ illusion of control shattered. The fragility and brevity of life in this world embodied in their newborn baby girl. The decision point reached in these Christian parents’ walks with God: they surrendered their daughter to God and made the decision that whether He healed her on this side of Heaven or the other, they were going to trust that His love for her was perfect and His will for her life would be accomplished. Easily said, but not so easily done in the middle of the night, feeling scared and all alone on the oncology floor in Brenner Children’s Hospital.
God’s Little Miracles
After wise counsel by the pediatric oncologists at Brenner, prayer of their Calvary Baptist pastors and church family, and the prayers and support of friends and family all over the Southeast, Marie Claire just turned 8 months-old and is doing great! Praise be to Jesus, “the LORD who heals” (Exodus 15:26), her tumor is less than half the initial size and still shrinking.
There is nothing like a cancer diagnosis for a child to make a family stop and evaluate all areas of their lives and really assess who they are and what the purpose is for which they were blessed with life. The Handy family has grown closer to God and knows without a shadow of a doubt that He is the Giver of life, and their main purpose in life is to bring Him glory by loving Him with all their hearts and loving and serving others in His name. They have learned the critical importance of being unified in marriage, an impregnable union for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. And they have experienced first-hand that their precious children are first and foremost God’s children, gifts to be stewarded and held with an open and trusting heart as God develops His plan for their lives.
Gordon Handy has found that the life lessons his family has learned during this challenging trial are applicable not only to personal, but also to his business life. A strong sense of purpose has served to confirm and put flesh on the bones of the Mission Statement of his and his father’s H2O orthodontic practice: “To bring glory to God by passionately living out and sharing Truth, Excellence, and Beauty…and always, always doing The Right Thing.”
“Between the nightly news stories, social media and all the competing voices in healthcare in America and even our own community right now, the water is getting muddy and patients understandably confused,” said Dr. Gordon Handy. “In our field, there is a huge amount of unnecessary and expensive early orthodontic treatment of children despite repeated research findings that the vast majority of these kids could be treated at the usual age of 11-12 years-old and get the exact same result. There is also a repackaging of the failed idea that all orthodontic cases should be treated without tooth extraction, even though it has been shown for over 100 years that this results in very poor treatment outcomes in about 20% of patients. In keeping with our mission to “Uphold Truth and Do The Right Thing,” my father and I do our very best every day as orthodontic specialists to counsel both our referring doctors and prospective patients so that only the needed and most quality treatment is done to serve our community’s children and their families.”
H2O – The Clear Choice
“To fulfill our mission to share Excellence and Beauty with our teen and adult patients, H2O has also become the leader in the new technology of esthetic Invisalignand Invisalign Teenclear aligner orthodontic treatment,” notes Dr. Gordon. “Invisalign technology has come of age and is forever changing the landscape in orthodontics. We are leading the charge for esthetics and beauty at any age in modern orthodontics,” says Dr. Thom Handy. “Dr. Gordon has worked very hard to master Invisalign treatment for even the most challenging cases.”
“Invisalign treatment has become my passion, and I am doing all that I can to dispel untruthful ‘fake news’ about aligner treatment,” emphasizes Dr. Gordon Handy. “Some orthodontic specialists still tell prospective patients that Invisalign doesn’t work or that it wouldn’t be effective in treating their orthodontic problems. When I get the opportunity to offer a second opinion to these patients, I find that approximately 75% of them would be excellent candidates for Invisalign in our practice, many of these cases sure to be what I like to call ‘slam dunk’ success stories that could be finished in 12-15 months with beautiful results!”
Life is so very, very hard, but really quite simple. Love and Trust God. Love and Serve our fellow man. Stick to the Truth. Give it our best effort to do whatever we do with Excellence. Make this world more Beautiful until Jesus calls us home. And…always, always do The Right Thing. One thing our community can count on—the muddier the water gets, the more it can count on H2O to keep it True Blue and Clear!