Exclusive Interview with Ashley Thaba
For those that have not read the book, what is Conquering the Giants about?
Overall, It is a story of hope. My son experienced extreme birth damage caused by negligence of doctors. The book is our journey to deal with this life changing event. Trying to be as real and open as possible, readers will relate with me as I felt hopelessness and anger, but I believe they will find hope as I share the specific experiences and emotions I felt on the journey which led my husband and I to forgive those who had hurt us and trust in God for a complete miraculous healing.
What inspired you to write the book?
This may sound unreal, but I truly believe God led me to write the book. It was surreal. I wrote this book in 1 week. I just couldn’t stop writing. All I had to do was sit at the keyboard and the words flowed through my fingers. Despite the fact I had two small children demanding my attention and rendering me exhausted by the end of the day, somehow I couldn’t go to sleep. I felt compelled to share the story.
A more practical answer is that since Caleb’s birth, a large group of people across the world had joined with us in praying for our son. I felt the need to document the experience to really testify the goodness of God in how he had not only healed our son, but also healed our broken hearts.
Tell me about a proud experience you’ve had with your book and readers since the book was published.
Since publishing the book, countless women have come to me with similar stories of medical negligence that left their children also brain damaged or physically injured in some way. I thank God I have been able to offer first hand counsel and encouragement to those families of how we dealt with the tragedy.
I also have learned a great deal about physical therapy, healthy diet, and other practical ways to aid children’s healing. It has been rewarding to be able to offer that advice to others who have not been as fortunate to be taught practical ways they can help their disabled children.
It’s now been 5 years since your book was published. I’m sure a lot of readers would like to know how Caleb’s journey has been unfolding since then. Would you mind telling us a bit?
The short story is he just keeps getting better and better and for that we daily praise God! Caleb has had 4 M.R.I. brain scans and each time doctors look at the brain and then look at Caleb in awe. It doesn’t seem possible that the damaged brain they view on the scans can be in the head of that handsome healthy little boy standing before them!
I will share one major setback we had along the way and share how God led us to react to that trial.
In April 2011, our nation experienced a massive government strike. We heard horror stories every day of the effect it had on people when civil servants ceased to work. In the middle of that strike was my birthday, April 26. My friend had graciously offered to give my husband and I a night out by agreeing to babysit my kids. I got to her house early and put 18 month old Caleb down for a nap so we could chat before my husband joined me after work so we could go to Riverwalk for dinner.
When I went into her bedroom to wake Caleb up, I found him stiff as a board, his eyes rolled back in his head and his tongue hanging limply out saliva dripping from his mouth. I tried to pick him up and it was like picking up a piece of wood. I panicked! I screamed! I thought he was dead! He had been perfectly healthy when I put him down for his nap. What was happening!?!
We had to make a quick decision on which hospital we would go to. Despite the current strike and possibility we may not even find a doctor, we both felt in our circumstances with Caleb’s birth history, the wisest choice was to take him to Princess Marina. Miraculously, within minutes of rushing in, doctors raced over to attend to him!
He never responded to the drugs administered and finally the doctors declared more drugs would do more damage than the seizure. Finally, after 3 long heart wrenching hours of watching my baby boy lay there helplessly convulsing, he relaxed and they told me the seizure had passed. Normally, a “bad” seizure lasts 5 minutes. Doctors worried about permanent additional brain damage since this episode had lasted three hours. He was admitted for observation. We lived in Princess Marina for three weeks as doctors tried to find what caused it.
After countless medical test all proved negative demonstrating he wasn’t sick in any way, the only logical answer they could give was that the seizure was caused by the initial birth brain damage. Grimly, they warned us that this was the beginning of a lifetime of seizures. Actually, judging by the extensive brain damage, they were surprised it took 18 months for him to have his first one. We were given a prescription to a heavy anti-seizure medication and advised Caleb would need to take it daily.
After some research and enquiries with various doctors, I learned the medication could have serious ill side effects on his liver and his balance among other problems. Still, the doctors stressed another seizure like this could literally kill him. It was worth the risk they proclaimed.
After much prayer, the idea of putting my 18 month old on a daily medication for the rest of his life didn’t give me peace. I understood their concerns were valid and they were giving me the best medical advice, but I felt in my heart that God could still keep his promise of healing Caleb despite the fact that all logical reasoning said the best chance we had of preventing future seizures was medication.
The Lord laid a verse on my mind. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can tell this mountain to move from here to there. I just kept thinking of that scripture. Convinced it must be God speaking to me, I turned to the verse in Matthew 17:20 to see the context of that promise.
I almost fell on the floor!! My heart skipped a beat! I couldn’t believe my eyes!
A few verses up in Matthew 17:15, a desperate father brings his son to the disciples and cries “help my son. He suffers with SEIZURES…” They were unable to heal him due to a lack of faith and Jesus later rebukes them saying if you had faith the size of a mustard seed…..
WHAT!?!? The context of the verse that was ringing in my mind was that God could heal a little boy with seizures! My husband and I claimed that as a verse God was personally speaking to us. We have no problem with medication and have used it in other occasions, but for this specific incident we both felt strongly God was whispering, “I can heal seizures too…”
In faith, we refused the prescription. We had to sign indemnity forms releasing the doctors from liability if Caleb died with the next seizure. We had to state that we knew the risks. Doubt flooded in. Were we making the right decision? But, God continued to clearly whisper. I can do this.
Caleb turned 6 on Monday September 7th. He has never had a seizure since that day to the shock of every doctor that has examined him in the past 5 years! We truly thank God for our living breathing miracle every single day!
Conquering The Giants is one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read. It brought me to tears, but at the same time I felt so inspired after reading it. Will there be a second part for your readers to look forward to?
Aw, thanks Rosi! I truly thank God that you feel that way. And, I am also so grateful that God has used the book to allow me to meet SO many people all over Botswana, amazing people such as you!
As I stated above, I really felt God told me to write that and gave me the energy and words to do so. If He so leads me again, I would like to think I will be obedient, but I personally have no future plans of a part two.
However, that said, I do love writing and since publishing Conquering the Giants, I have also published a healthy cookbook and had several short stories published in various publications such as different Chicken Soup for the Soul books, a couple of Christian magazines, and a few online blogs/magazines.
How can people get hold of Conquering The Giants?
Well, thankfully, I sold out of the 2,500 hard copies I printed of the book! I decided instead of printing more copies, I would lower the price significantly and sell it in soft copy instead. It is now only P30. If someone wants the e-book, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get them more details on how to buy it.