And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, November 24, 2008

Faith and Prayer Warriors!

Here we are again, back to the Faith discussion and needing our prayer warriors.

I woke up this morning with a rash on my right arm. Many meds can cause an allergic reaction that presents as a rash, some can be quite dangerous (this is the problem with being in pharma sales, you know this silly stuff). So, I sent an e-mail to my doc. He said he wasn't worried, but to let him know if it spread.

It spread to my left arm. So, I e-mailed him again. One of our old neighbors and sweet friends is a doc and agreed to look at it so that I could tell the epileptologists exactly what we were seeing. I tried to blame it on a sweater that I wore yesterday. She looked at it and agreed that it's probably more the medicine than the sweater.

The epileptologist called this afternoon and agreed that it is probably an allergic reaction to the meds. So, he wants me to stop the current med and switch to one I've already been on because it's too risky to play with if it is the medicine. Why does this matter? What does this have to do with faith?

The med that I am stopping is in the same family as a med I was on prior to the surgery, but I started this med the day after surgery (the first day with no seizures). The docs didn't really count this as a change in meds and neither did we. However, there was that little bitty something in the back of my head (doubt, not staples) wondering if this med could be playing a role in only one seizure since November 10th. Then, we go the faith route...this is God, not man. God is the hero in this story, not man.

It all goes back to those few words mentioned the other day:
Faith.
Trust.
Acknowledgement.
Praise.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

B reminded me this evening that we keep looking at this situation and marveling that the only explanation for no seizures is the Lord. Yet, there is the little inkling that maybe this med is playing a role. Maybe this rash is the Lord saying, "let me show you that I am the Hero of this story!" It brings me to tears to think about it. Wow! Why would he choose me to show His power?

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. 1 Corinthians 2: 4-5

So, I am begging each of you to pray for God's glory to continue to be made known in this. That He will continue to be the Hero of this story. That we will continue to look at this "situation" that does not make any sense and see HIM!! That I will not waiver in my faith, but trust HIM. However, no matter what, He is still faithful!

What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all!...Romans 3:3-4

I must continue remembering that though He might be asleep on the cushion, He has shown me that He is in complete control.
...A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" Mark 4:37-41

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. Luke 17:5-6

Each time I read the scripture below, I obviously think of the last three years. However, when I think of the crowd surrounding Jesus, I can't help but think of all of you, my precious prayer warriors, standing in the gap for us, sitting at His feet for us. Yes, He knows when I am trying to touch the hem of His robe, but He also feels each of you surrounding Him on my behalf. Thank You!!

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
Mark 5: 25-34

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Update...

What's happened over the last few days?

First, I had a visit from one of my sweet friends. M, was my Maid of Honor. We don't get to see each other nearly as often as I would like...so, it was a special treat to have her visit.


I wasn't supposed to be in public until the staples were removed and the doc gave the go ahead (infection risk)...however, one of B's groomsmen, that has been in Ecuador with the Peace Corps for the last two years, was in town Wednesday evening. So, I broke the rules. We had dinner with him, his family, and another one of B's groomsmen (that just donated a kidney to an 11 year old). Such a stud!!


We left the next morning for Houston to have the staples removed. You can see the pics below with the neurosurgeon and the excessive amounts of betadine all over my head.
It didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. All 38 staples were out within about 10 minutes. The "staple pull" was like a little pair of scissors that bent the staple in the middle and popped it right out of my head.

We left the docs office and went to watch my sweet friend A's little girl at gymnastics. Her little girl has come to see me each time I've been in the hospital and has been one of my greatest prayer warriors. However, there was such a high infection risk this time and they all had the little 24 hr bug going through their family. Then, after the surgery the super intense headache kept me from being able to really see or talk to anyone for quite a few days. So, she wasn't able to come visit. So, we got to go watch her at gymnastics!! It was so fun! Isn't that a precious smile?





This is all of us. A and her three kiddos!!

Remember sweet Baby M that we told you was born while I was in surgery? We got to meet her Thursday night?

Here she is with her Daddy.

Here she is with her Daddy and her super skinny (so not fair, only two weeks after birth) Mommy!!

Then, on the way home Friday, we stopped at Sam's again. Sweet Cindy is doing well. She came through her surgery and is feeling great. Thank you for praying for Cindy. She was so sweet when we walked in as were the rest of the ladies there. The other lady in the picture walked up and said that they had just been talking about us the day before, wondering how we were doing. So sweet. Such precious prayer warriors.


We finally made it home late Friday night and got to snuggle with our puppies.

Letter To Soldiers

Something to consider doing while thinking of all you are thankful for...

http://www.letterstosoldiers.org/formletter.html

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What is Faith?

Trust.
Acknowledgement.
Praise.

We could all agree with these words and argue these words. B is first to agree because he is a man of great, unwavering faith. I am first to argue because I struggle with faith.

It has taken me many days to post some amazing news.
Why?
I don't know, but I do know.

Is God still God no matter what I say on this blog? YES!!
Can His plans still be accomplished no matter what I believe? YES!!
Why do I hold back like I can jinx HIM?
I don't know, but I do know.

What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all!...Romans 3:3-4

It all goes back to those first few words:
Faith.
Trust.
Acknowledgement.
Praise.

When B came out of anesthesia and I told him that he had cancer, the first words out of his mouth were, "Cool, this means I get to be a cancer survivor!" He lives his life as such. He believes as such. Each time I find a small lump on his neck and want him to get it checked out, he walks in faith. I worry.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:3-8

B's #1 spiritual gift is faith, mine is mercy. We learned this in our pre-marital counseling. We also learned that last on my list is faith and last on his list is mercy. So, the Lord provided a perfect compliment in gifting each of us with the other.

Each minute that I go without a seizure, I wonder when the next one will occur...as much as I don't want to ever have another. I guess that's what having 10-15 per day begins to do to you. So, through this journey, long before I actually received a diagnosis of seizures (Tx law requires six months seizure free before you can drive), I said my goal would be to go back to work when I had gone at least seven days without any "episodes" . Twenty four hours was pushing it. On high dose I.V. seizure meds, four days was the longest I had ever gone without a seizure.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5: 1-5

We went to the hospital a few weeks ago in hopes that the docs would find that the seizures were on one side of my brain & maybe just spreading to the other. Then, they could go in and remove that portion of my brain where the seizures were starting. However, what they found was the exact opposite of their hopes and ours. They found that not only were my seizures on both sides of my brain, but that they are occurring in a location that they can't pinpoint. Thus, they can't remove. They are also very active on both sides of my brain and so removal is considered impossible without permanent impairment. Even the docs left the room choked up knowing they couldn't do anything to help.

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. 1 Corinthians 2: 4-5

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

So, despite much hope, the docs knew there was nothing they could do to cure my seizures. I had many seizures that Sunday. Then, the following Monday, the 10th, went back into surgery to have all of the leads removed.

For those of you that are ready for me to get to the point of all of this, the amazing news!!! I started typing this on Tuesday, the 18th; at which point, I had not had any seizures since the 10th. There is no explanation for this, this is the longest I have ever gone without a seizure. Medicine and man can not explain this. I have tried to come up with explanations, trust me. It has been almost three years since these started and this is the longest I have gone without a seizure! Can I get a PRAISE THE LORD?!?!?!

I didn't want to blog about it, afraid (as I mentioned earlier), that I might "jinx HIM."

Yesterday afternoon/evening got away from me and I wasn't able to finish this post. After dinner, I had a very intense aura that felt like it was going to progress to a seizure. I was so frustrated. I turned to my precious hubby and shared my frustration that I didn't want to blog about it, afraid this would happen. He did an amazing job of reminding me that this doesn't mean I'm not healed, but this also doesn't mean that God isn't still in control and worthy to be praised!

I was telling B about this post on the Larsen's blog. He mentions Jesus calming the storm and how in each of the gospels, Mark is the only one that mentions that Jesus is asleep in the stern on a cushion. Can you see how relaxed Jesus must have been? He's supposed to be down there manning the boat, directing it, yet He is asleep, on a cushion. What?
...A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" Mark 4:37-41

So, here is the difference between B and me. I am shocked! Wow! Jesus is resting on a cushion, yet He still loves me and is in control. He wakes up, takes over, calms the storm, once I go down into the stern and scream, "hello, we are about to drown, Jesus!" B reads it as, Jesus is resting because He knows it's okay. He literally told me he didn't understand what was so big about the cushion. I love my hubby's faith and his trust in our Savior. I still struggle daily, but hope to continue learning from him.

B continued to share with me that maybe this is something someone needs to hear. My confusion, my ramblings, my hope and prayer for no more seizures. I did a lot of reading yesterday. So, I try to blame it on that as we have found that I have more seizures the more I read. I love to read and feel that I owe an apology to all of my English teachers when I struggle to read now....Anyway, I am finishing this post incase someone needs to hear/read these ramblings. May your faith and mine increase. May we see Jesus asleep in the stern on His cushion and know that all is as it is supposed to be...

A little more scripture that I need to read:

The Withered Fig Tree

"Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:22-25

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. Luke 17:5-6

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
"You see the people crowding against you," his disciples answered, "and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' "
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
Mark 5: 25-34

Monday, November 17, 2008

Buzzfest 2008

Well, we finally have the video from the haircut uploaded. It was taking too long at the hospital. It also started out being recorded sideways and so you would have needed to turn your computer on its side. Too difficult. So, B figured out how to edit it. Don't forget to stop the music on the right hand side of the screen. Hope you have as much fun as we did!!

Here is Buzzfest 2008!!


video

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hey baby, let's go to Vegas!

Well, if I ever go to Vegas or decide to be a bettin' woman, I want y'all with me. Way to go on the guessing! I had no clue.

When we sat down to count, I was shocked by how many there were. B took pictures as we counted. If you do not want to see the pics, immediately scroll to the bottom to the final count.

The right side has 17.

Right Ear-6


The top of the right side of my head-6

All of the yellow-brown on my head is the betadine that won't come off and I'm not allowed to do anything to scrub it until the staples are out.

View from the top-you can see the smaller spots, too.
There are just 2-3 staples at a few spots.


The Left side has 21 staples.

It has more because there was so much more swelling on the left side and so they had to put in a drain for the excess Cerebrospinal Fluid. So, there was an extra hole created for that.

Left Ear-8

Top of Left Side-6


So, the grand total...Drum Roll....

38 STAPLES

Friday, November 14, 2008

Staples

Well, we are home! It felt so nice to sleep in my bed, with my hubby and my sweet puppies. We had to teach Rudder that he's not allowed to sleep by mommy's head for a while (this was as his paw whisked over a staple and almost pulled it out...).

Here are our last pics at the hospital with the flowers our sweet church sent.


Pic with Mom.


This was on our way to bed last night...baldies unite!!!


Alrighty!! So, we're taking a poll. We realized that we hadn't counted yet how many staples I have in my head.

How many staples do you think I have in my head? You can either add a comment with your guess or I put a little poll on the right hand side of the page. We are going to probably count tonight at some point, but I think the poll ends tomorrow evening!

Also, our church family has set up a meal calendar and sent this to us:
To access the CareCalendar site,
visit
http://carecalendar.org/logon/9354
and enter the following
information in the appropriate spaces:

CALENDAR ID : 9354
SECURITY CODE : 8027

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is it my turn?

My precious hubby and Mom have been updating all of you through this journey. Tonight is the first time that I've been able to sit up and that I've not had a consistent, throbbing headache. So, blogger is once again in front of me.

Today started with the super intense headache. I don't recommend it and hope to never have another like it. The meds they have to treat the headache weren't really touching it, though.

This is my surgeon, removing all of the wrap, exposing the official bald girl:


It was exciting to have everything removed. I even put make up on and was ready to eat lunch. Then, the headache came back full speed ahead. Then, all of the nausea I have experienced since I've been here, made itself known in a new way. I'll let you uncover the meaning of that...So, all of the make-up was wiped off my face and the energy drained from my face quite quickly...forgive the frightening faces in the pictures that follow.

The day is ending on a bit lighter note, though.

We had some fun visitors.

M, she's one of the Neurosurgery PAs and one of our dear friends


Dr. S. & her doc friend from Germany


Remember C? She was here the last time we were, too. Here's the original post with her. She had a VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulator) placed today.


My sweet nurse, R.


My sweet hubby.


Praise the Lord it has been quite a few days since I've had a full blown seizure. There is no "real" explanation for this. We are trying to come up with as many as we can, (i.e., I.V. vs. oral meds). However, I don't want to get lost in trying to find answers and missing my hero standing in front of me...GOD!!!

We will probably leave tomorrow to head home.

Thank you all so much for being such outstanding prayer warriors for us throughout these last few years, but especially these last few weeks. They have been tough. However, you have each played a role in touching lives, seeing healing, and watching God be the hero! Thank you!!

To be cheesy, yet true:
We don't know what the future holds, but we know WHO holds the future!!

We will try to post more pics and info over the next few days. Let us know if you are against seeing graphic pictures because B got some good ones!!

p.s. Big News!!! Remember our friends, A & L that brought dinner to save me from the food here, the last time I was in the hospital? They were also here for Buzzfest 2008 as Ben calls it and each cut a ponytail for some sweet little kiddo that is going to get wig! They weren't due for another two weeks, but shaving a head can cause anyone's blood pressure to rise and L's did that evening! ; ) My nurse that night told her to call her doc and get to the hospital. Well, we have pics as Miss Matheson was born the next afternoon!
Isn't she beautiful?

Sorry a little late...

Sorry for the delay all. M finally and thankfully got out of the IMU yesterday around 12:00 and got back down to the EMU (Epilepsy Monitoring Unit). She battled an extreme headache for much of the day. The slightest noise and even light seemed to only make things worse. Evening came and she was able to somewhat rest.

This morning she had been doing really well. We got up walked around a bit on the floor (she really enjoyed that!). Then we got her a nice warm shower being careful to avoid her head. We have to keep her head dry for 10 days. Now we are back in bed with the headache. It doesn't appear that the headache is as severe to that of yesterday, but still very frustrating.

It does look like we will be here one more day and coming back home sometime tomorrow. Today will be a big day as M's bandages will be coming off and per the request of the surgeon, staying off.

Thanks for your continued prayers. Great News- M has been seizure free since Sunday after receiving the report about her epilepsy from the docs. We did start back on one of her current meds and in conjunction have started another. Praise the Lord that she has not had any seizures. I cannot imagine how much worse she might feel with the headache/recovery and seizures.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Round 2

We finally got M back from the 2nd surgery. Instead of going back into the ICU she is in a "step down" unit called the IMU. The nice thing about this unit is that I can stay with her overnight. We had a few hiccups to start once in the IMU, but now she is resting comfortably. Please pray for M's pain. She is having the worst kind of head pain imaginable and it is not going away. Pray that she would make it through a full night of sleep and her strength might be restored to her tomorrow.

According to the neurosurgeon all went well. The holes that had been drilled through the skull (about the size of a penny) have been replace by titanium discs. Due to the proximity of the hospital to where we live, M will probably be in the hospital till Wednesday, most likely Thursday. The reasoning is so that M can get her pain under control and allow us to properly assess and evaluate her head so that we don't get home to only turn back around.

Thanks for praying!

God is good...ALL the Time!

Our friends thank you for your outpouring of support and prayers. Many of you now know the news that it was found that M’s seizures/epilepsy is in fact located in both sides of M’s brain and surgery is not an option at this time. As the docs put it, M definitely has epilepsy and it is very active. While the news is not what we wanted, I am so amazed by M’s spirit. Of course it is no surprise, but M’s attitude is directed towards our Lord and Savior and His glory.


Through our time leading up to this past week, M had such a peace about going through the surgery. We knew beforehand that our present result could be a possibility. We also had a chance of hearing just the opposite. Nevertheless, M’s focus has always been about God’s glory and it is through this journey that she is continuing to choose God’s glory in ALL things. M is at peace with the results. While we may not quite understand the direction we are headed we do know and have confidence that God is in control.


M is in surgery right now getting her leads removed. Soon we will be coming home and M will be getting some much needed rest and hopefully different results on one of the new meds we are coming home on. We appreciate your prayers. Thanks to all of you who have been on your knees on M’s behalf. We are humbled. Praise God that through this folks all over have been in communion with our Lord. Praise God that through this God is getting glory. As M’s mom put it, the stage is all the more set for God to be the hero in providing a cure and miracle through this. God has provided M with incredible strength and an incredible attitude. It was touching to see her when a doc yesterday complimented her on her courage, bravery and attitude. It was at this that M tearily pointed to the air and said, Not I, but Christ.


His grace is sufficient in ALL things. He gives strength to those in need. God is indeed good, ALL the time.


A lesson that I hold dear and have shared with M through my time with cancer, and it is so evident that she believes this in her own journey:


Not I, but Christ- in every look and action.

Not I, but Christ- in every word and deed.

Not self-esteem, but Christ-esteem.


We look forward to posting later about M’s second surgery and road ahead.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Consult

WE had the opportunity late this morning to visit with Dr. K. This particular meeting was important because it gave Dr. K more time to review the data that has been collected and make a determination as to what course of action we should take. Again, the purpose of this trip was to try to identify and pinpoint M's seizures in her brain and then hopefully move forward with the possibility of surgery/resection.

So, in meeting with the doc today we unfortunately were not able to get the news we were hoping for. In short, seizure activity is taking place on the right and left sides of the brain. Earlier it was thought that focus and attention should be placed on the left, but it appears that the right side not only seizes more frequently than thought, but can and does act independently. The left side also can and does act independently. And, the two sides can seize simultaneously.

Thus, in M's case, while surgery is not impossible, it is probably not an option at this time. The goal of any treatment that we do is focused on M getting better. With surgery, there is not clear and conclusive evidence that surgery would leave M better off. The doc felt that by doing surgery we would be merely exploring.

Moving forward...A great plus that we have enjoyed where we are at is that all the epileptologists and neurosurgeons gather weekly to review and share their opinions on different cases and patients. Dr. K mentioned that he would like to review the data collected more and would be seeking the opinion of the neurosurgeon and his other colleagues. While the Dr. K shared his thoughts, it is possible the others might see things slightly different which could open up another window. All this to say, we will be meeting with Dr. K and the neurosurgeon later today.

At this time M will start back on her seizure meds as the docs have collected enough data and want M to start feeling better and provide her with some reprieve on her seizures (12 total yesterday).

Please pray throughout the day as you are able for M. We want her health restored. We want to see an end for her. Pray for her spirit. Pray that we would have options and not feel that a door has been slammed shut.

Sunday Morning Update

Good morning all! Just a quick update since not much has changed from yesterday. M's pain is still intense. While the folks on the EMU encourage her to sit up, get out of the bed, move around...it is difficult as that is when the pain really seems to take its toll. M had an okay night and had only two actual seizures, but she did not sleep much.

It is possible that the drain will be taken out today and then tomorrow we are planned to remove all the leads. This could mean we get to come home Tuesday or Wednesday.

So our prayer- Lord please continue to watch over M. Please take care of my Princess and restore her health to her. I ask that her pain could subside and all of us would be encouraged by the progress that is made each day. Lift M's spirit. Give her rest. Give the docs and nurses and even her loved ones ears that can listen and a mind that can understand. Thank you Father that you are God! Thank you that you love us and provide greatly for us. Thank you that you are our Healer, both spiritually and physically. Thanks for an amazing wife. Thanks for the strength that you have provided M so far. Please continue to walk by her side and give her comfort with every whisper in her ear. I ask this in your name...Amen.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seizures and More Seizures

Well we have been praying for "good" definitive seizures and we have at least been getting quantity. Aside from the Morphine cocktail they give M every hour or so to control the outrageous pain, they have discontinued her seizure medications in an effort to create more seizure activity and thus, learn the origin of the seizures.
This is one of M's sweet nurses, M. She's the one that brought the first cocktail for M and allowed her to rest for a little bit.

What we know so far is that both temporal lobes are experiencing activity by the end of the seizure and as of this moment the are still uncertain as to where they originate. Therefore, we will continue to pray for quality seizures that reveal all the Doctors need to know to progress and end this nightmare for my baby. Each seizure is the equivalent of M running a marathon as far as the energy she expends, so try running six marathons so far this morning with electrodes coming out of your brain. Sorry to be so graphic, it just overwhelms me to know what she is having to tolerate each day.

The good news is that we know without a doubt that God will be the hero in this story. We hope that soon, relief and answers will replace the pain and uncertainty. Isn't it amazing that each of us get to play a small role in God's story...and what better part can we have than being one of his mighty prayer warriors.

We are attaching a photo of our princess "Smurf" with all of the equipment in place just to show you her beautiful spirit is still shining through.

Thank you for being so faithful.
My Love,
D (M's Mommy)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Update

Good Morning all. Well we are still in the EMU. Since last night M has had two seizures. We hope that we will have more today and they can accurately pin point its location in the brain. M has been in a lot of pain, as you can probably only imagine, but our sweet night nurse M came to the rescue last night and made a cocktail of meds that got M back on track. This morning we are keeping her on a regular schedule of pain meds and have just finished hearing from the neurosurgeon and epileptologist.

Report: M is doing well and will most likely have the leads in her head till Tuesday. Which means we might get to leave Wednesday or Thursday. Things are looking good despite the swelling and some leaking from her head. The surgeon replaced some of the stitches this morning. Her two seizures (so far) have been recorded and have yet to be analyzed. Hopefully, we'll see some "fruitful" results soon.

Thanks for your many prayers. Y'all have been so sweet and kind and M is finally back on her computer catching up on what has occurred over the last couple of days. Feel free to email to her and love on her. If you don't have her email, feel free to post a comment on the blog.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rest


Rest....So we're sitting in the dark now back in M's room in the EMU. I cannot begin to imagine the pain she must be in, but I am greatly comforted by the small, shallow breaths she is taking while peacefully asleep. Praise God for a peaceful and quiet room. Praise God for faithful friends like you. Praise God for M's mom, who is a great comfort to M. I look over at her with her head all bandaged up. My heart aches and I pray that we will get our answers soon. She should be feel pretty puny most of today and hopefully more like herself tomorrow.

We got out of the ICU around 11:15 this morning. She has some swelling in her head and is taking morphine frequently to control the pain. Our goal for the next few days is for M to have 4 to 6 seizures (a feat that does normally occur at least once a day) and get them recorded on the EEG monitor. Once this information has been collected and assessed, the docs should be able to better determine the exact location of her seizure. It will then be determined if we can or cannot have surgery. Our desire is that the seizure is a) not located in a vital area of the brain, and b)can be removed.

Thanks for all your emails and calls.

These pics are of M's brain with the subdural strips. The top pic is looking from the rear towards the front. Note the amount of leads and where they are at on the brain. More or less, the doc explained that he wrapped M's brain with the leads and focused on the left temporal lobe where the primary suspicion lies.

The second photo is looking at the brain from the right side. Yes, that is the brain stem coming down vertically in the picture.

I think back to my dreadful years in English class and my teachers always said my writing was too simplistic. While I don't think I can eloquently pen the words for what we are experiencing, I felt that D's (M's mom) creates such a visual...not to mention that a Mom's love for her child is amazing. So here is an update that D sent out to folks on her mail list...

"...
I pray that none of you ever have to experience the journey that we are on. While ours seems so large, I know that each of you have your own battles to fight, so know that we are sending love and prayers in your direction also!!
Watching my precious daughter in pain with wires and monitors coming from her brain...I feel so totally helpless! For any parent and me in particular (as I am such a control freak) this is such a humbling process as I learn that God is the only one with any power here!
I know he loves this child and will reveal to us one day why so much pain and suffering has come into her world. Yet, for this moment, this day, I just give thanks for each of you and your loyalty and love and prayers. Just at the moment when I think my heart will break or my feet will not take another step....I receive a message from one of you and I am renewed by faith and love and we push on.
After a rough night in ICU with an early morning trip to the CAT scan to evaluate the brain swelling and drainage and a few more sutures...Meredith is now back in the EMU (Epilepsy Monitoring Unit) with the highly trained staff we love so much. They have administered more morphine as her pain is so great and now..finally she sleeps!!..."

Surprise!!! NICU update

So what an amazing wife I have. While not in the mood to celebrate, and really the only gift I want is for my Princess to be better, everyone has overwhelmed the Verizon lines with call after call, email after email and text after text, even more, has touched my heart and my heart is amazed by my wife and her beautiful heart!

What a birthday! Thanks to all again!

M spent the night in the Neuro ICU last night and rested okay. As you can imagine the pain is fairly sizable and the addition of morphine is just taking off the edge. It is about time for us to get to see her and so we are very anxious to see her progress. The game plan for today is to rest up and possibly get M back to her room sometime this afternoon. Please pray not just for her healing and pain tolerance, but that she might have seizures so the docs can identify and locate them.

Y'all are so wonderful and we are certainly blessed to call each and everyone friend. Thanks for your overwhelming and abundant love. I know M cannot wait to personally thank everyone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Update to Surgery


She's out! At 2:30 this afternoon Dr. T came out to update us as M is now in recovery in the ICU. According to Dr. T, everything went well and he was able to place the strips really all around the brain through a series of "penny-sized" holes. The strips are similar to EEG leads as they can record the electrical activity of the brain. However, they are different in that they are actually laying on the brain.

The adjacent pictures is an example of what M's xray images look like showing the Strips on her brain.


For now she is resting in the ICU and will be there till tomorrow. Our prayer now is that she will have seizures and the strips will be able to pinpoint and locate the start of the seizure. The docs will then use the collected information and hopefully be able to remove/re sect the portion of brain that contains the seizure. The strips will be left in for no longer than a week, but more than likely taken out after a few days due to the frequency of M's seizures. The surgeon will most likely send us home next week and then most likely (if surgery is an option) will have us come back in January. The purpose in delaying the process is to reduce the risk of infection and make sure M is 100% able to undergo such a risky surgery.

Thanks for your prayers! M's mom and I are looking forward to seeing M soon!

Buzzfest 2008

Well, as promised, here are the pics from last night. Again, a great time was had by all. We enjoyed having such wonderful friend surrounding us and more importantly praying and lifting M to the Lord. Special thanks to M's dear sweet best friend A who was dealing with sick kiddos and yet sacrificed her time and energy to come out and be with us. Thanks to S and C who have walked with us while in Houston and have been a very valuable resource having walked a very similar road. They even brought us various scripture verses to decorate M's room, the very scripture verses that decorated C's room when she went through surgery in January. Thanks to A and L for their laughs, prayers, and home. Who thought that our buzzfest would lead to the birth of their kiddo? Ha! Thanks to J and D who in these recent times we have seen God's hand in uniting two families in His name. What an amazing heavenly family we have! And last, but never least, a very special thanks to M's mom, D. While it can never be easy to see your child go through something like M is going through, she is a rock. Her ceaseless energy, and constant thought for others is amazing. So much to learn in loving others. Please lift her up- strength, comfort, and health. Not easy going on so little sleep.

Well enjoy the pics, M should be out of surgery sometime near noon.



This is Miss C of the EMU. She stayed extra late past her shift to put the braids in my hair. What sweetheart!


Group pic of all, also our prayer time led by S.








and of course..."two become one..."

Surgery

Well it was quite a wake-up today. About 5:30 this morning, we heard from the surgeon's resident that surgery would be at 9:30. However, we we whisked away at 6:30 and headed in to the surgical unit. Please pray over these next four to five hours as M is undergoing surgery. We will continue to post and update as events unfold. Also, I will be posting pictures later this morning of our "Buzzfest" to benefit Children With Hair Loss.

PS- Two friends that were with us last night at the Buzzfest are about to deliver their first kiddo. Please lift A and L up in your prayers. She was not due till Nov 16. Ironically, it was M's nurse Mary that told them to get to the hospital immediately to see about delivering. So...they have been at the hospital since last night. I know M will be very excited to hear of the days events when she is back with us later today.

What a long day it has been...

We checked into the hospital this morning at 0730 and it was our understanding that the Wada was going to happen around 0800. Dr. B who is in charge of the cognitive function portion of the procedure came in around 0830 and left us with the impression that the Wada Test would take place soon...so we waited...and waited....and waited...Finally, around 1100, Robert (super-hero nurse since he is a universal donor per his blood type) shared with us that transport would be coming by 1500 to take M to do the test...and we waited...and waited...To make it even more interesting, M has not had a bite to eat since 2300 the previous night. Around 1530, they came to take M down to the test. To make a long story short, the Wada did not happen and M was returned back to her room around 1800. As it turns out, of the two testing centers available, one was out of commision. And, there happened to be a couple of emergency cases that had to be taken care of before M could get the Wada done.



So, it was back to the room where...

...the bald head did happen. The pictures can explain a good portion of our fun little party. Since we knew that M was going to lose her hair for the surgery, she decided to not let it go to waste and donate it to Children With Hair Loss. How special!!! Thus we also felt like sharing this joy with others and similar to Sunday's haircut party, we threw one here, as well. Thanks to all our friends that were here this evening. Each one of you is very special and we are thankful for the bonds that have been formed. Some of you reading may recognize the names and now have faces to match with them. Some of these included Sean and Carrie. Carrie had brain surgery in January. She totally pulled off the bald thing, too, but doesn't she look great today? We also were very blessed to have included the parents our sweet precious friend, and one of God's newest angels, Joey.

So the haircut began in the same manner as Sunday, one ponytail at a time. B had the most fun as Dr. T let him shave M's head in prep for the surgery tomorrow. However, a pact was made that if B got to shave M's head, M got to shave B's head.

Well, it has been a very long day, in fact M is off at this time (1230 am) to get an MRI done and then to bed for a long day tomorrow.

We look forward to posting pics of the party and even some video tomorrow. Please pray for M's surgery tomorrow. It is a risky surgery and we can only pray that the docs would be able to find her seizure. Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

still waiting

We are now in the waiting and recovery...just found out that I may be waiting another 2-3 hrs to be called back for the procedure. Apparently, one of the surgical suites is down and they've had an emergency case. So, I must wait longer. I am hungry. Moreso, we have friends coming up to the hospital tonight to help cut ponytails. We need to hurry and finish this procedure so that we can get my hair washed, braided, etc., and then cut...pray the emergency patient is safe and that we can get this procedure done quickly...

They're not missing me

We found out the Wada should happen at 3p. So, not too much longer.

With all the fun they are having, my boys are not missing me one bit.

We received these pics today from Doggie Disney and these are the reports I received on each pic. Have fun seeing my boys, Hank & Rudder!!!

****************
This is your baby Rudder posing pretty for you this morning.

Hank is down there with Black Dog as they try and figure out how to get the squirrel out from under the house...

Hank is learning how to walk the bricks without falling off because all my dogs can do it....

Hank and Rudder wanting ot know when they get breakfast

Black Dog at the bottom of the stairs rounding everyone up for breakfast.

Almost everyone...I think there are only 6 in this picture...Trying to get all 7 in the same picture is a bit like herding kittens.

Tucker and Black Dog are always first to eat...

Remmer always waits soooo pretty...

Annie and Rudder waiting for any handout...

Hanks is NOT leaving until he gets more than his allocation.

ok...this one is really pretty funny. I had already MADE the bed. The pillows were perfectly stacked and what you can't see is the pillow mess on the floor. I walked in and said "what's going on in here"... mine instantly drop and looking sweet and innocent left Rudder standing to take the fall.