Saturday, April 11, 2015

An answer....

The phone rang at 6:35 this morning.  It was the imaging center calling. "What time did they tell you to be here this morning?"  was the question.  Long story short, the time of John's procedure changed yesterday, and they forgot to call us.  The morning started with an adrenaline RUSH... up and out of the house (with a shower for me) in just 28 minutes! No time for loosening up.... no time for morning meds (well to be fair he couldn't eat or drink anything anyways)... no time for coffee for Jami (most of you know what a disaster that is!).... We arrived at the imaging center just 55 minutes after they had woken us up. (and PRAISE GOD they had a Keurig machine!)

That crazy start to the morning led to an EXCRUCIATING procedure for John. First of all, it took a LONG time for them to get the medication to take effect and make him drowsy so they could start the procedure. Then during the procedure, John's neck muscles were so tight (partially from not loosening up with movement that morning and partially because he had yet to take any muscle relaxers) that it caused extreme pain when they turned and twisted his head the way they needed to in order to examine the flow of blood through his vessels. By the time they called me back to see him, it had been 2 hours and 15 minutes, and I was struggling to not get worried.  When I walked in, the look on his face was pretty scary.  The radiologist said, "It was an extremely painful procedure for him."  As if to highlight the doctor's statement, a lone tear trickled down John's cheek. Broke. My. Heart.

After 2 long hours of lying still and a trip to change into street clothes, the doctor came in and let us know that 3 out of 4 of the vessels look clear.  One of the vessels has a slightly inhibited blood flow, but not enough to do anything invasive about it. However, the imaging reveals _____(blah, blah, blah, blah, insert a bunch of words I didn't really understand)_______, and the answer to _____(again the words I didn't understand)___ was more surgery.  The catch is, they have cleaned out and then fused as much as they can from the front, this would need to be done from the back of his neck. A surgery with a posterior approach means cutting through the thick muscles of his neck, which is MUCH more invasive and may lead to a longer recovery period.  They sent us home with these instructions:  evaluate your pain level, understand that the only chance to fix it is surgery (a surgery that might not even work), and then decide when (or IF) you want to have the surgery.

At this juncture in time, John is currently in a place of wanting to just tough out the pain for as long as he can before consenting to surgery (if he even does).  He is NOT interested in another surgery. I am at COMPLETE peace with that.  In fact, I 100% feel that this has to be HIS decision alone. I feel God telling me to take ONLY a supporting role in this decision because only John will be able to say when the pain has become too much to bear any longer. 

It wasn't exactly the "we went in and couldn't find anything wrong, you're cured" kinda miracle answer we would have loved, but at least we know the answer.... more surgery.  

Now, John has to lie low the next few days to recover from his femoral artery being cut open, and then he can return to work on Tuesday to start this new chapter which I'm titling, "How much pain can you take"... When he gets to the point that he can't stand the pain any more, he is going to have to cry, "Uncle!" and then we can walk down the road of his 4th surgery.

Thanks for your prayers, supports, texts, and encouragement this morning.... As always, they were greatly appreciated.

Monday, April 6, 2015

This moment....

Sometimes the valley we are traveling through is so arduous that the only thing we can do is focus on THIS MOMENT.  (Heck who am I kidding most of my overwhelming, overfilled, overEVERTHING life is this way!) It's like the saying, "How do you eat an elephant?"  "One bite at a time."

This morning, I am focusing on THIS MOMENT in order to get through.  See yesterday we had a bit of a medical situation around here.  (John was really in rough shape, and we were debating going to the ER.  Praise the Lord things eased up and this morning after some rest he seems to be MUCH better.) In addition, if you caught last week's blog you know we're facing ANOTHER week of him being out of work AND an angiogram on Saturday, along with NO ANSWERS and few hypotheses about what is going on with John. So right now our situation seems quite similar to eating an elephant.  The things I could worry about are MANY and not necessarily very small.  Instead of worrying, I'm trying hard to focus on just THIS MOMENT and what I know about THIS MOMENT.

*At THIS MOMENT, I have an amazing husband (albeit a bit under the weather but still AMAZING)
*At THIS MOMENT, my children have TONS of extra time with their loving dad
*At THIS MOMENT, we have plenty of food in our cupboards, no bills are currently overdue, the amount in our checking account is still in the positive
*At THIS MOMENT, I have a job that is giving me PLENTY of hours.
* At THIS MOMENT, I have INCREDIBLE parents and AMAZING sisters who pray, text, check-in and basically CARRY me through all of this nonsense.
*At THIS MOMENT, God has NOT forsaken me, and I know in the depths of me, He never will.

If you would, please be in prayer for us this week.  We are TRUSTING that God is in control, but we will ALWAYS covet your prayers.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17

Friday, April 3, 2015


Yesterday John had his follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon.... the word we got was, "Wait." Just "wait." No answers.  No understanding.  Very little hope.  Just "wait."

Apparently the scans reveal that his fusions look great.... the pictures didn't give insight to why he has so much soreness and weakness and numbness going on. The doctor had no answer for why John can hardly use his arms. Just "wait."

John is out of work for another week (be still my wavering heart), and next Saturday he will have an angiogram to see if something is restricting the blood flow in this area. If something is found,  I guess we have yet ANOTHER surgery (trembly knees STOP knocking). Just "wait."

I'm having a hard time getting a read on where john is with all this.  I mean I know he is tired of this seemingly never-ending trail of medical woes.... but I can't tell if he's hopeful or nervous or defeated. My guess is he has a little bit of all three (and more) emotions running through his heart right now.

Me?  Well I feel like those times in a movie when someone is dangling off the edge of a cliff or gripping the edge of a building.... and their hand is slipping with just their fingertips impossibly clinging to the very edge... and then out of nowhere the larger than life hero swoops in and grabs them by the wrist, and you know it will be okay.  You aren't exactly sure yet how the hero is going to get that person off the side of the cliff/building, but you know that the day has been saved.

See while I can see all the stuff in the GREAT expanse I'm dangling over (another week without pay,  the possibility of ANOTHER surgery,  the fear that John's pain, weakness,  soreness and numbness might not be solvable, the pain and discouragement in my husband's eyes) I also know FULL well that this isn't just some action-movie hero grasping my hand and keeping me from plummeting into the depths.  It is the God of ALL the universe Who has me in His capable grip. And if I should have to tumble down the hill of another OR waiting room, or even crash onto the rocks of him NEVER being allowed to return to work, even if I drown in the sea of losing my love,  He will BE RIGHT THERE to brush me off, to pick me up, to resuscitate me, even to carry me home to glory...

I've been WEARING out this song by Kari Jobe.... It is like a life preserver buoying my soul through this most recent storm...

Sometimes, I just sing this part over and over:

I am not alone
I am not alone
I am not alone
I am not alone
I am not alone
I am not alone

I'm not thrilled with this "wait" answer (although I will admit that "wait" is a much better answer to the question, "Will John EVER return to work?" than "no" would be.) I'm not excited to be dangling over this cliff, trying hard to focus on the Hand that is grabbing me instead of the rocks and waves below.  But I am so glad that we are NOT alone in this "wait."  He will NEVER leave us.

So "wait" we will.... hoping and praying that God will help us to be faithful as we wait... we so desperately want our children, the doctors and nurses, my blog readers, EVERYONE we come in contact with to see God glorified through this "wait." Beyond that, we are praying, "not our will but Your will be done."

I am Not Alone

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I'm standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You're my strength
You're my defender
You're my refuge in this storm
Through these trials
You've always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

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