Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Many Mercies, Much Grace

We took Judah to his EUA despite the bad weather that rolled through our area Friday morning. The most stressful part of our day was the trip to the hospital. We left our house a little after 5 a.m., and at that time the roads were still covered with snow falling thick and rapidly. There were no visible lanes on I-95, and we went an average of 20 miles an hour. God gave grace to my husband to drive humbly, and by His mercy we made it safely to the hospital, only about 20 minutes late.

During our pre-op., there was some discussion between me, primarily, the doctor and the anesthesiology team regarding what kind of anesthetic to use on Judah. Sparing you the details of that conversation, it was nevertheless another mark of God's grace to me to not fear man but instead ask and receive the wisdom of God, and then advocate for what I felt was in my son's best interest. In God's mercy, Judah responded the best he ever has to the "anesthestic mix" the team administered.

After the initial exam, the doctor came out to the waiting room and let us know that the pressures in Judah's right eye (the one he had surgery on back in May) looked good, but that the pressures in his left eye were too high and that he wanted to go ahead with surgery. While we did not expect to hear that news, we consented to surgery per the doctor's recommendation.

Almost immediately, more of a habitual response than a thoughtful one, I began to grow anxious. I asked Lawrence if he would pray, and do so right there in the waiting room. By God's grace, Lawrence put off the fear of man and did pray. God mercifully relieved me of the anxiety, and as I looked up from our prayer, I noticed the woman across from us was crying.

Lawrence and I were going to get some breakfast, but as we walked out of the waiting room, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to go speak with and seek to comfort that woman. For the first time in all the times I've been to the doctor and the hospital with Judah, I was able, by God's grace, to look outside my own circumstance and see someone else's grief. Not only that, but I was able to courageously seek to minister comfort to that woman. I inquired about her son and shared a bit about Judah; I told her we were Christians and asked if we could pray for her and her son. I trust this was an "initiation" of sorts for me, the beginning of seeing and acting upon the very real ministry opportunities our son's condition affords us.

Mercifully, the surgery went very well per Judah's doctor. Since it was going to be another hour or longer until Judah woke up, Lawrence and I decided to visit a family we knew was in the hospital. Our pastor was checking in with us throughout the morning and asked if we'd consider going to see this family. They are from Kansas but have acquainted themselves with our church while staying here in MD. There is much to tell of their story, but I will seek to be brief. I mention our visit with them only because it was yet another evidence of God's grace and your prayers buoying us, making us strong enough to trust God and care for others in the midst of circumstances that consistently tempt us to be anxious and self-focused. Our visit with this precious family, the Talley's, turned out to be more a blessing to us than to them, I'm sure.

Judah came out of surgery just tired rather than disoriented and irritable as he has in the past. He was back to his normal self by dinner time, which is remarkable given that past experiences with anesthesia have kept him out of it for nearly a full 24 hours. The next morning when the doctor removed the patch from his eye, Judah's eye was already open!! The surgery in May on his other eye kept his eye swollen shut for 3 weeks!

Since Saturday, Judah is doing well. He has had some trouble sleeping, I think because he sleeps on the side where he had surgery. Pressure must build up and cause him some pain or discomfort. Adminstering eye drops is not necessarily fun, especially having to give them to him up to 8 times a day! Overall, though, Judah is recovering well from surgery, and we are aware of the many mercies of God through our circumstance with Judah.

In a very real way, we felt your prayers on our behalf on Friday. We just cannot say thank you enough. You continue to be such a tangible expression of our Heavenly Father's love and care for us. Thank you so much!!

And, miracle upon miracle, we have NO doctors' appointments this week. We are going to try to enjoy the Christmas season and build some memories with our sons centered around the reason we could experience such mercy and grace this last Friday, our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Only Skin Deep

We went to see a new specialist today, an interventional radiologist, Dr. Sally Mitchell. We were referred to her in order to rule out or confirm a related syndrome to Sturge-Weber, Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome. Dr. Mitchell went over Judah's medical history, took some pictures and ordered an MRI scan of his body from the neck down in order to check for possible vascular abnormalities underlying the surface of Judah's skin. This is one instance where it would be a positive thing to say it runs only skin deep! She looked over the MRI of his head from September and gave a good report in terms of there being no vascular abnormalities there. THANK YOU, LORD!

We are going ahead with these tests to help us and any medical personnel involved in Judah's care to best care for him and to help us plan for what we may be facing in the future. If vascular abnormalities exist below the skin, they can potentially cause bleeding issues, uneven growth in his limbs and/or essentially "feed" the port wine stain causing it to swell, effecting circulation among other things. The potential for high blood flow areas exists as well which would be pertinent information to have in case of injury or surgery down the road. We will let you know when we have the MRI scheduled so that you can pray with us. Judah will be put under anesthesia for that, and the test may take a couple hours to complete.

While we make arrangements for the MRI to take place, we anticipate another appointment later this week, Friday, December 9th. Judah will have an EUA (evaluation under anesthesia) to check the pressures in his eyes. If the doctor, Dr. Congdon, feels it is necessary, he will go ahead with surgery in one or both of Judah's eyes to seek to keep Judah's glaucoma under control. We are hoping and praying for a good outcome and that being no need for surgery.

Please pray that:
  • Judah will remain healthy to undergo this procedure on Friday.
  • Judah will not need surgery in his eyes.
  • Judah will fare anesthesia well with no complications during the EUA or afterwards.
  • We will continue to be anxious for nothing.

Thanks for your prayers and expressed concern for Judah and our family!