Monday, January 30, 2006

Great News!

Just wanted to let ya'll know that Judah's most recent EEG results came back normal/negative. This is good news, confirming his MRI results back in September that there appears to be no Sturge-Weber brain involvement for Judah. We will continue with these EEG's and pray that they continue to confirm such good news for all of us. Thank you, Lord.

For You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God. Psalm 86:10

Monday, January 23, 2006

EEG Head

Today's EEG went as well as anyone could expect from an 18 month old.
Judah screamed his little head off when the technician put on all the electrodes, but after his head was all wrapped in gauze, we sat back, watched Tom and Jerry and let the technician watch Judah's brain activity for a half hour. We were told he got a good EEG from Judah, whatever that might mean?! Thank you, Lord! After taking all the gauze and electrodes off Judah's head (which incidentally are stuck to his head with a vaseline based paste), we were sent on our way. The tech. tried to wipe as much of the paste off Judah's head as he could, but I walked out of Kennedy Krieger looking like I never bathe my son! So, for the afternoon, I am affectionately referring to Judah as "EEG Head".

The neuro. evaluation went well, too. Judah's head circumference remains the same. Thank you, Lord!!!

We have no more dr's. appointments for Judah this week, but mommy gets to go see the dentist. I think I have a cavity, so that may not be such a pleasant visit. :(

Until next week, God willing, Judah just gets to be a wonderfully active, curious toddler along with his brother. Tomorrow, we've been invited to climb on a fire truck that is visiting our neighbor's at home day care! Yippee!

Thanks for praying!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Upcoming EEG

Last Wednesday's eye appointment could have gone better. Judah was rather pleasant and agreeable until the doctor started to examine him. Normally, he's only really bothered when she tries to open his eyes or gives him drops, but this time he wouldn't sit still for any bit of the examination. As a result, there was little she could conclude.

These are the appointments that it becomes clear we must hope and trust in God and not in man. When Judah responds so negatively to an exam, I can begin to question our decisions to subject him to such rigorous medical care. After Wednesday's exam or lack thereof, I cried out to God for wisdom; that's what I thought I needed. Judah has a docket full of dr's. appointments for the next couple of weeks, and I began to question my judgement in scheduling all of them so close together.

I asked for my caregroup to also be praying for me to have wisdom re: how closely and which dr's. appointments to schedule for Judah. As I relayed the specifics, one couple chimed in with some very helpful and encouraging input. After pondering what they shared, I realized wisdom was not the issue, but strength and a renewed sense of self-denial and trust in God. Judah needs to be seen by these doctors; they are a means of grace to us. I needed to be reminded afresh that we are taking him through the rigors of all these specialists and tests because we believe that is for his best. I didn't realize that what I needed was not mostly wisdom, but fortitude and perseverance.

How quickly I can grow weary of doing good, especially when doing good is so hard and confronts my comfort and sensibilities. Through this gracious lot God has assigned to us and to Judah, we are all learning and going to continue to learn that while our heart and flesh may fail, God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever.

I'm posting on a Friday because Monday we will be at another appointment.
Judah participates in a study that his neurologist, Dr. Comi, has been doing for over a year. For this study, Judah receives EEG's every three months. I don't imagine he'll be any more cooperative as this test requires a bunch of electrodes to be pasted to his head. Ideally, he'll be in a restful state for the best test results. That would indeed be an act of God and nothing less at this stage in his development.

He will also see his neurologist and have a brief evaluation by her. My hope is that his head size will be acceptable and not cause for alarm.
So, overall, please pray that:
  • Judah will cooperate for the EEG.
  • Judah's head size will be within his growth curve.
  • God will provide sustaining grace for all of us through these next couple weeks, full of doctor's appointments.
  • God will give me wisdom to know how to specifically shepherd Judah and Tucker's hearts even at their young age.

Not to be taken for granted, but a constant reason for praise, Judah remains seizure/stroke free! Thank you, Lord!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Eyes on Wednesday

Well, our little break from the doctor's is coming to a close. Starting back up this week, we will be taking Judah to see his opthamologist here in Bel Air. She regularly checks his vision and tries to see if there are any changes not only in his presciption but how he's using his eyes as well. She is also going to do the follow up from Judah's last surgery in December on his left eye, to ensure that it is healing properly. We're praying all will look good, but as always want to posture ourselves to trust God with whatever the doctor finds.

Please pray that:
  • Judah's prescription in both eyes will have improved or remained the same.
  • Judah's left eye will be free of infections and healing well from his last surgery.
  • We will be a testimony of God's grace to Dr. Abrams and faithful to represent the gospel in our interactions with her and her staff.

Thanks for praying with us over small and great matters.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Something I Have Learned and am Learning: Self-Denial

This is one of those rare weeks that we don't have any Dr's appointments scheduled for Judah. So, I thought I'd take the opportunity to write some quotes from a book I am reading that has been both challenging and encouraging. It is Female Piety by John Angell James. It was writtne in the early 1800's, so the language is not easy to follow, though it is not impossible or I wouldn't be reading it! :)

I wanted to include a few excerpts from a section in the book where James outlines a few necessary qualities for any godly wife and mother. One in particular has encouraged me in regards to Judah and all he goes through with the lot God has mercifully assigned to him. I trust they will be an encouragement to any woman who has the patience to read through them!

The quality James is highlighting in these quotes is self-denial.

On the subject of woman's fortitude and power of endurance, I will introduce, though it may be at some length, the most surprising instance of it perhaps on record, whether in inspired or uninspired history, and it will serve as an appropriate illustration of this part of the subject of the chapter.

The Apostle John, in his narrative of the events of the crucifixion of our Lord, says with beautiful simplicity, and without a single comment, as if he could not hope and would not attempt to add to the grandeur of the incident: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene." That the other women should have been there is less wonderful, though even their presence at such a scene (from which it would seem as if all the apostles had retired except John) was indeed an instance of the fortitude of heroic love.

To whatever length endurance may be carried by attendance at the sickbed of a dying friend, how few of even female heroes could witness the execution of a husband, son, or brother.

...standing by the cross, were those dauntless, holy women, sustaining with wondrous fortitude the sight of His dying agonies, and confessing their Lord in the hour of His deepest humiliation, in the absence of His friends and in the presence of his foes--and there among them was His mother.

Let females study this pathetic and amazing scene, and learn that the deepest love and the noblest grief are not that sickly sensibility, that emotional excitability, which are too tender to bear the sight of suffering, but that which, instead of sinking with hysterical outcries, retiring with averted eyes from agonies, or swooning at the sight of tears and blood, can control the feelings and brace the nerves to perform in the hour and scene of woe a part which none can perform except herself, or at any rate none can perform so well.

Doubtful that any of us will be called to witness our son's execution, but many of us will be called to wipe off bloody knees, cool the head of a feverish child, or even endure ER visits with horrendous broken bones. When those times come or more significant times of suffering in your child's life, may you be encouraged and equipped as you consider the position and the fortitude God's given you as a mother to be the comforter, the encourager, and the "truth teller".

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

As we welcome 2006, we do so with the awareness of God's faithful hand in 2005, and thereby confidently "laugh at the days to come" in regards to Judah's health in particular.

To recap 2005:

He developed asthma, usually brought on by a common cold, landing him in the ER twice, but never admitted. We have fared the last two colds without a trip to the ER, and are growing more comfortable and skilled at managing his asthma at home. Thank you, Lord!

Judah had two eye surgeries, one in May on his right eye and one just in December, on his left eye. While recovery in his right eye was long and difficult, the surgery seemed to not only keep the pressure down but also improve his eyesight as well. The recovery on his left eye has gone much better than the recovery in May, and we are certain it is due in part to your faithful prayers. Thank you, Lord!

We completed 6 laser treatments under the care of one of the best, if not the best, pediatric dermatologists in the nation, Dr. Bernard Cohen. We were denied coverage by our insurance company for Judah's 5th treatment, but with one appeal, the denial was overturned, and we were able to resume treatments. Thank you, Lord!

And, possibly the best news of the year: Judah's MRI which was done in September showed no evidence of Sturge-Weber brain involvement. This finding, along with the fact that Judah has had no seizures or strokes to date, makes the likelihood of brain involvement in the future decrease significantly. Thank you, Lord!

We are grateful to God for His many mercies to us and to Judah in this last year. Your ongoing concern and prayers on our behalf is a significant manifestation of God's love and care for our family. We will continue to rely on and appreciate your prayers in this upcoming year. We also want to know how we can be praying for you. So, please let us know. Email us anytime about any concern, and we will most certainly be praying. Thanks for loving us!