Saturday, May 12, 2012

Witness to a Miracle

Throughout my life, I have seen and felt God work in many ways.  He has provided for us in ways too numerous to count.  He has protected us from seen and unseen danger more times than we know.  He has guided and directed us in our marriage and careers.  He has created through us new life in Micah and in baby McKenzie (even if she hasn't made her debut yet!).  However, although I have known that God is also a healer and have prayed for Him to heal family and friends, I have never experienced it first hand like I did these last few days.

At 10am Thursday, Eli went under for his cranial decompression surgery.  I had my first update from a nurse a couple hours later saying, they made the first incision at 11am.  By 12:50pm, the nurse was calling me to tell me Dr. Camarata - Eli's neurosurgeon - was ready to meet with me!  I was so shocked, and even more so when he told us (Eli's parents and myself) how smoothly everything went and that he did not have to cut into the dura (the lining between the brain and skull which would have almost doubled Eli's recovery time and chances of infection, etc.).  He had made a long incision on Eli's neck, removed part of the skull and parts of the top 2 vertebrae and then ran an ultrasound.  The ultrasound showed that Eli's cerebral tonsils were now moving up and down freely and that his cerebral fluid was moving very well, so they sewed and stapled him back up!

Eli spent the next few hours in recovery while he woke up and waited to go to an ICU room.  That was probably the hardest part for me because I knew he was done and yet I couldn't see him yet!  A very kind nurse took pity on me later in the afternoon and snuck me back in recovery to see him when he woke up.

Once he was awake and in his ICU room, Eli almost immediately wanted a cheeseburger (I thought this was an excellent sign!)  I spent the night with him in a recliner in the ICU room, not the most comfortable place for a pregnant belly, but I was so thrilled to be there with him.  I've never been so thankful to have my snoring husband next to me!  ;-)

Friday, Eli continued to surprise everyone by walking, doing stairs, and sitting up for much of the day.  He got moved out of ICU and into a private regular room in the neuroscience unit.  He did pay for all his activity a bit that evening when the pain and exhaustion caught up to him, but when Micah came to visit, he definitely perked right up again!

Micah and I headed home Friday night to have a night in our own beds; and I repacked my bag and was ready to spend another night with Eli in the hospital.  So you can imagine my surprise when he called me to tell me he was getting discharged today.  When the doctor took off his bandage today, she was so surprised that she told Eli he could go home today if he wanted!  And of course he did!

So by 2:30pm (just 50 hours after this crazy surgery!), Eli was in my car and we were headed home!  I still think I might wake up from this wonderful dream.

For the next 2 weeks, Eli is not allowed to drive or lift anything over 5 lbs.  The main thing is for him to sleep and sleep and sleep, which shouldn't be a problem with his prescriptions of muscle relaxers and pain meds!  I think being in his own bed is already doing him a world of good.  He got up briefly for dinner and a shower and is now back asleep.

As for me, I couldn't be happier to have the whole family back under one roof.  Cooper and Denver (the dogs) are lying on the couch next to me as I type this.  I can hear Micah breathing on the monitor and Eli snoring upstairs (I don't need a monitor to hear that... lol!)  Only the girls are awake (Little Kenzie is kicking me right now!)  This is all I could have hoped for my Mother's Day tomorrow!

God is so incredibly good.  I know none of this would have been possible without the MANY, MANY prayers we have received (and continue to receive) from our friends and family all over the world!  When doctors (even neurosurgeons), nurses, physical therapists use words like "shocked," "surprised," or "amazed," there is only one explanation.  Our amazing heavenly Father was showing off a bit these last few days when He healed Eli as quickly as He did!  And even with the residual swelling from the surgery, Eli's nystagmus is already markedly better and so is his balance!  It will be amazing to see what his follow-up appointment in 10 days reveals!

So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of your prayers, thoughts, love, and support.  We have felt them these last days in a real and powerful way.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Book Review: "In the Eye of the Storm"

In the Eye of the StormIn the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love how Max Lucado makes God so REAL.

One of my favorite chapters was "Why God Smiles" in which Lucado writes "I'm not one who easily envisions a smiling God. A weeping God, yes. An angry God, OK. A might God, you bet. But a chuckling God? .... What do I think he was doing when he stretched the neck of the giraffe? An exercise in engineering? What do I think he had in mind when he told the ostrich where to put his head? Spelunking? What do I think he was doing when he designed the mating call of an ape? Or the eight legs of the octopus? And what do I envision on his face when he saw Adam's first glance at Eve? A yawn? Hardly."

Throughout the book, Lucado gives examples of Jesus' interaction with people to show us that our almighty God really does understand us and that no matter what we are facing - even in the eye of the storm - He is there with us and has been there before.

So here's to a smiling God that loves us more than we will ever understand this side of heaven!

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chiari Malformation

Well, time to resurrect this blog to update you all on something going on in our lives right now, and hopefully you will join us in prayer!

About a year ago, Eli noticed that he occasionally got "dizzy" when he used his right peripheral vision. Thought it was vertigo and ignored it. Gradually though it got more and more frequent. He finally paid enough attention to it to realize that it was basically like his eyes were "resetting" whenever he looked to the right. Went to his eye doctor who called it a NYSTAGMUS and referred him to a neuro-optomologist who referred him to get an MRI. At which point we found out it was CHIARI MALFORMATION. (Which though bad was better than our worst fears of it being a brain tumor or something!)

Anyway, CHIARI is basically a condition that some people are born with but doesn't usually cause any problems until 20s or 30s in which the skull is too small for the brain. In Eli's case, his brain is actually pushing through his spinal column because it has no room in his skull. This is causing his vision thing, poor balance, and headaches.

We met with a neurosurgeon, Dr. Camarata, at KU Med who will be doing decompression surgery on Thursday, May 10th. They will remove part of Eli's skull and part of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. Recovery is 6 weeks unless they also have to cut into the dura (the lining between the skull and brain) which would put it at 2.5 months. We won't know if they have to cut into the dura until after they are inside though. It's certainly scary, but we know God will take care of everything!

Surgery next week will be about 3-4 hours long and then require 3-5 days in the hospital.  Then 2 weeks without lifting anything over 5 lbs (Eli & Micah are going to be in severe rough-housing withdrawals!).  Then... we just don't know!  Eli is young and healthy though so we are hoping for a speedy recovery.  Although because his job as a paramedic obviously requires a LOT of lifting, he will probably be off the full 6-12 weeks.  And 12 weeks from now, we are expecting the arrival of our little girl - around July 30th - so it's going to be a crazy few months for us!!!

Thank you in advance for your prayers!