Angel Update: 8/3

This week has been filled with rest & recovery, improvement & encouragement, appointments & anxiety (to be transparent). Today was the first of many follow up appointments that will roll out over the next several weeks. Good news first: Angel’s left hand and arm has been steadily improving in mobility and strength. Her pain level has been minimal and very manageable. Her mental clarity and physical appetite has been very good. As her practicing support animal, I do not have to worry if I am going to forget anything that needs to be taken care of. She’s on point when it comes to the “to do’s”. We have enjoyed numerous calls and messages from friends around the country and from Pastor friends from the Bahamas. Our church family and wonderful neighbors have been so good to us. Today’s appointment with the radiation oncologist, Dr Zhang, went well. It was a bit jarring to leave the house and go back into the somewhat familiar environment of a radiation lab. Here are the bullet points…

  • Another MRI set up for 8/19 for updated brain condition
  • 1-3 gamma knife radiation treatments based on MRI
  • Regular MRIs every 2-3 months going forward
  • Tumor pathology shows this brain tumor is metastatic to the 2014 breast cancer tumors
  • That points to possibility of more extensive Oncology treatment (Dr Tanna)
  • Increased chance of seizures due to Radiation

We also had a visit from a home health nurse, April. Her evaluation was that Angel has progressed so well physically that she does not need physical or occupational therapy right now. We will re-evaluate things after the radiation treatment.

PRAYER: Let’s make these reports our matters of specific prayers if you please. We will never be able to thank you enough for continuing in prayer for Angel and our family.

STRENGTHENING: I cannot say that we are there yet, but the Lord has planted 2 Corinthians 12:9 deep down in my heart. “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.” What a thought. Power of God not from good work, not from education, not from influence, not from volume, not from exposure or admiration. Power rests upon those who go through the hard times and remain faithful. Lord help us all.

Angel Update: 7/29pm

Home. There is something you can get there that is unavailable anywhere else. Peace and quiet. Thank the Lord Angel was discharged today about 2pm. I must say the entire experience was made more tolerable by the incredible staff at Northside Hospital Gwinnett and Northeast GA Med Ctr Gainesville. We took the 2 lane way home, wept our way in the door and she settled in to her freshly cleaned living room, courtesy of Lloyd and Debra Borden. We are so grateful for all who prayed us through this portion of this major medical emergency. We will get into follow up appointments and things but all we ask tonight is that you help us pray for a great night’s rest. We hope and pray the same for you. Don’t stop praying.

Angel Update: 7/28pm

Today was a mix of good news, God things and pain. So, the good news first. There was a decent nights rest overnight, as good as you can get as a hospital patient who is the recipient of tremendous round the clock care. Translation: 3:30am “I wanted to wake you up and make sure you are resting. Time to check your vitals, and your sugar, what’s your favorite color…” No really, it is all part of great constant care. The Lord blessed us with many great conversations and messages from people all over the country who have been a great blessing to us. All of your communications through our update posts have done a great work in heaven and in our hearts. With all of that comes the reality that 48 hours ago a Human Being took surgical tools and cut open Angels scalp and skull, dug around skillfully and pulled out a lemon sized object from her doggone brain, put it back together with staples and she still works. Now, think about the last time you stubbed your toe, tweaked your ankle, bumped your knee or elbow, got popped with bacon grease, got a sunburn, a paper cut, sat in a chair too long and got stiff (it happens), got a leg cramp, accidentally hit yourself with a golf club or aluminum bat, or had a child conk you on the head with a toy of any kind. Now, put all those together, insert it into your head and pour scalding water on it followed by iodized salt and mercurochrome. Starting to get close to brain surgery pain. Oh, and add in a broken bone because her skull was sawed open. Ok now. Please pray that her pain can be managed. Even with the meds they are giving her there is still a significant amount of pressure and pain. THE REALLY GOOD NEWS! She is going home tomorrow! Can you believe it? This started almost 9 days ago and she is finally getting to go home.

PRAYER: Pain Management, A smooth release from the hospital and arrival home, Follow up appointments over the next 2 weeks including a 1 time gamma knife radiation treatment, No insurance issues, Pray away fevers, infections, falls, seizures or any major setbacks, For the home crew which will take over all of the round the clock care, Safety traveling home tomorrow.

STRENGTHENING: They say that people who are in better physical condition overall do better when a major health crisis arises. Same principle can be applied to the healthy active prayer life of a Child of God who gets the right amount of spiritual nutrition, exercise, rest, work, and flexibility. How in this world does anyone face anything close to this without a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Please hear what I am about to say in the right spirit. Some who have posted a response to one of our update posts that has a praying hand emoji or “prayers” cannot remember the last time that they started and ended their day with prayer. Some could not pray effectively because there is unconfessed sin in their life. Some who promised to pray would have to get out a yearly calendar to track down the last time they actually went to church. If this experience has rekindled your prayer life, worth it. If you have tried to pray for Angel and it caused you to clean up some things or reestablish communion between you and the Master, worth it. As we have said throughout the last 9 days, DON’T STOP PRAYING! When the reports get better and she goes home, DON’T STOP PRAYING! Pray like it is brain surgery day, every day. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17 KJB

ICU Meditations: Within not just Around

In Scofield’s notes in the introduction to Philippians, he makes this statement, “Christian experience, (Paul) would teach us, is not something which is going on around the believer, but something which is going on within the believer.”  Without all my notes with me, I cannot recall between Stinnet Ballew, Milford Biddle or Raymond Hancock, who said in times like these to say not tell me Why Lord, but rather show me Who are you in this Lord. In Philippians 3 Paul laid bye all his outward previous entitlement, precious enrichment, positional enablement, and political entanglement, in deference to the Embolding Power he knew within by humility, sufferings, and persecution. A dear friend reminded us of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 when he instructed us in the sufficient grace, perfected strength in weakness, and glory in infirmities for Christ’s sake. All of which are the pathway to Power in Christ which is not put on but better put in. Watering the leaves of the branches does not give the nourishment that the water from the Roots through the Vine provides.

Angel Update 7/27pm

Today was a good day. For Angel today stretched from last night at 8pm in recovery. I was not able to stay with her and she did not sleep much at all worrying about the morning MRI.  That came around 8am. That’s 3 dreaded MRI in 1 week. Gal deserves a gold medal instead of some of those twerps in Japan. Speech, physical, and occupational therapy all came in and began the work of awakening her left hand and arm motor skills. We received some instructions and made some plans for going home.  Dr Winograd came in and gave his post-op thoughts. He is confident that the procedure was a success. The MRI shows that the brain is collapsing back into its normal space. That will help the return of her slowed motor skills. He took off her lovely gauze wrap to reveal the cross cranial incision now held with the latest in high fashion staples. He talked of follow up with a radiation oncologist who would perform a 1 day 1 time gamma knife radiation treatment. Any other ongoing treatment will go to Dr Tanna. His words, “I’m just the mechanic.” The hardest thing has shifted from waiting to staying still and resting. Angel wants to pop up and get back to her active routine. But poor baby cannot hold her eyes open. Outside of a slight Game Show Network addiction, she is in motion and independent. Good news is that things are moving in the right direction.

PRAYER: Improvement in motor skills. She won’t unconsciously scratch her head or pull at her IV. Upcoming appointments. Pathology report is best case. Tireless Medical staff. Adjustments to home care / recovery. That this test and trial will not be in vain but that God will receive His due Glory and all who observe will learn what He is trying to teach. Which leads to…

STRENGTHENING: Don’t waste the pain. The most revered of our heroes of the Faith have only become so by trudging through the pit of pain. How much Power have we forfeited in trials by clenching our selves so tightly that we refuse the gracious hand that the Lord offers to lead us through the pit of pain to the higher plane of Power. We want to know the power of His resurrection (Phil 3) but it is in His sufferings where we find His fellowship. Let us not waste the pain on our own selfishness.

ICU meditations

7/27/21

Life that rolls out without the acute sensitivity of crisis most often ignores the still small voice and the moments of Gods graceful movements. All the schedules and scuffles, activity and apathy, drown out our attention to the direct action of the Almighty. It has been in these recent intense moments of “I need you” that we have looked and listened more attentively. What a pity that I have not lived every normal, mundane, ordinary, I got it, day without the same “I need you” on my lips. I fear the Lord has stood by me as I practically ignored Him in my day to day. He deserves so much more of my every moment attention unto Him, rather than the regrettable treatment of a life preserver in times of distress. Lord help us all.

Angel Update 7/26pm

When going through a situation like a surgery quite possibly one of the hardest things is the waiting. We’ve been waiting for several days now for a surgery that would remove a 4 cm tumor from the right lobe of Angels brain. I have heard it said in these last several days that one of the common phrases around hospitals is “it will start when we begin and it will take as long as it takes.” That phrase is very true. They told us that the surgery would start around 2:15. Someone came to pick her up for pre-op about 1:45 p.m. We thought that we were right on track. The pre-op experience lasted about 2 hours. We were able to talk with Dr Winograd and hear his plan. He was actually able to show us the MRI images which was astounding. Something akin to a lemon was in the right upper lobe of Angel’s brain. The doctor seemed very confident that this would be no problem to retract. I’m glad he thought so. As he explained everything and asked if we had any further questions we said no. I did at that time tell him that although we do not know what he believes or doesn’t believe, there were literally thousands of people all over the world who are calling his name in prayer on behalf of Angel. He seemed unimpressed and expressed that whatever anybody believes is fine with him. ” I’m Jewish, so.” I did not say it out loud but I thought to myself, ” I’ve been talking to another Jewish doctor whom we refer to as the great physician.” About 1 hour later the OR nurse called to say they were beginning the procedure. About 2 hours later Dr Winograd came into the OR waiting room and said “we are done.” He was able to get all of the tumor and said he believes it is a best case scenario. Further pathology and consultation will determine further treatment but he believed that it should be minimal. This is nothing short of the grace of God from the throne of God motivated by the prayers of his people. We praise His good name. I was able to go in and see Angel for a few minutes in the recovery area. She was talking answering questions and asking the same questions over and over. She did say that her head was hurting to which the nurse said, ” baby you had brain surgery and that’s going to hurt your head.” There will be scans tonight and at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow. You know what we say around here, don’t stop praying. Good night.