Friday, November 7, 2008

surgical gift

There are more examples in my life than I can take the time to outline of times when our desert places were turned into the land of plentiful through faith, trust and prayer. God orchestrates our lives in ways unimaginable to us when we are willing to let it go and hand over the reins to Him humbly. The last two weeks, we have spent much time reflecting on God's plan for us, talking about peace, faith, our love, salvation, death, our past and the kids' future. We have shared tears and heartache and desperation and devastation as we struggled to let go and rest that Brian's life is in God's hands.

Today, after many hours of conversations and intentions made known to everyone that we would like to move forward with this surgery that would so obviously help Brian, Brian was taken to surgery around 3:30 pm. The surgery itself lasted around 30 minutes. Total pre-op, post-op, surgery and recovery time was around 2 hours. Brian was under general anesthetic. The procedure involved putting a permanent tube into Brian's right ventricle.

this is Brian's MRI two times ago - mid October labeled to show you what a ventricle is

Next, they make a small incision behind the ear and insert a valve attached to the tubing. The valve ensures the fluid will only flow FROM the ventricle and not back to it. Lastly, an incision is made in the abdomen. This is where the tubing ends. It empties into the abdomen cavity. All the tubing is under the skin.

Brian's biggest issue right now is coming out of anesthesia which is so far not a big problem, but just causing him to be a bit groggy. Also, his abdomen is sore. The incision in the abdomen is larger than we had expected and there was some maneuvering of the tube at that location, so he is tender.

Otherwise he is doing well and is recovering fine. He is still speaking better than last week, is alert and feels good.

The quality of life given back to us is immeasurable. What we have just done has not at all affected or addressed the cancer, but has alleviated Brian's fast developing symptoms causing a rapidly deteriorating condition.

And I believe God orchestrated this entire event:

Brian and I were inches away from canceling the consultation with the surgeon last week since we were not seriously considering a surgical resection at this point in time. Had we done that, we would not have personally met Dr. K and I do not know that he would have so rapidly read Brian's scan and personally called us with his finding and recommendation. We were not supposed to get the results of that scan until this morning. I shudder to think of the condition Brian would have been in today given the rate of the spinal fluid building up in his ventricle. Instead, Brian's complications were eliminated by Wednesday night via a temporary drain and now with a more permanent shunt.

I had the ball rolling for hospice assistance on Wednesday morning, but now we are considering further treatment.

Wednesday morning, Brian could barely tolerate light, wind, noise and movement. Today he wants to get out of bed, get home and play with his boys.

Last Friday, I had told my mom that she didn't need to stay past the weekend. We didn't need that help yet. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday she stepped up helping my kids while I attended to Brian's needs which were quickly and unexpectedly growing. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday she was here to get my kids to and from school, homework finished and baths and meals administered, including tending to my very sick Gavin. Today, she took the boys to her house for the weekend. It gives her time with Dad and back in her environment. It allows me the freedom to be with Brian instead of choosing between the boys and Brian. It gives the boys a welcome change of pace and some fun. Also, it gets sick Gavin out of our house and allows the house a couple days to lose the germs before Brian comes back home.

I know I made my voice very well heard at the hospital on Brian's behalf. Before each conversation as Brian's advocate, I felt the peace of Christ guiding me to use a respectful approach, logical wording and calm demeanor. My words were His words and because of making our desires known, I find it no coincidence that Brian skipped lunch despite the urgings of both a Physician Assistant and a Resident to go ahead and eat since he was not scheduled until Saturday only to discover that there was a cancellation and Brian's procedure took its place this afternoon. Had I not made our heart's desires and our frustrations known in such a manner, I do not believe Brian would have been placed on today's schedule. Had Brian eaten, he could not have had anesthesia.

Also, Dr. K. is a Christian man. Just prior to surgery, he came into the room and said he prays before each surgery and asks the patients to join him in prayer if they do not mind. He prayed for Brian's recovery and his performance and in thankfulness for the gift of salvation through Christ. It was a moving moment and one that we have never experienced before.

It was as if God himself laid his hands right on Brian and said, "I'm not done with you yet. I have more plans for you and I will be glorified even more through you." And I have come to understand that even through death, God can be glorified.

While this surgery has not done anything for Brian's prognosis from the tumor, it has restored within Brian a new hope and a spark to live his life, however long it may be, even more humbly and in greater service to the Lord with continued dignity and character. It has allowed him to come back home as the Brian we all know and love continuing his exemplary life and legacy.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.”



  1. Thanks for the update Angie. Tell Brian hi.

  2. Wow, praise be to God! What an amazing post! I am so happy to read how everything went for you today. You both continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, and you have both enriched and ennobled my life. I am so glad I found your blog. What an example you are. I thank the Lord for giving you both peace and renewed hope.

  3. Praise the Lord! This post had me in tears. I'm so glad that Brian's quality of life has improved almost immediately. I am amazed that your doctor prayed with you before the surgery - that gave me goose bumps.

    I love it when we get to look back on things and see how God was working through it all.

    I am continuing to pray for you all. You are such a blessing.

  4. Angie,

    Thanks, I am so happy Brian is doing well.
    I can't wait to see your van pull in the driveway to know the two of you are back home.
    Brian told me yesterday he was looking forword to getting home hanging out with you in the family room with a nice fire. I think he was hoping for a little snow.

    See you soon.. Love, Mike

  5. That's awesome Angie! I'm so glad to hear everything went well.

  6. Amen! So glad the procedure helped. Many more days of peace and serenity to you and the family.

  7. God is amazing. When we put our trust in him all things are possible and this is an example of that!
    More prayers to you to get home quickly.

  8. WOW,
    what an awesome Dad in heaven we have.

    Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God.”

    Praising Him, for the Dr. the new hope that He instilled within Brian.
    Enjoy your time just the two of you this weekend, Thanking God for parents that continue to be there for you.
    Keep Believing Love you Marjo

  9. Angie, Thank you for this update. I am crying as I write this. The Lord is so good to give you and Brian this encouragement. May His whispers of hope drown out any fears or worries today. I am praising Jesus for His mercy. I will continue to pray fervently for you and your wonderful husband. You have an incredible mother. I am so glad she is able to help. That has to be very comforting to know that your boys are with her and your dad right now. I will pray for them also. May you all KNOW the peace that passes all understanding that promises to guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Blessings, blessings, and more blessings to you. Shawn

  10. What a wonderful example of our wonderful Lord! :)

    I'm still praying!

  11. Angie,

    This is such a beautiful chapter in your story. You are an amazing and insightful woman.

    Still praying for Brian and your family. Every day.

    Love, Cheri

  12. Angie,
    I am so thankful for God's provisions for you all. Your journals are so very well written that I feel like I am there, thank you for sharing. I can see just how precious our Lord is in all things. We're praying for you all!!!

  13. Angie...Thank you for that wonderful post. And thank god for answering our prayers. You and brian enjoy the weekend. God Bless you both..

  14. I'm so thankful to God for his will in your lives. I'm glad Brian's found some relief.

  15. This is just a beautiful post. Plain and simple. And I am crying my eyeballs out...which has something to do with my fever..but for the most part I am so amazed at God's continuing Grace...that when it seems like our darkest hour is upon us, He shows us His light and His mercy. I am simply amazed. Thank you, because at a time when I am so very much in the dark, i really need to see things like this. My love to you and yours, and prayers as always.

  16. I will miss seeing you today but am glad that John will be there with Brian and that Brian will be able to tolerate him (hee hee).

  17. WONDERFUL NEWS! Hang in there, honey. I agree that God's got more work to do through you and Brian. You are such a blessing to us all. xoxoxo

  18. I am so happy to hear the good news guys!! I wish I was there, but you are always in my thoughts and prayers! Yea God!!! I will be in touch when I get home. Let me come clean, so you guys can just be together!!!!


  19. With tears of great JOY and LOVE of CHRIST...I write how pleased we are to know that Brian's surgery was a success.
    We know all to well the feeling of being HELD IN GOD'S HANDS...I personally experienced this after Carter intense sence of peace that came over me in a desperate plea to God for the grief to subside for Connor's sake...our GOD is an AWESOME GOD...not a genie granting wishes...but a FATHER who holds our hand and makes things bearable with his guiding strength, love, and when it is in HIS plans...mountain mover!!!!


  20. Tears of JOY!!! I am so glad things have worked for you guys this week. It has been one heck of a week for your family and you have come through it with gratitide in your heart and peace in your soul! Have a good weekend with your man!

  21. What a wonderful testimony to our Loving God!
    I found you through allmed so glad i did

  22. What an amazing testimony God is using both of you for. Seriously amazing!!

    So glad to hear that your surgeon prayed with you. Glad you are feeling God's peace, and super glad to hear that Brian is resting peacefully and back to his old self!

    Still praying, and awaiting more of God's grace! :)

  23. Angie - I am so glad to hear about this great news and hear that the surgery was done and went well. I am keeping you in my prayers!

    Take care - Kellan

  24. Angie,

    Michelle gave me your blog address so I could keep up with you guys. You and Brian have been on my mind alot lately and now I know why. God has been urging me to pray for you.

    Praise God that Brian made it through today's surgery and is somewhat back to normal.

    You'll be continually in my prayers!

  25. Wow...I am so glad I checked your blog again tonight. What great great news. You continue to be in my prayers!!!

  26. Angie,
    Me too... tears. I had to hold the laptop closer to my eyes to read through the welling up.

    Harold at church told me, just this weekend, that when God chooses to show us his orchestration and why he made things happen the way they did, it's a wonderful thing. It provides encouragement. And he doesn't have to reveal that to us!

    I love you guys so much. My heart is with you. I'm praying for unexplained healing. Because you guys will be the most triumphant advocates of God's miracles.


  27. I am so glad to hear of this turn of events. Yes, I would certainly say the Lord's fingerprints are all over these recent events.


  28. Praying for y'all -- and for all those (like me) for whom you are such a glorious example!

  29. I'm so glad. I'm still praying and thinking of you all. God bless.

  30. Beautiful, wonderful.
    I'm so glad you have chosen to praise God in all things.

  31. Oh, thank God. Great news Angie. What a relief for you and Brian. Enjoy every moment.

  32. Thanks for the update. But more than that, thank you for the reminder to live each day to the fullest. Thank you for reminding me to not get caught up in the pettiness of life, but to appreciate eash day and it's blessings. Thank you for being transparent. May the Lord continue to work in your life.

  33. Angie, I just got caught up on the past, what a rollercoaster. I really hope that Brian is feeling well today...and that you'll boys will be home soon to see their dad.

    What a blessing to have a Christian doctor...and peace from God when you were dealing with such precious subject matter, Angie.

    You are an inspiration...

    I'll be praying for you this week...

  34. Wow! The way you laid this out for us is so clear and convincing of God's hand in your lives. What a blessing. Thank you for this gift to all of us. Praying for you!

  35. This is a true testament to the undeniable power of our Lord . . .

    and of your faith and love.

    I am so grateful for this turn! There is promise . . . guided by the hand of God.

    Take care and know I'll continue to pray for all of you.

  36. I am so grateful that you have shared your journey so readily with us. This is truly a miracle and a witness that God knows us individually and blesses us according to our individual needs.

    May you continue to be guided in your journey by the hand of the Lord.

  37. Wow, that is great! A similar thing happened with my mom's brain cancer. Even if the prognosis stays the same, the memories you will make during this time will be forever remembered. PTL!