Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Getting a 2nd Opinion

Alrighty y'all, I'm here for a little update from the appointment we had today.  We went to a doctor who came HIGHLY recommended by a family at church.  He is actually the Chief of Neurosurgery at Baylor in Dallas and is Matt Chandler's neurosurgeon.  This was a total God thing because we have a lady from church who works for Dr. Barnett, and she got us into see him which can be impossible if left on your own!  One other way we know that God is in total control and always faithful!

I wish I could tell you that we went in today and the blood was gone!  BUT, we didn't actually have any new scans or tests done.  He took a look at the scans we had last week and actually set down with us to go through them.  Boy, was that helpful!  He did an amazing job of calmly explaining the ins and outs of the bleed and the underlying cause.

Here's what's going on, in my words of course!  I have a cavernous malformation which I *think* means that I have a cluster of blood vessels that are abnormal.  More than likely I have had these from birth, and last week there was an acute hemotoma (which is a fancy way of saying that I have a bleed in my brain).  There wasn't anything in particular that made these vessels bleed last week, but pretty much it was just bound to happen.

So, what does all this mean?  We still have to wait until December for our next MRI to make 100% sure this is what is going on.  There is still a chance that once the blood has absorbed it could reveal a different issue.  But, he seemed pretty certain that this was the underlying cause.

Could it bleed again?  Absolutely, and if left alone it more than likely will in the next year or so.  Because I am 27 and it has already bled, it will probably bleed again... boo!  But, it shouldn't in the next few months (which we are really praying for so that we can get a good scan).

Unfortunately, I will probably have to have a surgery to remove the cavernous malformation.  We are not 100% sure about this, but once we get the new MRI, we will weigh the risks and advantages of leaving it alone or removing it completely.  Luckily, the abnormal cavernous is on the surface of my brain, it's not deep inside... so that's a blessing!

As for me, I am taking the next few days off of work (doctor recommended) not because I am feeling bad or in pain, just because he wants me to rest after last week.  He wanted to reiterate that although this isn't necessarily life threatening, it is a big deal and we don't need to take it lightly.  So, I'm going to listen to the smart man, and lay low the next few days!  After all, he is the man in charge of my brains now, ha!

I am really beginning to feel a peace about this whole situation.  The thought of brain surgery does scare me, but the thought of living with a brain issue scares me even more.  I am beginning to see how God is working and has already prepared so much for this time in our lives.  And, I know that the peace I am feeling is only coming from Him.

One last thing... as of right now, it looks like I will not be able to travel to Africa to pick up our sweet girl with Jared.  I don't really want to get into all of the details right now or how it makes me feel because you can only imagine.  I am fully having to put my faith and trust in God because left on my own I would be an emotional wreck.  BUT, I've had 2 pretty smart doctors tell me that they would not want me anywhere near a hospital in Africa if something were to happen.  So, if you get a chance, please pray that God will give me a complete peace about this and that He will guide us during this last part of our adoption.  I know that His plan has always been better than mine anyways!

I think that's it as far as the updates go.  This doctor visit made me feel quite a bit more at ease because he told me there's no need to stress everyday about having a re-bleed, and that it's nothing to lose sleep over.  I still need to take it easy on physical strain, but after I've rested for about a week, I should be able to continue living a normal life!

I can't say thank you enough for your prayers.  Jared and I are blessed beyond belief and we are truly feeling the love and support that you are all sending our way!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thankful

I know that I said in my previous post how blessed I am to have such sweet, loving, supportive, and caring people in my life {okay, so I maybe I didn't go on and on like that, but I totally should have} BUT, today I realize that more than ever.  I truly don't think I'd be feeling NEAR as good as I do now if it weren't from the help of so many people.  I wanted to take a moment and just give you a little taste of how awesome the people in our lives are...

-First of all, our parents... you may think yours are good, but they don't hold a candle to ours.  They've done everything from bringing us normal food at the hospital, clean our house/do laundry (thanks Momma!), stay by our sides, move our cars, drive me around, call/text to check on me no less than 100 times a day, hug at the right moment, pray over us, bring me medicine, and so much more that I can't even think of!  And, this was all in the past 4 days people!

-Our families have been there to squash so many rumors and to just show us LOVE!

-Our friends swooped in at the perfect moments to provide a distraction from the worrying and hospitaly-ness.  And, can I say that Kent and Sarah even ate at the hospital cafeteria with us... that's true friendship, y'all!  I've gotten tons of texts, emails, fb messages, phone calls, gifts and more from my sweet friends!

-Our church... ohmiword.  If you don't have a church family, I don't know how you make it through the tough times.  They are my prayer warriors and my 2nd family.  I was a little worried when I walked into church this morning because I didn't want to be overwhelmed, but they all reacted and responded perfectly.  Their hugs, kisses on the cheek, and encouragement lifted my spirit for sure!

-Our students- when I got "sick" the week before Fall Retreat I was truly devastated because I LOVE spending time with our girls (sorry guys... y'all gross me out!).  But, the Lord's timing is perfect, and I started feeling 100% on Saturday morning and headed down to the camp right away!  They were the PERFECT distraction.  The day before I was just sitting in bed, crying because all I could do was think about my situation and what the future may hold.  But, once I got to camp, that was all over!  I was greeted with so many hugs and smiles that it warmed my heart!

-All of my fb friends, blog followers, and virtual friends... the messages and comments truly helped bring a smile to my face.  And, the fact that y'all are/were praying for me just makes me giddy :)

And, I'm sure there are people that I left out, but I'm going to use the excuse that I have a brain bleed on this one ;) and I just can't remember everything!

-I'm already coming in here to add some more people, ha!  My school family has been nothing short of amazing also!  I didn't even have to worry about my class for a second because I know they were all pulling double-duty just to take care of my kiddos.  Anytime I would ask about school they would tell me not to worry at all!  God has blessed me beyond words with an amazing place to work :)

So, here's a picture to show you just how good I am feeling... I may be a little crazy, but I really do feel GREAT!  

And, I'm going to say it again.  My husband is amazing.  I can't even tell you how much I love this man without starting to tear up {dangit, my eyes are starting to water!}  He is the perfect balance to the emotional wreck that I am, and he knows how to make everything feel better.  Praise the Lord for giving me my Love when I was just a freshman in high school!  

{Side note- this picture was from Fall Retreat this weekend.  We had a Nerd Prom, and we are kind of a big deal, just sayin'}

I'm going to leave you with a few verses that kind of fit what we need right now...

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Phil 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 46:1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Our little scare...

First of all, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has lifted us up in your prayers over the past few days.  It has kinda been a whirlwind, and rather surreal at moments, but I wanted to take a moment and just explain what we know as of right now {mostly because we live in a small town where rumors spread like wildfire and things ALWAYS get blown out of proportion}.

On Wednesday morning (around 9:45ish) I was teaching my students the difference between fiction and nonfiction books.  I was starting to read a nonfiction book about frogs, and I came to the first sentence.  I tried to read it, but it just didn't come out right.  I sounded jumbled up, and I knew it.  So, I tried again and did the same thing.  The jumbled speech paired with a pretty intense headache and my voice echoing in my ears got me worried.  So, I went next door and asked my teaching partner to cover my class while I went to get help from the office.  From there I went and told my administrators, but my speech was still jumbled.  I could get the point across, but it wasn't all flowing together and I remember saying, "Do you hear this, I can't communicate right!"

Although my speech came back in less than 5 minutes and the echoing went away, Jared and I decided it was best to visit the ER in Sunnyvale.  That's when things got serious and scary.  I had just had a CAT scan and they told me it would take about an hour to read the results.  Well no less than 5 minutes after my scan, the doctor was at my bedside telling me that he was just the messenger, not to shoot him (thanks guy, real comforting) and that I had a bleed in my brain.  The first thing out of Jared's mouth was, "Take us to Baylor now."

So after a care-flight, I ended up in Baylor getting an EEG, EKG, another CAT scan, and a pretty wide range of other verbal/physical tests.  The 2nd CAT scan said the same thing, but this time was explained by an actual neurologist.  All he could really tell was that the bleeding had stopped, but it was definitely still there (just not getting bigger).  He ordered an MRI for the next day so that they could get more information and a better look at the bleed.

-Let me just stop here and tell you what an emotional roller coaster we had been on in just 5 hours.  I thought I had a migraine and inner ear infection, then I find out from a crazy doctor that I had a bleed in my brain, and now I have to sleep through the night before I can get any other explanations, real simple, right?!  PTL that I was now at Baylor and was under the care of some of the best doctors/nurses/techs around.  AND, I have a pretty amazing family that stuck around with me also.  

Alrighty, so Thursday rolls around and I go in for my MRI around 12:15.  That machine scared the mess out of me, and I literally cried from the second I left my room to the second I got back into my room.  The tears just kept flowing out!  I wasn't necessarily scared of the machine, but more nervous about the results.

A couple of hours passed by and we were visited by 3 different doctors who all had different opinions and different things to say.  But, we are going with what the neurosurgeon said {mainly because he seemed really smart, had a british accent, and he had on a pretty nice suit ;)}.  He really couldn't explain the bleed anymore than they had the day before.  It is on the upper left side of my brain, and they can't tell what caused it or what's underneath it.  His main thing was that he wasn't going to open me up and operate right now because he just simply doesn't know what the blood is covering.  So, that's kinda where we stand.  We have to wait 10 weeks for the blood to be absorbed.  Then, we will have another MRI to see what's going on up there.  At that time, they will make the decision about whether or not I need to have brain surgery.

In the meantime, they are worried about a possible re-bleed.  So I can't do any heavy lifting, I can't work out, I can't overexert myself, I can't fly in an airplane, and I can't take certain medications.  If I have any sudden headaches, loss of vision, dizziness, or speech problems then I have to go to the ER immediately {this probably scares me more than anything because I get headaches ALL the time!}

Whew!  That's a lot of info, right?!  Right now I am sitting at the hospital waiting to be discharged so that I can go home and take a stinkin' shower... I smell nasty, y'all!  And, I look even worse!  I am more than thankful that I am fully functioning right now and I feel perfectly fine.  If I didn't know my brain had a bleed then I would think I was more than healthy!  I truly appreciate every person who said a prayer (or 100) for us.  Jared has been the absolute best throughout these past few days, he truly helps me stay stable and calm and hasn't left my side except when they pried him away for my tests.  Even more than that, I know that my faith in Christ is what has gotten me through those very emotional moments.  My father-in-law, who is also my pastor kept reminding me that God was in control not the doctors, which is so true!

I'm leaving you with that, and I would so appreciate your continued prayers over these next few months.  We also got some great news about little Miss J, and I'll post about all that some other time :)

God is faithful and in control!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Updated pictures of J's room!

A couple of months ago I posted picture of J's room.  Well, I wanted to do a little post with the updates.

We added these little white flowers right by her bed.  They actually clip onto the head of a nail, so if they fall off you can easily slip them back on!  Or, you can move them around into a new form in no time!  Jared has a feeling that she's going to come right in and just take off all of the flowers like a barbarian.  But, I quickly remind him that she is perfect in every way ;)
 Her wardrobe now has dress-up clothes (and, a few toy cars/dune buggies on top... Daddy got his way there)!
 New curtains...
 J's aunt made her a cross that matches her room perfectly!
 Here's just a small portion of her closet... she has lots of cute dresses!
 And, what little girl doesn't need necklaces, purses, and lots of bows?!  
 Our sweet friends, Ben and Abby, sent us this perfect pillow... seriously LOVE this!

Her room is so bright and cheerful, and it makes me pretty stinkin' happy.  But, I can't spend a lot of time in there because I get emotional!  I guess now is a good time to tell you how much of a psycho I have become.  I check my email, phone, fb, Jared's email, Jared's fb about 300 times a day.  I call Jared during the day and right after work just to make sure he hasn't heard any news (like he wouldn't call me!) AND I am constantly checking the volume of my cell phone.  This waiting gig is about killing me.

Anyways, I won't bore you with my impatient self.  Here's to hoping we get new information soon!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Honesty

So ready to hold these little hands in ours.

Can I just be real honest for a moment?  It's not getting any easier to wait.  I have probably shed tears 5 times already just today.  I don't say this to get sympathy or a pat on the back, but I say this because it's real.  Not knowing when you will get to meet your child is hard.  Most days we wear a smile on our face and shove the tears to the back, but not today.  

Would you pray for our family?  Pray for the health and safety of our little girl.  Pray that the "process" would make progress.  Pray that God would give us the patience that we need to make it through the months ahead.  Pray that we would give up the control.