Life is full of surprises.
Jesus never said that following Him would be easy or that because we are His children life would be easy. In fact, He said that "in this world you WILL have trouble" (John 16:33). Not might have, or can have, but WILL have. And we all know that just living your life from day to day can bring about lots of interesting, scary, wonderful, heart-wrenching, time consuming things, some of which are a complete shock. God set everything into motion, and created everything - universe, earth, plants, water, sky, animals - by just speaking. Except for humans. He created us with His hands. That is comforting to me - the God of the universe, who could speak a word and create the entire heavens and earth, took the time to form ME and shape ME with His bare hands. In fact, we are made in HIS image. WOW!
And we are intricately made. All the different ways that different parts of our body are connected - all the veins, neurons, cells, and atoms that are working 24/7 to make sure our body is functioning, thinking, healing, breathing, blinking, hearing, smelling, touching, digesting, moving, and resting - is AMAZING to me. How you can massage one part of your body and it affect another part, because of nerves and muscles, is INCREDIBLE. God is an artist for sure. But even though He made us in His image, we still experience troubles, heartaches, pains, etc. And that is just a part of life, and we have learned to deal with most of those issues. Except when the one thing we never thought would happen, does happen. The one thing that you always said "oh, that will never happen to us", does actually happen to us. And at that moment, your world crashes down on you and you basically have to start over. You have to make decisions you never in a million years thought you would have to make. At that moment, you realize - this is for real!
June 2, 2011 at 1:15AM.
That was one of those moments for me...for us.
It was just a kick. But that was followed by another, and then another. I awoke to see my wife shaking uncontrollably, having a seizure, making the worst noises I had ever heard. I was calling her name once I realized she wasn't dreaming, and I turned on the light, only to find her eyes rolling in to the back of her head. I dialed 911. But she started slowing down, kicking a few more times than stopping all together, her face turning blue. She had stopped breathing, staring at me lifeless. I dropped the phone (evidently hanging it up in the process) and I started CPR. It was all I knew to do. But the miraculous thing is, I don't know CPR. I mean I know you breath and push on their chest, and you make sure the airways are opened up, but how you actually go about doing that...yeah, don't ask me. My wife is the one whose CPR certified. I guess her making me watch Grey's and ER actually CAN be good for your brain. But in that moment God gave me clarity and wisdom to know what to do.
As I was blowing in her mouth, 911 called back. She took a breath as I answered the phone. She started seizing again, slower this time, and then she sat up, looking me dead in the eye, but could not talk, respond, or anything. SCARY! I was shaking but the person at the other end of the phone assured me that help was on the way. I swear within 5 minutes, the police officer was standing at my door, and not far behind him were the EMTs and Firefighters. They were testing things and asking me questions, but all I could do was stare at my wife's lifeless face not responding to questions, not doing anything but staring off into space.
For the first time in a long time, I didn't know what to do. It was one of those moments...this isn't supposed to happen to us. The scariest things crossed my mind. What if I was losing my wife? What if she is in a vegetable state forever? What if...What if... That is when the indescribable peace of God came over me - something I could never explain to someone in a million years, yet if you have experienced it, you know exactly what I am talking about. I again had clarity as they began to load my wife in the ambulance. I started making phone calls. Since my kids did not wake up during this scary ordeal (THANK GOD!!), I had to get someone to watch them in case they did wake up. I called my mom (who lives 30 minutes away) to come over. I called my pastor friend from across the street to come over and watch the kids until my mom got there. I then called my in-laws on the way to the hospital to let them know what was going on. I called to the emergency/after hours number for our church, to leave a message for someone to pray. And then I started praying.
Evidently she had another seizure in the ambulance. And once she got to the ER, they separated me from her into a family room. It was unnerving to leave her not knowing if she was going to be okay, but I still had that peace, and so I sat and prayed. I didn't even know what to pray, but I did it anyway. Eventually (in what seemed like forever!) the doctor on-call came in and told me that her brain was completely swollen, and that it seemed there was a "mass" pushing against the brain. Again, one of those moments that isn't supposed to happen. They need to transfer her to another hospital, he tells me, one with a neurologist on call. They had called several and decided on Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth. Never heard of it, but I didn't care. I wanted my wife better, and fast. So wherever they felt like she needed to go, I would let them take her there.
She was in Neuro ICU at "the Plaza" (that's what they called the hospital - kinda sounds like a resort or something to me) from Thursday the 2nd until Friday the 10th. They ran several tests, did several scans,and we met with several doctors. They determined she had a brain tumor in her right temporal lobe that was heading into the frontal lobe. They wouldn't know for sure whether it was cancerous until the pathology reports came back after surgery, but based on what they had already done, they told us it most likely was a slow-growing cancer.
So surgery was scheduled for Tuesday the 7th. They would remove "the mass", as much as they could anyway, and send off some to pathology. The preliminary diagnosis: Grade 2 Astrocytoma. Brain Cancer. I started doing some research to learn more about it, see what options are available for treatment and where, and see if there was another doctor that I could take her to. And I continued to pray.
Did you know that the color for Brain Cancer Awareness is grey? Me neither, until now. Another one of those things I never thought I would have to know. The prognosis is good for her, but we are still in the middle of a waiting game. We are at a point where we are waiting on final results, one doctor wants to do nothing, and a lot of people are wanting us to do something. Including me. During my research, I found a doctor named Dr. Karen Fink, in Dallas. I have 4 people I know who have gone to her, and 4 others who recommend her. She is a neuro-oncologist in Dallas at the Baylor Sammons Cancer Center. I called her office, and Natalie has an appointment on the 22nd. I am going to take all the tests, scans, and films, and see what someone who specializes in brain cancer has to say. A second-opinion in every sense of the word.
I am overwhelmed by all the decisions I am having to make while my wife is in the hospital, but you know? I will take that over the what ifs that were running through my mind a week ago. And you know what else? I didn't finish that Bible verse from the beginning - "In this world you WILL have trouble...". The ending of it is sooooooo true. And it is what I am leaning on right now:
"...But take heart! I have overcome the world." We WILL have struggles, trials, pains, heartaches. Troubles. But He has overcome the world. And I have faith that no matter what, everything will be okay. He created us, He takes care of us, and He lets us live a life of freedom and joy. For those who know Him and love Him, we know that He will get us through whatever comes our way. But sometimes, when life gives us surprises, we are so shocked, it is hard to think, and we start listing off the what ifs.
Please pray for my beautiful wife, and the battle she has been placed in. I am daily putting on my armor and standing in the gap for my wife. Satan would like to do nothing more than cause us more pain, make us lose heart. Not on my watch.
We may not know why; we may not know when; we may not know what's going on; we may not know where; we may not even know how. But regardless - we know WHO, and He has overcome. Therefore, through Him, so can we.
And remember: Gray matters
~ David ~