Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 10

Today was the 10th day post-op. It's a milestone for us, as far as experiencing a "normal" recovery. However, today we have experienced what we hope is only a minor hiccup in the healing of his bowel. An X-ray showed that Chris has a blockage in what is left of his upper GI, which was signaled to us by him throwing up this morning. It was painful for him, but I do appreciate how the human body has a way of signaling for help when it needs it. It's possible it will clear itself, if it doesn't, they will insert an NG tube in his nose and access the situation from there.

I'll be doing a post soon of a timeline, so that the new readers can understand the big picture from April 2014 as well as a "refresher" for our friends who have been following this story from the beginning.

I will keep you all posted when we know more about this situation. I'll never forget what every trauma surgeon at Kennestone kept repeating to me after he was shot and survived the first 72 hours...they said this was a roller coaster, and to expect highs and lows. You think we would be used to them by now. I don't think you ever really get used to the fear of everything falling apart...

But that's not going to happen this time. Positive thinking, positive thankful prayers.

Will update you all soon.
- JL

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Surgery was successful, but with Chris there is always a "we'll have to wait and see" added on to the update. He truly is a medical mystery.
The surgeon made the smallest incision on Chris' abdomen that they say he's ever made to repair the hole in his bowel. He only had to remove 5cm, which leaves Chris with somewhere around 165cm. (You need 80 to survive on food and not IV nutrition). Chris will spend years trying to figure out how to live life with short gut syndrome. I'm told it's a process.

The surgeon said the bowel felt much stronger than before due to the trial steroids he has been on since August. As tough as they were on Chris, we're hearing they paid off! The next 14 days are critical, so he is not taking visitors at this time. We will let you know when he can.

The theme we haven't been able to ignore with this surgery are all the "differences" God has shown us. I believe He wants us to break out of the enemy's stronghold of the "same old thing". (C.S. Lewis "The Screwtape Letters"). What a miracle we have watched unfold over the last 48 hours. More about this later.

With that said, please say a prayer for me because I went home last night feverish/achey/chills and I put my faithful trusty second string in - my mom. It was hard to leave his side, but I couldn't subject him to whatever has taken me down.

He is well looked after by family and Emory. I have a peace he will be watched with the eyes of an eagle in my absence.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Road Continues

It is with a humble heart that I tell you all that Christopher will be going back into surgery on February 10th. This surgery will be similar to the last few, but there are many variances in Christopher's body (many not seen since before the shooting) that give our surgeon optimism and hope that this will be successful.

Many people have asked, "is this a good thing?" Well, yes. It's the path God has sovereignly asked us to continue, and He has promised absolute goodness for our lives. There will be relief. There will be healing. It's coming.

When I was contacted about the surgery, overwhelmed with confusion, I told my mom that I could not fathom another extended hospital experience. I was tired, and to see Chris in helpless amounts of pain again was something I have begged God to never experience again. She told me to look back at what God has done. Go back to the beginning of this story, and find His promises tucked inside those little miracles all along the way. (Thank God for moms)

So, I open the scrapbook, reread my own blog and journals...and Jesus fills us again with His immeasurable strength. We will be equipped.

I was reminded of this verse through Instagram this week (oh yes, God can use Instagram to speak to us) and I couldn't be more grateful for this Word to cling to during this time.

"We forget so easily. Remember, intentionally. And when your soul carries complaint, complain in the right direction."
- Brooke Fraser Ligerwood

"I cried out to God with my voice
And He gave ear to me.

In my day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered God, and was troubled;
I meditate within my heart, And my spirit becomes weak.

Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
Has his mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut his tender mercies?

I will remember the works of the Lord; 
Yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
Who is so great a God as our God?
You are the God who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the people."
Psalms 77:1-3, 6-9, 11-14

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Preparing to Set Sail

While we are waiting for the decision of the doctors, I wanted to share with you an excerpt from my journaling in anticipation of our lives changing soon. I pray God uses it to inspire someone else entering into the unknown...

"I can pray for our sails to be set a certain direction, and I do, but ultimately my spirit accepts this reality best when I acknowledge that whatever direction I am taken by the Wind, it is to be accomplished by getting through one wave at a time.

To further the sailing metaphor, there is a beautiful island waiting for our arrival one day. We will coast up the sand, step out of the boat into the sparkling blue waters, and walk hand-in-hand up to the warm, soft sand. We will take a deep breath - look back at the waters we tread all those years - and thank God for His grace and deliverance. While we acknowledge the major moments, we simply won’t be able to count all of the miracles, as they have been like the depths of the ocean - immeasurable."

*The art is from an artist named Shellie Mitchell I discovered on Etsy. I love her work, and I hope you do too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In the Waiting...


Chris and I hope you all had a blessed Christmas season. We read through an advent book on anticipating the arrival of our King. A miracle. We both read in amazement as they waited for their miracle, just as we wait for ours.

After the fistula plug was denied in November, the doctor gave us one more opportunity to try the fistula plug procedure. Chris went back on a medication that is supposed to give him the best chance to become a candidate. Although, the side effects of the medication are awful (nausea, severe cramping, etc.) I was told I would hear from the doctor by Jan. 10th. If he is still not approved for a fistula plug, it appears surgery will be the next best option in the early Spring.

I will keep you all posted, promise!

Chris was home for Christmas and the time with family has been so memorable. His grandparents came to visit this Fall, which was nice since we can't travel to them. The dogs love having their daddy home because he is a constant cuddle buddy for them. Chris and his pittie are attached at the hip. :)

Even with home health nurses, the wound care can be emotionally and physically draining for us.(For the new people reading, a hole in Chris' bowel empties stomach acid and the contents of his small bowel into a bag on his skin that is changed daily bc it's so painful). As you can imagine, we wait with anxious anticipation for the doctors next words!

Please pray that we would be hopeful and patient with the anticipation of God's promises in the next year. Thank you so much...

- Jamie Lynn

Friday, November 11, 2016

Hello friends,

Christopher and I wanted to let you all know that he went in for the fistula plug procedure on Thursday but unfortunately, due to the wound changing in the month since the original imaging, they had to abort the surgery and the radiology team does not recommend the plug for successful healing at this time.

We are going to see his surgeon next week, where we will process through what Chris' options (or rather lack of) are to complete his healing, and bind up the last leak in his bowel.

Chris is disappointed - who wouldn't be? We are looking forward to hearing more from the team at Emory. Of course, I will keep you all posted. God is still good.

Be well and love each other deeply.

- Jamie Lynn

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"Home is Wherever I'm With You"

Dear Friends -

A blog post is long overdue. You all are so caring and your messages are encouraging to us. Are we really entering the Fall?! (well, at least calendar wise but not temperature wise). Man, it is HOT outside.

Christopher was sent home from Emory at the end of August for another stent of "bowel rest" at home. It's interesting that it's called rest, because with a small-bowel fistula and the pouch changes it can be quite busy and intimidating. He's on a new, cutting edge medication and we are already seeing signs of healing. Small, baby steps lead to big changes! He has had some good days, and of course we try our best to make memories for him where we are.

He will go back into the hospital at the end of September. There is a CHANCE that he will be eligible at that point for a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure. If he is not (it depends on what his bowel looks like), it will likely lead to additional surgery in the late Fall or early Winter. He still has just one bag left...but depending on how that scan looks, we come to a fork in the road once again. Please pray for the non-surgical path, it would be the most amazing miracle to not have to send him back to the OR, ever again.

I'll be back to update you all after we know more in October. Enjoy these "endless" days of summer...

With love and appreciation,
Jamie Lynn & Chris

*Image from Google