Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Today we had the victory of removing one more wound drainage pouch from Christopher's abdomen. This was such a big celebration for us because a month ago, there were six different holes on his abdomen where stool was coming out of the leak and into three separate bags. Chris was so happy today. I will never forget the look of HOPE on my soldier's face. May today remind us daily of God's graces, seen and unseen.

One bag left...




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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It's been a little over a month since Christopher's last surgery at Emory. After the discovery of the leak in his lower small bowel, we both experienced stages of anger, confusion, hopelessness and despair. Our spiritual journey took a deep dive, both together and separately...and with the support of faith, family, and friends we can once again give thanks for the grace and joy in our lives. Regardless of how long this road is actually going to be, there is always grace. There is always joy.

Now, a month after the initial leak, we are watching a slow miracle unfold. The leak is beginning to close on its own. We both saw it...and for awhile, no one said a word because we are too scared to hope, too scared to let ourselves believe that this could heal. Slowly, our hope has been reawakened. The nurses and techs can't get out of Chris' room without him reading them a daily devotion and praising Jesus for his mercy in our lives.

What changed? Our white-knuckled, clenched fists came down and our hearts cry was to feel the love of Jesus near. For the first time in two years, our view of God was based on truth and not on circumstances.
We realized; when everything is looking great, He loves us. When Chris' bowel leaks, He STILL loves us. Together, Chris and I continue to embrace the mystery of our God and His good, good plan for our lives.

Chris still remains in the hospital where he is being treated medically with IV antibiotics, IV nutrition & hydration, woundcare, special medications that aid in the healing/sealing of the bowel leak, and more.

Thank you for the continued letters, prayers, and messages of encouragement. They all come at divine moments, and move us to tears.

- Jamie Lynn & Christopher



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Friday, May 27, 2016

**UPDATE**

On our third marriage anniversary, post-op day 9, we found out Chris' lower bowel had a leak. We're heartbroken. We're angry. We're desperate. We are blindsided, again.

There's a chance it will heal, a decent one. The process has begun to try everything medically possible. Chris and I have grieved this setback and are ready to go to battle again. No food, no water, more pain, and a lot of patience...

I am staying away from social media websites in order to focus fully on our situation, and hopefully hear more from God about what He needs from us. I will keep you all updated on Chris' progress of course.


Love you all. - JL


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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Surgery #52

Christopher's 52nd surgery was today and lasted about 11 hours. The doctors were able to get through it without taking out much more bowel. This is important because Chris can't afford to lose much more without compromising his nutrition for life.

He is spending a few days in the ICU and will hopefully be brought out of his medically induced coma tomorrow at some point. It never gets easier to see him in this state - but we've learned when he is in THAT much pain - it truly is best. It's selfish to want to keep him awake through it. The surgery has an 80% success rate - pray the favor of healing flow from God.

It's a rough road from here - but we are now headed in the healing direction again and we have found our "super strength" in the supporting arms of Jesus. Who is Jesus to me right now? He is that giant rock shielding me from waves of anxiety, doubt, and hopelessness. I won't be captive of traumatic memories this time around. We may not know if this is his final surgery, but I'll never stop ASKING God for this all to come to an end.

Thank you for those that prayed. Keep lifting us up. He has a long night ahead, and I am by his side.

- Jamie Lynn


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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Christopher Sparkman's Alive Day

Two years ago this coming Friday, our lives changed forever when Christopher Sparkman was made a victim of a shooting, and shot at point blank range with a shotgun by a FedEx employee in Kennesaw, GA. More trauma than we could have ever imagined has unfolded, and we are still so far from the finish line, but every step we are walking through together. There are many emotions we can feel as we reflect on this day - grief, anger, gratitude, regret...just to name a few.

When I asked my husband how he wanted to spend his "alive day" this year, he said something which inspired me and broke my heart at the same time - a rare feeling that I believe is the foundation for goodness and change in our hearts.

Chris wants to run.

If you had the pleasure of knowing my husband before the shooting, then you know how incredibly athletic he was. Actually, he was annoyingly athletic. He was the soldier in his battalion that would wake up BEFORE required PT, just to run a little more. He was the soldier that would run alongside those striving to do better. He was the best friend helping people lose weight. He was the husband that would drag me to a track after work and pushed me to run further and faster. He always gave 110% to anything competitive, and he was an adrenaline junkie who loved the wind in his face, the trail under his shoes, and an impossibly steep mountain ahead of him.

This Friday, April 29th, I wanted to invite anyone who has the ability to crawl, walk, or run...to run a mile for Christopher Sparkman.

Someone asked me recently what Chris needs right now. He needs encouragement. He needs to know you are there. He needs a reminder that he is not just another statistic from a shooting, but a SOLDIER who still has a lot of fight left in him.

One day Chris WILL run again. Will you run for him now?

Run for Chris this Friday. Wherever you are, whenever you can.

Happy Alive Day, Chris.
- your Wife.










Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hello to All -

Chris has been home a little over a week, and we are adapting to home care once again. He is enjoying his time at home with me and the pups, but Chris and I count down the days (a little under a month) until his next surgery. He's had a few good days, and a few bad. The woundcare and the pain from the wounds is enough to make him pass out at times.

We count down the days as motivation to keep going. It's truly indescribable what we go through on a daily basis. We have been in "survival mode" well over a year, and our goal is to get Chris back to Emory and his GI working with one more surgery.

I don't post much about myself, but as many of you who have been a caretaker know, I don't get to be a "wife" very often these days. When he is home, "caretaker" means much more for me. Woundcare nurse, Pharmacist, Psychologist, Taxi, Physical Therapist, Maid, Infusion Nurse, Administrative Assistant, Legal Admin Assistant, Home Manager...etc. Chris tells me all of the time how proud and impressed he is of me, and it means so much to know he appreciates me. To the person who sent me the caretaker prayer info - thank you, MUCH appreciated.

Please continue to pray over Chris physically, myself mentally, and for our marriage in it's entirety.

Thank you for the encouraging messages. We read them, but can't always respond.

Until next time,
Jamie Lynn

Thursday, March 24, 2016

After five long months, the Emory team has concluded that more surgery is necessary to fix Christopher's GI tract. After being sent home briefly for Christmas, Chris was admitted to the hospital again mid-January. These amazing doctors and surgeons have tried all that is in their medical grasp to bind the wounds, but it seems God is asking for everything we have and then just a little bit more...

Yesterday, Christopher was allowed his first bite of food since November 2, 2015. Like a true southern man, he went for cheese grits and sweet tea. The sacrifice he endured of not eating, due to a small chance of the leak healing without surgery, was one of the most courageous things I have ever seen him do. Watching him take that first bite, even knowing it provides him no physical nutrition, put tears in our eyes that he was able to indulge in such a comfort that many take for granted everyday. We long for the day when food nourishes his body and mind once again.

We are fast approaching another anniversary of the shooting, and our entire family still feels the weight of shock that two years later, we are still fighting for Chris to be able to eat, drink, and have a functioning GI tract.

As Chris and I read through the Easter story this week, we find our encouragement in the knowledge that "it is finished". Jesus knows our story. He already knows the ending...all we have to do is love Him, trust Him, and put one foot in front of the other...

With love and gratitude,

C & JL