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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It has been slightly over three months, and Christopher is still in the hospital after his mid-May surgery. He still has one bag left.

It seems surreal that my husband has been home a combined total of about 6 weeks this year. Two and a half years later, the shooting seems like it's becoming a distant memory, but the medical trauma? The surgeries? The pain. The loneliness. The nights apart? It's all still so real...and as far as we are aware, there is no end in sight.

The doctors have tried many methods to heal the leak in his bowel that came after his most recent surgery. It just hasn't happened, yet. I include the word "yet" because we have to continue to believe it. We will continue to pray for it. They will continue their attempts to heal it.

Chris and I have recognized a "gift" recently that we wanted to share with those following this journey. It's not a gift that can be unwrapped, or tied up in a pretty bow. It's a gift formed in the furnace of affliction. This gift is the comfort of being present with each other, day by day. It's not always like this, there is medication and stress that interfere with our true personalities most of the time - but today, it's sweet. It's real. It's right now. If you're a caretaker, you know this feeling. It's the gleam in an Alzheimer patients eye when you see a glimpse of them inside the fog, or when a child with autism makes eye's exhilarating to connect with someone on that level when you haven't been able to for so long.

The depth of our relationship is magnificent, and we both gain comfort and strength from holding hands and looking forward together regardless of what the mystery of this medical trauma holds for us this Fall...

We ask for your continued prayers as Jesus navigates this boat in these unknown waters just a little longer.

With love,
Jamie Lynn Sparkman

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 27, 2016


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

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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 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.