It is hard to believe that I am sitting at home working on my computer, just two days after brain surgery. The entire experience was a bit surreal, to say the least. All of the possibilities of what might happen, contingency plans for this and that, trying to mentally prepare for potential stroke or open head surgery, not sure what condition my head would be in when I woke. Well, here I am – no stroke, no open head surgery or Frankenstein scar, and no other harmful side effects. I am so thankful to God for His faithfulness in the positive procedure and to the literally hundreds of people who stood with us in prayer throughout the entire procedure. Praise God!
So what is the outcome and road ahead? In the surgeon”s words, “I felt good about the procedure, but I am sad to say that it was not a homerun.” When we asked him to explain, he said that while he was able to insert a stint in my carotid artery and coil the aneurysm, he was unfortunately only able to coil 2/3 of the aneurysm. So what that means essentially, is that in 3 months, he will need to perform another angiogram. An angiogram is a outpatient surgical procedure in which the doctor scopes the aneurysm through a catheter from my femoral artery into my brain. He said that the angiogram will reveal one of three outcomes: 1.) The aneurysm will look as it did after surgery, with 2/3 coiled and 1/3 open, 2.) The 1/3 that was uncoiled will show signs of growth and therefore require a repeat surgery to attempt to coil the remaining portion, or 3.) The 1/3 that was uncoiled will have shriveled up and no longer pose a threat. Obviously, the third option is what we are praying for. In addition, I will need to remain on blood thinner for another 3 months and Aspirin 325 for life. This is due to the fact that the stint that was placed in my carotid artery, makes me prone to blood clots and stroke without them. So while I still cannot close the door on this health issue in my life, I am able to count my blessings in terms of the fact that the doctor was able to block 2/3 of the aneurysm, which reduces the risk of rupture.
In reflection, I have sensed God”s hand leading every step of this procedure. I honestly believe that this is simply part of our training and preparation for what is to come – regarding our ability to trust God with everything: finances, relationships, life issues and health. The love and support that our family experienced throughout this entire process was palpable. At one point I checked my email and commented to Sandra that I had received emails expressing love and support from friends around the world. We had heard from friends we work with in Tamale, Ghana (Thank you Asare family), we heard from my old Young Life partners back in England, from our new ministry partners in Italy, from Dustin & Lisa Holliday, who actually went to the wailing wall in Jerusalem to pray for us, from YL friends in Norway, family in Peru and Argentina, not to mention the literally hundreds we heard from all over the United States. It was an overwhelming display of love and support that blessed us beyond what you can imagine. Thank you all for standing with us. We will continue to trust God through the process and return in three months for the angiogram, hoping for the best. He is always faithful!