Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So Long, Farewell Room 6-218!

Alex is getting discharged from the hospital...TODAY! He had his wound vac dressing changed this morning and was able to tolerate it with just oral pain medications before the change. He has been tolerating solid foods without nausea and the wound vac change this morning sealed the deal. We will stay the night in Rochester tonight and head back home tomorrow morning!

Alex has been so well taken care of here at Mayo. We owe an enormous thank you to his excellent team of surgeons, acupuncturist, residents, nurses and other doctors. We also could not have come this far without the tremendous support of our awesome family. Between Alex's parents and my dad, we were able to have the girls up here with us and still both be at the hospital as much as necessary. They have been able to visit Daddy a couple of times to give hugs and kisses and then go back to the apartment to play and still be close by. We also know that recovery would not have been as successful without all of the support, prayers and kind words from other family and all of our close friends. Thank you so much for all each of you have added to the journey and supporting our family in numerous ways.

Please continue to pray for health and healing for Alex. We will be back in about a month to follow up with Alex's GI doctor to make sure that his Crohn's is managed medically as effectively as possible from this point on. It will be another 6-8 weeks before he will be able to pick up Claire (or anything over a few pounds). That will likely be hard on both of them, but hopefully the time will pass quickly. Until then, we'll settle for snuggles eventually and lots of kisses for now. Thank you all again for everything. We love you all very much!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

True Divine Intervention

To say Alex is "doing great!" would be an enourmous understatement. He truly has been pain-free and has been able to walk the halls several times. Consequently, he's been unhooked from all of his 'attachments' other than the wound vac. ALL of the credit must go to our many prayer warriers...and to say thank you alone seems somewhat insufficient. So-THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU...for all of your loving kindness, thoughtful and kind words. Thank you for being our constant intercessors to "be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let (our) requests be made known to God."

Alex is sleeping, and I settled into the computer to write this blog bost and to complete some online courses for continuing education I started yesterday. I saw a young lady walking down the hall on my way in and saw her walk by our room-alone, twice. Each time, I clearly heard God say, "go walk with her!". Now...I don't know about you, but I don't "hear" God talk to me directly very often. You'd think I'd learn to listen. A million reasons not to ran through my mind-she is probably enjoying her time alone, not being bothered by nurses or doctors or lab techs...she may not be feeling like making polite small-talk with a stranger...I'm sure she's almost back to her room anyway. Man, I'm stubborn sometimes (ok-all the time). Reluctantly, I put the computer down and caught her in the hallway, asking if she wanted someone to walk with her. She said, "No, I'm just waiting for the IV nurse to come by and thought I'd walk in the meantime." Ugh....I knew it. Still, she turned and walked with me a bit. So I asked her where she was from and she told me she lived in North Carolina. I told her we were from Kansas City, so I knew how hard it was to be so far from home. A lady walking by turned abruptly and said "Hey! Did you say you're from Kansas City?! So are we!". Ugh...of course. I was wrong and He was right! I immediately recognized her as the woman I had seen with her young daughter in the business office of the Mayo Clinic on Thursday. Embarassingly, I noticed them because her daughter had on some really cute boots ;). We started chatting and found out they are from Leawood, KS, which is where we go to church. I found out that her daughter has been battling Ulcerative Colitis and this is her third surgery here. This time her surgeon was no other than Dr. Devine. We talked briefly (with the other patient, too) about the struggles of being young and having health difficulties. We found out that the lady I originally walked with also had Dr. Bo Shen in Cleveland and switched her care here recently. I shared that Alex recently started a support group at COR for people with IBD and how other resources seemed to be for older people in a different stage of life.

Eventually, she needed to get back to her daughter and the other patient was needing to rest. I'm not really sure why God has put these people in our path, but I have no doubt that he did so intentionally. It is WAY out of my comfort zone to just strike up conversations with strangers in a sometimes touchy situation-like, I don't know...during recovery from major surgeries. It's incredible to me that I would ever doubt hearing Him speak so clearly, yet I still do. Maybe that was the lesson in and of itself. Maybe there's more...stay tuned ;).

So-with that confession of my thick-headedness off my chest, how about some specific prayer requests for today.
1. Guidance, open hearts and open ears to how Alex (and myself) can be used to turn this less-than-ideal situation into one that is for His purpose.
2. Continued pain control for Alex.
3. Tolerance for Alex's diet upgrade from a liquid diet to soft foods tomorrow (no nausea).
4. Healing, rest and recovery.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Devine Intervention Round 2

Alex's surgery with Dr. Devine began at 2:00. I am waiting in his room and they tell me he should be up here in about 8 hours from the time we checked in-so later tonight.

We met with Dr. Devine and his team yesterday and they marked the other side of his abdomen for placement of a new stoma. They will take down his current ostomy, resect the last few inches of his small intestine (where the active Crohn's disease is), open and clean out his current wound and fistula tract, place a wound vac & put the new stoma on his left side. They are also scoping and biopsying what is left of his colon while he is under sedation to screen for cancers, since that has not been done in a few years. He had a spot of basal cell skin cancer removed from his left temple yesterday and a precancerious spot on his nose frozen. We'll get the results from that biopsy next week to see if we need to do anything else to that area either before we leave here or when we return to Kansas City. Whew! And that's why it will be awhile until he's done!

Specific prayer requests:
1. Guidance and wisdom for Dr. Devine and his surgery team
2. Clear biopsy results
3. Good pain managment during recovery. They'll expect him to be up and walking tonight shortly after he comes up to his room.
4. Patience for Alex as he recovers, grace for his nagging wife and the ability to rest and recover quickly.

Thank you all for your prayers up until this point. Keep them coming! We love you all and will update as soon as we know more.

Phil. 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."