Monday, March 31, 2008

What Happened?

I thought you guys were going to be in intensive care for a week and then in a regular room for a week and then in a rehab hospital for 4 to 6 weeks.

So did we all.

Well so, what happened? God happened.

Yeah, but really, I mean, did God perform a miracle or something? I mean, like, was the tumor gone or something?

Here's the physical reality. The tumor was eyebrow raising big even to the ones who see these everyday (one of the biggest seen). It was pressing into the brain stem, which would eventually be fatal. It was (and is) wrapped in and around the cranial nerves. Removing the tumor from around these nerves would cause several temporary (potentially permanent) disabilities requiring significant rehabilitation. It had invaded and destroyed the bones and function of the right ear (which have been removed [not the exterior ear, just the inside parts]). She is now completely deaf in her right ear. Its physical character was such that it was considered to be very "sticky" (meaning it would be very difficult to get off of the brain). It had to get big somehow, so it was thought it had a lot of blood in it (that is why we had the angiogram first, to block off the blood supply).

Here are some physical things that happened that may allow us to go home so much earlier (we're not home yet). The tumor turned out not to be very vascular (not very bloody). as a matter of fact the radiologist came out after having started the angiogram to get the MRI films because he could not find any problematic veins or vessels. After studying the films he went back and embolized one small place near the tumor. Secondly, the tumor, in spite of its shape and character was not very "sticky" at all and came right off the brain. Thirdly, enough of the tumor was removed from around the brain that it was decided it would not be necessary to endanger potential physical functions provided for by those nerves enmeshed in the tumor. Since 90% of the tumor was removed, the other 10% is not likely to grow. That being the case, nerves were not destroyed, because they were functioning fine.

So, how did God happen? Where is He in all this?

He is at the beginning and the end of it. But to be more specific, people have prayed for a speedy recovery. One prayer requested of God that when the surgeons got in there, they would, say "Hey! Somebody has been in here before us." Well, the angiogram found almost nothing to embolize. This made it much easier to work on the tumor. What happened to the blood supply that grew that tumor so big? God. Secondly, the MRI shows with obvious detail that the tumor had a "sticky" character. It wasn't sticky; should have been, but it wasn't. Why not? God. The tumor has invaded the cranial nerves responsible for facial motor function, swallowing and some others that have been mentioned in the pages of this blog somewhere. Removing the tumor from them would be destructive and require weeks and weeks of rehabilitation. It was not necessary to remove the tumor from around those nerves, so Tracy has pretty good function all around. I have explained before that enough of the tumor was removed that what is left is kind of isolated and it would be difficult for it to grow. This outcome is different than the pre-op plan based on the gathered data - God. Tracy had all the mechanism for hearing and balance removed from the right side of her head. There is nothing with which to hear or provide equilibrium for her. It was taken out. That is like a balance scale with all the weight on one side. But she has no significant dizziness. Now that makes no sense. Think about it. She ought to be falling over to the left all the time or falling everywhere and throwing up forever as the fluids in her left ear try to shift around to keep her steady (to follow the balance scale analogy - to shift weight back over to the other side of the scale). She isn't. Why not? God.

God had a will when he created Tracy - that she go through this event. The prayers of His people were for mercy. God never changed His will (He never does), but He listened to His children and responded. It was your prayers and love that inspired us to remain faithful to receive the most God had to offer. When Abraham asked God for leniency on Sodom for the sake of Lot, God gave it, but never changed His will. He still destroyed Sodom and Gomorah, but honored Abraham's faith as well. So often, we try to bend God to our will; do this for me, change that, intervene here because I want it that way. We have no authority over God, no power to tell him what to do. It is for us to find God's will and get in line with it. We pray for intervention that we might receive the highest good God has available, but ultimately, in all things, God's will is done.

It's like a junior high basketball team. Oftentimes, there are many more players than positions. Some teams have to divide up into an A nd B team and still have too many players. Who get's to play? Everybody equally is socialism and doesn't capitalize on the particular assets of the team, nor does it consider effort and attitude on the part of the player. Only the best players is dictatorial and ignores the value of the team as a whole and has no plan for the future or potential losses of the best players. The answer is those that put out the most effort with the best attitude. They are showing the coach that they will do whatever it takes to play in the game. The more they do and progress, the greater potential for game time. The more we petition God, the more He will acknowledge our faithfulness to Him (Luke 18:1-8). We are not manipulating Him, getting Him to change His plans for our desires, or perceived needs. We are asking for Him to provide for us while we travel down the road towards which he has directed us.

Tracy's road was and is rather dramatic, and all the prayers, love, and Spirit of God in His saints have blessed us with just what has been asked of God. Tracy and I have talked and wept for those persons that face this kind of path without knowing God and being a part of His people. Do you understand how magnficent, how secure, how comfortable it is to be in this family? We have some struggles ahead and they belong to us and we will go through them, but we have been blessed physically, materially, emotionally, spiritually and so many other "-allys". Thank you saints of God. We will live in honor of your love for God.

All right, I'm sure you will appreciate Tracy's blogs again when she gets back to it and can get away from mine that can go on and on and on and on and on...well, you probably get the idea. Hopfully, the next blog will be a picture of home.

Thank you over and over again.



Anonymous said...

Like you said Jeff, God didn't change his plans.......he knew what he was going to do before it happened. He not only worked in Tracy and her family's life, but in a lot of other people's lives as well.

Love you guys.

David R.

Anonymous said...

Great news Tracy, can't wait to have you back in Chappell Hill. Staggering to think that its been less than a week since we were up at the hospital praying for you. It has been a blessing to be around your children as they keep getting more and more good news from you and to see their comfort and joy grow. I'm ready to see what you can do on the Nintendo Wii when you get back . . . that just seems naturally therapeutic after brain surgery, right?

Brad & Jessica

Sandy Bingham said...

Tracy & Jeff,
I was giving Petrona a ride this morning and her first question to me--"Tracy, esta mas bien?"

When I tried to tell her in my best awful Spanish that you might be coming home today, she nearly jumped out of the car! All the way from her house to Chappell Hill she was blessing El Senor. We had a wonderful praise service in Spanish on 290 this morning. It was so sweet.

God is indeed indescribable and we do indeed give Him all the glory. Amen and Amen.

Trusting Him--SandyB

Anonymous said...

Tracy and Jeff,
We have been praying for you guys.
God is faithful and he will do what He says He will do.He has used to folks to show His Power ,Mercy, and Grace to draw others to Himself.I think there has been someone in the hospital that all this was for and we may never know but He does.To the praise of His Glory.
God continue to Bless you.
Bob and Helen

P. S. Now you have a story to tell !!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Just found it funny that you used the Junior High basketball example. Your such a dork. :)
I love you guys.
P.S. Thanks for the gift card!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Tracy! It is so wonderful to hear
God's good news about you! I am so glad you will be coming home sooner than we expected!

We'll see you when you get home or at church next time we visit Chappell Hill! Our family will still be praying!

Marsha, Paul, Hannah, and Joel Kipp

Anonymous said...

Tracy, I saw this today and thought of how many times what I thought was going to be too scary, was just what I needed to gain more confidence. I thought you might use it too..

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.

-Brendan Francis

Keep on, keeping on. Your doing wonderfully. Can't wait to see you. Maybe you'd consider a free personal training session??

In Christ...Tony, Kris and Wyatt

Anonymous said...

What!?!?! Coming home already?? Somehow I think you'll have a lot of people dancing on your Mom's table when you are able!! All thanks be to our wonderful Lord and Savior!! He has definitely used you and your family to bring all of us closer to Him. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!
Love, Judy Carney

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff for the great analogy and explanation of what has really happened here. WOW! Now, waiting for more updates! Inquiring minds need to know what is going on.


Anonymous said...

Well, this is truly an amazing testimony of God's care and mercy. I've been keeping up with the progress and I am blessed just to read of the progress and the wonderful comments. Tracy and family, it was great to see all again, and meet those whom I did not know! I will continue to pray as the recovery moves forward and we will all continue to depend on God's hand in this situation. Please call on me if I can ever help....

John Yeates

Anonymous said...

"For you have delivered my soul from death, and prevented my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living." Psalm 56:13

Tracy and Jeff, I know that not only will you walk in the light of the living, but you will also dance (apparently on your momma's table!) This experience will shape you and all of us who are standing with you for the rest of our lives. My eyes are filled with tears as I read your entries and the responses of our brothers and sisters. How great is our God!
Susan (TL)

Manda said...

wow, so glad to be sharing in this miracle with the rest of our new friends from FBC Chappell Hill! SO thankful that things are going so well!!
Amanda ( Heath's fiance :D )

Christa said...

I am humbled.

Christa said...

I am humbled by our mighty, merciful, loving God and his faithful followers.


Anonymous said...

It is almost impossible to express how exciting it is to see how God has been glorified through all that you have gone through. Tracy, you and Jeff have shown each of us what it really means to depend totally on God in all things. Praise the Lord that you have been allowed to reach this time so quickly. I will continue to pray for the rest of your recovery. Thank both of you for your wonderful example of total faith. May God bless each of you and your family always.

Love, Linda K.