Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In the Midst of the Storm

So many times in the last year, we have asked ourselves, "What is God trying to do?" or "Why is Satan so insistent in preventing us from doing the Lord's work?"  Ever since we have seriously started to pursue answering God's call to missions, we have been accosted on all fronts and so many times.
Our Yearly Family Picture

Right now we are in the midst of a very deep trial, and the whole family is feeling as if our world has been turned upside down.  Tuesday, November 1, David woke me up in the middle of the night with a nightmare.  I knew as soon as I was awake that something was terribly wrong with my head.  I knew right away I had an extremely intense migraine with severe photophobia (intolerance to light) and nausea.

Two weeks before that, I had 2 migraines, 1 lasting 2 days and another lasting 1 that were pretty debilitating, so once I felt the pain I decided to call the doctor once the office opened up.  My doctor had me come right in, gave me a shot of pain meds and a prescription to stay on the pain meds for 8 days.  The shot took the edge off the pain and the pills did nothing.  By Thursday, I was in so much pain, I could not function, so I called the doctor again who decided to order a STAT CTscan of my brain and got me a same-day appointment with a neurologist.  Within an hour after getting the CTscan done, my doctor called me telling me the scan showed something in my brain and a STAT MRI was needed for a better picture and blood work needed to be done.  The neurologist put me on steroids and gave me the strongest migraine medicine on the market.  Both of which never helped with the pain.  That Friday, I got the MRI which confirmed that I had a spot in my Right Parietal lobe of my brain sitting on top of my Right ventricle.  The bloodwork showed nothing but an elevated White Blood Cell (WBC) count.  My doctor got me in to see a neurosurgeon that following Friday who felt that the spot was not a tumor but was not sure what it was and wanted a repeat MRI in 3 months to see if there were any changes.
Lesion (note, Right side of my brain is on the left of the picture)

During this week, we were experimenting with other drugs in an attempt to get pain relief but to no avail.  The neurosurgeon gave me another drug which also didn't help.  A week later a week ago Monday), I was so desperate for pain relief that I called all of my doctors hoping to get some answers and some relief, so I started on 2 new drugs which helped bring the pain down significantly but not entirely, and more blood work was done.  That catches you up to speed to this week.

At 1am Sunday, November 20 (Happy Birthday to me), I woke up in excruciating pain noting the pain had moved higher up in my head.  I finally managed to fall back asleep at 4 to get up at 6:45 to discover that my equilibrium was totally off making it difficult to find my center of balance while sitting or standing.  I called my neurologist who told me to go to the ER to be evaluated immediately.  Realizing that my children's choir was supposed to sing during our church service in 2 hours, I decided to postpone the ER trip so that I could play the piano for the children's choir to sing (I was quite the site playing with sunglasses on, but at least that allowed me to pull it off).  As soon as the children's choir was done, Tim and I left the boys with a friend at church and headed to the ER.  They instantly gave me a strong narcotic to get control of the pain, but it didn't work, and the pain was only getting worse.  Needless to say, they were quick to decide to admit me for further testing and drug experimentation.  That was not what I was going for as a birthday present!
Family Time in the Hospital on Day 2

Today was day 3 in the hospital, and we still don't have any conclusive answers although we are getting closer.  I've had a repeat CTscan showing no worsening of my brain lesion and no new lesions or bleeds.  I've had a ton of blood work only revealing I'm anemic (no surprise with the anti-inflammatories I've been taking despite my blood clotting disorder) and a couple of other minor, insignificant issues.  I had a lumbar puncture done yesterday to rule out several issues.  I've received some of the results showing I have a few WBCs present which is abnormal but could also be a normal abnormality for me - not conclusive.  We are still waiting on the tests for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) from the lumbar puncture as they take a few more days.  The doctors all say that the lesion looks like what is seen in people with MS, but lesions show up farther along in the disease process, so I should have already been having typical MS symptoms which I have not had.

Today, the neurologist found a couple of concerning things in my neurological exam she did that she wants to investigate.  She has ordered for me to get a MRI of my spine done in the morning to look for addition lesions in my spine and has changed my pain meds to try to get me relief and on drugs that I can actually take at home.  Today has been a lot harder on pain especially since I had to "detox" this afternoon from the previous pain meds before starting the new ones tonight.  However, the nausea is greatly improved, and I was able to finally tolerate normal food!
Despite my pain level being an 8, I was able to help David have an Indian Costume for his Thanksgiving party tomorrow.  I was so thankful for my friend Joy who bought me the brown t-shirt and gave me the idea for making the costume.  It was a special time for David and me, and it gave me so much joy to know that even though I was stuck in the hospital, I could still be a mom and provide my child with a costume for his special day

Josh chilled out in my bed enjoying being close to me as I worked on David's costume.  He also enjoyed watching the program on Animal Planet since we don't have a TV at home.

Ok, so enough about me.  My boys are greatly suffering having me here at the hospital.  They miss me and are worried about me.  Josh has already verbalized concern of my dying, and David has gotten really aggressive with Josh because of his own worries which he has not been very good at verbalizing.  The hospital has made exceptions for the boys so that they can visit me to help alleviate their anxiety, but it's still not like having their mommy home.  Tim is wearing himself out trying to hold up the home-front, working a couple of hours, caring for me, and trying to be a single parent.  We all are in desperate need of prayer!

Tonight there were tears shed over the worry that I may not be released from the hospital before Thanksgiving.  We are praying desperately for a miracle and that things will improve and answers will be received so that we can try to pick up the pieces of our lives and try to gain a semblance of normalcy.  Tonight Tim and I both recognized that even though our faith in God's goodness and sovereignty has remained rock solid through all of this and God's peace has been so amazing to us, our boys are at a crisis point in their faith and trust in God.  They keep praying for mommy to get better (that's been their prayer now for 22 days) and for mommy to get out of the hospital (a fervent prayer for 3 days), and to them, God has remained silent.  God is stretching them in ways in which most kids their age don't have to go through.  We pray that God will use this scary time to open their eyes to His goodness and His perfect plan and timing.

This verse has taken on special meaning for our family during this current storm:
‎"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7


  1. Christine, I will be praying for you and Tim and especially for your two boys. Thank you for posting this update.
    -Jennaca Bolton

  2. Christine, you are all in my thoughts and prayers, Pat Allen

  3. Hey Christine, and Tim:
    Sorry to hear all of this. Thanksgiving will have a different meaning for you this year, no doubt. I've spent enough time in hospitals as a chaplain to recognize the layout and everything. I'm wishing you didn't have to experience this, but praying that God uses this time to heal you and do what needs to be done for your health.

  4. Our family prayed this morning for a full and quick recovery. We also prayed that your boys would find peace during this time and that God would reveal Himself to them as the Great Physician and would cause their faith to grow in Him. We will continue to pray for you. Keep us informed. This is not a surprise to God. He loves you and your family and will care for you as is His plan (which is perfect). I pray that this trial brings you a deeper, more intimate relationship with God.
    - Greg, Susan, Joshua, Eli, and Paul Johnston

  5. Christine,

    By keeping your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and by sharing your faith in Him as you go through the deep waters, you are answering His call. What a blessing to read of your deep concern for your boys (all three of them!). May God bless you as "...the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."