Friday, December 30, 2011

Medical Update: A Smooth Surgery (Finally)

Posted by Matt Fray

As most of you know, Erin had surgery this morning in Charleston. She was in surgery from about 7:30am to 12:30pm, and is resting fairly comfortably now.

Compared to her previous surgeries, this one seemed to be very smooth. There were no surprises (like the discovery of more cancer February) and no difficulties (like her blood vessel problems in October). When I talked to her in the recovery area afterwards, she was sleepy and in pain, but she said that she felt far better than she had after her other surgeries. We are both so very thankful for this wonderful blessing and answer to many prayers!

As far as we know, the surgery seems to have accomplished what was intended. Two very basic things were done: the removal of her chest port, and the removal of several internal stitches which had not dissolved. And two more complex things were done: the removal of a "mystery lump" in her lower abdomen (which turned out to be another stitch and scar tissue), and a second attempt at reconstruction on her left chest (which involved taking a section of skin from the back of her left shoulder and placing it on her chest). The surgeon was very happy with how the reconstruction went (especially compared to the previous attempt), and Erin is happy that progress was made.

Lord willing, Erin's recovery will be as smooth as her surgery. Her surgeon will check in on her tomorrow morning to make sure everything is healing well, and then she can go home either Saturday or Sunday depending on how she is doing.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouragement!

UPDATE: I did forget one "not smooth" part of Erin's surgery. At some point during the surgery or recovery, her right eye got cut, which is causing her a lot of pain. However, she just got some prescription eye drops and the cut should be much better in 24 hours.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Medical Update: Erin's Surgery Tomorrow

Posted by Matt Fray

Tomorrow (Friday, December 30th), Erin will have one more surgery. This will be her fifth and final major cancer-related surgery this year. For an overview of what this surgery involves, you can read about it in her previous blog post. The surgery should last about 4 hours and she should be able to go home by Sunday.

While we are grateful for many things relating to this surgery (a good doctor, a surgery date before the New Year, loving family and friends who will help us with childcare and meals), we are both really dreading going through the surgery process once more. In many ways (physically, emotionally, spiritually), Erin is not quite over her ordeal in October, so it is hard to think about her taking on another challenge. I think she feels like a weary runner who is just two miles away from completing a marathon, only to discover that the last two miles of the course are uphill. Even though the finish line is closer than it has ever been, it is hard to muster the mental and physical strength needed to run the race well to its completion.

Of course, God is teaching us a lot about how to persevere through the hard times of life. When afflictions come, whatever their nature, God does not desire us to have an arrogant resilience nor a faithless despair. Rather, God calls us to trust in his sovereign presence and power, and by that trust to persevere in faith. The Puritan pastor Thomas Lye put it this way:

Times of adversity are seasonable times to trust in God. When we have no bread to eat, or water to drink, but only afflictions and astonishments, this is a time not for over-grieving, murmuring, sinking, desponding, despairing, but for trusting. In a tempest a believer must cast his anchor upward. Trust is a believer’s choicest antidote against fainting, swooning, and sinking…God often brings his people such afflictions that they do not know what to do. He does this that they might know what he can do. God is with his people at all times, but he is most sweetly with them in the worst of times.

More than once in recent weeks Erin and I have found ourselves fighting against the natural responses of grieving and murmuring as we have thought about tomorrow's surgery. We have had to ask God to give us the childlike faith he calls us to have (Luke 18:17) and the peace that passes understanding that he alone gives (Philippians 4:7).

As Erin goes in for her surgery tomorrow, please pray for three specific things. First, please pray that God would give us faith and peace. Those things have not come easily to either of us lately, and they are especially needed over the next few days. Second, please pray that the surgery would go smoothly. For those of you who have been keeping up with Erin personally or through this blog, you know that she doesn’t have a very good track record in terms of smooth surgeries, so it will only be by God’s special grace if this one goes well! Third, please pray for Lydia, Hudson, and Samuel, and for the family and friends who will care for them over the next few days. We are so thankful for those who are helping out, but will still be hard to be apart from them once more.

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers and encouragement! I will be sure to post another medical update following Erin's surgery tomorrow.