Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Deja Vu

Jason and I were sitting at the hospital late at night...we had been there for months already and it didn't seem like we were going to leave anytime soon. That night, while we were asleep, we got another phone call that her stomach was distended again and discolored. I knew in my gut her bowel had perforated once again. The fragile tissue that has been operated on and stitched up so many times could not repair itself. How many times was this? It was too many to count. We rushed to the hospital and soon I was holding my sweet tiny baby in my arms desperately sobbing. We were filled with disappointment and all hope was gone. Mackenzie had already had so many surgeries to repair the many holes in her intestines. One of the many side effects of being born at 23 weeks. I was begging God for mercy on this sweet child. Had she not been through enough already? Had we not been through enough already? The surgeon entered the room and I quickly contained my emotions so I could hear what he had to say...another surgery. This was our story over and over again. There were many times we thought she would not survive and that there would not be an end to all of the suffering. But there was. After a year of over 20 surgeries, IV nutrition and feeding tubes Mackenzie survived and God got us through it all.

Nine years later...I find myself going through a similar situation. The tissue in my face so fragile from the radiation. It keeps breaking open and so far the surgeries have not been successful. I have that desperate feeling again wondering whether or not this is ever going to end. The other night I was laying in bed having a serious conversation with God. Psalm 77 once again came to my mind as it frequently did since the beginning of this journey. However, this time I read it in my new Bible "The Message" in a different translation. This translation could not better put into words exactly how I had been feeling and what I needed to hear.

Psalm 77:1-12 "I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs (I have done a lot of this lately). He listens. I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn't heal. When friends said, "Everything will turn out all right," I didn't believe a word they said. I remember God - and shake my head. I bow my head - then wring my hands. I'm awake all night - not a wink of sleep; I can't even say what's bothering me. I go over the days one by one, I ponder the years gone by. I strum my lute all through the night, wondering how to get my life together. Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good? Will he never smile again? Is his love worn threadbare? Has his salvation promise burned out? Has God forgotten his manners? Has he angrily stalked off and left us? "Just my luck," I said. "The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him." Once again I'll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I'll ponder all the things you've accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts. "

The last couple of verses once again reminded me of the miracle of Mackenzie and all that God did to pull her through. But this time, it reminded me of how similar our situations are and the disappointment I felt then and now. It also reminded me that there still is hope...if Mackenzie can survive I can survive.

I finally made my decision. Today, I had another appointment with my Plastic Surgeon. Up until this morning, I had no answers. I had no idea what I was going to do. I had been praying for God to give me the wisdom to make the right choice. I was prepared to tell my doctor that I had no idea what to do and that I needed more time. However, after he further explained the option of using skin from my cheek to repair the hole it became clear to me that this was the best option. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and it would cause the least amount of damage. We also did the test on the existing flap on my face to determine if there was adequate blood flow. The test was a success. This gave me the hope I needed to go on. The best part is that this procedure can be done in his office and I will not need to be given anesthesia. The procedure will take place in two steps. First he will make two incisions and sew them up again. This trains the blood vessels to change direction and begin feeding the portion of the skin that will be used to repair the hole. In another week he will remove the stitches and give the vessels time to continue redirecting the blood flow. The best part of this is that I will be able to go up north for the Fourth of July and be with my family and participate in all of the Fourth of July fun. I was so happy to hear this. After the Fourth, the next step of the procedure will take place opening the incisions again and moving the skin up to repair the hole. There is no guarantee this will be a success, but it is definitely worth a try. THIS NEEDS TO WORK!!!

So please keep me in your prayers over the next month. Pray for healing and that this procedure is a success. Pray the hole will not get any bigger. If it does, it may cause problems with this procedure. My next MRI is at the end of July so pray for peace as that date approaches. And most of all, pray the cancer stays away.

Thank you all!
Love, Sue


Shawn Anne said...

Hi Sue :)
I was so happy to read this post. When I read your latest frustration with the lack of permanence in your healing, it immediately brought me back to your Caring Bridge posts about Mackenzie. That photo of that teeeeeeeny little girl wearing your wedding ring around her *wrist* is forever an image in my mind about how amazing life really is. And now I see the pictures of her now... it's amazing with everything she went through in those first six months of her life.

You are a survivor Sue - and so is she, because of you. Hang on to your faith. You've come so far and you have so much on your side.

Shawn Anne

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue - I remember reading Mackenzie's caringbridge page daily being amazed with your strength (and hers :)). I continue to be in awe of the faith and strength you have all of these years later!

The Karrmanns are definitely fighters. I continue to pray for healing and good news ahead for you.

Enjoy the 4th - it is the best holiday!

Ann Groeschl Stuckey

Anonymous said...

You write such amazing posts in the midst of such difficult circumstances and decisions to be made. Though it's different situations, I apply much of your spirit to my dad's condition (he's doing very well right now and moved back into his apartment on Monday after nine weeks in the hospital and nursing home).

Keep up the good fight, Sue. We keep you and your family in our constant prayers.

Jeff and Cindi

Anonymous said...

Sue, You have a beautiful little reminder in Mackenzie, every single day, of the glory that God can do. Gather her in your arms and know that she will carry you through this time. She has fought with the very best, so follow her! I am so glad you have wonderful plans for the 4th of July...fireworks are certainly in store for your wonderful family! Keep your faith and know that we are all praying for you.
Kari Karrmann Sides

Anonymous said...

mustard seed, mustard seed, mustard seed. May these words that were given to me on your behalf guide you today! loving your through prayer Sue! hugs !!!!!!!

-liz w-