Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Batta-Bing and Good Memories

And the race is on.... met with Hubby's neurosurgeon today. The MRI was gnarly, to say the least. Poor Hubby's pain control has been almost nonexistent. He's always in pain and now we know why. Six weeks after the initial surgery one would expect significant improvement. Hubby's only gotten worse and we're going on month 10. The MRI today showed that one of the screws in his back has caused a bone spur....and that bone spur is spurring right into a nerve. Batta-Bing! The MRI also shows no fusion of L5-S1. This is not Hubby's back, but is very similar: Look closely at L5-S1 as compared to the other areas. It is dark which indicates a diseased disc. In Hubby's case there is a cadaver bone acting as the new disc, but it hasn't fused together yet.He'll be admitted to Stanford in a week and half--Monday the 4th. Hubby and I had lots of questions. The last surgery and recovery was SUCH a nightmare, we needed to be SURE this was the right thing to do. Hubby asked his neurosurgeon, Dr Cecil Chang many things. And then he asked, "Is it going to work this time?" And Dr Chang said, "You and I will do the very best we can do. And the rest is up to Him." And he pointed up towards heaven. Oh I think I love this little old doctor man even more. Isn't he cute? In addition to being VERY smart of course, Cute-ness is second.So then Hubby got teary, which meant as soon as I caught onto that, then I was getting teary too. We're quite the pair.

This is what they'll do to Hubby's back:

Now since I'm posting about Stanford, I want to share a little love story with you. Love as in between people and their friends, love between a Savior and the sick. A little background first: My mom and dad were both raised in strict catholic households. Dad grew up in Seminary at St. Joseph's, and mom ended up at Dominican College. She was going to be a nun, and he a priest. Hmmm...things didn't end up that way, but that's where their roots were planted in any case.

Mom and dad both withdrew from the active church life sometime before I was born. I wasn't raised in any church because of this, but they never spoke badly of church or faith or God. Something must have happened, but to this day I still don't know what it was. I figure if they wanted me to know they would have told me by now.

So fast forward several years and mom is getting ready for her bone marrow transplant in 2000. It will be done at Stanford. She'll be in the hospital for at least 6 weeks after the transplant, but then she'll need to live the next several months within 5 minutes of Stanford. They looked for a place to rent, but it needed to have specific accommodations. Mom's immune system would be so weakened that they would need to be able to easily control the air flow, air quality, have a stove, etc. And it needed to be a very clean place. They eventually did find a little place, everything was set, and then the owners decided they couldn't rent it after all. This was just a week or two before mom's transplant. No pressure or anything.

Mom had a dream that night that dad called some of his old seminary buddies to see if they had any suggestions. St Joseph's burnt to the ground ( I think, either that or it fell down during the 89 earthquake--can't remember) and was never rebuilt. So all St Joseph's alumni and such were now part of the bigger seminary at St Patrick's in Menlo Park, which is very near to Stanford. So this wasn't a long shot at all, they might very well have some good ideas.

So dad called up an old seminary fellow, who happens to be the president at St Patrick's now. Told him the story of what's going on with mom, and what they are looking for. Oh and the Lord is GOOD and powerful and tad bit sneaky! ( I like it!) Turns out some of the Priests were on sabbatical for an extended period of time. The whole west wing of St Patrick's was un-occupied. (Keep in mind dad was looking for a suggestion, not an answer) They would be happy to offer mom and dad one of the living suites for as long as they needed it, rent free of course. Only problem was that although it was a large suite, there was only a kitchenette. Mom needed a stove, because ALL of her food and liquids needed to be boiled for a lengthy period of time so to keep pesky little germs away. But there was the seminary kitchen that was staffed with the most precious little nuns who cooked all the meals for priests and crew, they'd be happy to accommodate mom any way she needed. I mean really---if you have to trust some earthly body to wash and boil your veggies...wouldn't you like it to be a sweet little nun???

And so that's what they did. And it was perfect and wonderful and so soothing for them to be there....for all of the physical things of course, but also mentally and spiritually be nurtured there surrounded by God and some of his most devoted followers. St Patrick's also has a library. Dad was able to spend MANY hours there when he needed to just escape. Once mom was well enough to go outside (with her BIG MIGHTY mask on) she hung out with the gardeners and the landscaper. Mama's soul was always in the garden. Here's some pics of St Patrick's. Isn't it a beauty? I told mom it looked like she was living in a castle:

Somewhere I have a some pictures of Mama there. One when all her hair fell out. She didn't want her face in the picture, but wanted a picture of her bald head. My uncle was able to take a silhouette of her and it is breath taking. And beautiful. Another one she is standing next to an angel statue, and she held her breath and took off her mask and put it on the angel. It's so cute. I have to figure out how to scan those pics into my computer and then I'm going to post them.

Oh it's good for me to have good memories of Mama, and good memories of Stanford, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and this sweet story that reaffirms that He can and will see us through anything, and make it so much better than we could have ever imagined.


Rosalyn said...

A few years later my friend went to Stanford for the BMT program. She was wife to our buddy Thomas Kincaid, a Peidmont cop, and mama to four sweet kids. Your mama encouraged Heather. Your mama prayed for Heather. I THINK they met at the reunion a year after Heather's BMT. Heather was very acquainted with the Lord as is her family. God is good. ONe of her emails shows Thom holding her BM in the bag way high over his head, so that it could drip down, gravity and all. Heather said, look, "Thom is literally holding my life in his hands." Heather lived another two and half years before the nasty came back. Thom is still our good friend. His kids are growing, the baby is now 8 and her oldest graduated high school this year. They all still love God. I'm sure Heather and Aunt Med are very, very well acquainted now. Maybe even prayer partners. I love you little cousin.
PS- one of the neat things your mama said to me and to Heather about the BMT was that she didn't want to say too much about it. She wanted Heather's journey to be her own. Heather repeated that so many times and SOOOO appreciated your mamam's discretion. I love you some more Meg.

Rosalyn said...

Hi James,
Cousin Rozzie here. I am praying for an end. There is a season for all things. We are trusting that yours has peaked and things will turn for you. I know you know you have an awesome family. You are surrounded by girls that ADORE YOU! God is sooo good.
Love Rozzie, Jimmy and our girls too.