Thursday, September 27, 2012

Without Fail

I was doing my bible study this morning, reading through Joshua.  I came across the phrase 'without fail' in this verse: 'And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites...' Joshua 3:10

'Fail not' and 'without fail' is found several times throughout the bible to describe God.  These are a few I found when I did a quick search.  I am sure there are more...

'Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee: he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee'
Deuteronomy 31:6

'And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.'
Deuteronomy 31:8

'There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee'
Joshua 1:5

'And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord'
1 Chronicles 28:20

'It is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not'
Lamentations 3:22

But yet we continually doubt Him and His ability to handle our problems.  Why is that?  We are reassured over and over and over that God does not fail.  Maybe we doubt because we fail so often and can't wrap our heads around 'without fail'. 

Sometimes I just have to remind myself that although my human flesh fails, God does not fail.

That's the truth.  God's truth.  And that will never change!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Another Medicine Change & A Hard Day

The past several days have been stressful. On Thursday, she had a seizure. On Friday, she began to get a little confused and disoriented at times. She had more confusion and a seizure Saturday. Sunday wasn't any better-she had a seizure during church. Monday was awful. She wasn't even the same child. Very confused. Very bizarre behavior. I spent a lot of time on the phone with the neuro nurse. It was finally decided to discontinue it and try something new. We are praying that the new medicine has no side effects but is effective at stopping the seizures. It will take a while for the new stuff to build up in her system so she is at risk for having seizures. Pray that she doesn't.

I have a confession: I had a major meltdown earlier today. I just couldn't hold it back any longer. I try to be strong & of good courage, full of faith, and all that but sometimes it is just too much. Afterwards I felt so much better. I had begged God to lift the weight from me and He did. God is faithful that way. I have a little book with my favorite Bible verses in it. When I am upset I read through it and usually a verse jumps out at me and comforts me. Today was no different. There were actually two verses and I want to share them with you.

First-'Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy' 1 Peter 4:12-13

A trial like this is not easy to bear. It hurts. But it brings me closer to Jesus. It causes me to look forward to the day that I see His face. And it also reminds me of how much he suffered. When I cry out to Him (like I did this morning), He points me to the cross. He was tortured. For me. He bore the sins of the world. For me. He was separated for the first (and only) time from His beloved Father who couldn't even look at Him. For me. He died. For me. He knows pain too. More than I will ever know.

Second-'And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me' 2 Corinthians 12:9

This morning I felt like I wouldn't make it. I couldn't bear such a burden. I couldn't make it through the day. I was hurting so badly for my precious baby. And I got a text that said something like 'you are the strongest woman I know'. I thought, "If you only knew how weak I really was you wouldn't say that." But then this verse popped into my head. I may be weak-but He is strong. Any ounce of strength I have had throughout this whole journey with Abby has been because of Him. I realized I can't make it. I can't bear this burden. But He can! Hallelujah! I don't have to be strong-I just have to lean on Him, trust in Him, hold on to Him-and He will be strong for me. He will carry me. He will bear my burdens for me.

'Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved' Psalm 55:22

'Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.' 1 Peter 5:7

Monday, September 17, 2012

Year in Review?

I can't believe I haven't updated the blog in a year! Life just got very busy and this fell by the wayside. I am sorry to those of you who only know us from online life-I'm sure you have wondered about us a time or two! I recently started using Facebook to do quick updates but have felt bad about neglecting the blog. I have a lot to share though and am going to try to do better! First I need to introduce our newest family member-Julie was born January 24th and has been a blessed addition to our family! She is a joy! In the past year we have struggled to keep Abby's seizures under control with medicine. We have had some scares but even now her scans show that her tumor is stable. Praise the Lord! I can't remember exact dates but I am going to try my best as this isn't just for others but really a record for me and for Abby. One day I would like for her to be able to see all that happened to her. As I posted last year, Abby started having seizures again but the tumor remained stable. She was put on Zonisamide and after adjusting all was fairly well. She seemed to struggle a little with school work-her processing was slower and her memory just wasn't what it used to be. But we adjusted. We had another MRI the week after Thanksgiving and the tumor remained stable. She was doing well with her medicine. In December, right after we returned home from St. Jude, Abby started having seizures again. I spent a lot of time on the phone with our neurology nurse and our neurologist increased her medicine. We had to do that a couple times over the course of two weeks because she continued to have seizures. Our oncologist was concerned and wanted us to come back even though we had just been there a few weeks earlier. We met with Dr. Boop (our neurosurgeon) and Dr. Kun (radiation oncologist). The head neuro-radiologist (who reads the MRIs) looked at all her scans and felt sure that they hadn't missed anything. So our mind was put at ease that the seizures weren't being caused by tumor growth. It was decided to let neurology work with her medicine and that we would hopefully find a combination that would work well for Abby. We had a great Christmas and New Year. We were anticipating the arrival of the baby. And then the seizures came back. We were at the max dose for the Zonisamide and everyone was a little frustrated that they just kept coming back. So a week before my due date, Jason and Abby went to Le Bonheur in Memphis and had a long term EEG. I just have to say here-the nurse that coordinated our trip was fantastic. I don't remember her name but she was so kind and caring. She checked on me all week and kept me updated about what was going on at the hospital. She was such a blessing to me that week! Anyway, Abby was hooked to the electrodes and had to stay in a room under video surveilance for 3 days. I was heartbroken that I couldn't go with her. But I was due any day and most everyone felt like a hospital was not the best place for me at that time. She had a seizure almost immediately after being connected to the EEG but didn't have another one the rest of the stay. They were able to do some mapping (locating the seizures point of origin) on it but not as good as it would have been if she would have had mulitiple seizures. Our neurologist at Le Bonheur, Dr. Van Poppel, decided to add Keppra (which we were on when her seizures first started) and to possibly wean her off the Zonisamide. I had Julie a few days after they got home. Abby was weaned off the Zonisamide fairly quickly. Her school work improved. She had another MRI at the end of February and everything was still stable. The tumor board met and reviewed Abby's case again. After much discussion, all the doctors agreed that the tumor was definitely stable. They couldn't see any signs of change since her surgery. We were told to come back in 6 months! Unfortunately the seizures came back again. At the end of June we headed back to St. Jude for an MRI just to be sure that the seizures weren't being caused by tumor growth. Her scans remained stable and our doctor decided to try for 6 months again. We increased the Keppra a few times. Each increase caused her to be a little 'off' for about a week or two. The seizures seemed under control for a while. At the end of August (just a few weeks ago) she began having seizures again. She had reached the max dose for Keppra so we added a second medicine-Trileptal. Unfortunately, Abby had an allergic reaction to it and had to change medicines again. This time it was Topamax. So now it has been about 4 days on the Topamax. We will increase it slowly over the next 3 weeks. She does seem to be struggling a little on this medicine but its to be expected at first. We were told to give it a few months before declaring it a failure. On another note-we completed our first year of homeschooling and loved it. So we decided to try it again this year for first grade. I am so grateful that God laid it on my heart to teach her (and the others) at home. It isn't easy to manage everyone and everything but I am so glad she gets such tailored and one on one instruction every day. So, that's the basic story of our past year. I know that its a lot to read but I really wanted it all written down. I have more on my mind-hopefully I will be able to post again soon. Please keep praying for Abby. She needs an army of prayers right now!