Thursday, November 11, 2010

What another day?!?

Dear friends,

A couple of nights ago as I wrote to you, I felt very near to the end of my rope. Then later in the evening, I found out that a friend from church took his own life. My knees gave out and I toppled, I couldn’t pull myself off the floor for a while. Lisa and I took turns crying, not only with the news of David’s passing, but also from the stress of all that’s going on.

This whole process produces momentary stresses as things happen with Madeline or work or some other part of our crazy life, and then there is this other more constant pressure that doesn’t go away. You’re less aware of the later, until something small happens, which pushes you over the edge. That’s what most of yesterday was, keeping busy, and trying to keep it together. Sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing.

And now more news. The doctors have been meeting to discuss Madeline, and have now come to us – Madeline’s going to heart surgery real soon. She hasn’t been growing, she’s showing no sign of getting off the ventilator, she’s at constant risk for infection from the vent tube, and she’s having these desats and heart arythmias that have been worse lately.

The doctors seem confident in being able to repair her heart, but everyone is nervous about Madeline’s ability to tolerate the surgery. Her size, weight, and lungs are all to her disadvantage right now. The doctors feel that now is her golden hour and things could be worse if they wait. We were hoping to sit tight and let Madeline grow and get healthier, but that just isn’t happening.

The plan is to do a catherization on Monday to go in with a camera and inspect things. They may do some ballooning to open up some vessels if needed. Depending on what they see and how Madeline tolerates that, they will perform the heart surgery in the next few days. The will put her on a bypass machine, lower her body temperature, and stop her heart.

Will the surgery work? That is the big question that none of the doctors can answer. There is still some debate about the size of her left ventricle and it’s ability to push enough blood out to the body. If it can’t, blood will back up into her lungs and she’ll have to go into an emergency surgery to change her heart to a 1 ventricle repair. Chances of getting through that second surgery go down a lot.

Your prayers and God’s grace have been what keep us going. When in these moments, we are able to appeal to God, and let you know, and you make the same pleas on our behalf. And then what happens is best described by a David Crowder song:

“When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all”

How good it is to be loved by God so much, to be blessed by Him. I have 3 beautiful girls at home, and an amazing wife, and I have been able to support my family. Linda, Lisa’s sister, has been taking care of our kids daily without a break. Our family has helped to watch our children and take care of things around the house. Our church has faithfully prayed for us, brought us food, and cleaned our house. There is not a need we have that God hasn’t supplied, praise Him.

Please pray for Madeline once more. Pray that she is ready for this that her body and heart are ready for the task. Pray most of all that this will be the fix for her, that we can finally be on the road to recovery. Pray for Lisa and I in the coming days, for strength and peace to withstand whatever comes. Michael is doing good, please pray for his continued recovery. Pray for David’s family and close friends.

Shanker & Lisa.

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