Thanks for your continued prayerfulness and patience in regards to an update on Elijah. The last few days have felt like a crash course on living in the furnace –but, as is the pattern in scripture, our Jesus doesn’t ever ask us to walk there alone. Words of hope from Brenna:
It has been awhile since our last post. In one sense, not much has happened –and in another sense, our whole world was tipped over, spilling out the last remnants of hope that we were clinging to. While I will try not to go into details of all that has transpired, I want to again point you all to the glory of God and His miraculous loving hand in this process. If you noticed, there seemed to be a delay in our postings. Besides being too grief stricken to write, I also have had to ponder what the Lord has taught us when I look back over the previous days.
I am not sure that either Randy or I have ever been so close to lacking hope in our entire lives as we were over this past weekend. The storm that I had referenced in the last post began to swirl into a tornado Friday and Saturday. Emotionally, we were swirling as we celebrated Elijah’s 19th birthday – wishing he were able to celebrate. The bittersweet moment that Elijah won Best Actor in the movie Reflection and was not able to be there to receive the reward for his work. Physically, the storms were not abating as the doctors were testing different medical approaches. Spiritually, the storm was very dark as we often felt as if the struggle was not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph 6:12)
Finally, on Sunday night the storm was silent and the world was as black as night. A new neurologist was called in as a consult for Elijah. It was during a family meeting that he delivered the death blow to the Hope that had lived within us. In short , the doctor reinterpreted Elijah’s MRI to reflect the diagnosis of Diffuse Axonal Injury (axon shearing). He went on to say that as Elijah was at a Glascow Coma Scale 6, he would likely have a very poor prognosis. With my training in speech-language pathology, I couldn’t have picked a more fearful prognosis. When the neuro doctor delivered his dismal news he said, “if there is a God”. In my shock and sadness, I pitied this man who could specialize in one of God’s most amazing creations (the brain), and not worship its Creator.
Monday, as I read The Pilgrim’s Progress to Elijah – Christian was recounting his journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. “That is us,” I thought. Like Christian, we found that without Hope we were battling the Giant of Despair. We wrestled with Hoping in God through faith despite the lack of all that we could see.
As we sat in sackcloth and ashes, grieving the death of hope, our friends came alongside with prayers, encouragement, clinical studies and anecdotal stories to offer hope. Amazingly, Elijah’s primary doctor also called us from her vacation to make sure that we would believe the best for Elijah’s recovery and cling to the original diagnosis of fatty emboli syndrome. With that call the sunshine started to break through. Also, the Holy Spririt reminded me that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Through these Hopeless glasses, my view of what Elijah was doing and even his future changed. I needed Jesus goggles.
Then today came. A new day dawning with fresh mercies from the hand of Our Living God. I put on my Jesus goggles. I came to the end of my fight with the Giant of Despair, and Hope in Jesus was prevailing. At rounds this morning, I told the doctors that since the diagnosis doesn’t change the treatment we choose to believe for the best. I told them that my God was bigger than all of their prognoses and that I choose to believe in Him. Where did that boldness come from?? I am not sure. In my flesh it is intimidating to proclaim faith in the midst of people touting “science” as fact.
Later today, that same neurologist conferred with docs at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver per my request. He called back bearing the message of hope – these doctors see that Elijah’s situation will move to a good recovery! The Craig doctors uphold the original diagnosis of the trauma doctor and the neurosurgeon: fatty emboli syndrome. This has a much more favorable outcome with rehabilitation. The brain injury was essentially caused, not by the car accident, but by the breaks in his femurs. The marrow sprays fat into the veins and these showers travel throughout the body, sometimes ending in a fatal pulmonary embolism but often in the brain or internal organs. In the brain (where they landed in Elijah) they are essentially mini strokes. Many many case studies attest to a positive full recovery. Praise God and to Him alone be all the glory!
In the flesh nothing has changed much during these last days. Elijah still has no purposeful movement but was more aware (eyes open and blinking) today and had the stitches removed from his many (13) incisions in his legs. At 10 p.m. I received a call that informed me that they are going to redo all of his medicines per a doctor consult from Craig Rehab Hospital in Denver. Randy is trying to juggle work along with a hospital shift.
So why are we joyful and lighthearted today? I believe it is the lenses through which we view the situation. The glasses that we choose to put on. The worldly glasses often cause us to walk by sight, but when we wear Jesus goggles He asks us not to walk by sight, but by faith. This faith causes hope to thrive. Jesus reminded me that whatever the situation, we need to view it through His lens, His goggles.
On my drive to the hospital this week, Grace, the boys and I listened to Laura Story’s song BLESSINGS. Always a favorite, the lyrics mean more to me than ever.
…we doubt your goodness. We doubt your love. As if each promise from your word is not enough. And all the while, You hear each desperate plea//and long that we’d have faith to believe
…what if trials of this life. The rain the storms, the hardest nights// Are your mercies in disguise?
(On the lighter side, Elijah has the PT’s and nurses enamored. The PT’s comment on how beautiful his eyes are and one nurse thinks he looks like Matt Damon. To my amazement, he still rocks a pretty great hairstyle despite the lacerations on his head and 19 days in bed!)