Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Journey of Uncertainty... Grounded in Faith

The past week and a half has been quite the adventure! There's nothing like believing your life may end soon, to realizing it won't end but may dramatically change, to finding out it's actually all going to be OK.

I've been debating whether I was going to openly share this, but if it can inspire one person, or help one person through a difficult time it will be worth it. I don't know how to better describe it than to just post the updates I sent to my family and friends for support and prayer. Below you will find these updates.

Spend time every day thanking God for being who He is, for all He has given you and will continue to give. ~ Steph

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." - Hebrews 11:1

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." - Exodus 14:14

August 3, 2012 - Update #1

So... My mom coming to pick me up has been the best thing I could have asked for. The conversation (as I was sobbing, of course): "Mommy, I have an aneurysm." "What can I do, honey?" "I want to see you!" "When?" "Now!" "I'm getting in the car!"

Thank goodness for amazing parents!!! God blessed me with the best!

So I'm in St. Simons... we've named my aneurysm... her name is Annie. My mom says it's because she's so small so it reminded her of little orphan Annie. I guess that just goes to show all of you where I get my sense of humor from ;)

So just to give you all a little more info now that I'm able to communicate it without breaking down: I went to my primary care physician a few weeks ago for my annual blood work. I have been having headaches for a few months and my eyelid started drooping. We talked about it and she referred me to a neurologist. I met with her last week and all of my neurowork was OK and everything was operating fine, but she wanted to do a MRI just in case. Last minute she decided to add on the MRA (I think she decided I had good insurance!) ;) Last Saturday I went in for my 45 minute MRI/MRA. Her last minute addition of the MRA may have saved my life!

Everything on the MRI came back OK... I figured it would since I wasn't having any of the nausea symptoms that come with possible tumors, etc. I actually told my Mom before the scan that if anything was going to show up it would be in my blood flow... something about the pressure and the way my headaches have been moving... I'm not a medical professional... but maybe I should be ;)

So for the past 4 days I was trying to get my results. The nurses kept giving me the run around and nobody would tell me anything. Finally yesterday I had 3 missed calls during my meetings on my first day back at work... it was my neurologist's office. They called to tell me they've found a small aneurysm in the right artery of my brain. The discussion with the doctor is blurry right now, in fact I asked her to repeat herself 3 times, but she either said it was 1.3mm or 3mm... either way... TINY in comparison to those that typically burst.

I am scheduled to meet with a neurosurgeon on Wednesday morning at 8:15 to discuss what was found and what/if we are going to do about it. My neurologist even mentioned the neurosurgeon may want to just "watch" it... I find that unacceptable... so does my Mom... so we're prepared to fight for a "laaaaaaaaser" removal. They do that... right?!

Anyway... until then I'm working from St. Simons... getting ready for the new school year. Some amazing coworkers came into my classroom yesterday and helped me get everything up and ready... now I'm just going through paperwork and online trainings.

Thank you all SO much for your love, prayers, and support. Thank you to those who have taken the time to call, text, email, provide movie rentals, etc. I know I haven't gotten around to calling you all back... I will... promise... but please know I've received all of the messages and couldn't pray for a better group of people in my life. God has blessed me with the most wonderful people!! He has a plan... I TRUST HIS PLAN... and I KNOW He will take care of me! Love you all and I'll be in touch!

See "Faith Defining Moments" blog post from August 4 :)

August 6, 2012 - Update #2

I'm coming home today :) My mom and I are driving back after she gets off work. Y'all know me... I can't sit at home any longer. Don't worry, though... My body is good at telling me when I'm tired and need to rest now... And for once in my life I'm listening! I need normalcy, so I'm going to work tomorrow as if nothing is wrong! Well... Except for the zit that has taken up residence on my face... And y'all know me... I NEVER get zits! Ugh!!!

Each day it is getting easier to find God's peace. I've definitely decided its not my time to go... God has a lot left for me here to do, so He must be planning to heal me. So right now most of my worry and stress is related to the unknown of the treatment plan, if any, and we'll find that out Wednesday morning at 8:15. Dr. Barrow is my neurosurgeon and after a little research (not on aneurysms... I refuse to google that) I've come to see he was quite the attractive man... 20 years ago... And he's the chief of neurosurgery at Emory. So God's taking good care of me by getting me the best :) Mom was hoping for a younger Christian version of Dr. Barrow... But she assures me he may have a son... Forever the matchmaker my mom. I told her nobody will want to marry an aneurysm so we should focus on evicting Annie first ;)

Again... God continues to amaze me with the love and support I continue to receive from each of you. I am so thankful and will never be able to repay each of you enough. I feel your prayers everyday and to be completely transparent... Each time I want to get upset I remember all of you praying and know everything is going to be ok. Praying for total healing and a report from the neurosurgeon that we're all clear and can go about our normal lives... It's possible... God can do that ;) And if not... Of course praying for His will and that whatever treatment or procedure I must go through creates a pretty magnificent story about His love and glory! My amazing friend and 2nd member of my Super Trooper club (my mom being the first member), Marissa Carney, reminded me that God is here... Has already walked this road, and now wants to walk it with me. I just hope He's a speed walker ;)

Love you all SO very much!!! I'll be in touch after my appointment on Wednesday and want to see each and every one of your faces VERY soon... After my zit goes away ;)

August 8, 2012 - Final Update

God is AMAZING... but we all know that already ;) I don't believe that God tests our faith... just as we should never test Him... but I do believe He puts us in positions where we can glorify His name through evidence that others may be able to see and understand. All of the fear, insecurities, and anxiety I've experienced in the past week were well worth it for the opportunity to be able to lift up His name and glorify His amazing works!!

Today I went to the neurosurgeon for the appointment about my aneurysm. When I first found out about the aneurysm I was told it was located in the right artery of my brain... turns out this is not the case, and as the neurosurgeon said I'm a victim of "modern technology." The aneurysm... or "baby aneurysm" as they call it, is actually located in the right carotid artery, near my cheek bone way outside of my skull. In fact, it's cavernous, meaning it is located in a pocket of my skull facing away from my brain so that if it ever did decide to grow and rupture, it may cause eye problems, but is not at all life threatening and they could even correct the eye problems. My neurologist will be treating me for migraines (unconnected to my baby aneurysm) and I will get a MRI in 5 years to compare to see if there has been any growth. All in all... Dr. Barrow... my favorite neurosurgeon... says all is completely fine and I'm completely safe and healthy.

Now... how my aneurysm went from inside of my brain to way far away from even close can only be explained one of two ways... my neurologist and radiologist need to go back to medical school OR God moved it to a safe place. I choose God!

To Him be the glory forever!!

Thank you all SO much for your prayers and support!! God has listened, answered, and showed us all once again He is here and for us!!!!!!!!!!!! It was your prayers, strength, love, and relationship with Him that pulled this one through. I am so incredibly grateful!!

I love you all and can't wait to see your faces!! My step-sister says I "have a new lease on life." I'm ready to live it... fearless... openly... and shouting how much I LOVE MY GOD!!

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