Tuesday, March 26, 2013

More Refining...

Amy is beginning day 5 in the hospital.  Don't be too worried though... we're praying she has a seizure. I know... weird request - I would have never thought in all my life I'd be asking God for that.  

However, since she's hooked up to an EEG24/7 so the doctors can monitor her brain activity to isolate where the seizures are originating.. THEN they can discern a treatment plan.

As you may know she was on track to begin MS treatments soon, but on Wednesday afternoon March 13 Amy had a seizure.  It only affected her right side of her body and lasted about 30 seconds, but to her it felt like an eternity.  She was paralyzed with fear having no idea what was going on or how to stop it.  What was worse, she was walking home from our local YMCA and in the middle of a grassy area... alone.  She'd fumbled for her phone to call 911 but the experience ended almost as quickly as it had begun.  By the time a distant bystander had run over to help her, Amy was able to regain her composure and decided to walk home.  (That's Amy for ya! :) )I was home studying unaware of anything that had just happened so when she walked in the door and headed to take a shower I didn't come in to talk to her until she sat down to eat something.

When she said, "I think I just had a seizure" I picked up the phone immediately to call her Doctor.  Her doctor at first seemed to think it was an isolated event, but ordered an appointment with another Neurologist for the following Tuesday (3/19).

The next few days were filled with all kinds of additional questions as we waited for the appointment.  We were both on edge... feeling an array of emotions - anger, anxiousness, what about her job?  will I still be able to graduate in June?  should I go get a job now?  disability paperwork? will it be short term, long term?  is this how life will be from now on? Aaahhhggghh.... what do we do!??

So... after we settled down some... we went for another run on Friday (and began to think the seizure was an isolated event)  we had a good weekend with family in NJ and PA and waited to see the Neurologist on the following Tuesday.

On Monday afternoon (3/18)we went for another 5mi run and it felt great. ... Until 20 min later Amy seized again.  Same side, same length of time.  Crap.  now what!!...

We then knew it wasn't an isolated event and we knew it could be exercised induced.  Amy was crushed... she loves to run... has loved it for the last 15 years.  C'mon, God... what are you doing?! The next couple days were extra hard.  We went to the neurologist appt... but we were not really "together"... this was all so sudden... so... so... debilitating.  feeling powerless...unable to make any sense of this at all.  By Wednesday we were existing together...I wanted to help, but could only just "remain" with her... (see John 15:1-13 for what I mean)  She was hurting... and I couldn't fix her.  I prayed some more... begging God to heal her heart and her body...  The neurologist that we'd seen on Tuesday said that her only option was to go for a long term EEG test so they could tell exactly what was happening in her brain during the seizure so they could then treat it... it was  a tough call... she'd began to wonder if she just gave up running - the thing she loves so much - that she could go back to work by the weekend.

On Thursday night (3/21) I took Sasha and TK with me to a dinner/prayer time at my school.  We got home around 8.. then Amy and I were able to talk some more.  It was a good time together... just sitting at our kitchen table trying to process all of this reconnecting and praying together... we felt good about moving forward - until...

...minutes after we wrapped up our talk and started to clean up the table... Amy felt the "aura" and she seized again.  Same side, same length of time... followed by a much deeper feeling of powerlessness... now it was really unpredictable.

She headed to bed and I wrote a letter to the neurologist asking about a bed for the long term EEG... in some ways it felt good to get her assessed... but in so many other ways... it felt like we were conceding... So that brings us to today Tue (3/26)...as I said, she's just begun day 5 of waiting to have a seizure so the doctors can figure out what's causing it and how to treat it. As you may guess the last few weeks... especially the last several days have been very difficult, but God has shown us some snapshots that have blessed us tremendously:  We have been blessed by friends taking care of the kids so Amy and I can be together... we've been blessed by friends who encourage us and hold us accountable... we've been blessed by stories of others who are realizing their own desperateness in other ways and are reaching out toward Jesus outstretched arms... we have been so blessed by The Body of Christ who are standing in the gap for us and holding us when when can't stand.

We have also been blessed by the response of our kids... Kenni is stepping up huge and helping me with the younger three.. she has been an incredible help!...Last Thursday night I took Sasha and Tariku with me to school to the dinner and prayer time.  I wanted to go to be with other brothers and sisters that I could pray with and be encouraged by ....and hoping that Amy would feel a little less chaos at home if two of the kids were with me.

I'd planned on sitting at a back table that night, but Sasha pranced right up to the front table with TK bouncing right behind.  At first I was a little unnerved, but I must admit it was cool for Sasha to sit right next to the Dean of our Seminary.  (Afterall, Dr Fombelle is a great man and another favorite professor.)  Sash and TK were their usual joyous selves at dinner chatting away with my fellow fledgling theologians... and then it was time to pray.  When the announcement came, who jumped to pray first?   "Dear jesus, thank you for this day, please bless my mommy, help her get better, thank you for my family and for Daddy's school... oh and bless this food, AMEN."  ... it was a good thing my eyes were closed during Tariku's prayer... even though they were red and wet when I opened them.  the kids sat nicely during Dr. Fombelle's talk as well... even if I did have to bribe them with a few cookies.

At this point, we are still waiting for answers... and we are still praying and trusting. This morning I read Ps. 9:10 which says,"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." Ps. 9:10

That is a promise from God.  No matter where you are, or what you believe God will NEVER break his promises.  While it may APPEAR that God is distant, has broken promises, or just feels like he's not even there ... he is still God and he's still in control.  He's not left.  We live in a messed up world and the fact is that we're all desperate, it's just some days we realize it more than others.After reading that verse in Psalms, this thought came to mind...  We "live for" alot of things... but so many of them really - in the grand scheme of things - won't last and have very little value.  Sure, they last temporarily --  house, cars, wealth, prestige, power, even relationships get broken, and so does our health... -- what really matters?  when you think about your legacy... what is it that will last forever.  When the things of this life get stripped away, you find out  who you really are... but more importantly -who God really is - and you can see that He is still God and that he still has all things in his loving care.

I may write more about it later, but this weekend we celebrate Easter.  The Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in History.  Please.. If you don't normally go to church, find a church local to you and learn about the REAL reason for life-changing Peace and Joy - regardless of your circumstances! 

If you're local to us here in Central CT there are a number of good churches in our area. if you don't have a church home, join our family at New Life Church in Meriden or if you're in Middletown check out Catalyst Church.  If you're closer to East Hampton check out, Hope Church.  Go and listen ... your life will never be the same.

 In closing, we are unable to express the breadth of our thanks for those of you who have been serving us in such awesome ways.  It means so much.  (I do wonder if there might be someone that would want to read a few hundred pages for me and write up some 'cliff's notes' so i could spend some time with Amy... if so, that would be great.)
Seriously, We're doing ok...I think rather than feeling overwhelmed and getting blown away by the storm, we're putting our heads into the wind and marching on - together. We're together in this and we're realizing more areas where God is refining us even more... we don't like it, we wouldn't wish it on anyone else... but we're certain that God knows what he's doing.

For our kids... it's all in how we present what we know.. we're not hiding anything and we're not keeping them from the struggle.  They're in this with us...and we are grateful for the invaluable lessons that God is teaching them through this experience as well. 

For me I think that God is showing me how much he loves me by caring for Amy... especially in the areas where I am truly unable to do so.

For Amy... she's doing well - she's an incredible woman and we here at #teamzipf can't wait for her to be well and home.  She's anxious for this to be over too. She wants to get back to life too, but she knows that this refining time is good for her as well. It's not easy, but she has the "peace that passes all understanding" and takes confidence in the fact that God is still on the throne and He will lead us through this... together.


"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Rom. 15:13