Friday, June 01, 2007

The Only Way Out Is Through

God is good, all the time.

What a long, strange trip these past couple of weeks have been.

We had our garage sale, and we got closer to (paying for) bringing Anna home.
We had Mother's Day, and strangely enough I was validly wished a happy one.
We had a court date set and high hopes of seeing family and friends on our way to Ethiopia in just a few short weeks.
And then . . .
And then . . .
Why can't we just be happy and excited for one week? Why does something always have to go wrong? Seriously, God . . . what the heck?

Aaron went in to his cardiologist for a routine visit to get his meds updated. The doctor read his charts and a test from last summer and went to check something. When he came back, he recommended surgery. As the kids say . . . WTF?

We waited through the week to get set up with an appointment and go up to Portland for more tests and consultation with a surgeon experienced with Marfan Syndrome. When three doctors (or are they lawyers?) walk in the room, you know they mean business. They determined that Aaron's aortic root (where the main artery, the aorta, comes out of the heart) has expanded right to the point where the risk increases so much that they recommend surgery.

Thanks for noticing that, you know, last summer.

Then again, thanks for not noticing, or we wouldn't have Anna.

The surgeon said he should get it taken care of and there's no reason to wait. Uhh, that you know of. I got one, how 'bout this: We're adopting a baby. In about 6 weeks. In Ethiopia.

Long doctoral pause.

"First let me say I think it's wonderful you're doing that." Yeah, you're just stalling now, doc.

We talked about how the adoption process works, how we wanted to travel in six weeks and how little control we have over the process. Could Aaron travel first and have the surgery late July? He said wasn't his first choice but didn't think it was crazy to consider; he wasn't ruling it out. But . . . it adds risk. How much risk? Unfunny thing about Marfan Syndrome: no one really has any idea. We talked about surgery late July, but we needed to think about it and he wanted to show the tests to more people and think about it. We'd talk Monday. Fair enough.

So, that'll kinda put a damper on your big baby party weekend.

Some people seemed to think this was a no-brainer decision, but trust me, it was pure agony. We wanted to get Anna home as soon as possible, as everything had seemed to be lined up perfectly for, and to share the incredible experience of traveling to Ethiopia for our first week together as a family. And most importantly, we were terrified that doing surgery before court or even just the agency finding out about this before court would jeopardize our ability to bring her home at all. Then there were all the other summer plans so long anticipated and worked for and prayed for: for Aaron to lead the teenagers he's been growing so close to all year at Young Life camp, for him to be in his friend of 20 years' wedding, to see our distant family members and friends . . .

I had a brief conversation with the doctor Monday, we kept thinking and talking with a few wise friends, and our pendulum began to swing from we'll wait to we won't wait. But the doctor still hadn't looked over the tests again, so I stayed by the phone the rest of the week. Or rather the phone stayed by me. Seriously, I took it to the mailbox and the bathroom. That kind of companionship will make you crazy.

Last Friday we finally had a real conversation with the surgeon and decided to do the surgery Wednesday, June 6. They will replace a section of Aaron's aorta with a plastic section. They will also either repair his damaged valves at that spot or replace it with a mechanical one, in which case he'll be on blood thinners, so we are now hoping for a repair job. He will be in the hospital about a week.

The doctor said the soonest he could possibly travel would be 4 weeks, but they say 6-8 weeks for full recovery. People keep saying their 80-year-old grannies were out riding motorcycles after 60 days or whatever, so we'll see. When we heard our court date was successful, I told the agency about our situation and they were extremely supportive--big relief. I am sure they will work with us on travel dates but we haven't gotten that far yet.

I don't think I have ever been as stressed as I was that week of waiting on the doctor and deciding. Even my body was revolting, and I don't just mean how I looked. Aaron has been having trouble sleeping, and although part of the load is lifted with court done, this is still an anxious time. We trust--somehow inside us we know--God will bring us to the other side. But that doesn't make it easy. It's a rough road ahead, but the only way out is through.

All the time, God is good.

“You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”
—Graham Greene


Anila said...

A friend of mine , with Marfan , had a similar operation last summer.
I am pleased to tell you that she feels better than ever and that she is enjoying a far more happier life with less complaints and restrictions.
So keep on trusting in the ways things are going and god willing next summer ...all this will be water under the bridge.

Chuck and Jenny said...

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

Isaiah 40:28-31, 41:10,13

Love and prayers,

shelly said...

Love the new pictures of your baby, the new pictures seem to show more of her litlle personality, I will be praying for you and your family and for a quick recovery from this surgery....Remember Jeremiah 29:11....for I know the plans I have for you.......I think Martha Munizzi sings this best ..........
to give you hope for tomorrow
Joy for your sorrow
Strength for everything
You go through
Remember I know
The plans I have for you

Katy said...

Whoa. It's it amazing that we serve an omniscient God? Your situation would not be top on my list nor I suspect on your own...yet, He knew. And He knew from the beginning. Anna was truly born at the right time and this too was in His right time- no matter how strange and painful it is to us. What an amazing story of love you will have to tell Anna about her homecoming when she is older! I'll continue praying...