Getting To Know Me – Throughout My Hubby’s Major Illness in 2005

This is rather long, but it tells all about my hubby’s bout with Strep Infection and Toxic Shock Syndrome. These came from emails and previous blogging elsewhere.

Update: Everything is great now. God it Great!!!

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Update on Matt 11/14/2005
Matt had a surgery (his second) Friday afternoon (found out Friday morning). It was debrievement (I think that is what it is called). They are removing dead tissue from his leg. He had another surgery Sunday morning at 8am. He will have another one (probably on Tuesday). He may have to have multiple more ones. After the last debrievement surgery it will probably be a week or two before they can do the skin graft.

His heart is still giving him trouble (only 39) and they have changed his meds again. After surgery is bp is low again too. Unless there is another miracle (have had several during this), he will not be home by Thanksgiving. This will be especially hard on him and our children (4yo and 17yo). It will be a sad day for me too. He has been in the hospital since Oct. 24th.

My sister is coming from Kansas City, MO next Sunday for a week and 2 days to help me out some. Her husband took vacation so he could be home with her kids and she could come here. I am very grateful for this, because it has been very difficult with the hospital, the kids, running a house — that is being repaired as I write this — 3 weeks of kitchen and master bath being totally unusable, work, etc, etc….. My grandma may be able to come out sometime after Thanksgiving, too.

Please keep praying for us and especially my husband, Matt.

In Christ,
Stephanie

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Prayer Request Update on my Husband 11/17/2005
Hello everyone,

Matt had his third debridement surgery (all 2 days apart) on Tuesday night. All went well. He had to have his second blood transfusion, though (one Monday and one Tuesday). The doctor was pleased with the tissues and said that he should be able to do a skin graft today (Thursday at 3pm – PST). If he gets in there and it doesn’t look like he wants it to, he will just change the wound vac and pull out.

The way his progress has been, he is actually beating the “absolute best case scenario” of the doctor. He has had one more debridement surgery than best case, but best case called for a week or two between the last debridement surgery and the first attempt of a skin graft. This is actually putting him at a pace better than the “best case scenario”.

Remember how I wrote that it would take another miracle for Matt to get home by Thanksgiving? Well, if things progress like they are and the skin lives, etc on the first try, he can possibly be home by Tuesday or Wednesday. Praise God!

Regardless if he does get home by then or not, God is definitely running the show here! I told the doctor something like, “I don’t know what you believe, but we have people all over the U.S. (and Cambodia) praying hard for Matt and I know that it is working…” He patted my shoulder and gave me a look like, “if that makes you feel better darlin’ then go ahead and think that…” SO, I am now praying for at least some major seeds to be planted in him (Dr. Hall) and that when other patients of his in the future amaze him, their family members tell him how they know it was the Power of God, and that at least one day he can’t help but at least think, “Maybe there is something about God and I better check it out!”

Matt’s lower leg is healing on its own without debridement. It appears that the strep infection is close to being completely gone!

His heart still acts up and he is on a heart medicine, but his kidneys seem to be functioning great now, and his blood pressure is still a bit on the low side, but ok. Other common symptoms of the Toxic Shock are liver problems and lung problems. It doesn’t appear that we are having any problems there. They are a bit concerned about pneumonia though, so please pray regarding this, too.

The main concern with the skin graft is that the wound is so big and it continues almost completely around the top of his whole left leg (as far up as the leg goes). Skin grafts on legs are usually more successful, except that Matt’s also goes around the back and up so high. Please pray that it is successful the first time. Also pray that the doctor is able to use dissolvable stitches instead of the staples that have to be removed. He is going to try the stitches first and that would definitely mean less pain later. But, whichever God knows is best in the long run, is what I want God to guide him to use.

He will also then have a big wound (although not so deep) on his other leg. Pray for as much comfort as possible for Matt.

Thank you all for your prayers! I appreciate them and you all so very much! I am not able to respond to everyone’s emails, cards, or phone calls, but rest assured that I read/listen to them all (at least once) and I have been encouraged by your prayers and kind words.
I will try to give you all an update on Friday.

I have claimed this verse for Matt and our current situation:

” ‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 30:17a

When I was reading to Matt, I was guided here and it was like, “WOW”. Just what we needed!
God always gives us what we need. He has given me several verses (and songs) throughout this and all have been exactly the one I needed at that particular time. He has also used several of you to deliver them. So, thank you for being used by God to help us in this trying time. I thank God for you all!

One thing that God brought to my attention when I was getting run-down with going to the hospital so much is that “I GET to go to the hospital!” That puts it all in prospective, doesn’t it? So I am SO very thankful that I GET to go to the hospital to see and be with my soul mate!
One last thing, but DEFINITELY not least: Remember to give God all the glory for all of this that He has done and all that He has yet to do as you pray and think about us!

In Christ,
Stephanie
—————-
In Christ Alone by Brian Littrell

This words of this song are really helping me get through each day.

“In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I have been blessed beyond measure And by His strength alone I will overcome
Oh, I could stop and count successes like diamonds in my hands
But those trophies could not equal to the grace by which I stand

[chorus]
In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

In Christ alone do I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
For only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need
And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord

[chorus]
In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

 

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Prayer Request Update on my Husband 11/18/2005

Hello everyone, It came to my attention that some of you had not received my earlier emails about Matt, so you are not aware of what happened to him. So, here is a brief summary:

Matt had flu-like symptoms for two days, then felt better. He went to work on Saturday (Oct 22), but his left leg was bothering him. By the time that he arrived in Lathrop, CA, he had a grapefruit-sized welt and didn’t feel very good. He soaked in a tub (which took the swelling down). He then went to work on Sunday (back towards home).

It was about a 16 hour trip by the time they got relieved from the train and he was in bad shape! He had intended to drive himself back to Reno to the hospital (an hour away), but he fortunately realized that he was in too bad of shape. He drove himself to the Portola Hospital from the yard. Matt was lifeflighted from Portola, CA (where he works out of) to Washoe Medical Center (Reno) on Oct 24.

He got a scratch/bite/something in his leg that turned to strep infection that then turned to Toxic Shock Syndrome. We about lost him during 4 different time periods. He also could have lost his leg. His kidneys were failing (ok now), had to have strong meds to keep his blood pressure up enough (ok now except after most of his surgeries), having heart problems (needed cardial conversion/shock to heart – and now on third kind of med for his heart), had a severe rash allergic reaction to an antibiotic, got an infection in his central line, had two units of blood this last Monday and another one on Tuesday, etc, etc……….. He had an exploratory surgery the first Wednesday. Three debridement surgeries (last Friday, Sunday, and then Tuesday).

The doctor was able to do the skin graft surgery last night. This was Matt’s fifth surgery. Matt still has some infection in the smaller wound on the outside of his left leg. This is where the doctor (during the first debridement surgery) cut it open to help drain the infection. He left this part open and has it bandaged separately so it does not contaminate the skin graft section. Please pray for the infection to clear up quickly and completely and that it not re-infect the big wound. The doctor said that after that heals, he may even be able to just stitch that part up. If not, there could be a smaller skin graft there. In my untrained opinion, it will most likely just take a lot of stitches. You would be amazed at the education I have received, though!

Matt is on strict bed rest for the next five days. Pray that the wound vac can stay on and functioning fully for the entire five days. It needs to at least be able to stay on for three days, but five is MUCH better (especially in Matt’s situation). After those five days, if the skin is alive and well, Matt may be sent home. That would likely be Tuesday or Wednesday (right before Thanksgiving)! He would still have quite a ways to heal and get back to the railroad, but he is definitely the recipient of several miracles and one for the medical books (according to some doctors and nurses).

While in the waiting room during the surgery last night, there were two other families. The first one was the family of little April. She is 8 months old and had her ninth surgery last night. This surgery was due to one of those bags you need when your intestines have perforated, etc. She was getting it out/fixed/something. Her last surgery was a perforated intestine. She was a preemie twin (other twin, Autumn, is in perfect health) and younger sister to a 4 yr old boy. Please pray for that family. They are very sweet and live outside of Fallon. The dad is needing to stay in a low paying job (for her to stay on Medicaid), because they cannot afford all of the medical bills and with her pre-existing problems, would not be covered on the insurance (at least for awhile). He aspires to provide better for his family, but he feels stuck. I do not know how the surgery went last night, but it had taken longer than Mom had expected. The other family was the Mom of a 36 year old that had had 26 surgeries throughout her life and this one was cancer. I talked to her Mom after the surgery in the cafeteria and when they got in there, they had to take even more than they expected. They took a big amount of intestines and everything you can imagine female-related. She herself is a single mom of 2 or 3 children (around 12 years of age). She also lives in the Fallon area. (Her mom is down from Oregon.) Please pray for her healing (physically, spiritually, and emotionally). Both families appreciated the fact that I was praying for them (and were taken back at first that a stranger would – I guess). We all seemed to need to talk. It was wonderful that God put all of us there together in that small room. Another lady came in and apparently wanted peace and quiet…lol…so she left. It was a great bond. I do greatly regret not getting there contact information (which I am sure they would have exchanged), but I believe that if God wanted me to, he would have reminded me. I believe that the purpose in all of this was accomplished. Both moms and I hugged when I parted (after Matt’s surgery). We all needed each other at that time and God provided! He is SO wonderful!

So, please continue to pray for Matt’s healing, our children to continue to cope, safe travel for my sister who is coming to help out and encourage (she is traveling out here from the Kansas City, MO area Sunday and will arrive late at night), for little April and her family (for comfort, healing, brighter future), for the 36 year old Mom in Fallon, and for all of the doctors and nurses (for their salvation in still needed, wisdom, guidance, and compassion).

” ‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 30:17a

In Christ,
Stephanie

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Prayer Request Update on my Husband 11/21/2005
Hello Everyone,

I just got word that the doctor peeked at the skin graft and the skin looks good! Praise the Lord!
They put the wound vac back on for more healing. The side wound looks a bit better and is coming along. That evidently is not a big concern…yeah!

We are still praying for the miracle of Matt being home by Thanksgiving. It is looking like it may happen, so keep the prayers up!

“Stop telling God how big your storm is…Instead tell your storm how big your God is.” (author unknown)

” ‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 30:17a
Thank you everyone for all your prayers. We are definitely feeling them and are so grateful for them and you all!

In Christ,
Stephanie

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Prayer Request Update on my Husband 11/22/2005

Hello Everyone,
Today has been a wonderful day! The doctor took off the wound vac and we are now letting the air get to it and keeping it uncovered completely. It is healing very nicely. I am not sure if he will be home by Thanksgiving, but I do believe that he will be home soon. We are still praying for the miracle of him being home by then, but I only want this if he is fully ready to come home. If that means waiting, then that is what I want – and am praying for. We need to go with God’s timing and appreciate His wisdom.

If you are one that may try to visit Matt, you need to know that it looks really gross – although much better than it did look throughout all of this. Before, it was covered, though. If you cannot handle gross things, you really should not visit for at least the next couple of days. We understand completely if you don’t. Also, if you may have a cold or something, we ask that you send a card or email (to me) instead if you want to get a message to Matt. He also gets rather tired on days when he gets too many visits.

The doctors have also taken Matt off of all the antibiotics today. His smaller wound is healing very well. The doctor did a little bit of debridement yesterday while Matt was in his bed. No surgery needed and likely just stitches. He is still on a strong pain killer, though.
I had another aha moment today. It finally dawned on me that God has granted me a wonderful ability during all of this. I usually have a VERY weak stomach. I pass out or get sick at relatively minor things that seem too gross for me. Even discussions of this type really bother me. God has granted me the ability to look and even to help out with these wounds. They have honestly been the worse things I have ever seen in my life (even on TV), but I have not passed out, gotten sick, or had bad dreams about any of this. If you really knew the extent of my problem with this before, you would be greatly amazed too! I thank God for this wonderful gift He has given. I’m thinking that it is a very good chance that after all of this, I will go back to being weak, but God has granted this to me at this time! Matt has even told me that part of the way that I am ministering to him is being able to help the nurses take care of him, so I know that this gift is for Matt’s benefit. He would deal with it if I was queasy, because he knows that’s how I am, but the fact that I can deal with it and be there for him (and still looking calm and confident) is a great blessing that God has given us.

Please remember as you pray – to pray for the salvations of the people who visit and spend time with Matt as well as the doctors and nurses. Several of these key people are not saved! Pray that opportunities and words flow throughout the rest of Matt’s healing. Pray that Matt continues to heal at this pace that is astounding “the professionals”. Pray that I continue to see opportunities to minister to Matt, his parents and sister, and anyone that God puts in my path. Pray that I have confidence in Him, the right words, patience, wisdom, and show them Christ.

In Christ,
Stephanie

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Prayer Request Update on my Husband 11/23/2005
Hello Everyone,

Matt is healing nicely. He was even able to get out of bed for a few minutes yesterday. It hurts a lot, he moves very slowly, and it wears him out totally. But, he can do it! The skin graft was looking much better last night than yesterday morning. Still not for the weak, but comparatively much better.

Matt will not be home for Thanksgiving. God has done a mighty work in Matt’s healing, but He knows the proper timing. Our earthly requests are definitely not always for our best. I thank God for His wisdom.

Matt has a couple of more days of airing the wound out, before he gets to the next step (which will be a few days before he can go home). So, we are thinking probably next week sometime. Matt and I decided that we will have a “Thanksgiving Dinner” of our own after he gets home. It may be as simple as good take-out, but it will great regardless. Pray for his continued healing and positive attitude.

This is something comparatively minor, but also please pray for the repairs on our house. I was headed for a pity-party when I started to write this and thought about how Matt may not be able to come straight home due to the delays in repairs, but was reminded that I have SO much to be grateful for that I should not focus on this. Suffice it to say, that I would appreciate it if you would also pray that there will not be too many more delays and that I will be granted patience.
Last night as I was on my way to see Matt, I heard a wonderful song that I have loved ever since the first time I heard it. But last night, I heard it differently. I knew that it was a great song, but it really hit me this time. It really sums it all up. I have included the words below.
I will try to give you all an update on Monday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and be sure to tell all of your loved ones what they really mean to you. One of the many things I have learned through all of this, is that life can be going wonderfully and in a split second it can be turned on its top. Do not waste even a day without thoroughly enjoying your spouse, children, family, and friends. I knew this before, but not to this extent. Remember that EVERY day is a precious gift. Do not waste it.

As you pray, remember the people who are not saved. Pray for their salvation and that if we are to be used in this that we be given wisdom, boldness, and the right words to say. Pray for Matt’s continued healing and for us to stay focused on openly giving God ALL the glory, so that others will know where we get our strength.

In Christ,
Stephanie

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“Thanksgiving weekend” 

Today is Monday. It has been a difficult weekend.

Matt is doing much better. He still has open spots on his legs (including the cut on the side of his bad leg, the donor spot on his good leg, and various spots throughout his bad leg). The doctor saw him this morning and gave a good report! He is having an occupational/rehab therapist come by today to evaluate Matt. If the report is good, then Matt may get to come home tomorrow! I’m so excited! He will still have wound care (probably by home health) and will need some rehab for sure. This is his 36th day in the hospital. Praise God for all that He has done and is continuing to do!

The house is still not done. They are now shooting for this Friday (with a very slight chance of this Wednesday). It is done enough that Matt wants to come home instead of going to his parents’ house, though. Pray that they get done this week.

Matt’s dad, J, is still in ICU. They do not know if his leg is necrotizing or not yet, but it is Strep and he did get some Toxic Shock. It thankfully is no where near as severe as Matt’s, but with his health, it is much harder on him. He is having a little trouble breathing without wheezing etc, a little heart rhythm issues (like Matt’s), and still has a very bad headache. The doctors and nurses are surprised (to say the least) that he has the same thing and that he is in the same room. I think it kind of freaked a few of them out. J is also diabetic (with previous heart problems), so definitely keep him in your prayers. Also, pray for Pastor Mike’s visit today. J was having testing or something when he tried to visit on Friday.

We had postponed Thanksgiving until Saturday when J went into the hospital on Wednesday. By Saturday, Gail’s (Matt’s sister) back was hurting her severely. We cancelled our Thanksgiving, because she was doing the cooking (since I have no kitchen and my mother-in-law and I both have our husbands in the hospital). Gail was thinking that she would likely be in the emergency room sometime on Saturday night. She didn’t, but it is still really bad. Pray for her healing.

Also pray that my mother-in-law, Bernie, stays healthy enough and that I stay well. I had a twitch in my eye last night (too tired or stress). I slept good though and it seems to have gone away.

Mary’s husband, Richard, is still hanging on (as of about 8pm last night). Pray for his comfort and for her to feel God’s presence throughout all of this.

Quick update on little April from the waiting room: I ran into her parents and her twin Autumn on Saturday. It was cool, because they were coming out of the hospital at the same time and same door that I was going in (and on the same level of the parking garage). We know that there is no such thing as coincidence in things like this – that it’s God timing and plan — so this was really neat! Anyway, I had often wondered about how it all turned out, so I believe that God wanted to give me this gift. April had just taken 2 ounces of formula by mouth! This was big for her and she is doing very good. Her mom said that she should be going home by today (Monday) or tomorrow. Praise God! See. God has even taken care of the little things (like letting me know this good report)!

Remember: “Stop telling God how big your storm is…Instead tell your storm how big your God is!”

In Christ,
Stephanie

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Prayer Request Update on my Husband 11/28/2005
Hello Everyone,

If you received the update marked “Thanksgiving”, you can skip down to the horizontal line and start reading from there. If you did not, I have included the Thanksgiving update that I sent from my home email as well.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I hope that your day has been relaxing and full of great times with family and friends!

Matt is doing really good today. Still mending. Today was his 31st day in the hospital.I was going to wait until Monday to update again, but some big changes have occurred – not with Matt, but still very important and needing a lot of prayers!

Today was Matt’s dad’s 2nd day in the hospital. His name is J. He has an infection and some toxic shock, like Matt. His is nowhere near as bad as Matt’s, but he is much older and in much worse health condition before this (previous heart problems and diabetes) than Matt. He was visiting Matt when the problems appeared. He was taken into the exact same room while in the emergency room AND the exact same room in ICU! This is a very big hospital, so this is really weird! When they took us to the same emergency room, I gasped. It freaked me out a bit and this was before we knew what was wrong. This likely has no connection to Matt’s infection and illness according to the infectious disease doctor. We are not revealing all to Matt at this time per his parents’ decision and would appreciate it if you did not either if you call or stop by. Although I REALLY hate keeping things from my husband, I have been sworn to secrecy to him and I am starting to understand the reasoning a bit. Pray that regardless if it turns out to be the same strain or not, that Matt will not feel responsible for his dad’s problems. That would understandably upset him tremendously.Please pray for J’s healing. That it be quicker and easier than Matt’s and that he recovers completely.

Also pray for my pastor to have the right words needed when he visits J. on Friday (and any other days). J has gotten to know Pastor Mike over this last several weeks and has started to appreciate his visits. Pray that the rapport between them be used to God’s glory. Pray that God will guide Pastor Mike in his visits with all of the family.

Also pray for my mother-in-law Bernie, my sister-in-law Gail (who is having a lot of trouble with her back right now too), and the rest of the family. Pray that their health will be good and that all healing that is needed will take place.

I was wondering if this week was the best one for my sister Christine to come since I would have a couple of extra days off and that I might need her more a different week, but it became crystal clear of why she is here this week when we were in the emergency room with J yesterday! I am so thankful to God for his timing and thankful to her for all of her help.

God has granted me a new friend whom I met in the hospital this week. She is a church member of the church that is pastored by a dear friend’s husband. Her name is Mary. Mary’s husband has a couple of days left. His cancer has now spread to the spinal cord and brain. I met Mary when I was having a difficult day and went to see my friend (whom I knew was in a room on the same floor as Matt). I felt bad for intruding, but I really needed my friend for a minute or two. It turned out that God was using this, too.Mary is a sweetheart and we seemed to bond a bit even the first time I visited. I have been down there a few times. Today, I went to see Mary. Actually hoping that my friend was not there (even though I love her dearly), because I wanted Mary to know that I came to see her. I got my desire. It was a positive visit even though things are getting bad there. I told her that I came to give her a Thanksgiving hug. She lit up. It was a great hug that we both needed. We talked for a bit. God impressed upon me to tell her what God taught me the other day. That it is not that I have to go to the hospital – I GET to go to the hospital. It seemed to be what she needed to hear at that time. I am so impressed with her strength throughout all of this and my heart hurts for her. I can only imagine what she is going through! She will soon not have her dear husband here on earth with her. I am guessing that they have probably been married something like 40 years. It was so hard for me when I thought that I may lose Matt! She knows that she is going to lose him and she has had so many more years of that very close bond. That fact right there makes me think that it must be 100 times greater. That would be terribly hard to bear. They are saved, so we don’t have to be concerned about that. Please pray for Mary and her husband. Peace for her and comfort for him. I believe that I may have a friend for life in Mary. If you have ever been through something like this, you can probably understand. Even though our husbands have different circumstances and different outcomes, there has been a bond created between Mary and me. I thank God for orchestrating the meeting of Mary and me. She has been an inspiration to me and I pray that I continue to be used to help her.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I really do appreciate all of them and all of you!

In Christ,
Stephanie

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Prayer Request Update on my Husband 12/1/2005
Hello Everyone,

Praise the Lord!!! Matt is home from the hospital! He came home on Tuesday afternoon.

I did not update you sooner, because yesterday I stayed home (at Matt’s parent’s house) and tried to recuperate as well as take care of Matt. My exhaustion caught up with me. I had a twitch again and felt like I had been hit by a truck. In those 37 days that Matt was in the hospital, I had spent several hours every day there (except the day that Carabeth, our 17 year old, was sick) and was at work most of them, too. I hadn’t had time to be tired until yesterday, and boy did it hit me!

The house is still not done being repaired, so Matt has to go over to his mom and dad’s house during the day. I need to dress his wounds, help him dress, and then drive him over there. His wounds (except the deep one on the side) need to be uncovered completely at all times, except when he is dressed to go outside. We have gotten this routine down to 20 minutes now. He is walking with a walker, too. Now it looks like the house may be done by Friday. This would be great, because then Matt wouldn’t have to go through all of this twice a day.

Matt’s dad also came home last night. He has oxygen still, but I am not sure about much of anything else until tonight when I go to pick Matt up. I know that he is still on antibiotics, but not sure if via IV (like they were anticipating) or by mouth. They did a cardial conversion (shock the heart) on him too. This was done on Monday late afternoon. After that, his heart was much better.

Matt and his dad have become famous (or infamous – whichever way you want to look at it…lol). Matt’s mom went to the UNR clinic (she has a small virus) and she was telling the resident there what was going on with her. She started talking about Matt (what he had and that he had made it, etc) and her husband was now in ICU and the resident said something like, “Oh, he is the one that went to go see his son and ended up with Strep and Toxic Shock, too…..” He had heard all about Matt and J. News travels fast when you astonish the medical world…

On Matt’s and my way home from the hospital on Tuesday, I called our babysitter to tell her that I would be a bit late. She then informed me that Will (our 4 year old) and a couple of the other kids have Fifth Disease. It is a virus that is also known as Slapped Cheek Disease. It is a rash mainly. Will is no longer contagious, but had been for 4 to 20 days before the rash started. This MAY be what my mother-in-law has. Adults don’t usually get the rash. They usually just have headache and fever (which is what she had) and some body aches, etc. When the babysitter started telling me, we didn’t know a lot yet about it and the first thing I thought was, “Not my son. He is perfectly well.” Then I went into a moment of “when it rains, it pours” and this is VERY bad timing! Then in just about as quick of a fashion as my “poor me” came on, it left. I realized that if Will had gotten the rash yesterday, it would have felt like too much to handle. If he had woken up the next morning with a rash and I had been the one to discover it, then I surely would have panicked about it being chicken pox or the like and that would have seemed like too much to handle. SO, God’s timing was once again perfect (and is always)! He knew that it would be best if I found out after Matt got out of the hospital and that it would be much easier if the rash first appeared while he was at the sitter’s. Will is still splotchy, but doing well.

Mary’s husband, Richard, passed away on Tuesday afternoon. I had checked in earlier that afternoon and he seemed to be resting ok. I heard that he went very peacefully. Please continue to pray for Mary and the family. We were praying for her to have “peace” and the message I got today said that “she has peace”! Isn’t God great?! So, please keep up the prayers. She has a lot of things to take care of during this difficult time. Please also pray for her pastor, pastor’s wife, and church family. For them to have strength, perseverance, and good health (which I hear is an issue) as they are there for Mary.

Please pray for Matt’s and J’s continued healing, for the health of all of the family (including Gail, Matt’s sister with the back problem), Mary in her time of grief, and the salvations of all involved.

In Christ,
Stephanie

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Prayer Requests & Praise for my husband 12/20/2005

I have updated many of you separately, but hadn’t updated you all for awhile, so please forgive me.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I pray that you all are enjoying this Christmas season and will have a wonderful day celebrating Jesus’ Birthday on Sunday!

Matt is doing much better. His wound on the side of his leg is healing nicely. I am now able to dress that wound, too. For awhile there, home health was coming out every day to take care of it, but they are now down to once or twice a week. It still needs dressed daily, so Matt’s parents and I take turns doing it. They dress it on days that I am at work and I do it the rest of the time. It was the wound that I still could not handle until recently. When we went to the doctor on Dec. 9th, I accidentally saw it. I couldn’t even look at it before, much less dress the thing. It looks much better. It is now only about 4 inches long, 1 inch deep, and 1 inch wide at the widest part. When I dress it, Matt still has to do the undressing of the wound. That is too much for this weak stomach. He is fine with that and encourages me, so that helps. I have to somewhat dis-associate sometimes while doing certain parts of it, but I am able to do it with God guiding me and strengthening me. The rest of his wounds, I am able to take care of without any problem. This is unusual for me, but God has given us the gift of my being able to handle it.

Matt’s donor side is doing well, just still very red. His skin graft area is down to about 7 or 8 inches tall, 13 inches long (around most of the leg at somewhat a diagonal), and now about 3/4 of an inch deep. It is shrinking in height and depth. It only has two spots that are not healed over now. Pray for those spots and the one on the side of his leg to heal. Matt wants to go to light duty (desk work) on January 4th. Please pray for wisdom for the doctor and for patience for Matt. If he is able to go to work, than that would be a great encouragement to Matt. He will have to drive an hour to and from work though in one of our compact cars, so pray that all of that will be taken in consideration and work out for the best in the long run. (For those of you who don’t know, Matt is 6 foot 6 and getting into and driving a compact is interesting enough without all of this.) God’s timing is best, so we just need to know for sure what that is.

Matt is still walking with his walker, but is getting stronger everyday. Sometimes, he is now even going without it. When he gets too tired, though, he needs it. He was able to go to church on Sunday! That was great! It had snowed a lot and was really messy outside, but he had already determined the night before that he was going! It was great to have him in church again!

Matt’s doctor’s appointment on Dec. 9th went well. The doctor is pleased. After the appointment, Matt went on his first outing. We went to Wal-Mart. He is now getting pretty good at driving those scooters that they have. He has gone with me 3 times now. He also was able to go to the company Christmas Party on Dec. 12th! That was exciting. We were not sure if he was going to be able to, but he was. It was a nice time of fellowship and fun! I caught myself several times reflecting on what God has brought us through and snuggling closer to Matt. I am SO thankful that he was able to be at the party with me, but that it just a symbol of the big picture! He is able to be with me for many things (good and bad) in the future, because of all of the wonderful miracles that God performed for us!

Matt’s father, J, is doing much better. He got out of the hospital the day after Matt did. He was on oxygen for awhile and then only at night after that. I believe that he is probably completely off of it now, but not positive. Matt’s sister, Gail, was in the hospital for about a day and a half this last week. Probably stemming from her severely bad back, but her symptoms were more like severe flu and severe dehydration. She believes that it was caused by her back and the pain. She is probably right. Please pray for her healing!

We believe that there was a salvation because of all of this. We have yet to see some follow-up and/or the person attending church, but we pray that it was complete and that it will come. This person is very important to us, so please especially pray for this. There are also others who need to be saved. Pray for them as well.

Also, please pray for our family in the military and all who are serving our country at this time and their families. All three of ours are stateside at this time, praise God!

Aaron (our nephew who is an Army MP that served in Baghdad – Gail’s oldest son) went back to Germany for awhile and arrived in Georgia (I believe – I get them mixed up stateside) in late November. It doesn’t look like he will be able to travel home right now because of lack of personal leave, but we are so thankful that he had a safe tour and is back stateside!

Eric (Aaron’s younger brother who is Army Bio-Chemical trained) is in North Carolina. He went to New Orleans for awhile after Katrina, but he has not been out of country, yet. He said that it was much worse than a third-world country there in New Orleans. I did not hear any details, but I believe that it changed him. He has been trained as Airborne and EMT.  Pray for wisdom and guideance for him.

Charlie (our non-official nephew in the Marines – bomb and build back group – not sure of the name) has completed his 2 tours in Afghanistan and 1 tour in Baghdad. He was ready to scrap his plans of career military, but is seriously considering re-enlisting (if he hasn’t already) if he can get something specific in his contract. Not sure what it is, but he thought that he could get it. He is either about an hour from Aaron or about an hour from Eric.

Please continue to pray for the safety of these young men and for wisdom and guideance.

We have been informed that Matt will not be getting any short-term disability (and there is no sick leave with the railroad), because he changed his craft (just became an engineer) too recently. He had just made his second run as an engineer (7 days) and he needed to be in that craft for at least a month. (He has been out of work since Oct. 24th.) This is another reason that Matt needs to get back to work as soon as he can, but I don’t want it rushed. I want it to happen in God’s time. Please pray for guidance, wisdom, patience, and management in this regard.

Matt has another doctor’s appointment with the surgeon on Dec. 30th. He also has a heart doctor’s appointment on Jan. 3rd. Please pray for wisdom of the doctors.

I would also like to ask for prayer on another matter. I will be having 2 moles removed at 11am PST on Dec. 27th. They are possibly melanoma. I have one on each leg. They are not as large as they are usually concerned with nor as large as my one 6 years ago (which was still contained), so I am sure that this will be ok. God has given me peace about the outcome totally! My only concerns are the actual procedure…and the pain! 🙂 I am not looking forward to that at all. Please pray for wisdom and skill for the doctor and nurse(s) and for me to have peace during it and comfort after. I am not sure when the biopsies will be complete, but I will be sure to give you an update. I will probably update you on Jan. 3rd or 4th. These spots are not as large as a pencil eraser, but they do have the discoloring, weird shape, and the fact that they changed recently. I totally believe that if they are melanoma, that they are very early and will require another time of removal to get it all — at the most. Please pray the things above, especially on the 27th at 11am PST. I really appreciate it!

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your prayers and encouragement that you have given to us. It has meant so much. I told Matt the other day that we will never know (here on earth) how many people prayed for us. I have received emails from people that I don’t even know and I have now idea who it is that passed it on to them. I have heard of countless Sunday School classes and churches praying for us, too. We greatly appreciate all of you and your prayers. These miracles are signs of God’s faithfulness and how prayer works! It has been an amazing encouragement. It also helped me tremendously to be able to document my concerns and know that you all were praying with us. It was definitely therapeutic. I have heard that I have encouraged some of you and I am so grateful for being used by God in that way. That is part of my purpose in life, so it is cool how God used this, too. Isn’t He amazing?!?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for praying with and for us throughout all of this. I look forward to praying for you as the need arises.

In Christ,
Stephanie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

January 18, 2006

Hello Everyone,

Again, I am sorry for the delay in updating you.  Many of you have gotten individual reports, but I hadn’t updated all of you so here it goes…

The children were sick between Christmas and New Years, then Matt and I came down with the flu on New Year’s Eve Day. We were having a flood in our area and Matt was participating in several weather nets on the amateur radio. At about 2pm, we both started really feeling bad.  By 7:15 New Year’s Eve, we were ALL in bed.  Matt recovered from the flu (a few days later) before I did. I still have stuff in my lungs and a bad cough. Will also came down with a bad ear infection about a week later.  It was a vicious circle.  After I got back to work, I have been SO busy – at work and home.  Anyway, that is why it took me so long to give you an update.

Praise on my moles: They are actually Clarks Nevis Moles and not Melanoma.  Praise God!  They look like Melanoma and you can only know which one it is after you have them removed.  The doctor said that some believe that they are pre-cancerous and others believe that they are not.  Either way, they are off now.  The only issue with them is that they are taking forever to heal.  I feel bad that I am getting a bit discouraged with these spots when I put it into perspective. This is NOTHING compared to what Matt has been through.  I am trying to remind myself to be patient.  God is always trying to teach me patience.  This is evidently one of those times…lol…you would think I would learn by now… I don’t have as much of a problem with patience if it is something big.  It is the little things that I tend to be impatient about.  I guess it is because during the bigger trials, I give it all to God and sometimes during the little things, I don’t rely on Him as much as I should.  This has actually come apparent as I was typing this….definately an aha moment.

Praise regarding Matt:  He went to work light-duty last Monday.  He will likely do this for about 2 weeks to a month.  He can then go back on the trains.  He can’t wait.  It is up in the air as to if he will get a spot as an engineer or have to go back (temporarily) to conductor.  It depends on if there is an engineer job open that he can bid on (it all has to do with seniority).

We didn’t end up getting any disability or anything.  After it was too late, we found out that there is another disability program that he was eligible for, but you have to apply within 10 days of your first day disabled or you cannot get it at all.  It is very unfortunate that this was not told to us (until 2 months too late).  The good news is that God provided for us.  He used a really special group of friends and an organization to help us through this difficult time.  We really were floored at first and then realized that we shouldn’t be surprised that God would orchestrate this and make sure that everything was taken care of.

Matt still has 3 open wounds: the one on the side (which is SO much smaller) and two little ones in the skin graft (which are growing smaller and smaller each day).  He is healing very nicely.  As for the heart medication, he has to continue with that and has an EKG (or some test) in a few days.  This may mean that he can go off of the heart medication, we don’t know.  Just pray for wisdom of the doctor and for his wounds to continue to heal.

Thank you again for ALL of your prayers, encouragement, and kind words.   I truly appreciate each one of you.

In Christ,

Stephanie

*   UPDATE: Hubby healed completely eventually and went back to his regular job at the railroad. He is no longer on the heart medicine, has lost a lot of weight by bicycling many miles at a time, shrunk about an inch in height due to this, and still has some major scars.  His father has much smaller bouts with this type of infection from time to time. His mother had a similar infection in 2012 and passed away. This is a terrible infection to deal with.   🙁   

 

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