The Waiting Room - Again

On May 2, 2017,  my husband Chuck will be having brain surgery to treat hemifacial spasms that affect his sight and speech, and sometimes freeze the left side of his face into a grimace. The spasms started over three years ago and have progressed to affecting him almost 24/7. When they are bad, he is unable to read, one of his favorite past times, or see his notes when preaching or teaching. He described the spasms as feeling like he has a tens machine on his face, with no let up in sight.

Brain surgery is scary. I’m nervous. Our son, Chuck and Chuck’s cousin and his wife will be in the waiting room with me. By the time you read this, husband Chuck will either be preparing for surgery, in surgery or in ICU recovery or hopefully recovering at home. After the surgery he will spend several days in ICU and then go home to recover.

We chose a specialist in Pittsburgh after a lot of research. The condition is very rare and people come from all over the world to this surgeon. While some neurosurgeons perform this specific brain surgery once or twice a year, this surgeon performs it several times a week. People who get messed up by another surgeon, come to this one to be fixed up.

The success rate is high, though sometimes it does not work. Fifty percent of patients do not get immediate relief from the spasms. For many it takes months or up to two years to experience healing. Side affects can include problems with hearing, speech and swallowing as well as severe headaches. Stroke is a possible risk, but considered a low risk. The spasms could return. Our prayer is that Chuck is in the 50% who come out of surgery knowing the surgery worked and that side affects are minimal and fleeting. However, Chuck says he is prepared to be patient in waiting for the inflammation to recede so that the procedure can work.

Recovery can take from 6 weeks to 6 months. The biggest challenge is extreme tiredness and severe headaches.

Once more, the Lord has prepared a place for us. We have family near Pittsburgh and numerous friends have given us contact information for their families who are ready and willing to help if needed.

Chuck and I are no strangers to the surgical waiting room. I have watched Chuck rolled back into surgery over 14 times. Chuck has watched the surgical doors close on me over 18 times. We have waited with friends and familiy more times than we can remember. I suspect this won't be the last time we wait with hope that the doctor's first comments will be, "Everything looks good."

All this to ask for specific prayer for the healing process to be uneventful and for the surgery to be immediately successful. And for me to experience extreme peace as I wait and to remember that God is sovereign and I can trust Him. 

In His grip,