Hope is at 6 weeks post op now. Here is an update. . .
Hope has continued to attend school for half days. She is close to going back full time, but a few more things need to be in place for that to happen. Hope was able to start her Creative Writing class at school this week, and was thoroughly thrilled to be back at writing poems and in LA she is writing a short story! She took her first test in LA and impressed us all with her mark of 104%!!! We keep teasing her that she's not supposed to be able to get more than 100%. . . she loves those bonus marks! : )
Another highlight of this past week for Hope was getting to return to our church youth group! She even called the daughter of a new family at our church and invited her to come with her . . . which Hope was thrilled when she did! They had a great time and Hope really enjoyed her time with her beloved youth sponsors, leaders, and friends!
Hope surprised us with some early success in her bending at the sink to brush her teeth! As we were assisting her with the task a couple days ago, I noticed that she was already figuring out how to bend at the knees and hips to be able to lean over the sink to spit! She is not stable and it is hard on her, but it is super encouraging to see her brain/body figuring these new movements out so soon! We keep encouraging her that as she continues to heal and her brain continues to adjust to her new body shape, her movement will continue to get better! God is very gracious in His continued hand of healing on our girlie!
We were very blessed to enjoy some time out at Banff this past weekend with Trevor's parents. We stayed with them in their RV trailer in a handicap spot at a campground in Banff. . . what a blessing! I never knew they had such a thing! We were able to park the trailer in a campsite that was right in front of a campground bathroom that had a special handicap bathroom and shower that was accessible with a key that only we had! Although daddy's strong arms needed to carry Hope to/from the bathroom as we didn't use the wheelchair on the uneven ground which would have been too painful for Hope, it worked well for Team Dad/Mom to take her to the bathroom in the more spacious handicap washroom. It was another stretch for Hope to travel for 1 1/2 hours, and then to be in a more limited environment than home, but she really wanted to be there, and so it helped her to push through the discomfort. Being able to lay flat on a bed or the couch was very helpful to her being able to enjoy her time and the cold weather meant we just stayed in the trailer and visited and watched movies, which was perfect for Hope!
She was pretty sore on Saturday and needed to lay flat for most of the day, sitting up to eat only. Saturday night was very miserable for her with not only back/neck pain, but also involuntary movements, stomach pain, nausea, and severe vertigo. We were not sure what was going on, and it took her until the middle of the night to finally conk out to the comfort of some worship music I was able to put on for her, after some pain medication, and as I rubbed her leg to help it stop jerking up long enough that our exhausted girlie could pass out asleep, with a puke bucket nearby. After some extra rest though, Hope woke up and did much better the rest of the weekend.
I spoke to the nurse today regarding setting up Hope's next follow-up appointment with the back surgeon in December. When I gave her an update on Hope, she felt that it was prudent to bring Hope in for a neuro assessment as a result of her worsening vertigo symptoms and continued neck pain. We don't think the vertigo is a result of the surgery, as it started back in May when she was so sick in the hospital with the infection in her hematoma after the Baclofen pump removal surgery. It has never completely resolved but it certainly improved over the summer, and with it worsening now again over the past couple weeks, the nurse wants to be safe by seeing her tomorrow. So we'll be heading into the hospital tomorrow afternoon for a quick assessment with the surgeon of her neurological status. The neck pain is to be expected after surgery, but again they are being thorough and cautious, which although means an extra trip into the hospital, we are so thankful for their superb care of our girlie!
Hope's incision continues to heal without any major issues! She is having some stitches work their way out, and so we are watching those spots that they stay infection free and so far that has been the case. Her incision and muscles remain sore and numb, but the itchiness seems to have improved over the last few days, which is wonderful!
We have a really exciting all day conference at our church this weekend with Justin Peters. He suffers from cerebral palsy, but has an amazing God-given attitude of gratitude for how God has used it in his life for good purposes. He will be speaking on biblical discernment and we are planning for both Hope and Gabi to attend with us. We are also looking forward to Hope having the opportunity to meet someone who has struggled with physical obstacles and seen God give grace to be used of Him, not to always overcome those obstacles, but to express thanksgiving and pursue Him in spite of those obstacles!
Hope has been working hard towards the goals we've set for her increased endurance in the wheelchair as well as being able to travel and make trips out of the house. . . all towards going on a very special BIG trip!!! The nurse already approved it from their perspective, and Lord willing, if tomorrow's appointment with the surgeon is uneventful (which we are expecting), we will be flying with BOTH of our girlies to Chicago on Sunday this weekend to attend the annual church conference called Harvest University and to visit dear friends there! The girls are both super excited and this has provided an excellent incentive and goal for Hope to work towards. We were thinking it would be too soon after surgery, but based on Hope's last two weeks and progress, we think it is doable! So. . . the tickets are booked! The travel day on Sunday will be the hardest on her, as she will not have a lot of opportunity to lay flat for a break when she needs it. We have some ideas for how to help her get through it, but your prayers for her to get through that day would be so appreciated! Once we arrive, we know that the blessed time we will have there with dear friends and our extended Harvest church family, will be so worth the discomfort of the travel. Praying for God's hand of travel mercies for our girlie!
Well that turned out to be more than just a quick update, eh! Thank you for your continued support, loving encouragement, and precious prayers for our Hopey and our family! Hope expressed again today that she doesn't believe her pain will ever go away completely. She has been in pain for so long, and even though she looks so different now after surgery, the pain is still there and in some ways is even worse, as well as loss of abilities. The nurse asked me to remind Hope that it will take 6 months before she will say that things are better than they were before surgery. We're at only 6 weeks! So it feels like a very long road still ahead, and your prayers really are a life line of support and God's grace over this long road to recovery for Hope! So please be encouraged that your prayers matter, and you are very treasured by our family! I do plan to share some of Hope's heart and what God has been doing through His work in her heart over the past several weeks, as soon as I get the chance. . . hopefully soon! We are very encouraged by Hope's growth both physically and spiritually through all the trials in her young life thus far, and yet our girlie is a sinner and has very real struggles at times, some more than others. . . and this back surgery has been one of the biggest ones for her, personally. But our God is greater still. . . and we are seeing that in her life and growing maturity . . . so I am eager to share with you, to point us all to the power and glory of our awesome God!!!
Next time I post, I'll try to include some pictures from . . . Lord-willing . . . Chicago!!! : )
You are loved, dear ones!!!