Hello to all!! Thank you so much for your continued prayers as we prepare for Shad’s surgery. In our last update we shared that Shad has been given the green light for brain surgery, specifically left temporal lobe resection. He has had several more tests done since then, and his team of neurologists continue to be convinced that he is a good candidate for this surgery.
We appreciate your prayers as we continue to trust God in this daunting process!! Tomorrow, July 21, Shad will have his first invasive test, called the Wada Test, done. A team of neurologists and a neurosurgeon will insert a catheter through his groin up through an artery into his brain. They will then insert a substance that will temporarily put half his brain to sleep, simulating a stroke-like state for eight minutes. As each side is “asleep,” the doctor will ask Shad a series of questions and note how many he is able to answer. The purpose of this test is to determine what Shad’s brain is able to do independently and give the team of neurologists a better idea of where Shad’s seizure focus is located.
Although there are very minimal risks associated with this particular test, it is not an enjoyable one! Please pray for peace and courage for Shad as the doctors do their thing tomorrow. Pray for me and the boys as we wait for Shad to come out of surgery. Pray that there are no complications and that Shad can be released after just a few hours as planned. Pray that the team of neurologists will gain lots of great information from this test that will help them to perform Shad’s surgery in a couple months with great success!
We will be meeting with the neurosurgeon on August 2 to discuss the specific risks and benefits of surgery. After that, the date of surgery will be set. Shad will actually be undergoing a two-fold surgery– one will be a removal of a section of his skull to expose his brain and an implanting of electrical nodes on the surface, and the other will be the actual resection (removal) of the small area of seizure focus in his left temporal lobe. There will be a two week observation and EEG happening between the two surgeries, and he will also be kept for observation after the second surgery for a few days.
Please pray for wisdom in the timing of the surgery as well. Our boys will start school on August 21st, and classes here at the Missionary Training Center begin on August 14th. We’d ideally like to have the surgery scheduled for early September, but it will depend on the neurosurgeon’s schedule and availability. Please pray also for the logistics of me being in Colombia (an hour and a half away) with Shad and here at home with the boys. We have family who are planning on coming, but it is difficult to know how to best use their help and divide up the time between the two places. Pray that we would be trusting God with it all, and that I would be sensitive to the Lord, willing to ask for help, and not allow myself to feel guilty for not being in two places at a time!!
Please pray also that we would leave the results of Shad’s surgery in God’s hands. We have yet to hear of all the risks involved (this will come in more detail when we meet with the neurologist on Aug 2), but as you can imagine our minds are filled with many thoughts, hopes, and fears of the future. Pray that our focus would be on the Lord, and that we would remember that our confidence lies in HIM. Not in doctors, not in surgeries or medication or statistics. Pray that we would have complete confidence that no matter what happens, we are in the palm of His hand.
In other news, Shad and I were blessed to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary this past Sunday! (And yes, we were the oldest ones jumping at the trampoline park!!) We are so thankful that God has allowed us to grow closer through this time of struggle, and has been so faithful and good to us in it all!! We also enjoyed spending a few days with my parents and sister and her family this past week. Although this past year has brought with it grief for the life and ministry we have left behind in Asia Pacific, we are so humbled by how much God has given in return! We have a new home and a new ministry here in Missouri, filled with opportunities to use our experience overseas to encourage others. We have the privilege of being close to family and the opportunity to see them much more often. We have a loving support team behind us, encouraging us and helping to provide for our needs through their gracious support and prayers.
Thank you again so much for walking through this time with us! Words cannot express how much your prayers and support and love have meant to us!
Praising God for His faithfulness and for you,
Shad, Sarah, Braden, and Brice Deal