Hello again from the Deals! This past month has brought with it lots of new routines for our family, including Fall Semester of classes here at the Missionary Training Center and the first weeks of Dogwood Elementary for Brice and Oak Ridge Intermediate for Braden. With new routines have come new friendships, and we praise God for opportunities to minister and connect with missionary candidates as well as children in the schools where the boys spend the majority of their days.
But as we settle into new routines, we are also keenly aware of the anything but routine hurdle that lies ahead for our family. A week from today, September 22nd, Shad will undergo the first of two brain surgeries, which mark the beginning of a three week hospital stay. On Tuesday, Shad’s mom will fly in from Michigan to help us during this time. My (Sarah’s) parents will arrive on Thursday, and my mom will also stay here with us to help. We are so thankful for family willing to come and walk through the details with us so that I can be there for Shad as much as possible! We are also humbled by all the support from our new community here at the Training Center. Students and staff alike have rallied around us already and have offered to support us in whatever ways we need during the days ahead. We are so thankful for the body of Christ!!
In light of the upcoming surgeries, Shad wanted to share with you from his heart about how he is doing and how you can be praying for us in the coming days. So, without further ado, here are a few words from Shad:
This email is a plea to pray for a specific thing regarding my epilepsy.
Before I start, I want to warn you that this was written when I was really discouraged with my condition and even frustrated with my amazing Savior. I am not trying to complain, but just being real with where I am at right now, as I look forward to my brain surgery on the 22nd of September.
I know that God only does good and whatever happens is for our good and for His glory.
But, that does not mean that I am always enjoying the circumstances that I am in.
To give you some background, I have had my epilepsy since early teens and even though it didn’t seem to impact my life much back then, it was always there in the back of my mind. We have since learned that most likely my struggles with school and learning new things was most likely a result of the epilepsy slowing down my ability to retain and process things if I wasn’t really focusing hard.
Moving on the the last 9 to 10 years, God has done some amazing things through us (and in spite of us) there in Asia-Pacific as well as here in the US! But, as time has gone on it has become increasingly harder to process things especially when tired or stressed. While this is at times hard for anyone, we have learned that this plays a major part in my life, and really slows down my ability to minister efficiently. If I have responsibilities, I have to really focus hard, and make sure there are no other things that could distract me. There are even times when I can’t minister at all when I can barely speak. This really cuts down on how many things that I am able to do, and Sarah often justs ends up doing it as she is so much faster than I am now. I don’t know if this will make sense, but I basically live in a perpetual fog in my thinking.
We have been encouraged in that this brain surgery was supposedly going to be “basic” if there is such a thing with brain surgery, but we have learned lately that the doctors aren’t as sure as they were about where the epilepsy center is that is causing the problems. From what I thought was going to happen is that they were going to do the invasive test of cutting a hole in my skull and placing the test diodes on my brain. From this they would be able to confirm that this was the problem and then after the 2 week long test they would just be able to remove that area and Voila, I would be good to go.
Now, it sounds that the doctors are no longer sure that just one area is causing the problems and it is a good possibility that they will not be able to just remove the problem. In this case, the doctors will instead insert an implant (Neuropace) that will start to be able to sense when I am having a bad seizure and keep that from happening. If I understand it correctly, this implant will not do a whole lot at the beginning and they aren’t even sure how effective it will be later down the road.
To be clear, this implant will not be able to stop the seizures from happening, just keep the effects to a minimum, and this may not actually happen for some time. We are not even sure that this will be much of a help on the day to day struggles that I am having. We just do not know.
What I am asking is that you would join me in prayer that the doctors will be able to pinpoint the location of the problem and that this location will be able to be removed, which will take away the major part of the problems that I am having.
I am really struggling with understanding how I can be the leader of my family if this does not happen.
Please know that I do know that our God does ALL things well, and that His ways are always perfect. I guess that I am struggling to believe that in my heart. It is a huge thing to have what you know in your head to be felt in your heart as well.
A couple verses I have been reflecting on from Psalm 139:13-14:
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
I thank you so much for taking the time to read this long letter, and am so thankful that we have you behind our ministry. It means so much to Braden and Brice to know that you are standing with us in prayer. Thank you for allowing me to be real with you. We are so blessed that we don’t feel that we have to put on some kind of show for you.
To God be the glory,
Shad for the Deals