Surgery Eve (Again)

I think I’ve written a post before with that same title… or it at least felt a little familiar anyway.

Tomorrow morning, Brandon will have surgery… again. His surgeon came to see him tonight and told him that he watched a ton of footage from the capsule camera, mostly of the spot where he has a stricture in his small intestine. The surgeon will go in, retrieve the camera, and cut out the bad section of intestines.

I had someone ask me earlier if this was a pretty minor procedure.

No.

NO, it most certainly is not MINOR. They can’t go through his nose or just numb him a little and then give him some gingerale and he will be fine.

No. The anesthesiologist will put him under, the surgeon will cut through his skin and abdominal wall, and then squeeze feet of his intestines until he finds where the camera is stuck, then examine the small intestine for other signs of blockage, CUT OUT THE BAD PART, reconnect the ends of the small intestines together, and then sew up my husband’s stomach. The surgery can take anywhere from 4-7 hours, the better part of the day, and then his recovery will be weeks long. I will bring him soup and help him set up shop downstairs since he won’t be able to climb stairs for awhile. He will be restricted to lifting less than 5lbs for about a month, and it will be tedious. The days will be long, and the path frustrating.

No, it is not a minor procedure.

Please, please join with me in praying for a SMOOTH, SUCCESSFUL procedure. Please pray that this is his last surgery. Please pray that his Crohn’s will go into remission and we can have a reprieve from this life filled with infusions and hospital stays and clinic visits and bloodwork and CT scans and surgeries. Please pray that he is a gracious patient and that I am a gracious nurse. I am tired and emotional and he is tired of feeling bad and irritable. We are ready to enjoy life with one another and not life with each other and Crohns.

Crohns, I hope you get the boot tomorrow. You have been disruptive long enough. I am claiming an end to this and hope you’ll join me in begging God for the same.

I will post updates in the morning and as I can throughout the day. If you recall, last year we prayed on the “fives” and you’re welcome to join me again in doing that.

Thank you for all the sweet messages. I will continue to read them to Brandon until he is taken back for surgery, so keep them coming. :) We love you all.

Hospital Update

Friends, we have received many messages and follow up questions about how Brandon is doing. THANK YOU. You have been so sweet to us and we rest a little easier knowing that an army of friends is bringing our concerns to the Lord Almighty. You are wonderful and we could not do life without you.

Here’s an update on his condition:

Today is day 3 in this hospital stay and we are beyond frustrated. When Brandon presented to the ER Tuesday night, he specifically talked with the doctors about not having a CT scan because he’s had so many in the past year, and it’s really not good for a patient to have so much radiation. We’re wanting to minimize our risks and potential side effects (because we’re already seeing negative outcomes from some of the treatments intended to “help”) and the doctors agreed it was in his best interest to not have another CT scan. They did an xray to rule out perforation and rupture and then he sat. For 2 whole days. Not eating and in pain and battling waves of intense nausea. Last night GI medicine finally came in and announced that they did not believe he had an obstruction and that he was going to have a CT scan shortly. Needless to say, we were upset that GI Surgery had not yet been consulted (we had been told they had been called earlier in the day and waited the whole day to see them) and that his GI doctors were making decisions opposite what had already been discussed.

Late last night, Brandon had a CT scan and GI maintains that he does not have an obstruction, but Internal Medicine (who is currently running point on his care) gets to decide and they agree with Brandon’s surgeon, that he likely DOES have a mechanical obstruction. Brandon’s surgeon (from his previous 2 resection surgeries) came by to see him earlier this afternoon and told us that the CT scan is not showing an obstruction in the sense that GI is thinking. His intestinal tract is NOT closed off completely. You might be thinking, so why is he in the hospital? Why is he having pain? What is causing all the nausea? Here is your medical lesson for the day (I learned something new today myself!!):

Your intestinal wall is made up of muscle, and food is moved through the tract by little squeezing motions, like contractions, that pulse the food on down the path. Well where Brandon had surgery, his intestinal wall has formed scar tissue and basically (this is the real dumbed down version coming from me, the furthest thing from a medical doctor, so just hear me out) that part of his intestines has become “paralyzed.” It doesn’t do that squeezing motion anymore because its stiff with scar tissue and the parts above that area have to work doubly hard and it’s gotten to the point that its causing Brandon extreme amounts of pain. Think about when you have a stomach ache with cramps, how it kind of comes in waves. The pain is like that for him, only it’s not just when he has a stomachache. It gets to be whenever he eats. Whenever food is trying to go down his intestinal tract. Think about that. Think about all the times throughout the day you eat. Every day. How awful.

The plan now is to have Brandon do a procedure called a capsule endoscopy. Basically, he will swallow a camera in the shape of a pill and it will take pictures of his intestines on the inside. His doctor has been talking about this procedure for half a year now, so it is somewhat a relief to know that will finally happen.

The risks with normal capsule endoscopy are minimal, but in Brandon’s case, the doctor thinks the capsule will get stuck (in the part of the intestinal tract that is thickened and not moving!) and that his surgeon will have to go in and retrieve it. At which time, they might as well go ahead and take out the blockage! His surgeon came in today and told us that Brandon is on the schedule for surgery for Wednesday. He is currently doing a bowel prep (which is no fun at all, seriously.) and will swallow the capsule tomorrow.

I am feeling so many emotions right now, I’m not sure I know how to even describe it all. I spent a large portion of time between 3:30-5:30am last night begging God to heal Brandon and to give his doctors undeniable wisdom and clarity. I am so distraught over how all of this affects Brandon. There’s the obvious, of course, that he deals with a lot each and every day physically. He is tough and on any given day, you’d probably never know anything is wrong, but I know. Because I see it. Up close and personal. It’s raw and its real, and it truly is amazing that he can go to work every day, parent our children every day, and love me gently as his wife, while being in pain, or nauseas, or uncomfortable, or tired, or anxious, or all of the above.

This hospitalization has felt different for me, I think because I have truly battled feeling overwhelmed with it all. I’d like to think I can balance work, owning a business, parenting 2 small children and being pregnant with a third gracefully, but to be honest, I’m juggling about 17 things right now and I feel like all of them are on the floor, having been dropped, by me. I’m so tired. And so worried I won’t be able to handle it all. And I’m worried. I’m worried about my husband, about how he’s dealing with all of the same emotions, but being trapped, unable to do anything about it all, in his hospital room. I’m sad that he’s feeling so crappy, and I’m worried that he’s worried. I hate that he’s been through so much, and I hate that I’m not more understanding at times. That I snap back when he’s feeling bad, and hold a grudge when he’s not himself.

As usual, you can pray for us specifically, because I believe there is power in taking specific requests to the throne of Almighty God:

For minimal pain and nausea and discomfort for Brandon these next few days

That his mind would be eased and he would not be anxious

That the team of doctors would truly look at his individual case and determine the best course of action for HIM

That there would be clear answers from the capsule procedure

That the boys would not worry

That he could avoid surgery if possible

That we could determine an effective treatment plan so that we don’t end up here again in the next few months

That I can be productive and focused at work early next week so that I won’t feel as guilty about being away the rest of the week to be with Brandon

That his recovery would be swift and without complications

That he would FEEL GOOD

Thank you for praying with us and for us. We love you all and are so grateful for your friendship and your diligence in showing us what community really is all about. I will keep you posted as I can and appreciate your words of encouragement more than I can say. This man is my world, and today, on our tenth wedding anniversary, the best gift I can receive is knowing you’re all praying for him. <3

(Read more about Brandon’s Crohn’s story here.)

16 Weeks Pregnant With Baby Delk #3

 

I’ve been terrible about blogging lately. I think about it often, but I’ve been so busy (and tired and not feeling like blogging because it kind of makes me nauseated to type/read a lot on the computer) and it just sort of falls by the wayside. The blogger in me is mad at myself because there are lots of memories not captured. ugh… BUT, here we are, at 16 weeks pregnant, and I want to remember some of this pregnancy so here we go!

The last few weeks have been super busy. Most of you know that I recently took the leap and became a LuLaRoe fashion consultant. What started as a simple curiosity about some “buttery soft” leggings, has grown into a full fledged thriving business opportunity for our family. I innocently had a pop-up boutique back in March to see what the fuss was all about – after all I wasn’t going to be suckered into buying something that wasn’t what it was cracked up to be, until I had tried them on myself. Insert laugh at the irony! After praying about it for a few weeks, we decided to join forces with my friend and start a business. Why? The reason is simple. We have enormous amounts of medical (and student loan) debt and we are determined to pay it all off, so that we can provide the life we want for our children. Financial debt is stressful (can I get an Amen!?) and stress aggravates Crohn’s Disease and aggravated Crohn’s Disease lands my husband in the hospital – twice now under the knife of a GI surgeon – and there’s only so much small intestine in there.

To those of you who have supported our small business, thank you! Every bit of our share of the profits will go towards paying off medical bills and we are already anticipating the end of this burden! The Lord has blessed this endeavor thus far and we are so grateful for His favor. We have put in long hours and lots of hard work and quite frankly, I’ve been exhausted. There have been many a late night spent pouring over inventory, sending or reviewing invoices, and planning all while being so nauseous and exhausted but I feel certain that the Lord has us right here for a reason. We have already seen the fruits of our labor and we are beyond thrilled that this venture has been so successful already.

Along with putting in lots of hard work, being a LuLaRoe consultant is also a ton of fun! It’s like Christmas every time we get a shipment in, and we get to play dress up with women and help them feel beautiful! Plus we’ve already been able to bless so many people through this business. That’s the best part. Without LuLaRoe, we would not be able to bless people as generously as we have been able to.

And a bonus, LuLaRoe makes for really cute maternity clothes!!! Which leads me to my survey…

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How far along: 16 weeks

Baby’s size: Baby is 4-5 inches long already – wow!

Total weight gain / loss: +4lbs

Maternity clothes: Not yet! I’ve totally been protesting maternity clothes even though I’m much bigger at this stage than in my previous pregnancies!

Stretch marks: Already starting to stretch more! I’m trying to just embrace them. I’ll worry about swim suit season later 😉

Sleep: Mostly good…I’ve been so exhausted that I really haven’t even woken up to go to the bathroom!

Loving: Feeling the baby move <3

Loathing: Being nauseous. And my sweets aversion. And my coffee aversion. I miss milkshakes and ice cream. I’m pregnant and I deserve to be able to drink a milkshake, right?!

Missing: being in shape. I am so out of shape it’s not even funny. I just want to be able to get to the gym every day and have energy.

Movement: I started feeling tiny little baby kicks about a week and a half ago. Enter the swoon, heart eyed emoji. I wasn’t sure at first but then I distinctly felt soft little kicks.

Cravings: Salads with Italian or balsamic vinaigrette dressing and baked potatoes still. I’m starting to crave healthier foods again, which is great because during the first trimester I only wanted everything that I never eat: fast food, pasta, mac n cheese, fried chicken sandwiches… you get the picture.

Aversions: COFFEE. The sweets aversion seems to be waning a little but I still don’t crave anything sweet. Crazy!

Labor signs: None

Symptoms: Morning sickness some still.

Exercise: I worked out once last week. UGH. I have GOT to get back in shape. I feel gross.

Belly button: Already popped out, but that wasn’t a big deal since my boys already gave me a belly button adjustment 😉

Wedding rings: Still rockin’ em! :)

Mood: Pretty good this week although I was a little irritable a few days this week. I may or may not have snapped at Brandon this week in the stress of working a full time job, running a small business, and having family come in town for Maverick’s birthday party. Its ok 😉 we worked it out and he was a champ in helping me!

Husband: Again, been such a big help to me. He has really taken on the role of Dad and Mr. Mom while I’ve been pregnant and starting a business. Thank you babe. I love you more every day!

Can’t wait for: Our anatomy scan in a few weeks!

These are fun pictures.. enjoy! 😉 See if you can guess which pregnancy was first, middle and current! Hint hint, the ones where I’m huge already are the ones in which my abs were destroyed by the first 2 babies! :)

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Read other bumpdates here.