Dear Family & Friends,
During the days right around Austin's surgery, we were unable to spend time on our laptops, and in a few instances, we were unable to even get internet access. So, since I couldn't update the blog regularly (in "real time"), I kept a journal of what we did each day, what we were feeling, and what we experienced each step of the way. Over the next few days, I will 'transcribe' this journal to an electronic format via blog entries. I kept this journal so that Austin can see it when he is grown and so that it will be a reminder to him of how faithful our God truly is! I also hope that it can serve as a reminder to him that he was very strong and courageous through it all. My hope & prayer also is that some of our friends and family will read these entries and find encouragement in them...
Because He Lives,
Joe & Cyndi
Today, we reluctantly left our comfortable, safe home and we headed for UAB Children's Hospital in Birmingham to get Austin ready for his shunt placement surgery tomorrow, June 10th. It was a long day that started at 6 AM, on the 9th, and concluded around 1 AM, the morning of the 10th. Though, we were busy and on the go from doctor's appointment, to anesthesia, to the lab, Austin never complained once. He was calm and peaceful and a joy to be around.
We had a 1 PM appointment at the neurosurgery clinic to see Dr. Oakes. This was our opportunity to ask more questions and to learn more about Austin's shunt placement surgery. We also completed an anesthesia consult and then went to the lab to have blood drawn.
The visit with Dr. Oakes went extremely well and helped answer a TON of questions for us. We were able to ask him more specifics about the surgery and we learned more about the placement of the shunt and he explained how it will work & exactly how they will place it in his brain. We also saw the actual shunt (a replica of the actual of course) and it amazed us that this will be placed into Austin's brain in less than 24 hours. WOW- modern technology is unreal! I found that it was a humbling experience to realize that we cannot fix this for our son. We need to trust our Heavenly Father and this talented neurosurgeon to 'fix' our son's brain. This put us in a place of complete and total humility like nothing we have ever experienced before.
We are trusting God's hand in all of this and we can see His provisions at every turn! It is unfathomable to me that He pre-destined this day and June 10th as well. He knew everything that would happen to Austin in these days and He has been there. So, knowing that our Heavenly Father, who loves Austin so much more than we do, has already seen what tomorrow holds, we know we can trust His heart, even when we can't see His hand! We would not have chosen this path for Austin, but we are earthly, imperfect parents with earthly eyes and a love for our children that wants them to endure as little pain as possible. But, our God knows the plans He has for our family and our son and we know He is faithful to see those plans to fruition, pain, joy, & all! We also know that He knows what will make us stronger and prepare us for what He has in store. So, we will go to sleep tonight, albeit for only a few short hours, trusting that He will meet us there, at that hospital, tomorrow!!
I have put together a video below of our day on Tuesday, including pictures of the shunt and some explanations about how it will work. I plan on updating the blog again tomorrow, and in the days ahead as well, with pictures and descriptions of each day, including the surgery day, and recovery days that we have in store.
The video is accompanied by one of Austin's favorite praise songs, "How Great Is Our God". It is so true, that we serve a Great God, so it is only fitting that this song is sung each time this video is played.
You will notice at the beginning of the video that both of our children were sleeping peacefully on the ride over earlier today. They didn't have a care in the world. They simply knew that they were with their parents, whom they trust to take care of them, and they rested peacefully along the way. They knew they were on a journey, but they trusted us and simply rested. Oh, how I need to "trust and simply rest" on this journey that I am on! How hard that is for me to do- trust and simply rest in my Father's loving hands!