Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pray Without Ceasing

It is incredible to think about how the God of the entire universe is intimately acquainted with all the details of our lives. I love that I can go to God at any moment of everyday and ask Him for prayer and for thanksgiving. Whether it to be for a dear friend, for one of our youth group students, or simply for guidance for my upcoming day.

One of the passions I have in life is praying. I think my favorite part of praying is seeing God be faithful to what I have asked of Him. Especially in the minute details of life. Time and time again, especially lately I have seen him work in my life and the lives of those around me. I continue to see God work through my Physical Therapist to help my foot become stronger and to help its range of movement return. I still have some work to do in that area, but it is getting better. The left side of my body continues to strengthen more and more as each day passes.

Yesterday was an incredible answer to prayer. One of our youth group students had to have surgery on his heart to help regulate his heartbeats. It was said that if all went well and that if a certain vein was on the right side of his heart he would be able to be operated and released on the same day. If the vein was on the left side of the heart they would have to puncture a hole in his heart to reach it and he would have to stay longer in the hospital. Well we received the news yesterday that He was released yesterday and doing quite well. If he continues to do well he will be released to go back to school tomorrow (Wednesday) and then be able to start football again next week. Praise God for great reports! Please continue to pray that he continue to be healthy.

On a different note...I need your prayers. Aaron and I received a phone call late last night from our previous next door neighbor (Debbie), she currently babysits Katherine when we are working. She stated that her brother-in-law (whose son recently passed away) passed away earlier yesterday. (Him and her sister-in-law moved into our previous home back in July). Please keep them in your prayers this week.

Also another prayer request...my co-worker's parents were recently moved here from Florida due to health and safety reasons. Patti's parents have recently both broken their hips, have had surgery on them, gone through physical therapy, and are currently here in Houston. Both her parents have a series of medical problems and her father just recently left ICU to be placed in a long-term care acute hospital. He has been battling with pneumonia since moving from Florida a couple of weeks ago. His status is up and down everyday. My co-worker goes to check up on each of her parents individually since they are both in different facilities (her mother is in an assisted living center). It has been stressful and draining on her. Please pray for her parents health and for her.

One last prayer request for today. Ever since returning back to work in August, I have been battling with extreme fatigue. I almost feel like I am in my first trimester of my pregnancy again but worse...LOL (some of you can relate to this). Some days are better than others, but it has been difficult. I am currently only working 12 hours a week (usually Mon., Wed., and Fridays for four hours each day) having a day in between to rest. I typically get home from work, eat lunch, and take a 2-3 hour nap. By that time usually Aaron and Katherine arrive home and I am rested so that I can give them my time and attention. I thought since it has been a little over a month that my fatigue would have gotten better, but it continues to still be a problem. Yesterday I heard back from the neurooncologists office and they are sending a referral for me to go to the Fatigue Clinic at M.D. Anderson. Please pray that I am able to overcome this battle without having to take any more medication.

Thank you all for listening to my heart today and thank you for you for praying without ceasing.

In His love...I pray that you have a wonderful and blessed day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Day of Celebration...

Yesterday we went back for our three month check-up at the neurosurgeon's office. We arrived and were greeted by warm smiles. I just love my neurosurgeon and his nurse practitioner. They are wonderful people. We told them how things were going with rehab and the news from the neurooncologist. They were happy to hear about all the great things going on. The great news we heard when from him was he stated that in six months I will be able to start being weaned off of my seizure medications!!! Yay! I am so excited. He said he would wean me slowly for about a month (but I will not be able to drive during the time he is weaning me...just in case I should have a seizure occur). After then we will just continue to pray that I don't have any seizures occur. We have been asking all my doctors "why I might have a seizure...since the tumor is gone?" Well consensus says, "Scar tissue...after surgery you may have scar tissue that can cause seizures." Finally the mystery in my head resolved.

I pray that you have a wonderful and greatly blessed day today. I am now off to go to speech and physical therapy! Love you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him

I couldn't help but think of Matthew 9: 20-22. [The verses are as follows from the New Living Translation.]

20 a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, 21 for she thought, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed." 22 Jesus turned around and said to her, "Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was healed at that moment.

After this past weekend, in which I participated in a woman's retreat, and as I sat listening to the words of our speaker I began to ask God for continued healing in my body[especially for my foot that has been making slow progress and for a clean MRI report on Monday]. As I began to prayI sat quietly on the couch (and if you have been following the blog you know that I continue to have difficulty moving my foot from side to side) and I began trying to get my foot to move from side to side...after about a minute or so of trying my foot began to move slowly...more than it has since right after surgery...and at one point I felt like it almost had its full range of movement. As the minutes passed by it continued to move back and forth. I was so amazed at God's work...I just leapt for joy in my spirit. When I came home that evening I was so overjoyed and excited that I sat down and told Aaron look, look, look at my foot. And to my disbelief my foot just sat there...it didn't move. I was awe struck and disappointed for a few minutes because I wanted Aaron to share in the joy that I had experienced earlier that day. After those few minutes God spoke to my spirit and let me know that my foot was just worn out and to try the next day. Sure enough God is so faithful! On Sunday my foot began to move again...since then I have been able to move it bit by bit...I believe that it will continue to strengthen each day and return better than it was before!

All that to say...that the scripture in Matthew that says, "Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well." Really spoke to me, but I believe that not only is it MY faith, but yours as well that has continued to strengthen me!

Another awesome praise report...On Tuesday we went to the neurooncologist and he gave us the results of my recent MRI scans. He reported...that all is well and my scans are clean and clear (a.k.a. the cancer has NOT come back)! Aaron and I are truly overjoyed at our awesome and wonderful news. God is ever so faithful! When we heard that news...God brought the same scripture in Matthew to my spirit...just writing all of this brings tears of joy to me. I just can't fathom my life without my Father God. And for those of you who are out there and don't have a personal relationship with God...I encourage you to call Aaron or me...or if you don't feel comfortable find someone who is a strong believer in Christ that you may know and ask them how you can come to know Christ.

I pray that you have an awesome and wonderful day...and I leave this with you..."Where is your faith today? What/Who do you put your trust in?"

Thank you all for your continued love, prayers, and support.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The same yesterday, today, and forever...

Have you ever had one of those moments in time where you felt that you just wanted to give up and you no longer felt purposeful(tears stream down my face as I write these words)...well that was me yesterday. I felt the enemy attacking my mind, my thoughts, and my sense of self. But as always..my God shows up...He always reminds me of who I am in Him and reminds me that I am His child...and that I have a purpose in life.

Yesterday afternoon (after a long day...actually a long week of unpacking our new home that we moved into)...I stumbled upon a poster that was made for Aaron and me at the time that we were in the hospital (some of our dear friends brought it by when I was at St. Luke's in March). The day they brought it by...I vaguely remember (only for the fact that I was very medicated at the time and it was my first day out of ICU...however this was the same night that I became very ill and put back in ICU(3/6/09)...see Aaron's post on 3/9/09 for more details) however I do remember them bringing the poster and being excited about reading the encouraging notes on the poster. Well ever since we came home from the hospital I had been asking about the poster and its whereabouts...well since we moved (it's funny how things resurface when you move...LOL) we found it. I sat for awhile yesterday and read all of the notes on the poster and one by one each one of them encouraged my spirit and reminded me of why I continue to be here (just writing these words brought tears to my eyes...just because it reminds me of how wonderful and sovereign my God truly is). It's funny how God uses things and people to always remind you that He is always here watching over you and always taking care of you.

Last night when I was putting Katie down for bed, she was laying down in my arms (sucking her thumb...LOL) and staring into my eyes...at one point she reached up and gave me a few kisses on my lips and then stroked the side of my face. At that moment God spoke to my spirit and I felt him telling me...this is another reason I have you here...to be a wonderful mom to Katie and to raise her up to glorify me (this made me shed tears as I held her). Katie looked at me and wiped my tears as they streamed down my face...how humbled I felt that God would use my 16 month-old daughter to show me His Love and Compassion.

For those of you reading this entry...I hope that if you ever question God's purpose for your life and reason for being here...know that God is always there for you and He created you for a purpose. He is always here for you and will never leave you nor forsake you. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). (FYI...this scripture was written on "the poster" by Dodie Osteen (Joel Osteen's mother)...and was my inspiration for my entry today).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Well I went to my neuropsychologist appointment on Monday and they conducted basically IQ measures, memory and verbal learning tasks, fine motor dexterity tests, and an assortment of a few other tests. Tuesday I received my results. Basically the neuropsychologists stated that I am doing amazing well for where I am at. She saw improvements in my fine motor dexerity (the last tests she took were when I was at TIRR in rehab); however, she stated those scores still show that I am well below where I should be (in terms of my left side).

She stated she sees some memory issues, but is hopeful that with some strategies and recommendations she has it will help me.

Other than that she seemed to think all else was going really well and seemed hopeful of my full recovery. Praise God for the great news!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I suppose it is about time I write again. It has been way too long! I agree, you don't have to tell me again. I'm sorry for those of you who have been faithful to continue to follow up on us, but that I have been unfaithful to follow through to you.

I have been doing amazingly well. Overall things have been well. I continue to do therapy twice a week. Mainly focusing on the physical therapy. I am making gains in my foot. On Tuesday (23rd) I was doing my foot exercises and I was so excited at the mere fact (my eyes are tearing up as I write this) that my foot actually cramped...what that means is that I was able to actually to get my toes and my foot to curl hard enough for them to cramp. Which just means that my foot muscles are getting stronger and stronger! Thank you Lord for the little things in life.

On Wednesday, I was so so so excited!!!! We went to the beach and I was actually able to wear flip flops and them stay on my left foot without falling off. I was overjoyed at the idea that I can go back to wearing some of my shoes (seeing as how most of my shoes don't have backs on them, I haven't been able to wear then). This also means that my toes are beginning to work and get stronger. I still have some fine tuning in my foot area, but they are coming along.

Please continue to pray that my foot begins to move from side to side (still no movement in that arena), which causes me to stumble and sometimes fall from time to time.

Also, I will be having a neuropsychological evaluation on Monday (June 29th). Pray that all goes well there.

Our next appointments at M.D. Anderson (for the neuro-oncologist) are August 17 and 18th.
Be praying that all goes well and my bloodwork is clean and my MRI continues to show no cancerous cell.

Thanks everyone for your love and support.

Can I add one last prayer request...we are having to move out of our home in July due to the house being inherited by a family member. Please pray that all goes well, quickly, and smoothly with our July 18th move date.

With Love, Tina

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Keeping the Right Perspective

What’s your outlook on life today? Do you wake up every morning ready to embrace the day? So many people allow their circumstances to dictate their attitudes; they don’t realize their attitude is a choice…Remember we all face difficulties. We all have obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. The difference between those who are able to rise above their adversities and those who get stuck in them is their attitude.

These are the words that I read yesterday (and again this morning) that have been ringing in my spirit (from the book Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole by Victoria Osteen). Yesterday I didn’t have the greatest attitude. I began to focus on the negative things from our appointment on Tuesday, which left me in a state of worry and frustration. But this morning, I woke up and made a choice to focus on all the wonderful things of my life and to find something to be thankful for so that I may have a grateful heart for all the things that I failed to recognize yesterday that were going right in my life.

Now for the grateful news that we received from our appointment! Dr. Yung (I misspelled his name the other day) stated that my MRI looked great and said that Dr. Comair did an excellent job in resecting my tumor (didn’t I tell ya…I have the best of the best working on my brain…now that is something to be grateful for !). Therefore he didn’t see any reason at this time to begin any type of treatment. He mentioned because of my age (being so young :) ) that it would be best that we waited until MRI’s showed there were cancerous cells coming back…and then, IF they did, we would treat at that time. He stated that because there are side effects from chemo and radiation that can be both short and long term effects; he would rather wait.

We also asked about chromosomal deletions. It is a lot of technical medical stuff, but from what I (Tina) had been researching. It was found that people who had brain tumors with chromosomal deletions (meaning you don’t have these chromosomes) of 1P 19Q…they tended to have longer life spans and better chances of survival because they tend to respond to chemo better. We originally asked the neurosurgeon’s office about the deletions…they said that I had the deletion (meaning I didn’t have the chromosomes which was great news to us), but Tuesday we asked the neuro-oncologist and they said that the chromosomes were still intact. We went back and read the report from pathology and the way it was worded it was said that I was “negative for the deletions”…long story short…we were originally told incorrectly and the report was read incorrectly…so I still have those chromosomes. Which in essence…having those chromosomes basically means, from a medical standpoint, …and in the words of the neuro-oncologist…I may not be as “sensitive” to chemo or radiation. Ultimately if the tumor came back… I may not respond to those types of treatments as well as if I had not had the chromosomes.

We then asked about having other children and how all of these things would affect that process including the medication that I am currently taking to prevent seizures. As far as the medication I am taking…originally I was told that I would only have to take it for six months following my last seizure, which was right after surgery…given that I didn’t have another seizure in that time period. When I asked the neuro-oncologist how long I would need to take these medications he stated “for years.” That was disappointing to hear for the fact that there really isn’t much medical research on how this medication affects fetuses…which I can see why…who would want to risk their child’s well being and development. Anyhow, given that we want four children that was a little discouraging. Something else that was mentioned by the neuro-oncologist was that what he had seen over the years (I don’t believe there is much medical research on this either) was that women who had children after having a tumor were more likely to have their tumor come back and it grow quicker…he said not necessarily during their pregnancy, but afterwards. He mentioned he thought it might be due to all of the hormonal changes a woman has after childbirth.

Ultimately we continue to rely on God and really and truly he has the FINAL say so in what happens with our lives…not to say that we don’t need to use wisdom and heed the advice of wise counselors that surround us, but God directs our paths.

Today I look at this as just another opportunity to bring my faith to another level and rely on my God more and more. I remind myself (as I write this entry) that this just “another opportunity God has given us. He could have given this to many other wonderful people, but He chose to give it to us.” (another quote from Victoria’s book).

We thank you for continuing to read our updates and check up on us. We appreciate all of your love and support and the comments you leave on the blog…this encourages our hearts to move forward. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Always Faithful...

We just received a message from Dr. Comair's office stating that we got an appointment for May 19th at 10:30 a.m.! Oh how God always exceeds our expectations! He truly is always faithful to His word.

Just wanted to let you all know the awesome news!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Well here is some news in our end of the world. We received a phone call today from the neuro-oncologists office. They basically said that the oncologist that we were referred to was booked up until June 11th and we were asked if we wanted to wait or if we wanted to go with another neuro-oncologist. We opted to call Dr. Comair's (our neurosurgeon) office for advice. Dr. Comair called us (it was really great to hear from him) and asked me (Tina) how I was doing. He was excited to hear that my foot was moving up and down. We talked to him about our concerns with the neuro-oncologists office. He stated that he had already spoken to Dr. Jung (the neuro-oncologist) about my case and that he would give his office a call tomorrow (Wednesday) or by the latest on Thursday. Lord I just pray for favor! I just have faith that we will get an appointment sometime by the end of next week and we will have made decisions by then! In Jesus name.

I know that I am not any better than the person before me, but what I do know is that I am the apple of my Daddy God's eye...and I take refuge under his wings and I rejoice. I know that because I honor him...He wants to give me blessings and bring me favor in the eye of those around me. Ultimately, I pray for favor for an appointment next week and ask humbly for you to stand with me in this prayer.

Thank you for those that continue to pray for us and stay with us on this journey. For we know that because you are praying for us...God is honoring our prayers.

We love you. We'll keep you updated as we get news about our next appointment.


Well just wanted to update you as to what has been going on with us. I (Tina) am doing well and continue to go to rehab twice a week at Mentis. I have OT, PT, and speech. On occasion I have groups for communication and executive functioning skills. I have made some progress with my foot. It is beginning to move both up and down...still no movement from side to side, but I continue to work on that. So please continue to pray that SOON those functions will come back. I continue to have weakness on my left side...I think I notice it more when I have to push or pull on things. At times I get frustrated, but I know that with time I will continue to get stronger and stronger.

We heard from the neurosurgeon's office yesterday...they said that the neuro-oncologists office received the tissue samples from pathology, but we continue to wait for an appointment to be scheduled with the neuro-oncologist. The lady from the neurosurgeon's office said that if we didn't hear anything from them by the end of today that we should call her back...and she would talk with them. I guess patience is just a virtue we work on all the time. LOL.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We love you all!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Decisions, Decisions...Never Forsaken

Today we received the news from the neurosurgeon's office that within the next two weeks we should have an appointment with the neuro-oncologist. Please keep us in your prayers about the decision we have to make as far as what Step Two should be. Like I said in my last entry we have three options…we will be praying about where God will lead us.

Right before we left St. Luke’s hospital I knew that this decision would be coming; I didn’t exactly know when, but I knew it was coming. Now that it is here…even though all we have heard is great news…probably the best news you could hear if you had the type of brain tumor I HAD…and even though all the neurosurgeon wants to do is to take preventative measures…It really frightens me to think that we have to make a decision (tears are streaming down my face as I type this) about “cancerous cells” that may or may not be there…and although I know that My God and all those who surround us are 100% behind the decision that we make…it still scares me (I’m human right…and I am allowed to have fear). Know you who are reading these words… that I know My God will NEVER leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5)…sometimes we allow the enemy to fill our thoughts with doubt and fear, but ultimately My God ALWAYS reminds me that He is always there for us.

Thanks for allowing me to be real and for hearing my heart…for although I am not perfect…my God continues to love me where I am.

Good Night and Sweet Dreams.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great and Patient News...

Praise God for great news. From what the neurosurgeon said and could tell from the MRI, there was no re-growth of cancerous cells. He does, however, want us to go see a neuro-oncologist…seemingly more so for preventative measures. How he explained the situation to us was that when they resect a tumor there can be residual cells around the tumor that can’t all be removed (which can be cancerous).

Think about it in this way…if you have two different colors (pink and blue lumps) of sand and you dump the pink one on top of the blue one, you can probably remove the majority of the pink color from the blue one, but you may still have some granules of pink sand in the blue one after removing the mass of the pink lump. Just because it would be too difficult to pick out all of the pink granules. That’s kinda how it works with a tumor and brain cells.
Ultimately he told us we have three options: do nothing and get an MRI in three months to see if there has been any re-growth of cancerous cells, have oral chemotherapy, or have chemo and radiation. Dr. Comair, our neurosurgeon said he would call the neuro-oncologist tomorrow to talk with him about his opinion and then we are to go see the neuro-oncologist sometime within the next week or so.

In the end…God has the say so. Yes he gives us wisdom, doctors, and discernment to make the right choices for ourselves, but ultimately He has the last word.
So since patience is a virtue we must all possess…Aaron and I will wait patiently for the next appointment. We Love you all. Thank you so much for your continued love and support. We couldn’t be where we are today if it hadn’t been for you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moving Forward...

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. –Hebrews 10:36
These words have been such an anchor for me these past few weeks . A friend of mine sent this scripture to me and it has really helped me continue to push through and continue to move forward.
I’ll be real honest here and say, these past few weeks have been difficult for me emotionally and somewhat physically. I arrived home from TIRR on April 16th. I am so happy to be home in my own bed (without any interruptions in the middle of the night from nurses or other hospital staff) and be home so I can be a mommy to Katie and a wife to Aaron. I am ready for our life to move forward. I really have to just keep telling myself that I have to be grateful where I am at in life because so many others have it harder than us. I just think about some of the families that have loved ones that have been in rehab for several months...I know that God just gives them the grace to go through their situations. And I just thank God that I have been so blessed to have my in-laws here to help with Katie and the affairs of our household. For if it weren't for them...I don't know where we would have been.

I have to truly apologize for not writing on our blog these past couple of weeks...I have started writing a few times...but I never finished (the perfectionistic part of me coming out...I just wanted my words to just be so perfect that I never got around to finishing what I had started...so tonight I finally just said...I needed to just write, with no if, ands, or buts about it!). Thank you for being patient with me.

Many things have happened since I last wrote...lets see if I can remember all that has happened.

Before we left TIRR on April 16th we were able to leave on a pass for Easter. We had a great time at church and loved being at home with Katie and my in-laws.

Later the next week I was discharged from TIRR (April 16th) and Tuesday (April 21st) I had an appointment with Mentis (the post acute therapy place). I was evaluated for OT, PT, speech and to see what groups that they felt may be beneficial to me.

Today (Thursday April 23rd), they gave me my schedule for my therapies for this next week. The OT, PT, and speech all said really positive comments about how well I was doing…given that I only had surgery such a short time ago. OT and speech both mentioned that I would probably only be with them for a pretty short period of time because I was doing so well in those areas. I still have some strengthening to do in PT for my left leg…I am continuing to not be able to move my left foot from side to side and upwards. Although the good thing is that she feels that there is a flicker of movement in my ankle…which just means that it is only with time that I should regain my movement and strength. So in the meantime…continue to pray for my foot, for strength, and for endurance. Soon my in-laws will be leaving and I will be home with Katie during the day. Even though she is walking now (which makes it much easier on me). She still requires for us to take her up and down the stairs at some point. When I have to be at the house by myself with her…we will modify things to help limit having to go up and down the stairs during the day (e.g. keeping her play yard downstairs for her to nap in, etc).

I had my MRI this past Friday (April 17th) and we will know our results on Monday (27th). Yes, our appt. was rescheduled again. This appointment basically will let us know what our next step in our process will be (e.g. will I have to have chemotherapy, or just follow-up MRI’s to make sure that I continue to be tumor free!, etc). Please continue to pray that the MRI shows no signs of re-growth of cancerous cells.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Praise Report...

Thanks to all who prayed for my roommate, Kristin. The family received a wonderful praise report. Her CT scans came back negative (which is a good thing). The doctors reported that all was well, as far as neurologically and that her CT scan was better than the last one! Thank God for His grace and mercy.

Prayer Request

Allright prayer warriors...the battle is on...please pray for my roommate...who right now (12:45 p.m.) as I type this is being taken to St. Luke's for a CT scan due to some concerning neurological signs. Pray that all goes well and that the CT scan shows no problems.

Thanks for reading this blog and praying for her!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wednesday was “rounds” day (On the previous blog I explained what “rounds” day encompassed). Decisions were made and we are back to our April 16th discharge date…I guess they loved me so much they just wanted to keep me longer…LOL J …even though I wish in my head I would be able to leave on the 8th…in the bigger picture and in my heart I know that is what is best and God has given me peace in my spirit about leaving a little later (on the 16th)…He is always faithful and knows what is best. Last week when they had rounds they went back and forth between the 8th and the 16th and basically they told me the wrong discharge date. Both my physical and occupational therapist asked this past week about my discharge date and I said the 8th and they both thought they had decided the 16th. Anyhow, it was then they we figured out that they had given me the wrong date. So I had a few days to prepare my heart to hear ultimately that I would be leaving a week later (it may not seem like a big deal, but when you have your heart set on something…it can be disappointing when you don’t get what you expected.) I know we can all relate to that. And to be honest, I struggled with that for a little while…and God reminded me (as He always does)…I have a purpose for you being here. That stopped me in my tracks quick. LOL.

I am still expected to leave here and go to the post acute therapy place ( Mentis) and I will still just be there during the day and at home in the evenings. J They mentioned that I was still making great progress in therapy. They have me back in my Pool Therapy group and my PHOENIX group, which I was in the week before last, ( PHOENIX is a group focused on providing me the opportunity to use my cognitive and physical skills which will help me be more independent and prepare me for my discharge when I leave TIRR…so when I go home I can be prepared for the challenges that I may face (e.g. what I need to do to get my driver’s license reinstated and getting back to everyday routines, like cooking and cleaning…practical things).

The next on the agenda was our day pass for Palm Sunday. It was approved! Yay! Thanks to those who prayed for us about that. I am so excited (as I smile from ear to ear). We also talked about medication issues…I won’t really bore you with that.

Lastly we talked about our follow-up appointment with our neurosurgeon. We rescheduled our appointment due to my discharge date changing. On April 20th at 2:30 p.m. we have our appointment with Dr. Comair. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say! We have a follow-up MRI on April 17th at 9 a.m. Please pray that we have a good report and that they don’t find any of the tumor coming back!

Last Saturday was Katie’s birthday party. We began the party at the park near our house, but it was so windy and a little chilly too (at least for us Texans…LOL), that we had to move the party to our house in the front yard. Aaron and I were a little disappointed that we couldn’t have the party at the park…like I said earlier when you have a certain expectation and things don’t necessarily go that way…disappointments happen. I suppose that is just life…God had better plans though (but when doesn’t He?...LOL). We ended up having the party in our front yard, which worked out perfectly…all the wind was blocked by the surrounding homes and our vehicles; therefore, it wasn’t too cold, it was sunny and beautiful outside and the setting with everyone in our front yard made the party very intimate…it was just perfect for Katie’s first birthday!

My roommate left on April 1st to another facility…I wish she had longer here at TIRR. I think that she could have made so much progress; even though she made lots of progress while she was here. God has been so gracious to us…Mary was a wonderful roommate. On Friday, April 3rd, I moved to another room, and received another wonderful roommate…with a strong Christian family. Oh how God is so good to us! He is ever so faithful. My new roommate is Kristin. Please pray for her full recovery here is a little excerpt from her blog about her story:

Kristin is currently at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. She's been diagnosed with AVM- Arteriovenous Malformation, a congenital defect. Kristin is a freshman at Texas A&M University. Her current major is Biology, but she's planning to switch to nursing during her next semester. She just had a great Christmas break with her family in Houston, including a trip to Orlando Florida. In College Station on Monday night, January 19th, after spending the day with her boyfriend Jeremy, Kristin complained of a headache and dizzyness. Then her speech became slurred. Jeremy took her immediately to the ER where she became unconscious and underwent a CAT scan and later an MRI which revealed the AVM and an aneurism which caused bleeding in her brain. On Tuesday night she was transported by helicopter to Houston.

Kristin has been here at TIRR for about 2 weeks and because of insurance reasons can only stay only for 2 more weeks…they will be having a fundraiser for her and her family. Please pray for God’s financial provisions for them. Here is the fundraiser information…Saturday, May 2 is Kristin's fundraiser event at Cypress Christian School. If you would like more information, or want to donate or help in any way, please visit http://francisfund.com. Please pray about their situation.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's time to party...

Ok i figured it was time for me to post something (this is aaron writing). I just read Tina's recent blog and i was smiling at her analogies. I just love her so much :) Sometimes I don't hear all the details of how everything is going in therapy (even though I am staying the night at the hospital) because at the end of the day we are both so tired we just sit, smile at each other and rest. Can anyone relate?

Anyways...like the title says, It is time to party. Grand Opening Party that is. This Sunday "Palm Sunday" will be the grand opening service at Thrive Church http://www.thrivechurch.cc/ - a new church in Katy Texas that Tina and I are having the honor of helping to get started (we were supposed to be helping out a lot more but God obviously had different plans of how he was going to use us these past 2 months - so recently our "help" has been mainly prayers). We know that many of you who are reading this are committed members at other churches and our goal isn't to pull you away...ultimately we are trying to reach the people in Katy who don't have a church home or don't even have a relationship with God yet. However...we would love for anyone and everyone to come out and visit us this Sunday (no committments). There should be lots of fun stuff for the kids, and free food plus you might get a chance to see Tina walking :)

Whether you come out or not please keep us in your prayers that we would be able to share Christ's love with the people in that area in a real and practical way...what I like to call "100% pure Jesus...with no "organized religious" fillers or self-righteous preservatives added." Mmmm, now that sounds refreshing.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Day Sixteen...

Not that I am counting or anything...LOL. But it has been sixteen days for me here at TIRR. A wonderful, inspiring, and encouraging sixteen days...at the same time it has been exhausting, tiring (in a good way), and a lot of hard work (but who can't use someone pushing them to their limits all day long?...it is good for the soul :).

Those of you who have children or who have cared for a baby animal that needs care throughout the night (and you have to wake up several times a night)...you can empathize with my exhaustion and tired feelings, but also at the same time you can also understand the feeling of loving something/someone so much other than yourself(as Christ has done)...that the tiredness and exhaustion doesn’t really matter because the sacrifice was so worth it! That is pretty much where I stand at the end of my day when I lay down to go to sleep every night. Even after I finish my therapies at the end of my day...I try my best to work on "my homework" that has been assigned to me by my therapists. I figure...the harder I work...the faster I will get out of here...so I can be home with Katie...Oh how I miss her (as I sit here just typing and thinking about her...tears stream down my face)! But at the end of the day...I have to tell myself the sacrifice NOW will pay off for her, Aaron, and me later. Just as our Father God sacrificed His son for us...we have to look at how that has paid off for us...all well worth the sacrifice.

So let me update you...where we are at...On Wednesday they had what they call "rounds," basically what happens is that the group of therapists, doctors, the case manager assigned to me, and my social worker…all get together on their own and talk about my progress and what has been going on with me at TIRR (at these moments when I begin to think about all these people talking about me and the progress I have made…I have to think how weird it is being on the clientele end of the spectrum…as opposed to being the clinician). Oh how I can now empathize with the parents of the families that I work with in the school system. Okay…so now back to “the rounds…” The doctor, neuropsychologist, and social worker came by Wednesday evening to discuss with Aaron and me their thoughts and decisions. All great news…thank God for perfecting all that concerns me [Psalms 138:8] They decided to move my discharge date up to April 8th, and are still looking at sending me to the post acute therapy place that I mentioned in my last blog (it is called Mentis…www.mentisneuro.com)…but the great part of that is that instead (like I mentioned in my last blog) of having me stay the night in the facility…they would allow me to stay at home with Aaron and Katie, which I am ecstatic about! I knew God would work out things just perfectly…He always does. The only catch to that is that someone would have to drive me (thank God that my in-laws (my father-in-law arrived yesterday) are here and can drive me…by the way if I haven’t mentioned my mother-in law has been so wonderful and has taken care of both Katie and me before surgery and Katie after my surgery)…at least at first…five days a week to the facility for treatment during the day….later as I progress in my therapies…they will cut back the amount of days I have to go during the week. It looks like I will be at Mentis...so “they” (God always has His own plans) say until the end of June…maybe into the beginning of July, but like I said earlier…it all depends on my progress; we just have to take things day by day.

By the way…I know I mentioned last time that I was walking with assistance and having to be helped while I go to the bathroom. Well a lot can happen in six days, at least when God has anything to do with it, yesterday I was cleared to use the bathroom on my own…praise God for that…now I don’t have to wait for someone to come and take me to the bathroom…I’m sure we all can appreciate that…especially if it is first thing in the morning and you really have to go and no one comes to help for twenty-five minutes and later during the day for thirty minutes (not that I have experienced that or something…LOL…and then you make a decision to go to the bathroom on your own and decide that it IS worth getting your wrist slapped by your therapists later because you are not cleared to be on your own in the bathroom). But I want it known that I made sure that I was safe and tried to remember to use all the techniques and strategies that my therapists have shown me.

I also am able to walk a little on my own (without the use of devices)…not that I am quite walking where I used to be…because I still can’t move my ankle on my left foot (a continued prayer request)…which does hinder walking “normally”…whatever “normal” looks like. So basically I can walk short distances…of course at this point it is always a good idea to have someone close to me, for safety reasons, because I am still working on staying balanced. My balance has improved tremendously since I have gotten to rehab, but I am not quite 100%. Also when I begin to get physically tired…like when any of us gets tired…we don’t perform as well as if we were well rested…I begin to get a little clumsy and not as steady in my walking. Yesterday, we worked on walking up and down stairs…that was quite a challenge…moving my left foot in a backwards motion at this point is very difficult…most of the time…the therapist has to move my foot for me…and even though in my head I’m telling it to move…it still will not, but the great part about the therapists here is that when they move your body part that doesn’t want to move on its own…they still encourage you by saying “good job” …because they know that you are trying…or at least that I am trying and at this point I have no control over that (although that was how I began moving both my arm and leg…by telling it in my head to move and later the movement came…my brain just had to re-route itself…like it will with my ankle and my toes…whenever they decide they want to wiggle again...which will be soon in Jesus Name!)
My neurosurgeon (Dr. Youssef Comair) and his nurse practitioner (Shirley) called and spoke with me Wednesday...they are both so sweet...(and if you ever need to have brain surgery...these are the best of the best there is out there) Dr. Comair asked how I was progressing in my therapies…I shared with him all the wonderful news…he seemed pleased to hear about my foot moving and me walking. He asked when my discharge date was and at that point I didn’t know it was the 8th of April, but Aaron had spoken with Shirley a few days earlier and she mentioned that Dr. Comair wanted to see me within the next couple of weeks. Aaron made an appointment for Monday April 13th. They want to perform a follow-up MRI and want me to meet with a neuro-oncologist…which at one point…it was mentioned that I might need to get oral chemo-therapy…I supposed it all depended upon the pathology report of what my brain tumor truly consisted of…by the way…I don’t think I updated what type of tumor they actually figured out it was…it wasn’t the tumor they originally thought. It is actually called an oligodendroglioma, grade 2…now that is a mouthful. At our appointment with the neurosurgeon, we will find out what the make-up of the actual tumor is. The best way I really know how to explain all this tumor business (which I am just now understanding…so if you don’t understand…don’t feel alone in all of this J)…think of a car...maybe a Mercedes-Benz (this represents the tumor)…there are different classes (styles) of Mercedes…S, C, and E (this represents the grades of tumors)…then you come to the specialized features of the vehicle (this represents the make-up (pathology) of the tumor). I hope that helps as a visual to understand what we will find out at our appointment.

Okay well I need to get dressed for the day…so I must say good-bye for the moment. I will talk to you all later.

I love you all. Thank you all for your support, prayers, love, and encouragement!

P.S. A small prayer request...Aaron and I are going to try and get a day pass to be able to go to our Grand opening service to our new church (thrivechurch.cc)...Since our service is April 5th and I am being discharged April 8th we'll have to see if they allow us to leave for the day.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

God's blessings everyday...

Well it's been a few days since I (Tina) posted and I have had a lot of progress in my therapies since being here in TIRR. Yesterday we had a family conference…which (like I said earlier if you know anything about my job)…was just like an ARD meeting…basically the gist of what we talked about was the progress that I had made so far in my therapies and what goals that they have for me…which eventually is for me to fully walk again and be able to be back to being a mom, wife, and go back to my job and be fully functional. They all said that I have made great progress so far. The speech pathologist even made comments about how someone who filled in for her one day said that I could do some of the tasks better than she could. That made me feel good, that at the least cognitively, I am still all there…whatever that really means J They also mentioned that they are tentatively looking at a discharge date of April 16th, of course all depending on my progress. And then maybe putting me into what they call a post acute therapy setting…where it is a more residential looking setting and not so hospital like. Where I would be able to come and go as I please during the day, but I would have to stay there at night. Basically, it would be like living in my own dorm room, as well as getting therapy during the day, instead of driving for outpatient therapy every day. All these things depend on my progress here and what I look like when they are ready to discharge me.

At this point, I just want what God’s will is for us…yes I want to be home already, but at the same time…I want to be able to take care of my family in the way that God would have me take care of them.

They also approved a day pass for me to go to Katie’s birthday party. Which I was so excited about! I can’t believe she is already turning one! Over the past few weeks she has gotten so big and has developed such a personality. She is getting so big right before my eyes…before I know it, she’ll be walking…she is definitely getting there.

In both physical and occupational therapy I feel like I have made so much progress in just the week and a half that I have been here. I know that Aaron has seen the little baby steps…that even though they seem little to the world out there and if I were from the outside looking in…I would probably think that they were just tiny steps, but from the inside looking out…they are HUGE steps. When I first got here…the occupational therapist had me dress myself without any help…after I finished I was so exhausted. She even had to help me put my shoes on towards the end because I was so tired. I felt like I had just sprinted five miles. I thought to myself…is it going to be like this everyday, just getting dressed? I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if I had to do anything else. Wow, I would have never thought it took this much effort, just to get dressed. But thank God that everyday since then I have improved and it has gotten much easier. My strength and endurance have enhanced and I have improved on learning how to dress myself. The neuropsychologist here mentioned that a friend of hers that is a Physical Therapist said that for everyday that you are in the hospital and aren’t moving it takes 7 days to regain the strength back for that one day. Which if that were accurate…it would take me 63 days to regain all of my strength back to where I was before. But God has helped me regain so much in so little time. I can use my left hand and lift it well now, and over the past few days I have been able to move my left leg little by little and the physical therapist has had me walking and standing on it…of course with her help and the use of some really neat assistive devices. I am able to walk from point A to point B. At first I was really slow, but now it seems like I could just get up and go on my own; even though at this point I know that without her assistance or the use of these neat little techniques and devices…I wouldn’t be able to, but I know soon that I will be walking independently…it just takes time. God has definitely shown me how I need to know my limits of how much I can do…and can’t do. He has also taught me to be obedient to my therapists…so when they say stop or do this or that…I MUST listen…and for some of you who know me well…you know that I can be stubborn and determined to be independent and do things on my own…which I think has gotten me this far in life (of course with God’s help). I know that this experience is only helping me and making me stronger. I also feel like this is humbling me, that way my children will also have a good role model for a mom and Aaron will have a wife that is obedient and submits to him as Christ submitted himself to the church.

Also, when I first arrived here at TIRR…I was totally dependent on having someone help transfer me from my bed to the wheelchair and to standing and sitting in the bathroom (which may be too much info for some of you), but right now this is my reality…a humbling one at that. Since being here, I have learned to stand on my own and position myself to transfer myself into my wheelchair and I have learned to be able to stand on my own and help stand and sit with minimal assistance in the bathroom. Which I know that for this probably sounds like no big deal, but if you really think about how many times a day you stand up and down to move around and do things…it is a HUGE deal. Even the little things like if you just need a pen across the room on the table…you’ve got to move over there to get it. Throughout this whole process I have to thank Aaron for being such a trooper and sacrificing himself to help me. He has sacrificed so much sleep and even in the times that he was so exhausted and tired and I just needed him to get one more thing for me…whether it was to rub my feet or get me fresh ice water…he was willing to do it. Aaron has been the epitome of sacrifice for me over the past three weeks and even in those moments where we were both so exhausted and tired…he continued to ask me “is there anything else you need?” and I have thought to myself…LORD I don’t deserve such a wonderful man, but God knew even before I was formed in my mother’s womb. Who he would choose to marry me…and he perfectly chose Aaron to balance me out.

Aaron seems to have learned so much about how to help me including different techniques and ways to assist me. He has even gone to several of my therapy sessions with me to learn what things they have been doing with me and what types of things I can do at home to help me strengthen myself when I leave here. I just wish he didn’t have to go back to work on Monday. I will definitely miss him when he goes back.

Before I finish up this blog for today…I wanted to say that since I am feeling much better (comparably to after surgery in the hospital)…I am welcoming visitors up here at TIRR (www.tirr.org) if you would like to come visit.

Please call Aaron at 281-923-6524 to set up a time and day. Know that I am in therapy pretty much all throughout the day (M-F) until about 4 p.m. So early evenings or weekends would be best…visiting hours are until 9 p.m.

p.s. Please keep my family in your prayers. We just found out this past Monday that my maternal grandmother passed away.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Humbled and Honored...

Recently I was honored by a friend who purchased tickets before Christmas for me and a few other mighty women of God to attend a Christian Concert with Chris Tomlin, Israel Houghton, and Christy Nockels...needless to say it was an awesome evening. We had dinner and fun girl time, but the best part of the night was how God showed off (of course not in a pompous manner, but in a humbling way for me)...my Daddy God is always there...just with the perfect timing.

That was an incredible evening. Just having Israel and New Breed at the concert felt like home, (if you are reading this blog and don't know already...Israel is a worship leader at Lakewood Church...where Aaron and I called our church home for six years..until recently) it felt like I was worshiping back at Lakewood. Then came "The song" Christy Nockels recently wrote a new single that will hit stores in June 2009. If you were to have listened to the song that night...if you knew us...and all that was going on...you would have thought it was written for Aaron and me. The lyrics say this...

"With You...I can go anywhere...I can do anything...because You are the song I breathe...with You..I can go anywhere...I can do anything... because You are the song I breathe... and with You...You are the air I breathe... because You are my everything and I am an offering...I may live and I may die either way You are glorified...bless the day I give my life away...so let my life light up like the city lights...let it burn for You in the darkest night Lord..Let my life light up like the city lights...let it burn for You in the darkest night...oooohh..and in you...I can begin again..I am part of a bigger plan...because You are the great I AM...and in You...your life is in my veins and you've broken all my chains because You are the God who reigns...I may live and I may die either way you are glorified...bless the day I give my life away...So let my life light up like the city lights and let it burn for You in the darkest night Lord...let my life light up like the city lights... let it burn for You in the darkest night...my life will shine on earth and my Father will be praised...my light will shine on earth and my Father with be praised...let my life light up like the city lights...and let it burn for You in the darkest night...and let my life light up like the city lights...and let it burn for You in the darkest night LORD...and let my life light up like the city lights and let it burn for You in the darkest night and my light will shine on earth for You."

God has reminded us day in and day out throughout this entire process...through the words, texts, emails, letters, blog comments, songs and just through His word that this has been to glorify my Father. I (Tina) want to be exactly what those words spoke in that song...I want my life to light up like the city lights in the darkest night and whether I live or die I want my Daddy to be glorified...I want my light to shine on earth for Him! Both Aaron and I are so humbled and honored to be used by our Father in this way...just to glorify Him. I am grateful and honored to be in this place...but as humans we do question things...and I have to ask myself the question..."why use us God?" At the end of the day however we always come back to..."Not our will, but Your will be done Father" and end up feeling humbled and honored to be used in this way.

-- Tina

Friday, March 13, 2009


Today was day two of therapy at TIRR. Last night I got more sleep here than I have in the past two weeks...of course that is all due to medications, surgery, people just checking up on me and making sure I was getting the best care in ICU and on the regular floor at St. Luke's. My care on the ICU units was phenomenal; however, if you understand ICU it is intensive care...meaning people are checking your blood pressure, drawing blood, or taking you to some MRI, CT scan or poking you with a needle for blood cultures almost every single moment you are there. It was intense to say the least and physically exhausting. So all that to say...I had such a restful night and it made my day, which was full of intense therapy, go well.

I am currently in individual Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Physical Therapy. As the week progresses next week I will be a part of other therapies, but those will definitely be group based. They sound like some really neat things...one will be a pool/water therapy group. I am totally pumped about that. Another group that they mentioned was a "cognitive group" (not really sure what that means, but she did mention that there are a range of cognitive skills in the group), another group that was mentioned was a group on people re-learning to use their hands. As time goes on, I will tell you more about the details.

For all of my co-workers and those that actually understand what Aaron and I do for a living.... This experience has given me a whole new perspective on our careers and what we can do to improve ourselves, not only as clinicians, but as parents, and being on the "other side as the patient/client". It helped me not only be sympathetic, but of course be empathetic as well. God has been faithful to show me the areas of my career that I need improvement in. Being compassionate and being passionate for what I do, are two of the things that need to be added to my evaluation performance (are you taking notes Janet...she is my supervisor for those of you who don't know). The best supervisor you could ever have too!

For those of you at my job...you guys will get a laugh out of this. Like I said earlier I am now in OT, PT, and Speech and eventually they will do cognitive testing. Of course they have to give me initial evaluations ...well they are going to eventually have to give me neuropsych tests...which they of course tried to already ask me questions about the WISC and were thinking of using the WJ and of course I had to be honest, confess, and say I knew a little something about the tests....just a LITTLE something. LOL.

I wanted to just add and give God some glory in this BLOG...I have had a phenomenal nurse here named Rosa who is a strong Christian and has been encouraging my heart to continue to strive and work hard. She has been so so sweet. Oh how good God is... all the time. Today I had the opportunity to pray with one of the nurse's assistants about her relationship with a guy that she has been with on and off for the past twenty or so years...she truly wants a stable guy and marriage. It was so humbling to be able to pray for her; she said "I really didn't know how to pray for that...thanks. " P.S. I used both of my hands to type this blog and i am making great progress on using my left hand and making leaps and bounds being able to use my left side of my body...not quite standing on my left leg, but I know that God will make it come soon...I am working really hard.

- Tina

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Battleground Number Two...and Beyond

It has obviously been a few days since I (TINA) blogged. I really can't imagine why it has been so many days:) LOL (I kinda chuckle to myself as I type this)..not that I have been through anything major (just a minor brain procedure this weekend and seemingly near death experience LOL :)

like I said earlier BUT GOD... the night my temp was so high and my vitals signs so low I thought to myself I'm not going to make it (I am just being real here) and I am not going to raise my Katie or be there for Aaron as his wife. But then GOD reminded me, "Tina, I already told you this is exactly how you would feel... but I will rescue you... because people are praying for you." oh yeah that's right...you told me that already.

I (Aaron) am typing now (Tina was ready for bed).

Update...Tina has been stable for about 4 days now and about 2 days ago Tina started moving her entire left arm. Another Miracle! After doing some research and talking to several doctors at Saint Lukes we decided to apply at TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research www.tirr.org) here in the med center. We were told by many that we may not get in at all and if we did that it might take awhile....BUT God....We were accepted and transfered to the facility within 48 hours. Another Miracle! We arrived here Wednesday night. This place is ranked as #4 in the nation for physical rehab and people come here from all over the world (Tina's roomate is a missionary from Thailand who suffered a stroke and flew across the world to come here). We both are doing great and are so, so thankful to God for this trial (I know this may sound strange, but if you could see through our eyes at all the awesome miracles that God is working through this you would understand). Interestingly enough many of the miracles are not even the physical miracles that you might expect...many of them are the individual lives that are being transformed through this (as I type this my eyes are filled with tears of joy). I love my Lord so, so much :)

From money, VISA cards, meal delivery, car rides, babysitting, groceries, flowers, hats, scarves, balloons, cards, emails, voicemails, texts, parking passes, support from our bosses and co-workers and family and friends and church, bringing our Katie to see us, encouragement, sharing our testimony with others, washing our clothes, buying personal items at the store... and the countless hours you have spent in prayer for us we want to say THANK YOU and may God return these blessings back to you 1000 fold. We are so grateful for all of you and we love you.

Stay posted for more testimonies of God's amazing grace....

p.s. Please pray and thank God in advance that Mary (Tina's roommate) will make a better than full recovery and that He will impart to her His strength and hope so that she may continue to serve Him on the mission field.


Aaron and Tina

Monday, March 9, 2009

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (Relying on God...)

Have you ever read these scripture verses before? If not, take a minute and go and read them now. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%201:3-11&version=31

Basically Paul (an apostle of Jesus) is talking about how he was suffering and how through this suffering he learned to comfort others who were also suffering because he had been comforted by God (spiritual empathy). He also commented that he learned not to rely on himself but on God and was thankful for all of his friends prayers because he knew that lots of people would rejoice and thank God when he survived his trial.

That is exactly how we have felt over the past several days (read Tina's blog entitled 'Excited about all that God has in store' dated 3/1/09 which references this).

Here is an abbreviated version of what has been going on... Tina was stable and was released from ICU last Friday 3/6/09 and went to the Neuro floor, once there she started having back and stomach pains, her temperature sky rocketed to 103.3, her blood pressure dropped to 75/48, her heart rate was in the high 120's and she became non-responsive (kept on repeating "Katie, Katie, Katiebug..."). The nurses were having a hard time finding a vein and so both of her arms are covered with bruises and red marks. She was taken back to the ICU and was eventually stabilized (Miracle of God) and is doing much better now (the nurses here in ICU are fantastic!). When she is released from ICU (very soon) she will enter intensive in-patient rehabilitation and gain strength back in her left arm and left leg. She is now currently able to move all of her left fingers and is able to push some with her left leg...Another Miracle of God!

Tina and I have (like Paul) felt completely overwhelmed and exhausted over the past few days. BUT GOD...has given us His peace, His strength and His hope. We are not superhuman...but we do serve a SUPERNATURAL GOD who has and will continue to deliver us. We thank each of you who is praying for us because we know that this battle is already won in Jesus name and that many will continue to give thanks and praise God Almighty for the awesome things he has done through all of this. Ultimately we thank God not for what he can do for us but for who He is....our Lord and Master.

Totally and completely surrendered and in love with Jesus,

Aaron and Tina

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Modern Day Miracle

"Babe, you just witnessed a modern day miracle." These were the 1st words Tina spoke to me when I saw her in recovery after her surgery yesterday. I don't have any words to describe all the flood of emotions that rushed over me at that moment. I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so in love with Tina, my beautiful wife. Her courage, faith, and optimism humble me. Tina is impacting so many people everywhere she goes (lots of people up here at the hospital) because of her pure, childlike faith and the love of God which pours out of her to those around her.

Things that were miraculous...
1) Tina's attitude- Dr. Comair commented after surgery that "she is an amazing lady." Those of you who know Tina are not surprised by this...she is an amazing example of Jesus :)
2) Dr. Comair said that all of the tumor was removed.
3) She wasn't able to move her left hand after surgery but after much effort was able to. She is having some difficulty now...but is still trying :)

Things to pray for:
1) Tina has had several new seizures after surgery. Dr. said this was not an unusual side effect after this operation and that she should be doing much better soon.
2) Tina is unable to move her left leg or foot. Dr said this was not an unusual side effect and that she should re-gain this within a week.

Overall yesterday was an exhausting and overwhelming day in many ways... But GOD. I wonder to myself..."How could anyone do this.... without GOD." We are still confident that God has Tina in the palm on His right hand and has already won this battle for us. God has given us His peace that she will fully recover. We are planning on going dancing this weekend :)

Tina and I rested today (Wednesday).... loving on each other and our God who brought us through this.

We thank you for your continued prayers and support. If you would like to visit please call Corie (713-775-3082) or Linda (713- 315-7761) 1ST before coming for a possible visit. They will arrange visits for Thursday or later depending on how Tina is doing.

We love you all,

Aaron, Tina, and Katie

p.s. Tina wanted me to ask all of you if you have anything that we can pray for you about to please share it with us (on the blog if you feel comfortable or with us via text).

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Battlefield...spiritually, mentally, and physically

Okay so imagine (you can close your eyes if you want to...but then you might not be able to read this... :) You are recruited for an army...maybe it is the U.S. Military, the great Philistine army, or maybe you are David...just a boy and an army of one (as in the story of David and Goliath...if you haven't read the story in the bible you should sometime...it's great). So when you are recruited in an army...you have to go through bootcamp...if you've ever seen the movie (or if you haven't)...G.I. Jane is what I think of... you go through a series of taxing events...

You wake up at 4 a.m. to someone giving you commands, demands, and telling you to push soldier...keep going...run...keep going...faster... (then God says to you "you can do it! "It gives you a little boost in your spirit. ) It's 8 a.m. chow time... you eat for literally a few minutes wishing that you could have a little more time, but it is not allowed. (Then, God gives you a rest and even though it was momentary...it seems as though you rested for hours ) 8:15 a.m. Then you are back to trekking up and down stairs, mountain sides...imagine the up hills and down hills...you really are beginning to get exhausted physically and mentally. (Then God gives you His words...I will be made strong in your weakness) It is now 2 p.m. You have been through obstacle course through obstacle course through obstacle course...and you haven't eaten...they finally say...okay chow time...you then literally have to run and eat...your spirit, your mind, and your body just want to collapse and say "I can't do this anymore" (but then God...He says to you I have your back, I'll give you the renewal and refreshment you need...just place your trust in Me...I am here to make your yoke easy and your burden light) This gives you the energy you need and you keep going...

They tell you faster soldier...your team is counting on you...you remember God's telling you He's got your back and it seems like He is literally and physically pulling you along. It's 6 p.m. you have been going since 4 a.m. Then they sit you in this room that is so cozy and warm, you want to snuggle up in a blanket by the fire and fall asleep to the crackling of fire...but at the same time they ask you to write a story about the Advantages and Disadvantages of Warfare in a foreign country. You can't believe that they are asking this of you...your entire self...everything in you wants to sleep, but you know that they are testing everything that you have in you (then God reminds you...you can chew on a piece of bread that you saved from earlier to keep you awake and He tells you to remember to share with your friend next to you) You finally finish thinking...they feed you a little...then you think you are going to bed. But no it's 10 p.m. and you have to go out with your team as one and hold up a boat straight up in the air until someone quits. Your mind says no... BUT God shows up and pulls your entire team through...you then finally, finally get to go to bed. You get in bed...you are ever so grateful for rest and sleep. You then sleep and are renewed to go back for Day 2.

Being human, you think how much more of this can I take. God says to you...I have already won the victory...my Son paid the price...it is done!

Well to be honest with you, I hope that this picture can convey the message to you what our past few weeks have looked like...and know that it was only BOOT CAMP! Today, we enter the real battlefield...but know that God has already reminded us of our VICTORY. We don't know what that process looks like, but we know that the battle has ALREADY been Won...not by us...but by our God who is always faithful and MIGHTY TO SAVE!

We love each and every one of you sincerely. We appreciate your encouragement, prayers, support, and love....We are both now on the battlefield, prepared for battle, and at the moment we need your prayers more than anything. We both will need our rest tonight and we will welcome visitors on Wednesday.

In Christ,

Aaron, Tina and Katie

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Excited about all that God has in store

Well I am back and excited about today and all that it has in store for us! As I mentioned in our profile, we are part of a newly planted church and this morning will be our second pre-service. I can't wait to take Anna (my wonderful mother-in-law)...I just know she is going to love it! We are excited about serving today and we pray that we can touch others lives...even simply just by our smiles and physical presence. I (Tina) say that to say in a round about way...please continue to pray for our physical strength.

Speaking of strength...these next words have been a source of strength to us...

We feel led to share words of wisdom that have been spoken to us through friends...I hope that we are able to convey the heart of the message as well and as clear as the Holy Spirit has spoken it to our spirits through our beloved friends...

These scriptures come from 2 Corinthians 1: 8-11 and then 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 (New Living Translation)...You'll have to work with me here...since the order of the scriptures are reversed, but there is a purpose to it. I was first given the first verses (8-11) by a friend and then later that morning it was impressed upon my heart to read from the beginning of the 2 Corinthians chapter...and this is what was left imprinted in me...

If you see anything added to the scripture (in red) I added it to help me personalize to our situation at this moment. When my friend shared these scriptures with me and I thought of where we were at in this moment of our life...I was without words and couldn't really believe that these exact words existed in the bible. Only for the fact...that it seemed like God had just written them for us in that exact moment. So please allow us to share with you... I'll quote the scripture and my red comments and then speak my heart on what I felt the Holy Spirit was speaking to me.

..."8 I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves (Aaron and me), but on God who can raise the dead. 10 And He did deliver us from mortal danger (my surgery). And we (Aaron and me) are confident that He will continue to deliver us. 11 He will rescue us (Aaron and me) because you (family, friends, and those reading our blog) are helping by praying for us. As a result, many will give thanks to God because so many people's prayers (those who are praying for us) for our safety have been answered. "

Here is my heart and how I soaked in all of these words in my own way...(as I shared with Aaron and some friends and now you...). And to be totally frank with you...these words grieved both of our hearts...we shed tears (just being real), but in the end we had total peace because God had already spoken to us that "I am healed." Now what that process looks like...only God knows.

When I read the words "we were crushed and completely overwhelmed...and we expected to die and thought we would never live through it...I had to pause a moment and soak that in. God was telling me, that this is exactly how I will feel in the time to come. I thought to myself...wow Lord...that is how I will feel...that left me with tears and literally feeling overwhelmed, BUT then I continued to read (after I put myself together...LOL) and it says "but we learned to not rely on ourselves but on GOD" and he delivered us from mortal danger. In my mind, mortals meaning (the neurosurgeons and their team at St. Luke's) and danger meaning (my actual surgery). (Surgery can be dangerous you know...LOL...but we know that I am in the hands of the GREAT PHYSICIAN). As I continued to read, God brought back to mind the words he spoke over us "you are healed"... and that gave me a supernatural peace in my spirit as I read the rest of the verses. As I read, "we are confident that He will continue to deliver us and rescue us because YOU are praying for us" and the rest of the verse "many will give thanks to God because so many people's prayers for our safety have been answered"... the words that resonated in my spirit were humbling... We are healed and we will be safe in times of danger BECAUSE of YOU who are praying for us. We want to thank you and we are honored to have all of you praying for us...know that God hears your prayers and will give them back to you in abundance.

The next scriptures...

"3 All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 You can be sure that the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. 6 So when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your benefit and salvation! For when God comforts us, it is so that we, in turn, can be an encouragement to you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. "

These words spoke to my heart in a way like never before....so I ask if you have any prayer requests we would be humbled and honored if you would share them with us so we can pray for you!

WE LOVE YOU... it is definitely time for a mental rest break...so until next time.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blessings in Capacity Overflow...

Wow...there has been so much that I wanted to say over the past several days and it has been on my heart to blog everyday, but it seems like there has been something that has not allowed me (whether that is because our internet for some strange reason started acting up, our computer being loopy... and I thought I was the one on meds :) LOL! , time in general...we have been cRaZy busy this week...or just...honestly I didn't have the physical or mental strength to write this blog). In any case...God had a purpose and a reason for the timing of this specific entry.

Where do I begin...ah yes..."My Grace is sufficient for you and my strength is made perfect in your weakness. I perfect all that concerns you." Those words from my God have been life-sustaining for us this week (I share all this with you...for you to know that anything on here has been read by my beloved Aaron...he dots all the "I's" and crosses all the "T's" on this blog...so know when you read these words they are from the both us). God's words have given us such strength emotionally, mentally, and physically. To be truly honest with you...this week physically and mentally for both of us has been a struggle...BUT GOD... anytime it seemed as those we just couldn't make it one more step or moment this week...God carried us through. Both Aaron and I are in amazement of how God sustains us...since we're human we of course question life and ask ourselves...how are we even making it through today...yesterday...these past several days...and then God takes over and fills our spirits with peace and strength in every way possible. And throughout the day, everyday this week He has blessed us with little surprises, blessings if you will...that just get us through that next difficult moment and give us the boost we need to make it through the day! That is where you as family, friends, and all who are reading this come in...you all have been the thread that God has used to keep us sewn together. We are in such amazement of everything that God has used to bless us...it has literally humbled us and brought us to our knees. Tears have come and gone this week...but know that they have been tears of pure joy and "awe"ness of God's life-sustaining power.

We Love you All...again we can't say enough...we humbly thank you for everything you have done for us.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The beginning...

Photobucket Album

Here's some recent pics of our family. I hope that you enjoy them.

Well I suppose it is finally time I post on our blog. So here I (Tina) begin (again ;) )...

What a blessing these past couple of weeks have been. I have been "secretly" living my stay at home mom dream and on top of that I get paid for it!!! LOL (laughing out loud)! Just want to give a "thank you" to Jerry at Dr. Lemming's office for making that happen :) That's the best part for me. Some of you may or may not know...Aaron and I have been trying faithfully to discipline ourselves financially to pay off our debt (most of our debt consists of mainly Sallie Mae school loans). It has been so heavy on my heart to stay home with Katherine, but in the "natural" our situation financially seems that it will be awhile for that to come to pass.

BUT God...He works in ways we can never fathom or faintly understand. God has such a bigger picture of what is to come. Like a friend of mine said...we only see a "piece of our quilt"...God sees the entire masterpiece...and I know that it is beautifully woven.

I have been able to stay at home with Katie these past couple of weeks because of what they have finally diagnosed as a malignant brain tumor (that has probably been growing for quite some time....maybe ten years?). Did I mention that I am loving being able to stay at home and love on my little girl and husband...and all because of a brain tumor! Some moments I feel a little guilty because I am now being paid to stay home and love on my family... but I always smile and thank God for my little guilty pleasure (I am smiling from ear to ear as I write this...so don't think I feel too guiltly for being home. LOL.)

On Tuesday, February 2, 2009 at 2:30 a.m. ish Aaron woke up to what was finally decided as me having a seizure. (The Tuesday before I had a brief seizure during the time we typically get up and dressed for work, but we hadn't understood that it was a seizure at that time. Aaron mentioned I was acting confused, kind of in a stupor, slurring my words and just acting funny, but I quickly (within a few minutes) began acting normally and we went on about our day. I didn't have any other symptoms so we dismissed it and went on. The following Monday (Februrary 1st) I wasn't feeling up to par at work. I had shortness of breath, feeling a bit dizzy and nauseated...so I decided that I would make an appointment with my G.P., Dr. Lemming (who always gets me in quickly and calls back the same day!) the next day. Well I didn't make it to the next day...I had "the seizure" that next morning.

Aaron called my next door neighbors to watch Katherine and they took me off in an ambulance to the hospital. I was at the hospital for three days. They conducted CAT scans, Chest X-Rays, MRI's, blood work, etc. (My G.P. later told me that they actually tested me for drugs. LOL! Which I thought was hilarious.) to figure out what had caused the seizure(s).

Long story short...they say it's a brain tumor that they think is an astrocytoma (there are different grades of these things, but I won't bore you with details because truthfully they are just giving their best clinical judgement and can't tell us 100% what exactly the type of tumor it is until a pathology report comes back) . Here is a website that gives you a short and sweet version... http://www.sleh.com/sleh/Section004/index.cfm?pagename=Brain%20Cancer&PageMD=CANCER.

Since being home (February 6th) Aaron and I have consulted and had three neurosurgeon opinions from the best of the best in this country. Praise God we live in Houston where people come from all over the nations to find the best medical care. A couple of days ago, we decided on a neurosurgeon with God's guidance and help, Youssef Comair, M.D. and his team at St. Lukes Episcopal Hospital in the medical center. We are at total peace with our final decision and are excited that we have some closure on a surgery date and pre-op procedures.

The following are what is coming up for us...

February 23 (Monday)- A.M. --pre-op blood work, etc.

P.M.-- 1 p.m. Functional MRI

March 2 (Monday) -- 6 P.M. --Stealth MRI (don't really know what all this is, but I am just giving you what I know. LOL!) They do shave my little punkin head at this appointment (the gist...the tumor is in the right top front half of my brain) not sure how much...hopefully not too much! I do love my hair :)

March 3 (Tuesday)-- 6 A.M. --Check-in for surgery

8 A.M. --Surgery is underway...pray for my team, including the neurosurgeon, nurse practitioner, anesthesiologist, etc. They say it could take up to 8 hours. We'll see. Oh did I mention the awesome, really cool part for me...is that I actually get to be awake during the surgery! They get to ask me questions and make sure that I can move my legs, etc. Just think...I can say that I have been awake while someone actually picked my brain. LOL.

We do want everyone to know that we have a lot of confidence in our team at St. Lukes (we think they are the best!)... BUT our ultimate faith and trust is in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the great Physician and Healer and although we don't know exactly what this process "looks like" we KNOW that He has already completely healed me (spiritually, emotionally and physically) :)

So this is where we are at in our life...at this moment. (Did you know...This took a lot of brain power to remember and type all this (the medication they give you for this stuff...can make you a little loopy).

God is so sovereign and faithful...He has given us so much strength through all of this. Yes, I am human and have gone through a grieving process and a reality check of what this all looks like from maybe your perspective looking from the outside in...but know that my GOD has given US the grace in this situation from the inside looking out. Sometimes things from the outside looking in can appear completely overwhelming because God hasn't given us the grace to go through those situations, but know that those going through them...He has given the grace to make it through.

So this is my tidbit from my corner of the world today...our blog will continue to be updated so that all of you are informed of what is going on. This seems like one of the most practical ways we can keep everyone in the loop...without being overwhelmed with phone calls, texts, emails, etc. We pray that this helps keep you in the loop, but please if you feel the need to talk to us please call.

Lastly, Aaron and I want to thank everyone who has kept us in your constant prayers, thoughts, prayer chains, etc. We are truly blessed to have each and everyone of you in our lives! Thank you again for everything you have done to support us...even the practical things. We love you and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as well.