Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Destroying the Second Death Star

Epilepsy... We hate you.

The ins and outs, the rejoicing and severe pain, the excitement and confusion. You, Epilepsy, are one evil stab to the spirit.

For those who do not live with, experience daily, or work with Epilepsy, you have no clue how on earth the rest of us do it. Let me be clear- neither do we. And I am writing today, as a mother who is at her wits end. Her heart can't take much more. Is this a post to gain sympathy, empathy, or pity? Please... Absolutely not. It is a post to share how NO MATTER WHAT, if the Dark Side is determined to win, it's not going to go away meekly. And we are determined to keep fighting.

Jedi Renn can no longer be declared "seizure free". We do not believe for one minute that his brain is still healing, and that is the cause for his occasional seizures. In fact, we can no longer call them "occasional" seizures. For the last week, he has had one every other day, almost on cue. He had one at school that caused involuntary issues. When I arrived to pick him up, his teacher said "It didn't even occur to me that it could have been a seizure." The next day, I pulled Renn from his school. He is now homeschooled. Best choice ever.

On Friday, our Jedi had a seizure that lasted 30 seconds shy of 30 minutes. His longest to date. My ever-growing guilt screams at me in the silence of my thoughts and says, You are a terrible mother. You KNEW to call 9-11, and you sat and watched him instead. In my defense, I called UCSF to find out protocol. We'd never seen anything like it. I haven't recovered since.

On Sunday, we had taken a trip to see some family and to go to a wedding. While walking Downtown Disney (outside of Disneyland), Renn began to seize again. The emergency medication we had been told we would get, hadn't arrived before we left. But we knew to call paramedics if the seizure lasted longer than five minutes. It lasted fifteen. Of course, by the time anyone got to us, his seizure was over. They checked his vitals, and all was great except for his heart rate... That was at 164bpm. Yeah. That's POST seizure.

On Tuesday, our Jedi and I had some time alone together. Knowing full well that it was THE DAY (we were hitting every other day), I was watching him extra carefully. Sure enough, he looked at me and said, "Momma, I think I'm having a seizure." This was new... and he was right. Thankfully, it was short, and nothing like the others.

We just can't breathe. We made the decision to cut out  a portion of his brain. WE made that choice. And for what?!

Now, to say I am mad at God is an understatement. I know He has his plans for us. I recognize that we are being put through this for a reason, but I'm ready for it to go in a different direction. Whatever it is God wants us to learn, can't He teach us without messing with our baby? Renn doesn't deserve this. Hell, I do! Give it all to ME! Lord knows I've done enough in my life to deserve daily seizures and much, much more. For crying out loud, LEAVE RENN ALONE!!!!!

I am doubting all the choices we've made, of course. I'm questioning each decision I thought God was making for us, instead thinking it was we humans making selfish choices. But the truth is, that's all a lie.

I can't help but look at this face... This hero of mine, and think that God did not form him in my womb just to torture my soul. That's not my God.

I found a list of bible verses I'd written down to prepare our family for surgery, this morning. Ironic? No. Not even close. I'd like to list them, in the hopes that anyone battling something similar might remember that we who suffer are not alone.

Romans 5:3-5
More than that, we rejoice in our suffering knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does NOT put us to shame because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Psalm 138:2-3
I face your holy Temple, bow down, and praise your name because of your constant love and faithfulness, because you have shown that your name and your commands are supreme. You answered me when I called to you; with your strength you strengthened me.

Romans 8:18 (Renn's verse)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Philippians 1:6
... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 46:4
... I have made you. I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Yes, I'm mad. Yes, my husband is in shambles. No, we cannot believe we are starting over with the trial-and-error medication journey. BUT, we still have our baby boy. We still see the light in his eyes, and the love his brother has for him. We still are on Jesus' heart, and our hope is built on His promises. It's no walk in the park. This crap is hard. But we remain faithful... we are following Renn's lead in his walk with Christ.

There's no denying it, Epilepsy sucks. But, it WILL be conquered. Even that Death Star was built and destroyed... twice. Let's gear up for round two.
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."
Romans 8:26

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Short Review

Happy New Year, all!

It's hard to believe, but, Sunday marked the two-month anniversary of our Jedi's resection.

I apologize for not keeping all things current on this blog in recent weeks. We've met with some hard moments that have drained my drive to write.

I wish this post could be as upbeat as the last.

Renn has had a grand total of four seizures since the last post. In fact, three of the four happened in one week... last week, to be honest.

It's been a difficult rollercoaster of emotions because while we knew that they might come, we weren't prepared for so many. He has also been struggling with school, and that has brought us to tears. He came home before Christmas begging to not return. He said the words no mommy ever wants her six year old to say, "Nobody likes me. I have no friends at school."

Naturally, this put me into Momma KODIAK Bear mode. I wasn't having it, and I changed my way of thinking about who I was when I stepped onto that elementary school campus. I no longer cared if I made people roll their eyes when they saw me. I am Renn's mommy. Plain and simple.

We put in for Renn to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and I spoke with his teacher about changes that needed to be made. I felt badly for her... She was under the impression that Renn's somewhat hyper activity and distractedness would disappear when Renn had surgery. And since it wasn't the case, I almost feel as though we let her down. I realize that none of us knew what to expect post-surgery, but maybe I lead her astray and her hopes went too high. Either way, Renn needs to be taken care of while he's in school. And since I can't be with him, I need to trust that they are doing all they can. When Renn came home from school in tears, for the third day in a row, I posted this on my Facebook page... It's something that both the hubs and I feel strongly about, and it still rings true to this day:
Broken for our Jedi... He, through tears, uttered the words, "Nobody [at school] likes me."

I wish Epilepsy had a face. Something that EVERYONE could see and recognize. That way, the people that are so hard-pressed to tattle on, ridicule, judge, or dismiss those with Epilepsy could be reminded that they should instead show forgiveness, love, encouragement, grace, and understanding. I will be the
first to say that MY son doesn't need to be pitied. He also does NOT need to use his condition as a constant excuse. BUT, when you come to me nearly EVERY SINGLE DAY and tell me something ELSE he's done, what do you think that says to him? What do you think I can do, that is more than I do on a daily basis??

I hate to rant, especially here. But I'm saddened that after EVERYTHING we have said, done, supported, requested, and handed information out about, he's still feeling like no matter WHAT he does, he can't win.

I get it. I do. I live with him, after all. It IS confusing when he goes from happy, responsible, loving, and focused to the complete opposite. Last week, he was highly praised and rewarded at school. And that, was a blessing. One would think that those moments would be treasured and remembered, and maybe they are. But Epilepsy is like that... It's all over the place. It's not *just* seizures, as easy as that would be.

I wish Epilepsy was as widely understood/spoken about as say Autism or even ADD. But it's not. If it had a face, then maybe Renn would want to go to school tomorrow.

I wish Epilepsy had a face... I guess a 14 inch scar isn't enough.

Okay, so now that this new semester has started (we just ended week one), Renn had good days. And not just good days, GREAT days. So, I am thankful and am trying to remain optimistic. The hubs and I have set a goal- if by January 31, Renn is still miserable, he will be coming home to be homeschooled. And that will be that.

Now, in keeping a positive attitude and a prayerful spirit, we move on. We want so desperately to have a fantabulous year! And even if Renn's seizures come back, we are doing all we can to just keep our eyes on whatever plan God has for us. It's definitely not what we were hoping for, but somehow He's helping us through. That is something to be even more thankful for.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Dark Side Defeated: One Month Later

I am battling with some guilt, as I type, this cold, cold morning. I had all these grandiose ideas to write a few very important posts, but I'll be honest... We're tired. After your life takes a complete, dramatic, traumatic turn around, there's not much else that you want to do save spend time with one another. I, personally, haven't even gotten a regular routine down! Dishes have stayed in the sink for far too long, laundry (though clean) has stayed unfolded since we got home.

"Mom? Do I have any socks?"
"Yes! Let me scale Mt. Lots-O-Clothes... I'll be back in four days!"

That being said I have, what my very Pentecostal momma would have called, a praise report! Renn, our wonderful, incredible, and brave Jedi, is...

Can you believe it? We are beside ourselves! And the good news continues... The Friday before Thanksgiving, Renn returned to school for the last hour of class. They were having a harvest party. He went to two other classes first, to give flowers to the teachers and thank the classes for sending all the wonderful and uplifting notes that they sent. Yeah, THAT was emotional! But as we walked to his class, I felt his little hand grab mine. He squeezed. HARD. He was nervous, and it showed.
I crouched down beside him and said, "Buddy, you can do this."
He hugged me and said, "I know, Mom. I just don't know if they will like me, now."
I realized something in that moment that may have seemed obvious to the rest of the world, but we just hadn't grasped it yet. Renn had changed. It wasn't that the seizures were gone. No, it wasn't that simple. HE had changed in many areas of his teeny life. He recognized it. But the hubs and I were shocked because well, we hadn't.
We walked into Room 1. The class was busy and full of people. The parents were running around getting plates of food, his wonderful teacher was turning on a movie... truly, no one noticed Renn.
Until our sweet baby's voice softly said, "Hi Dawson!" (his closest friend in class). Just like in a movie, time stood still. The eruption of  whispers "It's Renn!" "Oh LOOK!!" "Hi Renn!" Renn's back!!" made the tears stream down our faces. Renn was covered in hugs, handed things, and this beautiful little girl (have I mentioned her before?) who claims she LOVES my son, begged me to take this picture.

It was incredible to witness.

I looked over at my kiddo who was finally sitting at his lonely, singled out desk, eating his food. He had just gone through hell. Would you know it?

No way.

His teacher was precious and helped Renn move his desk so that he could sit by other kids. I held my breath because I knew that the very reason he had to have his desk so close to the teacher's desk, and so far away from all the other students was because of this wretched Epilepsy. But I also knew that in a matter of minutes, our Jedi with boundary issues would have his hands in the other kids' food. He would be in the other students' faces. He'd annoy, and we'd be moving his desk back.
But once again, he shocked us all.

He held still. He ate his food and calmly talked to others.

Our baby... He was... Free.

His teacher came over to us in tears. She was amazed. And the fact that SHE could see a difference, meant we weren't crazy. He just might be able to stay in school after all. His homework that we'd been doing at home had been a breeze to do with him. His handwriting has even changed!
 In this picture to the right, the top half was his handwriting before surgery. The bottom half was last week.

The party continued. He was genuinely thrilled to be back. As we left, the Principal saw him and embraced him. She told me how much she had missed playing basketball with him at recess (we didn't even know he did that with her!). Then, many staff members walked by and said hello, gave hugs, and told him how brave they thought he was. It was magical.

In these weeks that we've been home, we are doing all we can to adjust back. Everyday, we wait for a seizure. Everyday, the hubs and I watch our Jedi with laser-like glares and wait.

But they just don't come.

His scar is healing quite well. It's suuuuuuuper itchy, so any parents going through this, please prepare for that. The stitches are almost all dissolved, and his hair is already long enough that I will be giving him a haircut this weekend! He's lost a tooth (which he is VERY proud of), and is moments away from losing his top, front two. Yes, he is eager to sing the All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth song!

One thing that we have experienced (that we weren't quite prepared for) is the MAJOR shift in emotions that our Jedi has had. I stubbed my toe once and was grumbling about it. Renn came in from another room in full tears, wailing, "I'm so sorry! Do you still love me? Mommy, I'm SORRY!"

However, he is reading like no other and is finally grasping math concepts that he couldn't before. He is maturing at a high speed. It's unreal.

His friends have been thrilled to see him, after the two weeks he had to stay home and remain pretty isolated. He has been back at Cub Scouts and will even be in the Christmas parade tomorrow night! There's no stopping this kid!

We went to our church's Thanksgiving dinner, and spoke to the congregation about what God has done in Renn's life. I have no idea if there was a dry eye in the place, but certainly, the hubs and I couldn't contain ourselves when Renn spoke.

"When I was sleeping during the surgery, God told me to that He was with me and that I was going to be okay."

I wasn't aware of that until about two hours before he told the church. He told us that God comforted him while he was sleeping. And that it was God who helped heal him.

Thank you, Father.

Renn is finishing up his first week back at school, as I type. The hubs is back at work after taking a long, LONG time off to help our family heal. Eli is watching a movie and laughing in a way that melts my heart, and I... I am getting back to a routine.

We celebrate this Christmas, and thank God for the miracles He has given us. But for today:

One month down... A lifetime to go, little Jedi. We are so, SO proud to be your parents.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! ...
Psalm 150:1-6

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One Week Later

It's been one week and one day since our Jedi had his surgery. The feelings we are experiencing hold no definition. Since his surgery, he has had no (typical) seizures! (We don't count that "sort-of" seizure he had two days post-op because it was simply his brain reacting to the surgery) Can you believe it? We both can and can't. But we are grateful.

On our way home, last Saturday, the hubs caught me staring off in the distance. It was a strange feeling for me to not be in the hospital; to be out in the open, breathing real air, feeling the warmth of the sun. He asked me what I was thinking. I couldn't give him an answer. We concluded that as we drove further and further from our cave at UCSF, into the fields of Gilroy, and over the Pacheco pass, that we felt like Frodo Baggins at the end of The Return of the King.

This speech ran through our minds (feel free to end it at the 1:00 mark)-

How do we go on?  It's hard adjusting to 'normal' life when you've spent the last twenty months being overwhelmed and stressed to a point where you weren't sure there were any tunnels left... let alone light at the end of just one of them. Now that the moment you were so severely overwhelmed and stressed about has passed, you're really not sure what to do.

We are so thankful that God allowed us to continue being Renn's parents. Want the hard truth? Neither one of us were 100% certain that we'd be driving home with Renn sitting in his car seat. I realize how morbid that sounds. It was a thought, nonetheless. We never once told each other that we felt that way. But we both did... Especially on our drive to San Francisco.

Today, Renn is nothing more than "normal". He's bored. He's desperately wanting to leave this house. He's completely over this whole surgery thing. As his parents, we wish we could pack up and take our family on a glorious adventure. We recognize the gift that God has given all of us, and we want to shout it from the rooftops- WE ARE STILL TOGETHER!! ALL OF US!!!!

Our Jedi has changed in other ways. And this is something for all my Epilepsy family followers to have a hope in their hearts for... You see, Epilepsy gave Renn an almost severe ADHD affect (like it does countless others). He couldn't concentrate. He could barely do one task at a time, and could NEVER do a two-step task. During his neuropsychological exam, it was determined that Epilepsy affected his every day thought process. That broke our hearts. Over all, he is a smart kiddo. Epilepsy just made it difficult to recognize.

All that being said, Renn's concentration is starting to change for the better. The other day, I asked him to put his shoes in the laundry room, THEN make his bed. When he came back two minutes later, I recited my typical, "Rennnnnn? Did you do as I asked?" schpeel, and without question he answered, "Yep!". Sure enough, he HAD! I was blown away...

Another change is that he is QUITE emotional. I'm talking, the things that normally would make a toddler bawl? Those are the things that make Renn bawl. So that's an interesting adjustment, but I have a feeling it's temporary.

Last night Renn pulled out one of his (four) loose teeth... He said, "It won't hurt. I just had brain surgery... Nothing can hurt me."

Yes, I was crying. And, yes, he inspires me every moment of everyday.

We are thankful. We are still getting cards and boxes of goodies in the mail. It's so humbling. We can't wait to give back. And yes, folks... The Telles family will be giving back. There's no way a family can receive this much love, support, and encouragement without realizing how much they themselves need to give in return.

But just exactly how we will be doing that is still in the planning stages. As soon as we have it figured out, we will have a HUGE reveal... We can't wait.

As I wrap things up tonight, I have a few Epilepsy families that could use some prayer, tonight. Some have kiddos in the hospital and are facing the most God-awful decisions that could ultimately lead to losing their sweet angels, and some are trying to figure out what they can do to prevent their babies from spending Christmas in the ICU. We recognize that while what we faced was painful, scary, and heartbreaking, there are so many families who are contemplating their choices, tonight. And their choices are ones that you cannot fathom. So, as hard as you've prayed for our family, please take a moment and pray for these other families. Their stories are so familiar, and yet, not... I hurt for them. And we long to be near them to help them through.

Now, here's to another seizure FREE week!
Love to all of you...
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100: 4-5

Friday, November 8, 2013

Grid Placement: Day 12... LAST DAY!!!!!

It's been twelve nights... And in those twelve nights, the Telles family, as we knew it, changed forever.

I started this blog back in December of last year. I looked back at my FIRST POST, and noted all the misinformed facts I relayed: I said Epilepsy was a disease, I said that an MEG was scary, I said we weren't sure we could do this.

Now I am sitting here in a not-AT-ALL-private "room" on the regular floor , desperately missing our
PICU family (I'm refusing to complain about being moved out of the PICU, however... it means my kiddo is well!), looking at my son who is sporting this giant battle scar. This surgery was exactly eleven months to the date from when we learned this it was even a possibility. I'm shaking my head at all the things that have happened: all the tears that have been shed, arguments started, arguments ended, family lost (both literally and due to stubbornness), victories made, friendships blossomed, and lessons learned. And you know what? We're finally ready for the life that is ahead of us.

Renn walked to his new room earlier this evening. And yes, I cried on the inside. Soon after, we walked the halls so he could stretch his legs. He was so proud. He waved to and smiled at others, told a patient on a gurney, "I hope you feel better!", and all but skipped his way around like he owned the joint.  My Jedi... made sick people smile, two days after he had a GIANT surgery. My heart was so happy. And then I got hit in the gut.

I watched people as they looked at my son. There was fear. There was pity. And I realized that soon, we would be out in the world... the real world. Not in some hospital where for the most part, people are used to seeing major injuries. I felt like I was falling backwards... in slow motion. And yet, here was Renn, blissfully unaware. I know I need to take that approach. But I'd be lying if I said that was going to be simple.

Just before our dinner arrived, Renn spaced out. I didn't recognize this face. He was stone still. He wasn't blinking, or talking. He was seizing.

I asked him what his favorite movie was. "I don't remember." Crap.
I asked him what school he went to. "I don't know."
Eventually, he was answering questions correctly. But he kept saying, "Mom, I'm fine, I'm fine! I was just cold, Mommy. I promise."

After a long talk, he broke down. He was embarrassed and ashamed... He actually recognized that he had had a seizure. I told him how it wasn't his fault, that we were to expect these little guys for a couple days or even a couple weeks post-op. BUT that they WOULD go away! He kept saying how sorry he was... No, son. I'M sorry.

I can say one thing... We're 99.99999% sure we will be heading home tomorrow. Starting then, we will know how life will resume.

Based upon how unsure I was about facing the year ahead, one year ago, and seeing God completely take over and bring us here? I have a great feeling about what's to come. We are blessed. We have two, incredible, strong, BRAVE children who can handle each curve ball thrown at them. They will be men who can provide for their families and think under pressure. We went through this year for a reason... I can see some of those reasons slowly unfolding already, but the rest is unseen. And that is where faith comes in. And faith is the number one lesson we've made a commitment to learn.

Thank you ALL, for reading, and praying, and sharing, and calling, and texting, and mailing letters, and going to the extra mile to make our son smile. Our faith in God's plan and your love is what got us through. We are ever so grateful!

Sometime next week I will be posting two VERY important posts about two GIANT pieces of our weeks here at UCSF. Number one: Eli Nathanael... The brother that stood by Renn each day, who held his own and rarely complained, who acted like a ten year-old at the age of four- all because he could read the tension. HE deserves so much... And I'm going to tell you why!
Number two: The wonderful, incredible staff in 6 PICU South. I will be sharing stories in more detail, and will give you insight as to why a great medical staff makes all the difference in the world.

Once again, thank you for taking this journey with us. We are a long way off from being in the clear, but now a new understanding begins.

From us, and our sweet Jedi,
God bless you all...

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
Psalm 107: 28 & 29

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Grid Placement: Day 11

Tonight is our last night in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit... I can't wait to share and go into greater detail about all the staff that has been taking care of Renn. They have truly become part of our family (three nurses came in and said goodbye to us with tears in their eyes); we couldn't have been more delighted with his care.

Tomorrow morning, Renn will be moved to the regular floor. We were released to go today (hello, ONE DAY AFTER brain surgery!), but they didn't have enough beds. Personally and downright selfishly, I am thrilled to be moved! People, this means that we get our own PRIVATE bathroom. Now that may be TMI, however, if you only understood what it's been like to leave my child, walk alllllll the way down the hall, use the restroom, come alllll the way back, recheck with security (no matter what time it was), and THEN get back to my room... MAYBE you wouldn't think I was selfish.

Renn is stoked about the PS3 and big TV in the room. Go figure.

He had a great day, today. The emotional rollercoaster continued, as the hubs and I did all we could to remember that this wasn't Renn. This steroid is bananas. The smallest of things would upset him so immensely, I couldn't even tell him I loved him more than once. I won't lie, the hubs and I were a bit disappointed. Maybe that was our fault for being overwhelmed with joy, last night. Maybe our expectations were too high. But the fact that Renn could still read, still function, and still complain? I vote it's still a win. He had his PICC line removed, and was able to stand up. That was ALL he wanted to do.

Renn had no seizures... Not even in his sleep (that I witnessed). So that means... Day 1, seizure FREE! We are rejoicing every milestone. And we're going to milk it as long as he breathes air. His face isn't swollen, either. He's already defying the odds! Yep, we're celebrating. We don't believe in jinxes.

Dr. Incredi-Surgeon came by and asked Renn if he could show him how to play Angry Birds. Renn's face, as usual, lit up. It lit up anyway when the good doctor came into the room. But to have that interpersonal connection... I just thanked God for him. We could have had any number of surgeons here. But we got him. No coincidence... Just God's love.

The doctor said Renn looked fantastic and he cleared him to wean off the steroid and move to the floor. We will be seeing him in two weeks for wound check, but basically, we said goodbye.

As the day went on, Renn slept... A LOT. I mean, this kid is tough, but he's not invincible. He wasn't even on pain meds other than Tylenol. When he did wake, he had a big brown box waiting for him. As excited as he could be, given the state that he was in, he ripped open the box... It was from his classroom back at home. Holy. Moly. This momma could barely keep herself together. There were more hand-made cards than I could count. Star Wars books galore, including this AWESOME pop-up book that looked like a dream! Not to mention, Master Yoda... My goodness. His Kindergarten teacher included some goodies (and a note that made me cry like an infant), and another class from his school wrote many, many sweet cards. There was even another notebook filled with letter after letter from a school that was in another town . They had heard about our Jedi, and wanted to send their well wishes.

We wanted to send a BIG thank you to Mrs. Johnston and Room 1 for loving Renn so much and for spreading the word about his hospital stay! The words you all wrote, the depth at which you all went to give such a beautiful gift was astounding. Renn LOVED all the drawings! And when we get home, we are going to put them in a VERY special book, so we can look at them everyday. You made him so very, very happy. He can't wait to come back to school. Thank you, all!!!

Tonight, Renn sleeps with no grids. No PICC line. No 2hr Neuro checks. He fell asleep by 7pm, and the last thing he said was, "Mommy, I'm going to get really good sleep. Finally."

You know what? He's probably right. If you guys could have seen what the EEG monitor looked like while he was sleeping, it would have made your heart hurt. I think, for the first time in years, our son had the most peaceful, solid sleep ever. I was both encouraged and devastated. No wonder he never slept well! His brain only got MORE active as he was sleeping. But now, now that wasn't going to be the case. Score 18,457 for surgery. ;)

I am in awe of how it feels to be on the other side of this. I have a hard time coming to terms with it, but I don't think our Jedi does. Granted, he's only six, but he still seems to understand how basic a need this surgery was. And that's something God kept trying to teach us. Something the hubs and I just felt was impossible. Yet, here we are. I feel like I'm in a much more sane Wonderland, but that we're still stuck there. I suppose it won't feel real until we get him home... which might be in a matter of three days max. MAX!

I'm off to cuddle with my near-wireless child... But know that this journey has inspired the Telles family to change in a major, major way. More details to come as we pray and prepare our hearts for what God has planned for us next. Just know that Epilepsy has made its mark on us. And we don't intend on forgetting that.

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Isaiah 58:11 

Grid Placement: Day 10- A NEW HOPE

"Mommy? Mommy? MOMMY!"

"Good morning, Renn."

"Is today surgery day? Is today the day we get rid of seizures, Mommy?"

That is how my morning started. I'm not going to lie, I was exhausted, but ready. Renn was ready. I put on my Star Wars shirt, greeted each medical personnel that came in our room to wish the Jedi good luck, and waited for the hubs, Easy E, and my father to arrive.

An attending surgeon came in to mark the right side of Renn's skull... I made some lame joke about not marking the wrong side. She didn't laugh. I didn't either. My stomach was starting to hurt.

The hubs, Eli, and my dad came in, then the technician (whom we've grown to love) came in and removed all the leads. Renn just about jumped out of bed. He could move his neck... He was free!

But then it was time to go. It was a hazy walk for me, as I don't remember even doing it. So much was riding on this... Would he still be Renn? Would he remember me? Would he still laugh the same infectious way, care for little children like he does, love nachos, or be able to see? Was this the right choice? His seizures weren't that bad... were they?

As we swung his giant hospital bed into the waiting area, we met up with all the appropriate people... We answered all the same questions, but I could tell that I wasn't even listening to the nurses ask. I simply answered out of habit and memory. I wasn't there. I was numb.

The Mighty C. helped get us down there, and gave Renn an assuring pat. He promised he'd be there when he woke up. Renn smiled wide. Soon, Dr. Incredi-Surgeon walked through like the celebrity he is. I swear, mini confetti cannons follow that man around. He'll enter a room, and everyone in it is in awe of the sheer compassion he has for his patients. Renn lit up. Dr. Incredi-Surgeon gave us the pep talk. The hubs and my father seemed to listen. I vaguely remember asking the good doctor if he went to bed at 7pm as I'd demanded he do. But I was too busy thinking about the baby I carried within me, and how the brain that formed in my womb was about to be changed forever.

Before I could snap out of it, we were all kissing Renn goodbye. He'd already been given a calming medication. He was pretty loopy. I held it together for him. I kissed him, and prayed, Father... stay with him. Stay with him, because I can't. Renn asked if we were leaving him forever (thanks, drowsy med). I swore I would be there, that I'd never leave, and he disappeared behind those infamous doors. We've watched him be wheeled or walked back through that entry way four times now. Today was the first time I had to be asked to "go ahead and exit this way, ma'am". Didn't that nurse know what they were about to do? Did I even know??
We headed to get breakfast. I wanted to hit everyone close to me. I hated that my husband was upset. But I honestly wanted to be left the hell alone. I wanted to call my mother... I needed to hear her say, "Bethie, he's going to be alright." It broke me to know I couldn't even do that.

Thankfully, we managed to have short conversations about I-don't-even-know-what. The hubs, my dad, and myself all handle life-altering circumstances a bit differently. I was grateful for that, today.

My father took Eli to the park while the hubs and I went to wait in silence. We found that silence just left us to our own morbid thoughts. It didn't last long. We couldn't hold still. We got our second (or third?) round of extra strong caffeine and found a balcony to sit on. We started to talk about what we wanted to get the kids for Christmas. It was a glimmer of happiness... but eventually, the nurse called. They were beginning the resection. They were removing a portion of our baby's brain. There was no coming back from that blow. We sat. We didn't speak. I watched a napkin flitter on the floor in the breeze. Rick closed his eyes to pray. Eventually, we started talking about all the ways God has led us here... And before we knew it, it was 1pm, and we were hungry.

After lunch, we waited with my father (E got to go to the playroom with ChildLife, but eventually got sick with worry, and came to join us). It felt like minutes before we got the call. They were done, and just putting our Jedi back together again. It'd be another one to two hours, but he was steady. He needed NO blood transfusion. He was okay.

Doctor after doctor, the Mighty C, and then two other nurses, all came in to announce that their our kiddo was done, over the course of the following fifteen minutes. And I can't explain it, but we felt... Free. 

Dr. Incredi-Surgeon bounced in about two hours later. He was beaming. He explained precisely what he did, how much tissue he removed, and gave us our odds on MANY different questions we asked. Then he asked if we wanted to see pictures... We (because I'm the daughter of a realist, the wife of a scientist, and just one curious, probably insane mother) said yes. He brought out his camera. I saw the first picture of what looked like a Halloween decoration I've wanted to buy for years (which I will NEVER buy, now). He showed us what he was talking about, and then showed us the "after", with the 50% of our baby's Temporal Lobe missing. I have to be honest... I got sick. I collapsed, on the inside. I felt no peace. I felt tormented. I felt guilt. I felt like I'd lost him. Like it was my fault.

At that moment, a familiar face walked in and asked if we wanted to come be with Renn; that he was waking up. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to remind our son who I was, I got up, hugged Dr. Incredi-Surgeon, mumbled some form of "thank you", and RAN.

I got to the door of Renn's room in the PICU. The same room we'd been in for nine nights. I pushed through somebody to get to him... I grabbed his hand, and began to sob. He looked perfect. The hubs came in within seconds as I said, "Renn? I'm here. Just like I promised. Daddy's here, too. Can you open your eyes for us?"

He opened his eyes.

He took a breath, opened his mouth, and CLEAR AS DAY asked, "Mommy, is the surgery over yet?"

Praise you, Father. Praise you on high...

He remembered me. He turned and said hello to Rick. He remembered Daddy. Then, he asked, "Can I play the Wii?" We laughed... it felt so good to laugh. We asked him his favorite movie. "Star Wars, of course."

Our Jedi was still... Him.

He blew us all away. He was awake fifteen minutes, and he was up and playing video games with the hubs. He was begging for food, he wasn't swelling, and when asked about his pain level? "Zero." he promised. There must have been about twenty-three different nurses, doctors, and staff who came in wanting to see if the rumors were true. This kid was like nothing they'd ever seen before. I couldn't help but think about what Dr. Genius had said yesterday, "I've never seen a case like his. Ever. And if any one of the Neurologists I know all across this country and into Canada had had even one case like his before, I'd have sent you guys to them."

Well, I suppose Renn is going to continue to baffle you... He's going to show you what the power of God can do.

The rest of the evening went smoothly. He ate five popsicles, tons of ice chips, chocolate milk, and was then FURIOUS he couldn't order pizza for dinner. The steroid he is on (anti-inflammation reasons) makes him belligerent. Picture a young, extreeeemely intoxicated, sorority girl whom has just found out her boyfriend is cheating on her. That was Renn. He felt fine, but was so very emotional! He got unbelievably upset that his blanket dare leave its spot that was covering his toe. And he also said, "Mommy, I'm so mad you won't let me go on the airplaaaanneee! Whyyyy won't you let meeee???" Then he asked if I'd brought the croutons.

I only saw the humor (not at him, of course, but merely the situation). Again, I felt so free. It felt amazing being able to laugh and not feel guilty for doing so.

He is sleeping peacefully after wanting to make a few phone calls to loved ones. And I am in awe of God's gifts. God's splendor. God's miracles. Renn hasn't even begun to swell (he WILL, but it hasn't started yet... nothing like this time, last week). Our heavenly Father did this. I have no doubts... Never, ever again will I second guess His plan.

I realize how premature that statement may be, because surely, we are not out of the woods, yet. But we will be going to bed tonight with all this behind us. Now, the hope begins. And just like in Star Wars, a new hope starts what will become a legendary tale...

Here we go, young Jedi... Here we go.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11