Three Years Since the Third

Utomo Music Pic
“Celebrating 11 months of marriage, and looking forward to a month of concerts with my best friend!” – This was the caption Grace posted around Thanksgiving three years ago, when we thought we’d have a whole month of Christmas concerts ahead.

 

Dear friends, today marks three years since December 3, 2016, when God allowed a rogue driver to drastically change the course of our lives. In preparation for this post, Grace asked me if we are where I thought we’d be three years out from the accident. She asked me how I felt at the three year mark, and where we see ourselves going from here. My initial response to her questions was, “I don’t know.”

When something as terrible as Grace’s accident happens, the stakes in life suddenly get much higher. The balance between “needs” and “wants” shifts pretty dramatically and almost all your time and energy becomes devoted to keeping the boat afloat. At least something like that has been my experience. Have I had time to pause and feel what the accident has been like? Yes and no. I wouldn’t describe myself as shutting out the painful feelings associated with hardship, but at the same time my experience has been one focused mostly on just trusting God to get me and Grace through each day.

Wake up, go to work, go home and help Grace, do my own doctoral schoolwork, sleep.

The reason I don’t know if we are where I thought we would be at the three year mark is that Grace’s recovery has not followed a typical upward trajectory. To be sure, we went through the initial critical phase and have long since been in the plateau phase; but Grace has had some unexpected seizure developments during that plateau, and we are still working with neurologists to get a better understanding of what is going on with her brain and what we can do about it.

Where do I see us going in the next five, ten years? Health-wise, who knows. Hopefully we can continue to tweak Grace’s medication so that she won’t have a seizure every time she encounters a bright or flashing light. Lifestyle-wise, both Grace and I are in school, so I would look forward to finishing our degrees as our next significant life goal.

As difficult as the past three years have been, I wouldn’t change a thing about them. Not because I wouldn’t rather have had an easier, more pleasant time; but because God’s always in control and His plans are always best. Hard times do have a way of helping you realize just how much you need to rely on God and His help.

So if I could share, here are some reflections from the past three years:

  1. The accident was not an accident. God is Sovereign, and everything He does is for His glory and the ultimate good of His children (Rom 8:28).
  2. Human understanding is frightfully limited; God’s understanding is limitless. The “accident” didn’t change the course of Grace’s life as God had planned it; it only changed our understanding of how we thought Grace’s life should go (Prov 16:9).
  3. No one is entitled to an easy life. In fact, Jesus promised us that we would have trouble on earth (John 16:33). But Jesus also reminded us that He has overcome the world with its many sorrows and troubles.
  4. We all know there must be a greater good out there. The brokenness of this world serves as a cosmic sign pointing toward the redemption offered to us by God (Rom 8:19-24).
  5. This life is short; Heaven has no time limits. All the suffering we experience now cannot be quantified against the infinite goodness of living in perfect harmony with God and those who have accepted His gift of eternal life (Rom 8:18).

We could go on and on about God’s boundless goodness, mercy, and grace. The more I reflect on these things the more grateful I am that God would love us enough to care for our eternal wellbeing so passionately. He didn’t leave us to suffer; He took on our suffering and made something beautiful out of it (Isaiah 53:5).

Friends, we are grateful for your prayers and support thus far and can’t wait to keep moving forward with all of you. Please know that Grace and I also pray for you, that God would help all of us serve Him well and bear faithfully the tasks He has entrusted to each of us during our time on earth. Our prayer is that God would continue to renew our hearts and minds each day so that we will better know Him and understand His purposes throughout both the big and little moments of this life (Phil 3:8-10).

Remember, the battle has already been won! Rest in that truth, and don’t forget to let others know! ūüôā

A Model Newt

Willow Glen Close Up 2019
“Well, I got better…”

Hi everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already time for Winter Break. My first quarter at SCAD was the hardest academic quarter I’ve ever encountered, but I’m grateful that it ended better than I was expecting. I should also be grateful that God popped my ego bubble before it floated too high, but I’m not that spiritually mature yet.

My first class was “Freelance Writing for Publication,” and covered researching and writing magazine articles. ¬†While most of the ten weeks was devoted to writing a variety of articles, one of our final units involved creating a professional website. I built a site but I delayed publishing until Mom got back from Europe. I needed a good head shot, and her iPhone generated much better photos than mine could.

Once she was un-jetlagged, we celebrated Mom’s return and my last day of school with a photo shoot in Willow Glen. The crisp air, morning light, and gorgeous leaves over-delivered – as did Mom’s camera. ¬†We only had about twenty minutes before my migraine took over, but those were more than adequate to capture what we needed.

They say you have to take about 50 pictures to get a couple of good ones, and we may have gone overboard since my family isn’t exactly photogenic and I¬†did get hit by a car. You can imagine my delight when I scrolled our selection and discovered that the number of “keepers” was surprisingly high. Somehow, in spite of being on too much medication, living mostly in the dark, and having way too many seizures, I was looking pretty good. Mom took it one step further and said I looked like a model.

And then Ivan called at lunch.

Few husbands call their wives every single day, which is one more reason Ivan is about as perfect as anyone gets this side of Heaven. My phone rings at 11:20, I ask how his classes are going, he answers vaguely with something like “Pretty normal,” and then I start prying. But I sensed something was different this past Friday when Ivan brought up his classes before I could ask.

“So, umm, some of my junior highers found the blog.”
“Really? That’s great!”
“Well, I’m not so sure…it has lots of stuff on it and… ”
“Come on, I always post nice stuff about you! Maybe it’ll help them see you a role model.”
Silence.
“Well, which ones were they looking at?”
“They found the one about you being a newt.”

For those of you who don’t remember, the “Newt Post” came after I was hospitalized at Redwood City for a 24 hour EEG. It begins with the famous Monty Python quote and a picture where I look very much like a newt, then progresses to a picture of me looking partially dead after having had 23 seizures in a row, then concludes with another picture of me looking like a newt. At least I’m smiling in the newt ones. The Newt Post is also from July 2018. All ¬†my visions of a professional website were immediately replaced by images of junior high boys nudging each other and air-dropping links to the post on their school iPads. Post-Millennial note-passing at its finest.

How did they make it back that far???¬†We don’t even have a table of contents.”
“I don’t know. All I’m telling you is they did.”
“Well, did you tell them to stop?”
“Of course. But you know I can’t control what happens outside of class. Besides, you did¬†post that.¬†”

He was right. I did post those pictures. I’ve posted lots of embarrassing pictures of myself during my post-accident journey, but I’ve always assigned them a higher purpose than comic relief. Then again, who am I to stipulate how and when God can use what I post?

In a masterful stroke of Providence, the website is still not live and Ivan’s efforts to convince his students that Mrs. Utomo looks and acts pretty normal just took a giant step backward. I haven’t had the heart to check how many recent hits that Newt post has gotten. But I do hope my heart is in a better place than it was this time last week. Blogging should be an act of faith, both in what I choose to share and in where it ends up.

 

When Ivan Yelled “Stop!”

RPE-L-ENTRANCE-0913-1-1
Flashback to “my” intersection…

“Stop, kids, stop!” Ivan never shouts, but he did this weekend. We were spectators in our own nightmare: a vacant crosswalk, a “WALK” pedestrian light, an oncoming car. ¬†This time the pedestrians were two pre-teen girls. But this time Ivan was there.

Oddly enough, we were at that intersection because I’d been hit by a car three years ago. Grad school ensures I’m mentally exhausted every day, but relegation to a tiny apartment grates on my soul eventually, and outings provide my main emotional release. The intersection of Daylight Savings Time with my neurological impediments demands these excursions take place before 4 pm, which has been tricky with my parents’ recent vacation and Ivan’s hectic schedule. Hence my cabin fever and our decision to give me one last espresso shot before another week indoors. This outing was questionable since I was in the middle of a migraine spike, but I decided 20 minutes of fresh air and sunshine was worth it if we got my coffee to-go.

We heard the sirens before the police car rounded the bend on Raleigh road.

I closed my eyes to avoid the lights.

Looking back, this was the grace of God. I don’t think I could have watched the scene unfold, especially since it was too close to my own. Like me, the girls were exiting their apartment complex. They were following the traffic signal. Unlike me, they saw the car coming, but what were they supposed to do? We always tell kids to get out of the way when police turn on their sirens. If the girls ran back, there were cars. If they tried to dart to the other side, they’d be running directly into the police car’s path. True, officers are supposed to scan intersections for pedestrians, but these girls were tiny and would be easy to miss. Ivan also says they looked frazzled. What if they froze, then dashed in front of the oncoming car too late? Thankfully they hesitated in front of our Yaris long enough for Ivan to shout for them to stop. Whether his voice penetrated the thin windshield (very possible given the number of times it’s cracked), or God reached down and held the girls in place, we’ll never know. What we do know is they stopped.

I opened my eyes as we made the U-turn and continued on our way to Peet’s. Unlike my story, there would be no ambulance blocking that U-turn for the rest of the afternoon, no frantic families searching for their children. The two girls were giggling as they turned into the shopping center across from our complex. I wondered if they even realized what ¬†almost happened. It occurred to me that their fragile bodies would have been even less likely to survive that impact than mine had been.

Both Ivan and I were silent for most of the way to Peet’s. We briefly discussed if he could have done anything differently. No, not really. Honking was too dangerous. That might have spurred them forward into the police car’s path. Rolling down the window might have been too slow. Ultimately it was a split second of action, and the result was in God’s hands. Neither of us asked the weightier questions. Was there a split second of action in my story? Did anyone reach out? Call out? The security camera’s footage suggests not. Why? Why had I been alone? We’ll never know. What we do know is that, like those girls, my story is in God’s hands. “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” ~ Job 1:21

 

 

 

From Dickens to Dependence

IMG_0689
I’ve read one of these more often than the other one. ¬†Hint: I had the best of times…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of the times” is the opening line to one of my favorite Victorian novels, ¬†A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. My curiosity was piqued when I spotted the line parodied on one of Dad’s writing manuals last spring. Blogging was a weekly staple, and I had begun browsing my journals for ideas to include in the accident book¬†I ¬†dreamed of writing. I’d been housebound from seizures for five months. If it was “the worst of times” as far as my lifestyle went, then maybe it was the “best of times” to brush up on my sentences.

God must have thought it was the best of times to begin more than a sentence overhaul. The manual was written by a copy editor; as I read her anecdotes, I found myself wondering if I could do a similar type of job. Then I thought of my plan to write my own book. Why couldn’t I learn from other writers by editing their work? I used to edit dissertations and scholarly papers while I worked at my old job, after all. When I Googled “copy editor” I discovered that anyone who wanted any sort of legitimate editing job needed at least a BA in English. Yikes. That I did not have. Still, I’d fantasized about studying literature for a long time. Wasn’t dovetailing my fantasy with a practical skillset a good reason to return to school? Having something to do while I was stuck at home reinforced this was the best of times for a scholastic endeavor. Ivan and I couldn’t find a “worst of times” counterargument.

We had no idea that BA in English would lead to an MFA in creative writing instead of part-time work as an editor. I’d like to think my sentences are pretty spiffy at this point – at least compared to the ones I was writing in 2018. But I’ve also been shocked to realize the difference between dashing off weekly blog posts and¬†writing seriously at the graduate level. In the past eight weeks, God’s taken me from trusting my writing instincts, to scrutinizing my competence, to sighing in relief every time I submit an assignment at a somewhat decent level. God seems to have decided this quarter is the “best of times” to lead me into a season that’s not the “worst of times,” but is definitely an uncomfortable time. And this new uncomfortable time is reminding me that success is not the point of my daily life. Yes, I have to feel awkward and insecure as a writer before I can grow as a writer. But the truth is that no matter what the earthly payoff for my earthly pursuits might be, God calls me to a higher pursuit. Worshiping God and cultivating my walk with Him should matter more to me than getting good grades or being published one day.

God’s method of initiating my writing adventure and refocusing my attention on Him as I continue that adventure is unconventional, to say the least. It’s amazing that the opening line of my favorite novel and the title of a random book at my parents’ condo launched an academic journey that will end in 2023, and a writing journey that I hope will continue for many years after that. As for my spiritual journey, I am certain that will require a lifetime.

Writing My Way Back to School!

 

IMG_0279.jpg
This was taken just after my admission packet arrived ūüôā

Hello, blogging family! The first fall weather of the San Jose year had our apartment smelling like cornbread and chili all week, and I selected this moment to write so I’m not tasting the pumpkin bread as it cools off. (No, curious minds, I’m not a baker. Trader Joe’s has wonderful mixes and Ivan is a wonderful helper in his spare time.)

This past month was not just the first month of Fall for everyone who doesn’t live in California. This past month was also my first month of graduate school. Last October I got a nagging curiosity about going to grad school after my English degree. I tried to talk myself out of that insanity: I have a brain injury even if you ignore the other neurological drama. Still, the thought wouldn’t go away. Ivan and I began praying about the idea and I started researching graduate schools. Not two weeks later, one of my CBU professors who didn’t know about my accident at the time, wrote me to ask if I was interested in continuing my education. We took that as God’s confirmation that my grad school idea wasn’t so insane after all.

I compiled a list of potential schools and decided to target two degrees: an MA in literature and an MFA in creative in writing. The MA in literature was a realistic choice since it was a standard degree in an area I enjoyed, and my CBU faculty felt confident I could get accepted to some good programs. The MFA in creative writing was a long shot. While “MFA” stands for “Master’s in Fine Arts,” it’s a terminal degree and is only called a masters because there’s no foreign language requirement. Furthermore, CBU only offers one creative writing course, so applying to MFA programs meant I’d have to submit work I’d done outside of school. I added a couple of MFA’s to my list because creative writing was my dream, but prepared to do an MA in literature.

My longest of the MFA long shots was the Savannah College of Art and Design. Yes, they are located in Savannah, GA, and yes, my family is from Savannah. But SCAD is also home to one of the top online MFAs in the country. Their program is 90 units long, and their thesis requirement is a publishable manuscript. I applied because – well, why not? But I knew my odds were scanty and went back to filling out the other applications on my list. You can imagine my surprise when my acceptance letter arrived three days after Christmas.

School started on September 6th, and I can honestly say I feel like I got hit by a….oh wait, I did. ūüėČ

I haven’t been stretched this far by something I love since I left Eastman, and I do find myself working for around 7 hours every day just to keep up. But I love it! It’s a blessing and a wakeup call¬†to learn from excellent faculty and classmates who are more experienced than I am. After all, the best way to improve is interacting with people who are farther along than you are.

I’m very grateful to God for a blessing that I called insane this time last year, and I’m thankful to my parents and Ivan for all the extra study time and encouragement they give me every day. Can’t wait to see where this next path will lead!

Wellness Shots

 

IMG_0641
First time I got to see Ivan in action!

 

Hello, blogging family! I had no inkling of the wave of support that was headed my way after my last post. All I can say is, thank you for being some real walkers! Or readers, rather. God uses you all to bless me more than you know. ūüôā

“Wellness” is a funny word. It shows up in magazines, TV shows, podcasts, and – of course – your doctor’s office. ¬†It also seems to mean something different almost everywhere you find it. Well, I looked it up this morning, and the primary definition I found was: “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.”

These past two weeks have been wellness weeks.

You all joined me in celebrating just how healthy my mind has remained over the past two years, and your enthusiasm over my online degree reinforced what a loving internet community God has created for me since my outdoor activities remain…umm…limited.

God timed your response perfectly, because the next day I was in my neurologist’s office getting 16 shots in various parts of my head to try to break the migraine. This is no longer a recovery blog, but it’s hard to write about wellness and ignore 16 shots in the head. Just for some perspective, I’ve had a continuous migraine for 45 days now. I get to take pain meds around 3 times a week, but the rest of the days are…au natural. This is the only reason why I agreed to head injections. What they did not tell me ahead of time was the exact number of injections. Or on which parts of my head they would be given. (I’ll spare you those details.) No, they just started injecting and stopped 16 shots later. The situation struck me as hilarious while it was happening, which was God’s way of sparing me a public meltdown, but I admit to crying like a baby later that night. Also, I still have a migraine.

School and shots aside, Ivan and I made one more push for post-graduation wellness last weekend. The VCS Conservatory had a high school music retreat in La Honda, and I was able to tag along and hang out in the lodge. This was one of those rare opportunities that actually met my long list of do’s and don’ts. I need lots of rest and quiet time. Unfamiliar lights are a no-no, but noise is not my friend either now that I have a migraine. No worries! It’s a camp, so kids and teachers are in rehearsals almost all the time. Oh, and did I mention that La Honda is in the mountains? Natural light and stillness are the order of the day. And thus, I packed my duffle bag. (Although at that point I still thought the shots would work.)

The migraine shots underwhelmed, but La Honda was a wellness shot that did its job. I grew up on large helpings of fresh air and nature, and being able to step in and out of a cabin without fearing for the next seizure trigger probably added some years back to my life. Or at least emotional life. Noise and non-natural lights limited me to five minute reconnaissance chunks, but I fit in enough of those to¬†finally¬†see my husband at work. I also got to meet some of his pretty cool kids. In addition to Vivaldi’s Gloria, they learned¬†that he was not, in fact, married to the Bride of Frankenstein. I think that may be a common misperception. How did I spend the rest of my time at camp? Long walks in the fresh air and natural light, naps (of course), and…lots and lots of writing. (More on the writing part to come later.)

But what about spiritual wellness? Church has been out of my reach for a while now. I thought camp might be a relatively safe way to challenge my old assumptions, but unfortunately I found those assumptions still held true. According to my iPhone, I lasted less than 10 minutes at an open-air chapel before I got nauseated and had to leave. Crowds, noise, and lights, my friends. But college isn’t the only thing that’s gone online. Hillside Church recently started a women’s Bible study that meets online once a week, and it’s been refreshing to connect spiritually in a manageable venue. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for going to school online for the past 14 months, I would have been too nervous and confused to know where to begin. Thank you, God, and thank you, Hillside!

I haven’t gotten my flu shot yet, but I’ve gotten plenty of other wellness shots over the past 14 days. The latest one being this blog post. I had time to write because I was awakened early (as in, think earlier than 5 am “early”), by Friend Migraine. But how could contemplating God’s blessings¬†not¬†count as a wellness shot? “Wellness” may be a subjective word, but I think the dictionary nailed the last part of its definition: “especially as the result of deliberate effort.” Wellness isn’t just something that happens to you. It’s a choice you make for yourself. May God give us strength to keep making healthy choices!

 

 

A Picture and a Thousand Words

1b33584a-b3a1-4b6f-bf89-9a024eb9a9ef.jpg
The coffee was strong with this one…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll excuse the time lapse since my last post by saying abbreviated word counts are often in readers’ best interests…and therefore I’ve been waiting on a picture to help tell my story. ¬†Hopefully this photo makes the words I¬†have¬†typed here worth reading.

Yes, folks, I did it. I finished my Bachelor of Arts in English. Although I mentioned taking online courses in a couple of earlier posts, I purposely deferred mentioning the actual degree until my last post¬†because I wanted to complete all the requirements before going public with my long-term goal. Even passing a couple of classes would have been a major ¬†accomplishment given the past 2 1/2 years, but I was hesitant to broadcast my attempt until I was certain I would graduate. This diploma represents more than just another bachelor’s degree, however. It’s the first significant goal I’ve achieved since my accident. It is also a very specific demonstration of God’s protection three years ago. My verbal IQ is one of the few cognitive functions to remain unaltered after the traumatic brain injury. ¬†Said unimpaired verbal IQ is also pretty much the only explanation for how I earned that diploma, with “summa cum laude” stamped neatly on the lower right hand corner, while the rest of my brain went haywire.

I’m not sure why God is doing what He’s doing, but I am grateful that He allowed me to come this far in a subject I love. I’m also curious to explore why He protected the words in my brain and to discover what His ultimate purpose for all those words will be!

For those of you who are still interested in a thousand words, feel free to check out my senior project:¬†If I Should Die. CBU typically requires English majors to write a research paper as their final degree requirement, but I was allowed to write a creative nonfiction piece instead. I was given this choice for a couple of reasons…one of which is that I hope to begin a book about our accident in the next few years. My senior project narrates the first day of the accident and is a practice run for what the beginning of that book might look like. Feel free to check it out! But I do owe you one disclaimer: it is way over a thousand words.

 

Lighting my Shadows

IMG_0561
Much Shakespeare hath been read.

My last post ended with the word “thrive.” A different writer might substitute “die” for “thrive” since unsolved neurological disorders have kept me indoors for the last 18 months. But I can assure you that my word choice was no mistake. While God may have limited my tolerance to most things connected to a battery or electrical socket, He’s still provided a special kind of light to brighten my days at home.

Ivan and my parents report that one of the questions they hear most frequently is “What does she¬†do¬†all day?” That’s fair enough, given that I live with most of our apartment lights switched off and rarely venture into the great outdoors. But I also can’t just sit staring at the wall all day, and I most certainly never have.¬†I can and have been taking online college courses.

Two years ago my occupational therapist suggested I take an online course at a community college. The purpose was twofold: I needed more structure in my day, and she needed to evaluate my cognitive ability. My goal was to keep up with homework assignments and score a C or higher. I enrolled in a literature class since literary translation had been one of my minors and…let’s just say I scored higher than a C. We also discovered schoolwork was easier on my brain than social activities because I could take a break the moment I began to feel tired, whereas long conversations required more energy and endurance. Keeping my brain well-rested became essential as my seizures grew more and more serious.

When therapy and the online course ended around the same time, both Ivan and I agreed that I should keep taking classes. Not only had I fallen back in love with literature, but my need to stay occupied was even greater now that leaving home was almost a thing of the past.

But I never do anything by halves.

Not only did I keep taking classes, but I also convinced Ivan to let me enroll in an actual English degree program at our old school, California Baptist University. If I was going to keep taking classes in a subject I loved, why not work toward a larger goal? I’d already completed all my general education requirements during my first bachelor’s degree, so it was only a matter of more literature courses – and some creative writing, too!

Ivan doubted the sanity of my venture at its outset but graciously agreed to a trial quarter. When I got A’s, he told me to keep running. I can honestly say that school became my lifeline as the months slid by. It might have been true that I couldn’t do more than twenty minutes of schoolwork at a time. It might also have been true that those assignments were at the university level, and that I initially didn’t tell the faculty about my brain injury since I didn’t want pity grades. But it was absolutely, 100% true that those twenty minute chunks added up to success, and that they lifted my mood, filled my days, and expanded my intellect. Yes, in spite of being a prisoner in my own apartment, I was thriving.

And then the big seizures hit.

Listening to podcasts, keeping up with reading assignments, and writing papers became a lot less feasible once I had to sleep for hours after every seizure. I suddenly felt like I was earning a college degree in time management as well as a college degree in English. Thankfully my time at Stanford reduced the severity of my actual seizures, but the migraine disorder made attempting any sort of schoolwork even more daunting. Very. Very. Long. Breaks.

These past quarters would have seemed like the logical time to quit if ever there was one. But the truth is that God has brought something into my life that I love passionately. I hope it’s obvious how much I love writing. After all, I have maintained a blog for 2 1/2 years now! But I love the process of school and studying literature just as much. Physical lights may be fading from my life, and I’m not sure how they’ll come back, but God’s given me a mental and creative light that thrives in my (literally) darkest shadows. I haven’t felt this fulfilled since the last time I played a violin concerto.

Speaking of writing, I’ll be writing more in addition to the blog now that I’m done with Stanford. More coming later…

 

A New Way to Walk

F6C64A76-E3B2-40FE-81F2-37CC08A1FB66.JPG
Ivan will be walking with us, too!

Hello, everyone! It feels amazing to be back on the blog again…I definitely missed y’all over the summer, but my brain also definitely needed a breather while we were at Stanford. ūüôā

Now that we’re reunited, I’d like to lead us down a bit of a different path. Ivan and I started this blog in early 2017 believing it would be a short-term continuation of his initial Facebook updates. (For those of you who joined us later in our journey, Ivan began posting Facebook updates on my condition within the first day or so after the accident.) Your amazing support and enthusiasm transformed a short-term experiment into a long-term staple of my recovery and…here we are today! I still can’t believe we’re approaching our third “accidentiversary.”

Every recovery is different, and mine seems to have ended with seizures and long-term migraines. I’ve seen literally the best neurologists around (praise God!), and am grateful for all they’ve¬†done for me. Remember how y’all were praying that I wouldn’t have seizures where I almost stop breathing? Well, God used Stanford to answer that prayer and I don’t have seizures like that anymore. Why I ended the summer with another bizarre brain scenario (2 and 3 week long migraines), I will never comprehend, but at least I was seeing highly trained neuroscientists when it developed! Does it feel unfair to be limited by severe neurological conditions after all this time? Absolutely. But numberless other people around the globe are also limited by “unfair” health problems. And my very good God knows why.

My very good God has also given me a blog with a fantastic readership that has walked with me for over 2 1/2 years! My neurological conditions are so complex that I will probably always have occasional complications or developments, so Ivan and I will continue sharing updates as needed. But for the most part, I want to write less as a patient than as a recovered twenty-six year-old. I’d like to invite you to continue walking with me as I take on this new writer-ship to explore the humor and the challenges God sends my way as I inhabit a world that wasn’t exactly custom made just for me.

So, with this new angle in mind: How did I thrive while being trapped inside a 700 square foot apartment for the past 7 months? How am I thriving now? And yes, I used the word “thrive.” Stay tuned! ūüôā

 

 

Life after Stanford

Grace Stanford pic
Enjoying the sun at Stanford!

 

Hello everyone! Happy mid-August. Grace and I have some updates for you all, so here we go!

Grace has finished her appointments with the specialist at Stanford. We’re grateful that a new medication from the Stanford doctor has improved Grace’s seizures so that when she encounters a light trigger, her body no longer goes completely limp. Her left hand still locks up though.

However, starting around May Grace has experienced migraines that come regularly after seizures. At worst these migraines have lasted 15 days, during which time Grace experiences intense pain, light and sound sensitivity, and nausea, despite multiple migraine medicines. Since these migraines can take days before they subside, every new seizure that occurs during a migraine prolongs the total migraine length.

Grace’s doctor at Stanford has recommended that we connect with further specialists back at Kaiser, so our relationship with members of the medical community continues to blossom. Doctors still don’t know exactly what’s causing Grace’s brain to do what it does. The plan is to continue to gather data in the hopes of finding a treatment plan that can address Grace’s sensitivity to light triggers.

So thank you for continuing to pray for us! God uses you all to sustain us on our journey. He is always able to do for His children more than any of us can ever imagine. He is always greater than anything this world can throw at us. Thank you all and to God be the glory!