Ivan: Happy new year everyone! I’d like to give an update on how Grace and I are doing not only medically but also with life in general. We have some exciting career and education updates to share! That being said, I’ll start with the medical side and approach it somewhat systematically, so—please bear with me. 🙂 Physiologically, Grace still faces two main challenges: seizures, and the effects of her traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her seizures are triggered by light, or more specifically, sudden changes in bright light. This encompasses everything from sunlight glinting off of cars, LED headlights and taillights, exposure to LED lights in general, fluorescent lightbulbs around our apartment (which occasionally flicker), as well as unexpected videos or ads on TV, computer, and phone screens. These seizures drain Grace’s energy, and often a bad string of seizures takes days to recover from.
Because of her TBI, Grace needs a lot of structure in her daily routine. It is hard for her to face open-ended situations (like life), and unexpected changes to her schedule are hard to process. TBI also limits her energy so that she is only able to work on activities for around 20 minutes at a time before needing to rest. When Grace is particularly fatigued, she may even experience TBI episodes in which, for usually around 10 minutes or so, she regresses to behaving like a five-year-old child having a tantrum. She becomes upset and unable to process what I say until the episode passes, and she returns to her normal self.
Needless to say, Grace’s daily life is extremely limited. I feel so sorry for her—at times the imagery of a caged bird comes to mind. I remember how gifted, energetic, active, talented, and vivacious she used to be, and she still possesses all of those characteristics now, but is unable to fully express herself due to her physical limitations. It’s hard to see my 25-year-old wife stuck at home because even walking from our apartment to our car in the parking garage poses a serious seizure threat.
Yet her attitude continues to amaze me daily. She knows who she is—a beloved child of God—and she knows where her eternal future lies. She is a fighter who pushes herself beyond what anyone else (including doctors, at times) might recommend, and I believe God has blessed her tremendous efforts so that, despite her limitations, she has been able to accomplish more than many would have predicted.
For a number of months now, Grace has been enrolled in an accelerated online B.A. in English degree at Cal Baptist. In the face of huge obstacles, I have seen her persist time and time again, giving her absolute best even when it hurts. God has blessed her efforts to the extent that her professors, who were initially unaware of Grace’s accident and limitations, have highly acclaimed her work. Way to go Grace! Keep giving your best to God and He will take care of the rest.
On my part, I have been blessed to continue my own studies as well. I’m currently enrolled in an online EdD in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. God has been helping both Grace and I manage our responsibilities as best as we can so far, and we will continue to rely on His grace throughout this year and beyond, every step of the way.
No one knows what a year may hold, except for the One who knows all things—including human hearts. May we dedicate our lives to pursuing the One who pursued us first, giving Him all the glory and praise because He deserves it all and so much more. Thank you all for continuing to lift us up in prayer. Your love means the world to us, and we are humbled to continue to share our journey with you all! May God bless us and make us a blessing.