Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mission Accomplished

Marci and I woke early this morning with anxiety in our stomachs, worries on our minds, and prayers on our lips. Olivia, our 14-month-old daughter, stirred from her rest at 6:30 with hunger in her belly, sleep in her eyes, and a golf-ball sized tumor on her forehead...

By noon, the anxiety, worry, and fatigue were gone. Olivia's pre-surgical fast was ended in a flurry of flakey pastry crumbs. The hemangioma on her forehead was replaced by stitches and bandages. And the prayers on our lips turned from fervent intercession to exhuberant thanksgiving.

By God's grace, Olivia is recovering nicely from the long-anticipated surgery to excise her compound hemangioma. Events really could not have gone much more smoothly, so we really feel that God took care of us. We were blissfully aware of the prayers of many accompanying Olivia and the surgeons, and we have no reason to doubt the future of her recovery process.

When we arrived at the hospital this morning, around 7:15 or so, we were quickly checked in and brought back to the nursing area for preparation. A worker from the hospital started by introducing Olivia to a little doll who served as the model for demonstrating all the medical procedures that Olivia herself would be experiencing throughout the course of the morning: dressing in a hospital gown, IV insertion, anesthesia through a gas mask... Shortly afterwards, Marci and I were given an opportunity to talk with the nurses and one of the surgeons who would be assisting on the procedure. Then preparation for the surgery began immediately, and Marci was walking back towards the operating room with Olivia by about 8:00. After slipping under narcosis in Marci's arms, we could only entrust our daughter to the medical staff of the AMC and to the Creator and Sustainer of the world.

By 8:40, Marci and I were able to see Olivia in the recovery room. Her head was wrapped in gauze and her hair was a bit crusty -- taking on a bit of the persona of a battle-wounded soldier. Within a half-hour, Olivia awoke briefly. However, as she was still heavily under the effects of the anesthesia, she was kind of disoriented and unsettled (that's just a nice way of saying that she was thrashing about like an angry prize-winning trout!). Fortunately, we were eventually able to calm her down, as it turned out that the monitor for her pulse and oxygen levels was attached to her right thumb (which often serves as a kind of pacifier for her). Her head-dressing needed to be reapplied, her monitor needed to be reaffixed to the big toe on her left foot, but after a few minutes she went back to sleep for awhile longer.

Around 10:30, Olivia woke up again -- this time, more her usual happy self. She drank some juice, walked around a little bit, and seemed to be acting quite normally, even flirting with the nurses and making friends with other patients on the floor. To our great astonishment we were given the green light to go home shortly after 11:00 with some basic instructions for checking her status, providing her with pain medication, and maintaining the dressing. It took us awhile to get Olivia ready and get a little snack while our friend came to pick us up, but -- believe it or not -- we were home by noon!

Our next follow-up appointment is December 20. We're fortunate that we won't have to go back any earlier because Olivia's stitches are the self-dissolving kind. The surgeons have warned us that Olivia's scar presently "makes it look like they're not very good plastic surgeons" because the skin is all puckered up -- pulled together like a draw-string purse in an effort to reduce the length of the scar. But they said that within a couple of months, everything should be looking quite nice.

At any rate, we just wanted to thank you for your prayers and let you know that everything has turned out remarkably well! The process is still not 100 percent completed, yet we feel like we've crossed a major threshhold. There will certainly be other trials in Olivia's life, and we will certainly need to continue depending on God for both the serious and the mundane. Still, it's been exciting to see how far we've come. And it's even more exciting to look forward to the future...


At 6:22 PM, Blogger Sander Chan said...

Lieve Eric, Marci, Elliot en Olivia,

Ik wens jullie een snel herstel. Ik ben blij dat alles vandaag zo goed is gegaan.



At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray! We're very glad to hear that it has gone so well. You have a wonderful family and I love how you can see on Marci's face her relief and joy that Olivia has now jumped this hurdle!


At 6:31 PM, Blogger Guy said...

We are very happy to hear that the surgery went well!
Guy & Becky

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Noel Heikkinen said...


At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Marco said...

Wow, I'm really happy to read it and to see Olivia's pictures!! I'm sure it's such a weight of your shoulders!

See you on Sunday


At 12:07 AM, Blogger patricia said...

I'm also rejoicing with you guys!! Thank you for sharing this and all of the other beautiful stories of your family's life together.
Liefs, patricia.

At 1:53 AM, Blogger EP said...

Thanks for the update. So glad everything went well!

Thanks also for the pictures. It's great to be able to "be there with you."

Take care,



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