Thursday, June 5, 2008

Trip to Donaueschingen

First..internet access has not been as easy to come by as we had hoped, so I apologize for the infrequency of my health updates for Brad. If it helps give you an idea...sometimes when we have asked about internet access, we have heard the reply, 'what is the internet?' Oh dear.

We arrived on Wednesday morning to the south-western tip of Germany to another 'little town' called Donaueschingen. It is about 3 and a half hours from Markt Berolzheim.

To put everything in perspective, coming to these areas of Germany for treatment would be like someone traveling from Berlin to Tolar, Texas for medical care. The population of Markt Berolzheim is about 1500 people (my high school was bigger....really). The town has one restaurant, one bakery, 2 churches, houses, cows... and that is about it. For a big-city girl like's a bigger adjustment than I would have expected.

On Tuesday Dr. Thaller scheduled surgery for Brad (by a vascular surgeon in Donaueschingen) to have 2 ports put in his chest. One going into his vein on the right side and the other going into his artery on the left side.

We got up early on Wednesday & checked into the hospital at 10 that morning. We went through admitting, then spoke with the doctor about the plans for Brad's surgery...going over all possible complications (this is the part where I started to lose it emotionally).

We spent Wednesday evening in the hospital (Sandra & David in the neighboring apartments), then had the surgery first thing this morning at 7am.

The surgery was supposed to last about 1 and a half hours, but instead went for over 3 hours. You could have cut the tension in the waiting room with a knife. The very good news is that Brad is out of surgery now and is resting well. Despite my overwhelming nervousness, this surgery seems to be one of the easier ones for him. He says that he feels very sore but overall...not too bad.

On a side note...the doctor came post-surgery to check on Brad and let us know that the reason the surgery took so long was due to the fact that Brad was 'so strong.' He went on and on stressing the difficulty he had in cutting through all that muscle. Of know that Brad hated hearing that...ha! I'm certain Brad will be retelling that story over and over. :)

To be completely honest, since arriving in Donaueschingen I have been a complete mess emotionally. The lack of sleep, compiled with the extensive travel, plus the language barrier, and then facing surgery for Brad with a doctor I knew nothing about was really testing my emotions. I was SO nervous about this procedure...I cried almost the entire day before (& I'm not usually a big crier). Fortunately Brad was unwavering in his certainty that this was where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to do. I kept retorically asking over & over why he had to keep suffering...why it seemed that his physical trials never seemed to end. Brad reassured me that his recovery would only give God more glory and bring others to be that much stronger in their own faith as a result of his trials & recovery.

I am doing much better now that the surgery is behind us and I got a good night's sleep. I am SO thankful that Brad is doing relieved.

Thank you for all of your prayers for the treatments, the successful surgery and for our safe travel. My prayer now is that Brad continues without any complications (as with anything artificial, ports can sometimes become infected.) I pray for his stamina as he undergoes these upcoming weeks of therapy. I pray that he continues to heal from surgery and that he rests well each night. I pray for Brad's complete healing from his cancer.

Thank you for all of your support. May God receive all the glory & praise for a successful surgery today. Thank you for your continued prayers.


Anonymous said...

Jenny, you and Brad continue to amaze me. Brad is totally right in saying that these trials will make his healing all the more glorious for God. The struggles you guys have gone through thus far are already enough to make anyone who knows you more faithful, by your example. We're continuing to pray for Brad's full recovery and healing. Thanks for taking the time to update your blog for all those who care about you!
Love, The Johnston's in Alabama :)

jch said...

Jenny, it's okay to feel overwhelmed, nervous, emotional to the extent of crying for days on end. Please know that even in these moments, God is with you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

peace -- Joe from Brooklyn

Brenda said...

Jenny I'm almost glad to hear that you were a mess! Just "reading" your thoughts doesn't let me know how you are feeling and I thought you were handling everything in stride. It's good to hear you are human! :) Don't worry about the crying and the emotions--you are doing great. I am awed by how you are helping and supporting Brad through all of this.

And what better excuse, really, could you have for surgery taking so long? :)

brenda steve and girls

Stephen said...

thanks for the updates. I check constantly to see how you guys are doing. I know God is going to use this as his avenue of healing for Brad. You guys are in my constant thoughts and prayers.


Nick said...

Jenny, congratulations on Brad's successful surgery! I just wanted to let you know that I received the same surgery in Donaueschingen almost a year ago and my ports are still going strong, with no complications at all. I have since heard very good things about these ports, as they are titanium instead of ceramic (as many ports are) and should last longer.

It was also disconcerting at times for Liz and I to feel so far away from home...but we were consoled by the caring and kindness of so many people that we met there. It was a great comfort to us to realize that we all share so much and have so much to be grateful for! All the best to you and Brad!


Perks said...

We, too, are praying for complete healing. We absolutely believe in His almighty healing power.

Thanks for sharing your emotions, thoughts, and feelings. You are dearly loved and covered in prayers by so many.

Lisa said...

Jenny - I can't imagine what ypu're going through, Please know that you and Brad are loved and prayed for all through the day. I'm so happy the surgery was a success. You are amazing and the perfect support for Brad. Hope you have a good day tomorrow.

amber dayton said...

I just have to second everyone's thoughts - you've been a rock & probably totally needed a day of tears! God is so good that when you are high you can lift Brad up & when you are in a low spot he can do the same for you. We are constantly praying for total healing & for peace for both of you as you trust God in a totally new environment. Love you guys.

Nellie's Nuggets said...

Sweet, sweet, Jenny! Tears are sometimes the best gift of all to help wash away the pent up exhaustion, and even fear. And how beautiful that God used Brad's voice and hands to wipe away your tears. They both love you so much!

What excellent news about the successful surgery. I know it is just the first of more great news to come.

All of you are in our prayers daily. I know you will be glad to see your parents and the children. We are praying for safe travel for them!

debralynne said...

I'm glad to hear the surgery went well. Remember, God gave you your emotions. We love you and are praying for you guys.

Camille, Blake and Pierce said...

Jenny you are stronger than you know and definitly feel right now... You and Brad are a testimony to all of us... God is with you and He will carry you through this... just let Him carry you.

Kate said...

Jenny, you both are so brave and so strong (even though you might not feel it right now). It reminds of the songs my 5th graders sing in church - "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do." God is with you. And so are all of us that love you very very much!!