Tag Archives: Zach Brown

Zach update # 4

Good news

Good news!  We’re being discharged from the hospital this AM.  Zach did great overnight and seems to be his chipper self.  We will visit the opthomology clinic before coming home, but are on our way.

Also, we got back the report about the spinal fluid sample already.  That test showed no sign of cancer in the spinal fluid.  Praise the Lord!  We’ll receive a pathology report about Zach’s removed eye as well as a bone marrow sample.  The one year mark from today would mean we’re likely out of the woods with concerns of any cancer.

Thanks for your support and prayers.  You have all been a wonderful blessing in these past few days.  We’ll keep writing new updates and ruminations as news and thoughts come to us.

Here’s a Psalm my friend Jason shared with us.  Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
(Psalm 138 ESV)

Blessings,

Tim and Sarah

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Zach update # 3

We are so thankful to all who are praying and helping us through this time.  We are overwhelmed with gratitude!
The following update is written by Sarah.  I’m so thankful for her love and insight.  Enjoy!

Recovery and Room Assignment

Lynley Champion arrived just as Dr. Archer was giving us the update on the surgery as Zach was in recovery (around 4:00).  Our parents left and she came up with us to recovery.  She had 83 days of experience here at Mott when her nephew dealt with some radical issues that eventually took his life.  She was a great encouragement and friend to have.
In the room, the Resident (doctor in training) took Zach’s history and enjoyed getting to know our family in this brief synopsis form 🙂 Zach is doing well.  They’re managing his pain with a little Morphine and Tylenol.  He nursed at 4:30 in Recovery and then again he took one side at 7:30.  Praise the Lord!  Nothing like mamma’s milk.  Donna Alberta (our pastor’s wife and sweet friend who came around 7:00) and I were joking about the meds.  We joked that he’s on a cocktail of morphine and mamma’s milk 🙂 mmmm….  we should coin a new drink name 🙂
We are tired and heading to rest soon.  But the overwhleming feeling is one of peace and contentment right now.  Later I’ll share some reflections on John 10 as I was reading today.  But for now, we are well.  We are being upheld by our great Saviour Jesus who is interceding on our behalf before the Father and is hearing the prayers of his saints (that’s all of you!).  There aren’t words to express our gratitude for your care and prayers.  Thank you…

Discharge hopefully tomorrow…

We have been told we will be discharged tomorrow.  If you’ve been in the hospital or known someone else who has, you know how easily that can shift!  We haven’t seen his eye socket yet.  It’s still covered with the gauze pressure patch.  He opens his good eye and looks at us, still pretty groggy.
After leaving we’ll visit the opthomology clinic–Kellogg Eye Center–just around the corner here and the doctor will remove the patch and inspect it, making sure it’s healing well.  All it needs for care is antibiotic ointment.  I think that moment will be very hard.  I’m anticipating a feeling of my heart breaking and overwhelming loss I think…
We’ll have the option to patch his eye if we desire.  I think we might do that for a bit.  Perhaps easing into the new reality…We’ll see.  For now, pray we would all sleep in heavenly peace tonight.

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

I spoke with Rebekah (our oldest – almost 12) this evening to let her know Tim would stay here the night with Zach and me.  As I asked her how the day went she so articulately and beautifully described the flow of the day, the comings and goings of helping friends, meals, naps, school pick ups and drop offs, daily routines…She was so stable and confident.  I was struck with pride at the mature young lady she’s becoming before my eyes.  Then she shared, in such a genuine, concerned and thoughtful way, that she thought this whole thing was really much harder on us as parents and adults then it is on them as kids.  How teary we would get when we talked about what was  happening and things… It was so sweet to me to see how she was tuned in to the differences in our experiences because of age and relationship etc.
Love to all,
Sarah

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Zach update # 2

Surgery Finished

Zach is out of the operation and the surgery was successful. After consulting with our doctor midway through the surgery, it was clear the removal of Zach’s left eye was the wisest option to arrest the growth of the cancer. The growth had already spread to consume over 80% of his left eye.

There are two things for which we greatly rejoice:

  1. As far as we know the cancer is completely contained in that left eye. With that eye removed, we are hopeful that we have successfully removed the cancer in its entirety.
  2. Secondly, and most importantly, Zach’s right eye looks completely healthy. This means that the cancer was only in the one eye and not both. There is a big difference between one eye and no eyes! Lord willing, he will have one healthy eye to give him ongoing sight through his life.

Zach will have many challenges ahead–regular exams of his right eye to scout out any cancerous growth in that good eye, learning to adapt to using one eye. We are thankful that God will be with him (and us) every step of the way.

The surgery today included a sampling of spinal fluid and bone marrow sample to look for any evidence of cancer elsewhere. Please join us in praying that there be no cancer anywhere else.

We haven’t seen him yet. Please pray for us as we know that this will be the beginning of a very hard reality that will take a long time to adjust to. Pray for God to sustain us today emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Yet, in all, we are so blessed! Here in the hospital, we see many others whose troubles far surpass our own. Our hearts go out to them.

Thank you for praying…

Much love,

Tim and Sarah

PS. I’ve included a picture below of the exam under anesthesia of Zach’s eyes. The one on the top is his healthy eye (right), the photo on the bottom is the eye with cancer (his left eye). As you can see the radical difference between the two is extreme. We’re thankful for the healthy eye.

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Zach update # 1

11:13 am Monday 23rd, 2011–Sarah’s thoughts

Safe in God’s care…

Our spirits are sober, engaging in what needs to be done.  We are resting in the confidence that God is in control.  Not a hair can fall from Zach’s head with out the  Father in heaven signing off and in fact, ordaining it.  Stonewall Jackson, in the Civil War, answered someone who asked how he could be so fearless, “I belong to the Lord.  I am as safe on the battle field as I am in bed.”
Surely, as my heart worries about the anesthesia, the exam, the pokes and pricks, and drawing fluid, even the removal of his eye, we must know that Zach is as safe in every procedure as he is in my arms or at my breast.  He is in His Father’s keeping….
Surely this tumor has been ordained by our loving Father for His perfect purposes for our son and our family.  “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord!”  All of his purposes are GOOD and work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes (and that’s us!)  How we must rest in his sovereign plan.  Our souls are rooted in this truth even as we walk through these turbulent waters.  Pray we would sink in deep to God’s presence.  That even in the emotional turbulence,  the tears, we would fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and the perfecter of our faith.  I think of what I heard from Mindy Caliguire,  “Emotions make wonderful servants but terrible masters.”  My emotions are fluctuating, but my spirit is at peace.

Arrival and waiting…

We arrived at Mott Children’s Hospital (U of M, Ann Arbor) this morning at 8:30.  Tim and I prayed much over him, read Psalm 103 and I cried.  He was doing very well, snuggling in my arms, wrapped in his blanket, resting peacefully.  Tim’s parents arrived as we did, my parents arrived shortly after and prayed with us just before Zach went in for anesthesia.  He went in at 9:45 for an MRI to confirm the size of the tumor and check the other eye and the pineal gland of the brain (the other area of concern).  In the middle of the MRI Dr. Archer came and showed us what they’d seen so far.  The  tumor does in fact consume about 80% of his eye (it is in the vitreal fluid – the space between the retina at the back of the eye and the lens in the front).  We are waiting for the MRI to be complete.
We are grateful to family and Pastor Alberta and our friend Bill visiting with us today.
Next, Zach proceeds to exam under anesthesia where the Doctor will look directly at both eyes.   We will at that point consult with the surgeon prior to removal of the eye.  After that they will also sample bone marrow and spinal fluid to look for evidence of any other cancer signs.

Area for ongoing prayer…

Retinoblastoma (Zach’s eye cancer) is particularly concerning because of the chances of the cancer traveling through the optic nerve to the brain.  Removing the eye is actually the most conservative measure to take in terms of the cancer because if the tumor is enclosed in the eye there is the least risk of cancer spreading to the rest of the body.  We have to win this battle with cancer decisively and rapidly.  More later…
Sarah and Tim

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Official updates for Zach Brown

Thank you for visiting. All updates about Zach and his surgery will be posted here at my blog.

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God bless you all.

Tim

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