Saturday, August 29, 2015

Patience in the Journey . . . . .Moving Forward

Anna was more than ready to go back to school on the first day (this past Monday).  She seems to have adjusted well to interacting with her friends and other people with her mouth banded shut. She began taking Methotrexate again last Sunday, and she had her first post-surgery Remicade infusion this past Friday.  One little hitch in the journey has been her labwork, showing some slight abnormalities.  Although it's not at a point where it's a major concern, we have been brainstorming this morning on how to add more iron to Anna's food intake.  Her doctor's suggestion has been to use iron-fortified baby cereal, and we may, indeed try that.  For today, she started adding spinach into some of the foods she purees together.  Anna's thought is, "Let's wait until Tuesday" before we go out and purchase more iron-rich foods.  (We do have some of those "green" juices at home, which she began drinking today.)  Tuesday is the day we head back to the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, where we will get an idea of when the bands can come off.

In the meantime, Anna has been longing for some foods.  She asked for goulash the other night.  She pureed (and then strained) her share, but when I put the dish on the table for the rest of us, she sighed and said, "Oh, that looks SO good."  She's been enjoying milkshakes and ice cream and frozen yogurt, but tonight she was hungry for brownies. We got creative---knowing we had to cook the batter a little bit, because of the eggs.  So she baked the brownies for 10 minutes, then put some of it in the juicer and added milk and an Atkins liquid protein drink until it was liquefied enough to drink.  She was more than satisfied with the end result!

She began making a list on her little white board of foods that she really misses eating: chocolate chip cookies, muffins, bread, pasta, salad, brownies, pop tarts, real mashed potatoes (instead of liquefying them with more milk), a Subway meatball sub, and licking peanut butter and ice cream off the spoon!  She can't lick envelopes, either, since her tongue is trapped behind her teeth---she got her brother to help lick the envelopes of the thank you notes she was writing.

This, too, shall pass.  It's only for a little while.  We continue to be surrounded and uplifted by the prayers of so many.  Each day brings progress.  The Lord continues to go before us, guiding us, directing us, and helping us to stay positive and not wallow, and to inspire us (especially Anna) with creativity despite her current limitations.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Value of the Bands (Post-Surgery Update)

Another title could have been a quote from Anna today:  "It all works out in the end.  It always does."  This after a follow-up visit to the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic this morning.  We ended up being there a lot longer than we thought we would be.  Last week Anna was discouraged about her teeth being banded shut, making eating a real challenge.  She was wishing she could have the bands off.  Today, she discovered the value of the bands that hold everything in place for now.

Somehow, someway, Anna's teeth had shifted.  Could have been during those first twelve hours or so after surgery, which weren't pretty or fun.  (If you are anticipating jaw surgery, you can message me or something if you really want more details.  I won't go into it here.)  That night, Anna said she felt like the bands had stretched and things had shifted.  The nurse attending to Anna did call the residents down, and they assured Anna that the bands were meant to have some "give" to them.  (She had a lot of surgical tape on at the time--I'm not really sure how well any of us really saw Anna's teeth with the restrictions of the tape.) Bottom line is that for the past week, Anna's teeth have been bound in such a way that the lower teeth were not centered, and they were protruding slightly in front of the upper teeth.  I wasn't sure that was right, but figured that the orthodontist would never let Anna's teeth like that and would fix the issue before we are totally done.

Herein lies the true value (what a blessing!) of working with a team of doctors which includes an orthodontist, and they schedule appointments at the Clinic and have members of the team there.

The orthodontist's assistant was the first to really take a good look at Anna's teeth.  She didn't say much, but asked some questions, and went out to talk to the doctors.  After much consultation, she came back and told Anna that she had been told to take Anna's bands off.   She said that she had never removed anyone's bands this early, but the doctors were adamant that Anna could not continue to heal from surgery with her teeth in this position.  As she gently and carefully began removing the bands, Anna was in no way prepared for the waves of extreme pain that she experienced as her teeth were loosened from their restrictions.  The bands were left off while the doctors attended to her (so very compassionate---but we were scrambling for any kind of pain relief at that point.  I had not thought to bring any--wasn't expecting to need any!--, and the office only had liquid Tyenlol for infants---we resorted to using some of that) and then they rebanded her teeth in the correct position.  That brought relief.  We stayed a little, so that the doctors were certain that Anna was okay.  They will see her again in two weeks, and decide then how much longer she needs to keep the bands on.

So even though Anna is not fond of a liquid diet, those restrictions are preferable to the pain she experienced.  (I was thinking that this is a good metaphor for life---how many of us think we want to live without any restrictions at all, not realizing that some of those restrictions are for our good?  That the mess and the pain are extreme?)

I am amazed at the difference that today's adjustments made to Anna's face on the outside.  There is still more swelling to recede, but we can really see some of the differences that this surgery has made.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  Each day has some ups and downs.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Road Back to "Normal"

The second half of Anna's surgery was rough, according to the surgeon.  The surgery itself lasted longer than he anticipated.  He came in to see Anna several times in her hospital room, and each time, he said, "That lower jaw was tough, Anna."  The first night in the hospital was not pretty or easy.  (The nurse called the Plastic Surgery residents down to Anna's room, because she wanted some advice and clarification on when we resort to cutting the bands off.  They prescribed anti-nausea meds into the IV, and that seemed to help.  The nurse had to call some of the other nurses to help with her other patients, because Anna needed her attention for awhile.)  But we've made it through.  Her surgeon also told her, "It only gets better from here."  And it has gotten better.  The swelling has been receding slowly.  Some bruising is beginning to appear, but we expected that. 

The independent Anna we know and love is beginning to emerge again.  We watched some YouTube videos this morning from a woman who had similar surgery in 2011 (look for Sasha Maggio on YouTube).  She has posted an entire series.  We didn't watch all of them yet.  Anna has also been researching recipes for liquid diets (Boost and Ensure are rather expensive, and those baby food pouches can be, as well!).  I am decent at researching the internet, but I think Anna is even better at it.  (that younger generation!).  She's already planning some of her meals for the next few days.  We're trying to get nutrients and calories into her. 

For the past few days, Anna has had a very short list of who is allowed to see her.  (If you are close to our family, call me or message me if you want to visit and want to see if you are on the short list!)  She's thinking that beginning tomorrow, she'll be ready to see more people, and is eagerly anticipating a visit from some beloved cousins.  School begins in ten days, and she already is making plans to start seeing some school people and her guidance counselor before the first day.

We  have been truly grateful for the wonderful support system we have.  With family, church family, and many, many friends who have shown us love and support and are praying for us continually.  We have seen the truth of James 5:16b (NLT), which says, "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."  We have seen these wonderful results during Anna's hospital stay and her healing process.  God never promised us that this life would be easy.  He promised, however, that He will walk with us each step of the way.  We are learning endurance and keeping our eyes on the goal, instead of the difficulty of the challenges.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Surgery Tomorrow

Penn State Hershey Medical Center Children's Hospital

Everything is in place (insurance, doctors, schedules, eyes are currently clear of inflammation, etc.)  We'll report to "Admissions" at the Hershey Medical Center early tomorrow morning for Anna's jaw reconstruction surgery.   Friends and family have been so thoughtful and kind and caring as we've prepared mentally, spiritually, and physically.  We're spending the evening chillin' out a little.  Thanks for your prayers for Anna and for us.  (I've been reminded as we've met with various doctors that she has some of nicest, kindest medical people caring for her.  For that I am so very thankful.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blessings in the Unscheduled Stops in the Journey

"Have you ever noticed how God has a blessing on the unscheduled stops along the journey?"  -- Beth Moore

If you have been following along on our journey, you already know that our summer schedule was discombobulated in June, when our plans for Anna's jaw reconstruction surgery came to a screeching halt.  At the time, it seemed like God was closing the door and locking the door.  So we rethought our plans for the summer and rearranged some things.  We were resting in the truth that God loves us beyond measure and this is part of His plan, even though we don't totally understand. We've learned again how to be flexible with our schedules and take things one day at a time.

As the weeks have passed, we've faced a few obstacles, we've called on our friends and family for prayers for wisdom and guidance along the way, and we have seen God working---creating that "pathway in the wilderness" as Isaiah 43:19 describes.

Our medical insurance carrier changed in July, and that has been a GOOD experience for us! Our previous carrier had denied coverage for Anna's surgery.  The secondary insurance she has through the state was considering coverage of the surgery, but even up to the point where we had to cancel Anna's June 1st surgery, they were still wanting more information and hadn't given the green light.  The surgeon's office has been frustrated with insurance companies lately, as more and more are denying this type of surgery, even after appeals.  The surgeon has had to make some decisions, and now (as of the beginning of July), before the pre-op appointment, his office needs to have approved pre-authorizations in place, or the surgery will be canceled.  Our new insurance approved the surgery---over a week before her pre-op appointment!  And the secondary insurance gave the green light, as well---they will cover what the primary insurance doesn't cover.  They agree that Anna's surgery is medically necessary.  Even the surgeon's scheduler was so relieved when she received that word!  She told me she did not want to cancel Anna's surgery a second time. (Anna's Remicade was also approved by the new insurance carrier---that was also a blessing, because a few years ago when we changed insurance providers, the Humira pre-authorizations took weeks and many phone calls and debates.)

Another issue was the inflammation in Anna's left eye, which had resurfaced in June.  The retina specialist had increased the frequency of the steroid eye drop.  Anna saw the ophthalmologist last week, and we left with smiles on our faces.  Both eyes are totally clear, and the pressures are on the lower side of normal.  I was holding my breath as the pressures were measured, because I was expecting those eye drops to cause a spike in the pressure of the left eye.  Not so!  Huge blessing!

Another huge blessing has been that I have NOT been asked to serve on the jury for the District Court (yet).  I remain "on call" for the month of July, but I don't have to check in again until this next Friday.  One more week, and I am free and clear!  I've gone from week to week unsure of whether I would need to scramble to find family or friends to take Anna to some important appointments.  (Hubby is really busy at work, and family and friends are pretty busy, as well.  I just haven't wanted to inconvenience anyone.)

And so now surgery is four weeks from tomorrow:  August 10th.  We'll continue to take each day as it comes.  Anna has been diligently practicing her bassoon, knowing that she will have a forced hiatus when her teeth are banded together for several weeks.  We have appointments coming up with all but one doctor (the ophthalmologist, who won't see her until early September, since the retina specialist will see Anna less than a week before surgery to keep tabs on the eye inflammation).

Our journey continues . . . . . God continues to refine us on this journey which He has called us to travel.  He is also building our faith as we see Jesus working through the little details and surprising us by removing some obstacles along the way.  We are so thankful for Him and for the prayer support and the loving compassion and care we receive from family and friends.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Well, hold on---the road may get a little rocky . . . . .

Anna reads a book while waiting for the retina specialist
We had an appointment with the retina specialist today.  She monitors the macular edema, which hasn't been a problem for months (thank the Lord!).  Anna had seen the ophthalmologist almost three weeks ago, and he saw only "trace cells" in the left eye. Today, I think (and the retina specialist believes) that Anna's weeks off Methotrexate and a prolonged span between Remicade infusions (because of the upcoming and then postponed surgery) has caught up with the eyes.  There is a "dusting" of white cells around the cornea. (She let me look at them through the lens she uses with medical students and residents---that experience was simultaneously interesting and dismaying---because of what I was seeing.)  The answer is not simple, because of the postponed surgery, scheduled for August 10th.  Anna started back on Methotrexate last week, but will have to take a break from it again closer to the surgery date.  We will schedule Remicade for sometime in mid-July and then again about two weeks following Anna's surgery.  Anna is to increase the frequency of both the Prolensa and the Pred Forte eye drops for now.

I've heard many wise mentors ask people, "So what has God been saying to you lately?" And because I've heard that question asked throughout the years, I've worked to listen carefully to what God is saying to me (just in case someone asks!---and besides, I want to know!!!). I had a lot of time to listen this morning, because at the crowded Eye Center at Hershey Medical Center, there is a lot of waiting time.  (We arrived at 8:30 a.m. and left at noon---sometimes I've thought they should provide treadmills for patients and parents, so that we're not constantly sitting or making people nervous by walking around in small spaces!) A few things came to mind today.  I recently heard or read that if we truly knew God and who He is, we would never need to fear anything at all.  I was thinking about this before the eye exam, and that was a good thought to be meditating on.  And the song in my head this morning (all morning---before and after) was Colton Dixon's song "Through All of It."  I'll post a video below.  And on the way home, on the radio, a song reminded me that "God is in control."  He truly is our anchor---our steady rock, when the road gets a little bumpy.

I know so many people are praying for Anna and for us.  Thank you!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

What a Difference a Week Makes . . . . .

Family, friends, and many people we don't really know all that well have been praying for Anna and for us, especially this past week.  People we do know and see have been asking how she is doing, and I'm happy to say MUCH BETTER!  As Anna's ear and sinus infections have been improving, the jaw stiffness and pain which was so concerning has gone away. So now we're not certain whether the stiffness and pain was a bout of active arthritis, or a result of her infections causing pressure against her jaw, or what.  Did it go away because the infection is receding?  Or because of the power of prayer?  Or both?  Maybe both.  For whatever reasons, we are so thankful for your prayers for us.  We can feel the peace and calmness in the midst of a total change of our schedules---peace replacing the worries.  We've been able to find the good parts of rescheduled surgery, like Anna being able to take her finals on schedule (I really was worried about her taking them later but with the fog of anethesia, as I've experience after past surgical procedures.)  Only one more to go as of tonight!  And then her summer vacation begins!  She will be able to help at the high school graduation next week, as well!  She has a lot of friends who will be graduating in the class ahead of her, and she is glad to help and be a part of their special evening.

We have a tentative August date for surgery, but no confirmation yet.

Thank you again for your prayers.

The video below is so fitting for us.  I love how God provides songs that are so appropriate and timely for us as we travel this journey of life.  Our help HAS come from Him.  He HAS pulled us through (and will again when we need it).  He is our rest and our refuge, and we know that He has carried us on His shoulders.



By For King & Country
When confusion's my companion
And despair holds me for ransom
I will feel no fear
I know that You are near
When I'm caught deep in the valley
With chaos for my company
I'll find my comfort here
Cause I know that You are near
My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don't have to see to believe that You're lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless
My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don't have to see to believe that You're lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help is from You
Don't have to see it to believe it
My help is from you
Don't have to see it, cause I know, cause I know it's true
My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don't have to see to believe that You're lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help is from You
Don't have to see it to believe it
My help is from you
Don't have to see it, cause I know, cause I know it's true
Songwriters: Ben Glover, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone, Tedd Tjornhom
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
For non-commercial use only.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Tough and Miserable Day

Due to circumstances beyond our control, Anna's scheduled jaw reconstruction surgery for June 1st will need to be rescheduled to a later date.  And due to the surgeon's schedule and my schedule, it will probably have to wait until early August.  I should be hearing from the scheduler either tomorrow or Monday to receive a date.  

Over the past week, Anna developed a cold---a nasty virus, similar to what her brother had the previous week.  We continued to evaluate her symptoms, hoping that they would all go away in seven days.  I also called the surgeon's office on Tuesday to let them know what was going on, and continued to pray for guidance, wisdom, and a definite answer (and not a decision we would be second-guessing later on).  

Today we got that definite answer.  Anna now has a raging ear infection.  (The doctor asked, "Have you ever had an ear infection?"  And as we were responding with a 'no,' he exclaimed (as he examined Anna's inner ear),  "Well you've got one now, and wow, is it bulging!"  By that time (mid-morning) we had already heard that the surgeon thought it best not to proceed with Anna's surgery, given her cold symptoms that I had called about on Tuesday.  When we talked about Anna's cancelled surgery with the family doctor, he agreed that there's no way Anna should have surgery now or in the near future.  She also has a sinus infection.  Anethesia would be difficult and risky with her sinuses being so inflamed.

It's been a tough day.  Even though we knew that there was a chance that surgery would be postponed, this is a mental and emotional adjustment for Anna---especially on a day when she has two infections and is feeling just miserable.  

The GOOD news is that we saw her ophthalmologist, and her eyes are basically clear. (Such a relief, since Anna has been off Methotrexate for about three weeks now, and cannot resume until she feels significantly better, as per the pediatric rheumatologist.)  She's been having increased jaw stiffness and pain, and I let her pediatric rheumatologist know that, as well.  Anna is on antibiotics for the next five days. 

This change of schedule means that Anna can now take her finals during finals week, and she may very well be able to attend graduation to see her friends receive their diplomas. (She is a junior, and has one more year of school left, but she has many friends who are seniors.) 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

". . . This is the Way; Walk In It." Counting down the days to surgery

We have had many appointments since I last posted on this blog.  I've been remembering that one of my main purposes for keeping this blog is for other parents of JA children and teens---providing a glimpse of our lives so that you can have hope for your future, as well, and know that even when challenges come, they do not have to overwhelm you.  It's time to update this blog!

Anna will have jaw reconstruction surgery one week from tomorrow:  June 1st.  The whole process of getting to this point and coming up with the date seemed like a whirlwind at the time. Between our schedule and the surgeon's schedule, plus some upcoming changes in our medical insurance (changing carriers as of July 1st, which for surgeries or other procedures, means days or weeks of jumping through hoops for pre-authorizations), I was praying fervently for guidance and peace and God's direction in scheduling the surgery. When we met with the doctors at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic in April, and we all "laid our cards on the table" as far as scheduling, everything suddenly fell into place for June 1st. This (as in feeling like we're being carried along in a good draft instead of bucking a headwind in our journey) continues to happen as we get all of the other pieces into place. As I pray about complicated situations and details fall into place with an overwhelming sense of peace, I have learned to take that as confirmation that we are going in the right direction.

Since establishing a surgery date, Anna has had several appointments, including a 2+ hour appointment at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, to get molds done and x-rays taken, and a particular kind of wire inserted through the brackets on her teeth---the wire has little loops between the teeth, which will be necessary for the surgical process, so I understand.  I love that the people at Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic explain a lot of "whys" as they do things. They take all of those molds (one of the most dreaded things for Anna) because the plastic surgeon practices the surgery on the molds before Anna will have the surgery done.  (I love that!!!  That comforts me---no one will show up to the OR and start cutting into Anna's jaw and say, "Hmmm---wonder what we should do now?!")  We had to have a few more x-rays taken before they let us go, because they needed to be just right, with Anna's mouth in just the right position, so that the surgeon can use them to measure and calculate adjustments which will be made.

There was one measuring instrument that really had me thinking.  I should have taken a picture of the contraption, because later when I tried to describe the thing to the "Bing" search engine to see if I could find an image, I failed!  I knew Anna wouldn't want a photo of them taking the measurements (the procedure of taking this measurement was not attractive, but very necessary).  It's difficult to describe---a contraption of metal and plastic pieces.  A wax piece went in Anna's mouth as a reference to her bite (as she stood up straight with her back and head against a wall).  A plastic piece rested on the bridge of her nose.  Two metal rods with earpieces on the ends went into her ears.  The orthodontist was explaining why they use this (as he was dictating several measurements to his assistant).  He said that since the plastic surgeon is going to be cutting and moving Anna's jaw, he will need a point of reference on Anna's head---and they use the ears and the bridge of the nose, because even as they move the jaw, the bridge of her nose and the position of her ears will not change.  They will know how far and where to move her jaw in relation to the location of her ears and the bridge of her nose.

I love analogies, and I see one here---an analogy for life.  Life is full of chaos and change.  It's just how life is.  In the midst of chaos and change---in order to make sense of life and get ourselves through the storms that come, we need a point of reference---a "north pole"---an anchor.  Know what I mean?  I am SO thankful that we have this, as we know our Creator---we belong to him because of Jesus.  And He has given us the Holy Spirit and His Word so that we can walk in truth and know comfort and peace.  Do you have a point of reference in the midst of chaos and change?

The past two months have not been without reflection and processing a lot of information and our feelings about it.  When we sat in the exam room of the plastic surgeon and the resident was explaining exactly what they are planning to do (using one of the molds of Anna's teeth as a visual), the information seemed a little daunting.  When I think about "option 3" and tell people about it, I cringe, and they cringe.  When we met with the PA for Anesthesiology, he looked over Anna's health history, asked questions, and commented, "This is serious stuff, here."  So, yes.  This will not be a walk in the park.  Yes---there have been thoughts and emotions to sort through (sometimes it seems like it's been more that way for me than Anna---she seems almost eager to have this done).  Anna is also taking a break from medications until mid-June, so in the back of my mind, that's a concern, but there's no going back now---just moving forward.  If her joints or eyes flare in the next few weeks, we'll take that and deal with it.  What else is there to do?

I've been meditating on a recent quote from Beth Moore, which seems appropriate for the coming week or two:

"Trust God for your current life circumstances and believe that He has called you this day to be courageous." - Beth Moore

So we'll gather up our courage and thank you all for your prayers for us.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I Surrender All . . . . . . . .

We recently sang the hymn "I Surrender All" during a worship service, and those words took on a deeper meaning for me than they have in the past---really resonated this time more than others, and maybe in a different way than usual.  These past few months, as we have begun to look to the summer, I've come to the place where I've truly HAD to surrender all my tendencies to make plans and get all my "ducks in a row."  And it seems like the more I felt that I was being successful in being flexible and trusting that "God's got this!" and that He'll work out all the details I can't control (as He's been faithful to do in the past), more and more variables continued to get dumped into the bucket of "stuff" in regards to making plans, organizing our calender, and keeping all of those spinning plates balanced and rotating.

This coming summer, Anna's last summer before she graduates from high school, she will have jaw reconstruction surgery (necessary because of the significant damage caused by arthritis).  We've been talking about this for awhile (probably over 18 months), but now it's getting closer---like REALLY close.  We don't yet have a date for surgery, but we have an appointment with the team of doctors from the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic to discuss Anna's orthodontic progress, her readiness for surgery, and hopefully get a specific date. We're hoping for June, after school is out.  (The orthodontist and director of the clinic thinks that June is a good target time--but Anna also needs confirmation from the plastic surgeon who will be doing the surgery.  His staff will schedule the surgery date.)

We were very glad to make that "team" appointment for the first full week of April, even though it meant adding one more appointment to the three already scheduled for Anna that month. And then I checked the mailbox in late February, finding a summons from the District Court in Harrisburg, advising me that I would required to be available for jury service for the entire month of April!  Now that's a game-changer!  Nothing like making an appointment to get a lot of answers to some really important questions, and then being told you probably will not be able to go! I just found out this evening, though, that my jury service has been deferred until July!  (Thanks to a great letter from Anna's pediatric rheumatologist to the court.)

More details continue to be clarified, thankfully.  We were thinking our insurance coverage may change (and we run on a fiscal year with that---July 1 - June 30)---and it is (we just found that out today), but in my view, it's a GOOD change---going back to a carrier which we've had before.  I liked them, more than the company we are currently working with. But that will mean a lot of scrambling and making arrangements for coverage for Remicade infusions and post-op appointments.  But at least we'll still have insurance, and from a reputable company.

There are still some things we just don't know, and we won't know until after the surgery.  Like---will Anna be able to play the bassoon again?  Definitely not for several weeks after surgery.  And then it's probably going to take some hard work to get her mouth muscles back into shape to play.  We'll just have to wait and see.  God has blessed her with a talent there, but I have no clue what the future will hold with that.  It's one area where we need to say, "I surrender!  I just don't know! . . . "  And continue to trust and to know that our future is in His hands, and we follow Jesus step by step to see where He leads us (bassoon or no bassoon).

Another unknown---I know (because the plastic surgeon told me this 18 months ago), that Anna will need to be off Methotrexate for awhile, as she heals from surgery.  But what about the Remicade? (I'm sure they'll tell us next month.)  And when she goes off the Methotrexate (if not also the Remicade) temporarily, will her uveitis flare?  I just don't know.

For a person who likes to plan and get all puzzle pieces into place so I can see the big picture, all of these "unknowns" could be a little unsettling.  But Jesus continues to provide us with peace in the unknowns.  We've been doing a lot of "laying it down and letting it go" these past few months, and we're watching as the answers fall into place, one by one.  I continue to LOVE the group Casting Crowns, and their song which talks about surrender (I've probably quoted this before!):

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down, and let it go