Lilyan’s surgery is upon us now. Again. Hopefully, for real this time. (Details about the surgery can be found in this long post from almost a year ago; scroll about half-way down to get to the part about Lilyan.)
The tension in the air is palpable, and the butterflies in everyone’s stomachs are active.
We are scheduled to arrive at the hospital Wednesday morning (3/20) by 7am, and surgery is supposed to begin at 9am.
Thanks to my friend Carmen I think meals for the kids here at home during our week in the hospital are all provided for now.
Robyn and I have pulled together daily activities and crafts to keep everyone’s minds busy during our days apart, and this Friday, March 22, they will all be attending a benefit concert for The Shepherd’s Crook. Scott, Lilyan, and I are all very sad to have to miss this concert, but the excitement of attending is helping all of our other kids through this scary time. And we are inexpressibly grateful to Jason for coming to Cincinnati to do this concert for TSC, and for all of those who were part of helping to plan it. Please check it out and get your tickets while they are still available. You won’t be sorry. His songs and his stories have touched us so much over the past few months. Jason is a man who is honest about the pain of this life, who has asked hard questions, and who has written about those struggles. His music speaks beautifully to the hurting and questioning places in all of us.
Even though we head to the hospital on Wednesday, I had planned to try and stick to our our normal school schedule today and tomorrow to keep everybody busy and distracted, as well as keeping everyone on track with their school work as we approach the end of another school year. Unfortunately, that didn’t go quite as I had hoped today.
Just as Lilyan was finishing up her math worksheet this morning, she put down her pencil and said she wanted to tell me something. I could tell that she was pretty serious, so I stopped school and said, “Sure, Babe. What’s up?”
She said, “I wanted to tell you about a dream . . .” and then she started sobbing so hard, and tears started falling so fast, that I couldn’t understand her. She couldn’t talk at all. After several tries, she was finally able to tell me that as she woke up this morning she was dreaming that Greg (her brother-in-law who will be helping get all of our kids to the concert Friday night) came into her room and she was telling him that she didn’t want to miss the concert. At this point, the tears began flowing freely again and the sobs choked her speech. That was the whole dream, but there was so much emotion behind this.
I recognized right away that this dream represented so many feelings about this surgery. So we just stopped school for the day and talked.
Lilyan has always had so much trouble identifying her own feelings, and even more trouble expressing those feelings to anyone. Her days have, hisorically, been filled with so much fear and anxiety. We have seen lots and lots of progress since she came home to us, especially over the past year, but this is still a challenge for her. She surprised me so much by doing such a great job with this today. She asked questions and told me scary memories of her time in the hospital in China that she’d never shared before. We talked about the parts of this upcoming surgery that make her feel most afraid. It was a good talk, and she is so much more ready for this than she was a year ago — even more than she was in October. God’s timing is always perfect.
Roslyn, who had been finishing her own math sheet while listening, was clearly very upset for Lilyan. So when she finished her math, she spent time talking to Lilyan about her own surgeries and hospital experiences to help her kind of know what to expect with the special vascular access team when they do her IV, and how dizzy her head will feel when they take her into the OR after they give her her Versed, and again when she is waking up in recovery, etc. It was one of their sweetest sister moments, ever. She also told Lilyan that she could borrow her weighted blanked if she wanted and even some of her animals because her (Roslyn’s) animals might help Lilyan feel better because she can’t be with the other kids for those days.
We also talked about breathing tubes and pain medications and things that she might like to have in place in case she is scared and drugged during her immediate post-op period and her time in the ICU. She said she would like Daddy to have music ready on his computer and a speaker to play that music for her. I asked what music she wanted us to have ready, and she immediately said, “Michael Bublé, Jason Gray, and Laura Story.” In that order. Again, knowing what she wants, and making those wants and needs known, are all new things for her, and it’s so great that she is so much stronger in these areas before we have to do this. But now it really is time to get this behind us. We’ve all been waiting with it hanging over us for so long.
It was so encouraging for me to see how well Lilyan handled this conversation, but it was also very sad to see how much she is carrying inside of her little heart. It makes me dread the days ahead. Thanks so much for all of the prayers. We really don’t know what to expect over the next week, but we know that our good and loving Author will hold us close as He writes this next chapter of our story. We want to lean into Him as we move through whatever is ahead now.
We will do our best to post updates here and let everyone know how things go.