#3 of 3 Letters

Thank you for running alongside!

Dear Family & Friends,

We so appreciate your prayers over these past weeks.  You have truly been the Lord’s hands and feet.  Several of you have brought meals to us, or have just sat with us.  I have never been at a lack for coffee throughout the long hours of recovery.  This is actually Jana transcribing here — Pat is having trouble typing as his fingers are numb and clumsy and a little painful, though are working!!

My 3 brothers (Dave, Chris and Matt) and a nephew (Jacob and wife Aimee) from Maryland joined us here in SLO for a mohawk party.  They helped us get a Costco tree bought, up and decorated lickety-split.  Jana discovered a new talent – shears.  She shaved the sides of my long hair, and my brother Chris and daughter Lucy shortened the rest.  As Jana put it – I went from ‘rocker dude’ to ‘gangster dude’ in a few short minutes.  And now, I am in Pat-o-hantas mode.  (By the way, we Reeds can claim that Pocahontas is 16 generations back and I think you’ll see the resemblance if you look closely;).  Dr Park was happy I shaved my head and said it would certainly grow in more evenly this way.  I decided against dyeing it blue when Jana mentioned that color seeping into the surgical site may be a distraction “not helpful. in neuro-sugery”  So I guess I’ll just wait until next week…

My surgery was bright and early on Wednesday morning.  We had a pre-op appointment Tuesday afternoon and decided to sleep at home one last night.  Leaving at 0415, giving the kids one last kiss, we were off on a surreal journey, confident we were in the center of God’s will as I mentioned to Jana – the perfect place to be, albeit terrifying.  I had an amazing OR team who put me at ease immediately.  Jana’s dad showed up with a bald head with no time on the clock before kickoff.  That was a real smile-maker!  Meanwhile, my brother Matt back in Maryland followed suit in solidarity and egg-heads are coming out of the woodwork around the country!   The surgery was supposed to last five-ish hours.  Jana didn’t freak knowing that I had been through 7 and a half hour ultra marathon races in the past.  No worries, right 🙂  Well, she did worry as the length before any updates stretched on to 6 hours.  Though, she honesty had a peace which was quite remarkable given the trial we’re up against.  We praise God for that!

Jana writing now… I had awesome support the day of the surgery.  My good friends Kathleen and Trenda were by the side the entire day, and I had a work colleague come by along with another local friend.  We remembered funny childhood and school stories that are still vivid despite the 30 years that have gone by.  (Oh my… how that sounds so… impossible).  My dad was also a fount of relief and strength.  Dr. Park finally came out and shared the good news that the surgery was successful and the intra-operative MRI showed good margins.  Pat had been extubated already and in the ICU.  He was just awake when I was able to first see him, and amazingly only had a vertical bandage on his right scalp.  His first word was actually “boring” and his first request was to message Max Collins, our good friend’s son who is in Lucy’s class and is battling aplastic and hemolytic anemia.  He and Pat are “keppra buddies” and his sweet countenance has amazed and encouraged us this past year and a half.  Max’s recommendation was that Pat get some Lego’s, Hotwheels cards, food, and nerf guns (that last option was appreciated by me, but nixed immediately.)  Surprisingly, Pat’s request to drink coffee was granted only 2 hours later and he was back…

Transcribing again…  The arduous recovery began and as the hours passed, I was enrapt with joy.  Jana couldn’t believe that I didn’t sleep a wink that night as I poured over the bible, praised God, listened to U2 and a few sermons, and exalted that I felt born again – for a second time!  (Born again, again).  The joy didn’t cease the next day even though the hours were painful.  When Dr. Park did his morning rounds, we snapped a championship victory photo where I just pointed and the master doctor and we smiled, grins as wide as could be.  The privilege of having one of he best neurosurgeons “write” on your brain defies description.  I experienced a new level of gratitude which is what we really talk about when we think about how Christ has graciously saved us.  It was without a doubt the greatest moment of my life…  recognizing the joy of being alive and knowing that I would surely see my girls again.

But the next day was even better.  For Dr. Park, an 8-time Boston marathoner himself, rounded at the break of dawn – just my style.  He gave me the option of going home – a mere 2 days after my brain was cut open … and which we resolved to do.  Half an hour later, a surprise visit from my anesthesiologist capped a morning to remember.  The interchange of compassion and grace by this Christian doctor was off the charts and God was certainly present at that early hour.  By 8 am on that day, we were brought to our knees, broken – by empathy, devotion, and love shared mutually.

Grandma sprung the kids from school to bring them for their first visit on Friday.  We had arranged an appt with a child therapist who was able to meet and talk to them first.  They were armed with teddy bears and got their own mini Christmas trees to decorate and keep in their rooms. It was a wonderful reunion and they were ready to jump right into my arms.. which has to wait a few weeks.  But big hugs sufficed and the band was back together again.  They are being strong young ladies and we remarked that Lucy seemed to have matured 2 years in as many days as she helped by holding pressure on my bleeding IV sites once they were removed and carried my luggage out for me.

All in all, the recovery is going as well as can be.  I finally got a shower and a shave this afternoon.  Jana was psyched 😉  Now the battle is for the prognosis which we will hear this week.  We know this is a glioma, likely a higher grade than we would hope.  But we know, according to Romans 8:28, that the Lord works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.  Not that all things are good, for surely this battle is against the kind we too often face in this fallen world. But the Lord is always good.   I believe the events of the week defied reason as the Lord showered us with love from all sides.  And each of you played a vital role in that as your poured forth your prayers.  For that, we are so grateful.  Several exchanges with medical personnel were nothing short of miracles and I can honestly say that the pictures that we captured throughout the week showing joy in the midst of trials are just by themselves worth whatever the battle costs.

I want to add my mantra for this battle that Jana and I are going to walk hand-in-hand through. (See  below.) I encourage you to join the fight.   This is the competitor’s creed from FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) Endurance Team whom Pat has run for during the last couple of years.

Lastly, click the links below and turn up the volume and praise God!

U2 “Santa Barbara”

U2 “Yahweh” & Psalm 40

The Lord is Mighty and Able. Please continue to uphold us in your prayers and love,

Patrick and family