Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Missing In Action

We are still here, just absent from the blogging world. I have been really busy with monogram orders that has taken most of my "free" time. Also, JB has been conducting a training class at work for the past 1 and 1/2 weeks from 8 to 5 and then on some nights selling furniture from 5 to 8 with only 1 day off. Needless to say, time has not allowed for much blogging these past few weeks.

But I did want to check in. Hopefully, when JB gets back on his regular schedule with 2 days off, I'll have a little more time to blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You've got to Stand for Something...

Some of you have already seen or heard about the controversy over the Miss USA pageant involving Miss California and her answer to a question. If you haven't than you can find several stories about it here.

The question that was asked was one of controversy concerning gay marriage rights in all the states. I won't go into detail because this post is not necessarily about gay rights. With that being said...I don't mind stating my view. I believe that marriage is intended and ordained by God only between a women and a man. That's my belief, that's my values, that is what I will teach my children.

However, this post is not about what I believe, what Miss California believes, what the conservatives or liberals believe. Instead it is about the freedom of speech and the courage to use it.

I don't know anything about Miss California, Carrie Prejean. I don't know her religious background, her level of spirituality or any other convictions she holds. But I am proud of her courageously stating what she believed. She didn't give the answer that the media was looking for, she didn't give the answer that could have possibly won her the crown and she didn't give an answer to just to please those that are for gay marriage. Instead, she showed courage and character when she openly used her freedom of speech to state her convictions and values. She didn't coward down to the media, left wing, liberal culture that martyrs anyone against their beliefs. Instead she stood up strong to the Goliath culture with pride and unwavering conviction.

The issues of gay marriage was not necessarily the big picture here. The fact that she actually stood her ground and was not intimidated by the culture war that this issue has brought to our modern society is what, I think, shocked the media and most viewers. In this situation, it has come to be expected that someone of her celebrity status would automatically go with the culture and definitely not against it.

Miss California did not sell her soul to gain the world. I am encouraged by her act of courage and I hope that if I am ever in front of America (so to speak), I can speak with the conviction and courage she did. I know there are others that have done the same as she and I am also encouraged by their bravery to speak against the popular ideology.

Update 4

Thanks to all the many prayers and miracles of God, Denise is able to come home today. It was a total shock to her when her doctor walked in and released her.

However, she still has a ways to go as for recovery. Her blood sugars are crazy and she is still on a liquid diet but pain free. I haven't talked with her personally, but I assume that a doctor here will help her regulate her sugar levels until her body adjusts. This is typical of patients that have had this surgery. Sometimes, their bodies never recover and they become an insulin dependant diabetic. But some do recover and require little to no insulin at all but manages with diet and exercise.

Thanks again for all the prayers, concerns and emails of encouragement. The success so far is all of God and his ultimate healing. May God's glory shine through Denise as she can be a living miracle of His love.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update 3

My cousin is doing very well. Recovery seems to be going better than expected even so she will be discharged from ICU today and moved to a room of her own. Thank you so much for your prayers and emails. God is so good and is so much bigger than any "human" physician. Don't get me wrong, we are thankful for the physicians that He has blessed with that gift, but we thank Him for working through their hands.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Update 2

At 1:15, they were officially through with the surgery. There was very little bleeding, which is one of the best possible situations. The liver is an organ with lots of vessels which causes great concerns when it comes to bleeding during the operation. There is a high chance that she can bleed even after surgery. In this case, they will have to go back in and try to stop the bleeding.

The family will get to see her at 2:30. Hopefully she will only have to remain in the ICU for only 2 days. The recovery process is just as crucial if not more than the surgery itself. The next hurdle will be that she recovers enough within the next few days in order to proceed to next recovery phase.

Thank you again for the prayers.

Update on my Cousin

She is currently in surgery. They have removed her pancreas. Now the diligent part of harvesting the healthy islet cells in order to plant them into her liver has started. This takes about 2 hours. Meanwhile, Denise stays unconscious while the doctors do this tedious task. Thanks for the prayers and thoughts. I will update when I have another report.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayer Request

My cousin, Denise, is headed today to UAB to undergo a very risky surgery in hopes to correct a pancreatic anomaly that has caused her severe pain for the past 3 1/2 years. Here is her story below from her CaringBridge Journal:

"This nightmare all started about 3 1/2 years ago. I had my first of MANY bouts with pancreatitis. After the first attach I was in the hospital for almost 20 days. After alot of pain and more tests I was find to have a condition called pancreas divisum.

Pancreas divisum is a common congenital anomaly (an anomaly that is present at birth) of the pancreatic duct(s). The Pancreas is a deep-seated organ located behind the stomach. One of its functions is to produce enzymes that are important for the digestion of food in the intestine. The digestive enzymes, in the form of digestive juice, drain from the pancreas via the pancreatic duct into the duodenum(the upper portion of the small intestine) where they aid in digesting food. It also produces insulin. The majority of individuals born with pancreas divisum experience no symptoms throughout life, will remain undiagnosed and will not require treatment. A small number of patients with pancreas divisum will experience repeated episodes of pancreatitis.

Doctors are not certain how pancreas divisum causes abdominal pain and pancreatitis. In my case the minor papilla is too narrow to adequately drain the digestive juices in the dorsal duct. The backup of the digestive juices elevates the pressure in the minor duct that causes abdominal pain and pancreatitis.
The technique of a total pancreatectomy involves removing the entire pancreas along with the spleen, duodenum, gallbladder and distal common bile duct. Then they will isolate my islet cells from my pancreas (which produce insulin) and transplant them into my liver.

UAB is one of the few hospitals in the nation where islet transplants are preformed. Dr. John Christein (my surgeon) is the director of the Islet Auto Transplant program, and is specialized in pancreatic surgery. If this procedure works, I may only require small doses of insulin, and best case, none at all eventually. (If it falls, I will become a complete insulin dependent diabetic).
I will also, have to take digestive enzymes (tablet form) to break down my food, for the rest of my life.

The surgery itself takes about 7 or 8 hours...then I will be in ICU for at least 2 days and in the hospital for about 12 days. And then HOPEFULLY I will be home the last week of April....GOD WILLING!!!!"

I ask if you will pray for her as she undergoes this surgery and recovery. Please also keep her family, especially her little ones, Chandler and Cannon, who will miss their mamma for the days to come.

Her surgery is tomorrow and I will try to keep an update when I get word of the progress.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Last Tuesday, we took the boys to the local Minor League ball park. JB had heard on the radio that they were having a open house of sorts and the players would be doing batting practice for any spectators that wanted to come see. We didn't last long due to the cool weather but had fun while were there.
Admission: Free
Hot dogs: Free
Drinks: Free
Time with my family without spending money: Priceless