Monday, December 3, 2007

An update

Friends and Family and Perfect Strangers-

This is Allen writing from home. Gillian and my mom are in with Joe. He did okay today (Sunday) and would have done great except that while we were changing his sheets, his IV was accidentally pulled out(mainly due to Daddy). It was so hard to watch them try repeatedly to get new access especially knowing it was my fault. I know it's just a needle prick, and in the grand scheme of his disease it's not a drop
in the bucket, but it is just hard to watch. Anyways, they were successful and he immediately went to sleep so he should have a good night.

The plan for Joseph hasn't changed at all. We are still waiting for the pathology to return and his treatment options will depend on the diagnosis. We should know something by Wednesday or Thursday, but if it is at all unsure then the sample will be sent across the country for other pathologists' opinions. He should be able to leave the PICU tomorrow and be transferred back to the regular floors. His recovery
from surgery is going well and there have been no complications so far. He has been laying mainly on his right side which leaves his supposedly deaf left ear up in the air and he has heard every word that we have said to him. So either the hearing test was wrong or the surgery relieved the pressure on the auditory nerve. Either way that is a small victory. You can pray that he will continue to recover and that he will start to eat the food that he keeps demanding but takes one tiny nibble and says "all done." The boy never eats cheeseburgers but that is the first thing I heard him say today "I want a cheeseburger."

This is hard for me to write for many reasons, the least of which is that I used to hate blogs and never really thought they served much purpose. But let me tell you that this has been the greatest encouragement that we have. We love hearing from family and old friends and friends of friends. There is nothing better than to read
so many comments from so many different people in so many different states and countries and know that everyone is praying for us. At last count I think we have people praying in 5 of the 7 continents, so all we need is to get Africa and the penguins down in Antarctica involved. Yesterday I started to copy and paste some of the comments to a word file along with some other emails to bring to the room so we
could read them when we wanted/needed to and it was 34 pages long. I had to shrink the font down to microscopic size to get it to 19 pages. And there have been around 40 comments since. It is truly amazing and overwhelming.

Thanks to those who have come by our house and cleaned and left notes and gifts. To those brave souls that volunteered to rake our yard I am especially thankful. I'm sure you didn't know there would be three years worth of leaves back there or you wouldn't have signed up.

I wish that we had time and energy to respond and thank everyone individually who have visited/written/prayed. Ya'll have no idea what an encouragement the body of Christ has been to us. There is no way that we could go through this without each and every one of you. In my dark moments when I lose hope and wonder where God is during this, I come out to the waiting room or open email or check the comments and find Him in your faces, thoughts, hopes, and prayers.

Many many thanks,
Allen, Gillian, Joe, and Holly


sj said...

Hey Allen,
Thanks so much for your post. I was never a blog fan either, but am now obsessively checking this and reading it for encouragement. I know it is hard for your to write, so thanks for doing it. I lauged so hard about the leaves, knowing your yard, so thanks all the Atlanta folks for that love!!
we love and miss you terribly and really are praying constantly. I haven't been in so much communion with God in a long long time.

Joann said...

praying for all of you. and will continue to!
thank you so much for letting us know what is going on and what we can pray is a blessing to pray for joseph.~ love from the rosenbaums

Anonymous said...

We are hanging on every word from you all. All of us are consumed with praying for Joseph's recovery. We may even be able to do something about Africa, but not Antarctica. Love to you, Karl and Martha

Phil said...

I love you and won't stop praying. About all else I can say is that you know the number.

amber said...

Hey Allen and Gillian,

We have been praying for you guys non-stop since we heard from Susan on Thursday. I am so thankful to have been led to this blog to hear of updates. Our hearts and prayers will continue to be with you. Praise God for His great faithfulness in giving us the church body! He is hearing our prayers. It's so great to hear that Joseph is hearing out of the deaf ear.
God Bless You,
Amber Hess(and family)

Wrights said...

Just wanted you to know that we have been praying for your family this morning. Thank you for keeping us updated on how to pray specifically.
Nathaniel, Rebekah, Anna Walton and Olivia

Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful you guys are updating us so we can truly walk every step of the way with you. I hope you guys can feel us attempting to help carry the load in some small way. We love your family and pray for you in ways words can't even express! Love you!

Anonymous said...

The saints are praying & God is in all of it, so stay encouraged! Praying for success in your day & good news...

Melissa P. said...

continuing to pray for your family and for little joseph. praying that you are able to find glimpses of hope and joy in the midst of what today holds for you. thank you for allowing us to read about and to pray for your precious boy. oh, and yay for blogs!!! :)

lizzi said...

It was great to see you yesterday and to share a few hugs and laughs in the waiting room. We love you so much and are praying for you! I know you know this already, but just so you don't forget: God can handle anything you throw at Him, so it's o.k. to yell at Him when you feel like it.

Tony and I will contact some of our closest penguin friends to get them praying for you.

Much love,

Anonymous said...

Just wanted you to know I'm praying for you precious little son. God knows what you are facing, every detail. kd

michele said...

May your Monday be blessed with every little thing and every big thing each of you need today. What a beautiful prayer that someone anonymous wrote on Sunday, 12/3. Please give Joseph's Mimi a big hug from Michele in Nashville.

Praying for all of you...

Chrissie said...

Gillian & Allen, We love you and pray with you for sweet little Joseph and your whole family. We have cried and been on our knees for days! What an encouragement to read your updates and to hear how God is ministering to you all in the midst of this difficult and scary time. May you sense the Lord's strong presence and loving arms holding you all securely, and may our precious Abba - the "Divine Physician" do a powerful healing work in Joseph!We love you, Chrissie & Rick P

Mel said...

Even when God's promises don't seem true- they are always true! As a dear friend once said to me- hold on to what you know is true and let everything else go.

"Yet you are near, O lord, and all your commands are true." Psalm 119:151

"I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Psalm 68:19

...I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16

Praying for your family today. Love, Mel

Reg said...

This is from the Book of Common Prayer. It has many prayers like this, when you haven't the strength to come up with your own words.

Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather
the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We
commend to your loving care this child Joseph. Relieve his pain,
guard him from all danger, restore to him your gifts of
gladness and strength, and raise him up to a life of service to
you. Hear us, we pray, for your dear Name’s sake. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this message, Allen. You, Gillian and Joseph are never far from our thoughts. Joseph is one of the sweetest (and cutest!!!) kids we know. We're praying for small and large victories for him each day.
Much love -- Tracey and Chad

Ashley said...

I heard this song the morning of Joseph's surgery and it has been in my head ever since:

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

So many hours of prayers have been lifted up on Joseph's behalf. I have a friend in Africa right now, so I will try to contact her and get Africa praying. Many prayers continued to be offered up from
the Caribbean.

"Be still, and know that I am GOD."
Psalm 46:10

Ryan & Ashley P.

Mary Vagnoni said...

Hi Gillian and Allen, Anna just showed me this web site and the tears are flowing as I read it and look at the pictures. My heart is breaking for you guys. At times like this it is so hard to be so far away from family but we are praying really hard down here in Bogota and I asked the congregation at mass yesterday to keep you in their prayers. Wish I could just jump in the car and visit. Love to you all
from Philip, Mary and Anna
Valera is praying in Houston , Orlagh in New York, the rest of the family in Ireland, Canada and Japan

Laura said...

Allen, Gillian, and Joseph,

You are all well-loved, certainly by your family and Intown, but even more so by God. We are all praying fervently for Joseph and both of you. I have sent your emails to friends all over the nation asking them to pray. Please don't hestitate to let us know what you need or want. Even if it is something simple that might merely bring you a momentary smile - hot tea, Bruster's sundae, sudoku, whatever - we'll bring it.
With love and prayers,

clay h said...

Allen and family,

Thanks for taking the time to share with us. I am praying for Joseph's total healing. I'm also praying for you & Gillian to have a ton of grace & strength. I love you guys, and really appreciate the updates.

clay headden

dave & erin said...

continuing to aggressively pray for joseph here in birmingham.
erin and dave

Anonymous said...

you and your family are constantly in our prayers.

laura matthews
memphis, tn

Anonymous said...


We will not stop praying. For you and Gillian, for Joseph, for the many doctors and nurses. We pray for hope, for peace, for rest, for understanding. We hurt along with you.

I am thankful that God is granting you comfort through these blogs posts and other words of encouragement. May he continue to give strength to your bodies and comfort to your hearts.

- Ange

Jiggs said...

Dear Allen, et al.

As to Blogs in general, I can do a 20 minute routine on my belief that all they usually do is stir up a lot of electrons with no real benefit beyond whatever good comes to those electrons get from getting bounced around a little bit.

As to this particular Blog, however, any one of us who are reading it and participating in it and sharing through it can do at least 40 minutes on why it is important to people even beyond those you know to be touched by it. Thus, please ... when and as you can ... when and if you feel led ... please do continue to give us who are reading along the privilege of letting us walk along as well.

As to Joseph's cheeseburgers, it is well-and-internationally known that "There ain't no beef like Kansas City Beef" ... so please let me know when it's time to ship some REALLY good stuff his (and your) way.

With continued love and prayers from Kansas City!

Sam said...

Al & Gill,
Thank you again for keeping us posted... not a minute goes by that I do not think of "big, bad Joe, little Joe P". I have been praying for ya'll, and will continue to pray for the doctors' wisdom in their diagnosis. In the midst of my sadness over this, I can not help but continue to laugh over Joe's first words upon waking: "cheeseburger"... unbelievable!

Hebrews 13:20,21

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


Margaret said...

No matter what I am doing, my heart is constantly praying for JosephP. Thanks for keeping us updated with the blog- I am checking a couple of times a day. Many, many of my friends are also praying for you.
Love, Margaret

t arnold said...

Hey Allen and family,
Thanks for keeping us updated on Joe. Our students, staff, and community are praying continually.
Our family has a good friend,a pastor, who lives in Kenya. He is such a godly wonderful man; his name is Joseph and he will be praying for your Joseph. Lots of love from T. Arnold and all of NHA.

Heidi and Kirk Weimer said...

Kirk and I are praying for Joseph and believing in faith for his full healing. We will be in Africa in one month, so we will take care of the Africa part for you!!!

Peace to you all...

scott cunningham said...

Dear Allen - Paige and I think of you guys constantly. Where would we be without the Internet, blogs and especially wikipedia from which I have learned a lot about brain tumors in a short amount of time! :) Joseph, and you two, are on every conversation and in every prayer in this household.

And I am also encouraged to know that others have yards with 3+ years of leaves on them. I am writing that comment down to share with my wife, whom I know will be very happy to learn that there are perfectly wonderful men in the world who have ruined their yards through neglect! :)

We love you guys very much and will continue to lift up your beautiful little boy, and you, in prayers to the Father.

Kate Etue said...

Hey, Allen & Gillian,
Just a note to let you know our friends Marc and Recah in Port Elizabeth, South Africa are praying like crazy for little Joe. So that's one more continent covered!


courtney said...

Good to hear from you, too, Allen. The body of Christ is an incredibly powerful and far-reaching entity! Many prayers and much love to you all-

Jeanette said...

Allen, your mom was my son's third grade teacher and our family loves her to pieces and our hearts are aching for all of you now. We are praying and spreading the word (via our church and my website) about Joseph. Thank you for keeping us updated.

Many blessings,

Jeanette Herdman

steve britt said...

Allen & Gillian,

Katie and I have been praying for ya'll since we heard last Thursday. I'm sorry we're so far away and can't do anything more to help. Thanks so much for the updates. We check the blog all day long. Peace and hope on your house.

The Preg family said...

Your Intown Community School friends are praying! The Preg's have been grateful to read your thoughts and comments so we can pray specifically. Thank you for sharing, and may God keep each of you in His care. ~with love, Charlene

lindz said...

Amazing story about a brave kiddo! Will be praying for you all as you continue on this journey...
Lindsey Hancock Williamson
(BA class of '98)

Bethany Reine' said...

Allen & Gillian,

My mom told me about your little Joseph a few days ago. I have been reading the old posts and catching myself up on the recent updates. Please add Africa (Malawi) to your list of continents on which people are praying. Besides Dan and I, our small community here at ABC is praying, as well as our Malawian friends. We love you and know that the Lord has your family in His hands.
Bethany Robbins