I've been waiting to email you all until we had some definite news about surgery and it just came in -- Greg is scheduled for the pericardectomy on Monday.
He met with the surgeon, Dr. Lefrak, and his team on Monday and the doctor said that he feels it is not necessary to perform the other minimal surgery (mediastinoscoppy), because all the evidence is pointing to this being the problem and that he and all the other doctors have agreed that it needs to be done. He said that the procedure is often referred to as a pericardial "stripping" which is a deceptive term since it sounds like wallpaper being stripped away with ease. According to him, this procedure is very "tedious and intricate".. they go "millimeter by millimeter" and it will take 4-6 hours to complete. He said that it's a somewhat rare procedure and that recovery is very individual. He described Greg's heart as being very "unique" . They hope that he won't be in the hospital for more than about a week. His activity will be very limited for a period of time and he said that it will be around three months before he feels normal. He doesn't anticipate the procedure making his rhythm problems any worse or any better.
We are SO encouraged to read and hear from a direct source (Jacque Thomas who worked at this hospital) that Dr. Lefrak is an awesome, capable, knowledgeable, humble man! Greg and Elise really liked him and said that he was soft spoken and seemed to really care.
Smitty and I are travelling down to be with Greg and Elise. We will be travelling separately, since I will be staying for about two weeks (that might change depending on how he does) and Smitty isn't sure when he'll return home. It's all very unknown at this point. We're not sure what day we're leaving home yet. Smitty's mom has been gracious enough to agree to "tend the homefront" while we're gone. And I even have "Grammie reinforcements"!!
I'd so much appreciate you lifting our son and daughter in law up in your prayers for peace, comfort, strength and faith in the days to come. Greg is having real insomnia issues and some good rest would do him so much good leading up to surgery. Please pray that the surgery would proceed safely, that it would correct the problems that he's been having and that he would be restored so that he and Elise could enjoy some peace in the days to come. Please pray especially for Elise that she would have the strength to endure what's to come and that she would feel the protection and love of the Lord in each moment.
Also please pray for Dr. Lefrak and all the staff that will care for Greg that they would be clinically excellent, kind and compassionate.
And finally, will you pray for our family that we can all remain strong through this time and be a comfort to Greg and Elise?
We are more grateful that I can ever tell you all for how your prayers have carried us all recently. Today, Smitty and I iwere reminded ndependently while listening to the news that although our problems seem SO overwhelming to us and our concerns can consume us if we let them, that there is a whole world going on out there where people are enduring things so much worse than we are. The plight of those in Haiti struck both of our hearts. I just want you to know that I realize how self indulgent I've been in asking for prayers for our son so often lately when you all have so much going on in your own lives. I'm sorry if I've been insensitive. Please know that you have an unending "license" to ask for prayers from me any time! It would be an honor to intercede for any of you in the future -- I know what a difference it has made for us.
We love and appreciate you all and will update you as we can.
Thank you again,