I’m so sorry I haven’t written sooner. Complete exhaustion has set in for me. This is the first moment I have had to breathe and respond.
Here is the surgery update:
Before going into surgery yesterday, Dr. Gopen, Dr. Yang, and Derek’s medical team joined me in prayer as I prayed over the surgery, Derek, and his surgical team. I have no picture for this, because I was too busy talking to God. Knowing that these doctors, were willing to pray with us gave us 10,000% confidence. How incredible they prayed with us.
Derek went into surgery around 7:30 am yesterday morning. Sending him off was Gavin, Alex, Whitney on the phone, Derek’s parents, and our dear friend Janelle who flew in from Colorado, me and everyone of you in spirit. So glad they were all there, and so thankful Derek’s parents were there for the kids.
Throughout the day I was updated. Dr. Yang, found Derek’s skull to be incredibly thick, taking longer than expected to get through. Some of his bones are thicker than normal, and some are thinner than they should be. They found this interesting. Dr. Gopen, through GPS scan found the hole. And S E A L E D it. It is very possible that Derek’s bone structure is what was causing the confusion on CT scans of otosclerosis. This tandem team of surgeons worked together as Dr. Yang entered the skull, lifted the brain, and …..
Dr. Gopen, through GPS technology found the hole.
For all the doctors who said there wasn’t a hole, they were W R O N G.
Dr. Gopen made sure they S E A L E D it. And Sealed that sucker GOOD!
Dr. Yang made it clear that we have to be patient as Derek’s wakes up. Our first concern is of course that his right side didn’t lose any function of balance. This was the huge risk, that Derek could lose all balance. Putting him in a wheelchair, cane, walker scenario the rest of his life. This is why no one wanted to do surgery on him in the Midwest. He was too high risk. But Dr. Gopen and Dr. Yang, believed differently.
Greater the risk. Greater the reward!
Give Derek time he said.
The next huge prayer is that Derek will regain some quality of life back. Covering this hole will hopefully give him his right side balance back. Relieving the horrific pressure, sound sensitivity, and miserable symptoms he has had for over four and half years.
Derek had NO complications what so ever in surgery. No issues with his brain. NOTHING. Even during the extra drilling into his skull, his vitals remained completely normal. Unbelievable- Thank you Jesus.
Didn’t know what to expect in recovery. I was told to not over stimulate him by talking to him much. They wanted his brain to just not think.
But upon seeing him, I couldn’t believe my eyes. He opened his eyes slowly and would look around, and then reached for my hand.
Every time he opened his eyes, he would look around, as if to see if he had full out spinning vertigo.
“Sarah, I’m NOT dizzy.”
I have tears writing this. These words were beautiful to me.
Derek’s balance wasn’t damaged on the right side.
Our first miraculous answer to many prayers.
Of course he was drugged up heavily and when he realized that he wasn’t spinning, he also told me, “Babe, I’m taking you on a vacation.”
No argument there.
There is still a long road ahead of him. Dr. Yang and Gopen are so hopeful, that even with the damage, they can at least restore some of his life back. But he has a lot of swelling now from surgery. We don’t know yet if the surgery helped his symptoms. We won’t know this yet for some time.
Being an ‘ALL IN’ kind of gal, I’m still going ALL IN for a 100% miraculous miracle.
Derek, despite all odds, looks amazing. Last night by 7 p.m. he was sent to ICU where is resting comfortably.
By 10 p.m. he was bound and determined to sit up, stand and take a few steps. He was determined to not walk with a walker for the rest of his life. Derek took a few steps. I knew it gave him piece of mind. Though he was in great pain, he needed to know that his balance was for sure there. And, i can assure you, I saw him walk with my own eyes. Unbelievable.
My view upon waking up this morning, was a sleeping Derek in ICU.
This morning, he is exhausted naturally, and in pain where his surgery was. He just needs rest now. And continue prayers as we see this incredibly story unfold before us all.
Dr. Gopen was in to see Derek this morning, and it’s official. Derek’s balance has been saved.He was very pleased to see how Derek looked.
Thank you JESUS. Thank you Dr. Gopen. There are no words to express our gratitude. You took the risk and believed with us. So far…. So good.
Derek has won the hearts of the UCLA medical staff.
The care he has received here has been beyond outstanding. Everyone has been amazing to him. How can you not fall in love with Derek? His nurses Deb and Mae in recovery were outstanding! Their empathy for Derek and going above and beyond spoke volumes. They sat with me, and were as shocked as we all were to #theunfoldingmiracle story. They gave all their best to Derek and all their patients. They were amazing. Thank you for getting Derek into the ICU room so quickly. You ladies rocked. Mae made the comment to me she normally didn’t work on the side Derek was on. Something led her to him. Jesus, we thank you. He prompted her to him.
All the nurses rejoiced with me as we watched Derek slowly wake up and look amazing. His surgical nurse that was with him the entire surgery kept me informed and knowing he was with him gave us great comfort, and stopped by to see Derek one last time in recovery.
And of course our dear friend Janelle. Thank you Janelle from the bottom of my heart for being there for me yesterday. She was our rock. Today she is his personal recovery nurse and we slipped some Shaklee Physique in for a powerful recovery drink!
Derek’s ICU nurses Kathryn and Breanna have watched this
miraculous healing unfold in ICU!
IN less then 24 hours, he is up and walking. We are all shocked at how well he is doing for such a big surgery. And yet, no doubt, that it is FAITH that led us here, and God is answering our prayer in a way bigger plan than we ever imagined.
Driving the camper through the mountains, I had a lot of talks with God.
“God, please make this worth it. Please God. “
Now I’m saying, “God, it was worth every moment. Thank you GOD.”
Alex’s dear friend Taylor came and stayed with Scarlett. Thank you so much Taylor. To see your sweet face, made us all smile for ear to ear!
For our sweet Whitney who prayed from afar, you have been here every step of the way. We miss you and can’t wait to see you soon!
The night before Derek’s surgery, our niece Madigan had texted us and shared that she had zip lined for a field trip. She was so proud she did something adventurous. As we texted back and forth about her experience of overcoming her fear in ziplining and what she had learned. This is the advice she gave me for Derek’s surgery:
“At first i was scared to zip line, but I did it. That might be how Uncle Derek’s recovery will be. Scared at first but with just a little nudge you can do anything.”
The room I waited in for Derek’s entire long surgery was called “Maddie’s Room.”
Another sign from God. I took this picture the night before Derek’s surgery. He noticed the name of the room and thought of her. Maddie is Derek’s God daughter. The nudge Derek received was from our Heavenly Father and the army of angels that surrounded him.
Maddie, at almost 13 years old, you my dear are a wise young lady.
The out pouring of love and prayers was unbelievable. I haven’t responded to so many of you, and this is the best way I can stay in touch. When I have moments here and there, I read every message and also read them to Derek. You all inspire us more than you will ever know. Every prayer is felt.
Lake Mills School 8th grade class took this picture. A young classmate of Gavin’s was following my blog and orchestrated this. Unbelievable! To get a few students together and take a picture. Wow, this is what happens when one person gets an amazing idea.
This was Derek’s reaction when he saw this picture right before he went into surgery.
This picture of Gavin’s classmates really touched him. Gavin, as all of our kids have had to make huge sacrifices. Never complaining. Ever. But seeing this, really hit Gavin. He realized that he wasn’t forgotten.
Thank you back home to our community, Lake Mills. When we were weak, you were strong. God bless you for an awesome amazing community.
At Shaklee Corporation they held a prayer circle led by Brooke Thomas, one of our great prayer warriors. This picture, came in just as Derek’s surgery was in full swing. It brought me to my knees in holy spirit goosebumps and tears. Every tear I shed yesterday was all bottled up by God. He had this, and this miraculous journey proves it.
Dr. Michelle Massa is home recovering herself, she had her beautiful baby last week. And Dr. Michelle guided us from afar. To my prayer warriors from the beginning of this journey, God brought us together and formed us. And look how His plan is unfolding.
People from around the world have been praying. People we have no idea who they are stopping at worked, heard the story, gathered and prayed. The posts on social media to private messages, have humbled us beyond words. For so long, we felt alone, and had no idea how much Derek had inspired all of you.
It is amazing to see people coming together, for a man who is equivalent to Jimmy Stewart in the movie it’s a “Wonderful Lfe”.
My sweet Derek, after all the suffering you have gone through, the LORD had a much bigger plan for you than you ever imagined. You brought so many people together. Your humble spirit, and that fact that you never gave up after suffering for 4.5 years, has inspired people around the world.
But in all reality, it is all of you, that prayed on our behalf when we were too exhausted to pray! You are all apart of this journey. Thank you so much.
Our only request is this; Please, do not ever stop this beautiful prayer chain reaction. We don’t want this to be about Derek, but about everyone. Keep praying for one another. There is beautiful power in storming the heavens with prayer. As long as you give God all the glory, that’s what matters.
As the days go by, we promise to keep you informed on Derek’s recovery. I apologize for not writing sooner, but till he was stable, my focus was on God, Derek and my family.
Keep on praying for an ALL IN MIRACULOUS HEALING. For Derek’s swelling to come down, pressure to finally leave, sound sensitivity be gone, and for complete restoration. Keep praying.
He is resting comfortably in ICU now.
“With God, ALL things are possible.”
Sarah Hein the Pioneer