Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marissa Ashton Parks Arrangements

The family will be receiving friends & loved ones Tuesday March 13, 2012 from 4-8pm.
The funeral service will be held Wednesday March 14, 2012 at 2 pm.

All events will be held at Jones-Wynn Funeral Home in Villa Rica, Ga.

Marissa's Trust Fund will remain open to receive any donations to help with final costs.

- She fought hard. She fought
Long. She did not FEAR sickness or death.

Rissa, you set the standard for living life to the fullest.

"though my heart is torn... I will praise you in this storm"

-I am forever changed by your love & friendship in my life- Megan.....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to Miss Riss

Marissa headed back to Texas this week and got some great news! They are going to place her on some meds and let her stay in Temple for the next three months! So no flying back and forth to texas every week! Yay!
She is also all healed up from surgery and her energy is growing more and more! She is ready to have lots of visitors ans fun with her friends! If you have facebooked or texted and her and you didnt get a respsonse- she isnt being rude or ignoring you- she is just having a hard time texting and writing things right now! But she is most def. receiving them!  So Please continue to send the support, prayers, thoughts and feel FREE to stop by and see her! She heads to bed around 9:30 ish but other than that- don' be worried about stopping in! Please pass along to her friends b/c she would love some company now!

A Big Happy 25th Birthday tomorrow to YOU MISS MARISSA ASHTON PARKS!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Home Sweet Home

After such an amazing day of progress Sunday- Marissa was super tired! She slept good that night and was ready for another day of moving towards and knocking down goals!
Monday morning, she had SO many doctors come to see her! The neurosurgeon, the physical therapist, the speech therapist, an orthopedic casting Dr, multiple nurses, her surgeon's assistant..the list really does go on.
She began the day around 9am being told by her doctor, "The hospital is for sick people, and you are not sick! So get ready to go home!"- She was elated!! After being told she would be discharged that day, she then found out that it would possibly be Wednesday before she could come home to Temple.
First we went to physical therapy-where Shelby taught us many exercises that Marissa will need to perform each day to begin gaining more strength in the right side of her body. She was upbeat and ready to work! With the feeling that has been returning to her side, it will make physical therapy seem more real to her, because she is actually feeling some areas of muscles burn while exercising.
She went from physical therapy to speech therapy- where Marissa's doctor performed a 90 minute assessment of Marissa's speech.
Now here is where this part will involves all her surrounding friends, family, and loved ones.
It is a very common side effect from brain surgery, to develop a condition called Aphasia. Marissa's condition is more of a moderate Broca Aphasia. Basically, everything she knows and has learned her entire life, is still  inside the brain- but her mouth is having a hard time pronouncing those things. It's just a dissconnection from brain directing the mouth what to say. SO TRUST ME she definitely doesn't need anything watered down for her, she just needs understanding from people around her. She is still our spicy little Marissa- she just has to push thru the after effects of such a large surgery.
This can be very frustrating for anyone, especially people with such an independence like our Marissa. The therapist just asked that people make sure to work with her. This time will take pateience, practice, and understanding on everyone's part. If she ignores your texts and facebook posts- this isn't to be taken personal. Trust me, she is receiving an enormous amount of contact from people, and she just has to take responding one person at a time.
While the famiy loves and appreciates the visitors- it is best that Marissa not be in large crowds of people with tons of questions etc. She just needs to take it one person, and one day at a time.
After the therapist left the room with a diagnosis on Marissa, I looked over to her and said, "Guess what...We have a name.. and ALL names are underneath the name of Jesus Christ. So lets thank God that we know this conditions name. It is not permanent. We claim the victory of the enemy. Everything he has stolen from you- we thank God that he must give it back b/c the Word says he must."- She agreed and the smile was ear to ear. We prayed a thanked God that while recovery from things may be frustrating, long, and hard on us- that we are in good company with the Most High King. We knew that he will do a work Thru her and With that physical body.
We got home yesterday and everyone is exhausted. I myself, came home and slept for 12 hours.So I KNOW that the Parks family is needing some much deserved rest. Thank you so much for the prayers, gifts, flowers, encouraging words, and the food.
I know Courtney Jackon is organizing a group on facebook called Meals for Marissa. Please see her facebook page or mine (Meganshae Rogers) to sign up. We are keeping meals simple, even encouraging people to just send the family a gift card so they may pick up the meal themselves. Also, we are keeping the visitation minimal until she has gained more strengrth from the surgery. Also, Marissa is coming home with a new medication schedule which will enable her to sleep  better at nighttime- so we are asking that visitors please try to leave the house around 8 pm.
As far as I know- Marissa will be headed back to Texas Tuesday of next week- she will meet with her Oncologist.
Please continue the prayers, and thank God for the milestones reached! We have to give praise back to Him for His many blessings!
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
Lets shift our prayers to this:
That Uncle Brad can get the speech and physical therpists to agreee to come to Marissa, rasther than Marissa going to them. This will ensure that MORE of her energy will go towards the excersies, and less going towards getting ready and getting out of the house and driving to therapy.
Our God has proven himself mighty throughout this week- We needed a smooth surgery- They finished 4 hours early. She needed good vitals- she has maintained perfect blood pressure, etc- all week (Inclduing the morning of surgery)
We needed a room for Marissa to be moved into so she could get out of the ICU- God gave us that room even though we were told "There is no way a room will open up today"
One of the risks of surgery was less movement in the right side- She is making fists, feelings her toes, moving her own legs, WALKING.
No prayer is too big or small for our God. We are believing for a beneficial therapy regiment and schedule. We are thanking God for rest for this family as they decide their next steps. & I am thanking God for the prayers you all have been sending up.
I got home to my sweet husband last night, and laid in the bed and just cried and cried. Not out of sadness or fear- I just missed Marissa. I have been with her for a week seeing the progress unfold, and last night I just didn't know what to do with myself. I began to think about the healing I have witnessed and I wanted to thank all of you prayer warriors for that. You keep sending those prayers up, because God hears us. Thank you for loving & caring for her!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

So... Marissa is walking so good she could attempt a hospital escape!

Marissa has made huge improvements the past 2 days!
Each day we add her daily goals to the board which include things like:
Get bandages off
Wheel chair field trip

She is meeting goals left and right and Glory goes to GOD!
She is walking, moving body parts that she lost the ability to move in November 2011. It’s funny how before surgery the doctor had to warn her that “Now the movement in your right side, if anything, will worsen after this 4th surgery”- NOPE. Getting better! She moved her leg for the nurse yesterday by raising it 4 inches off the bed. She made a fist with the right arm while simultaneously bending this right elbow!
She started her physical therapy! We have been working on left handed penmanship. Her speech is becoming more fluid! GOD IS HEALING HER BODY!!!
The doctor came into the room today, unexpectedly, since he is off on weekends- He literally, came to the hospital to see Marissa and tell her some good news..

“Well I cam myself to tell you that after reviewing the MRI we did the day after surgery- it seems like I actually got out 90% of the Mass. Now, I still don’t know what the mass is composed of (could be inflammation, live tumor cells, dead tumor cells…) but I did want to let you know myself that I feel really good about the amount we extracted”
Marissa didn’t wait- she grabbed my hand and waved her parents to come to her bed and she said “Thank Him”- and she bowed her head .We thanked God for the news that we had received and it was good.
As far as “When will she be able to come home?”- No answer so far. Monday or Tuesday we will get pathology results back. Tuesday or Wednesday she will be assessed by the Physical and Speech Group so that all of her exercises can be properly decided. Once assessed the training regiment she needs to follow will be sent back home so that she can complete these therapies locally.

Our goals are turned now to the next week. Please continue to send prayers of Strength because each day holds its battles for Marissa and her family. It takes a lot of energy, patience, and LACK OF SLEEP on all of their parts to make each day count!
I know this isn’t the detailed blog you are used too- but there are a lot of things that Marissa needs to tell you for herself one day VERY SOON. This is Marissa’s story and testimony that God is building. Satan must be trembling in his boots over the power Marissa’s testimony holds. I close my eyes when I lay beside her each night and I envision her standing before thousands of people sharing her story. Showing people that when you feel hope is gone- it’s still there. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.
Healing will flow from her hands and a new compassion and understanding for those afflicted with sickness. She will, with the Spirit of God flowing thru her, bring healing and hope to the sick and hopeless.

Christine and Brad would like to extend their deep gratitude to everyone who is praying. They have received an awful lot of emails, texts, and phone calls- but guys, I will be blunt. There is no time to take those calls.
I myself have talked to my husband 3 times, at best, since Wednesday. They are so appreciative and definitely not ignoring anyone, but direct from them to you- they are worn out. They love everyone and will plan on contacting more people as Marissa continues to get stronger.

Now I did promise Marissa that some photos I have will not be posted – because once again, this is her story to build and share. But I do have some for you! And one AMAZING Video!
Stand on those healing scriptures! Next Prayer focus- “God we thank you for that good report you are sending Marissa’s way this week! We thank you for pathology and physical/speech assessments to go smoothly. God continue to send her that strength.”
Remind God of those promises he already gave to us- and His Word will NOT return void! Prayers & gratitude going up=healing and mercies raining down!
Shout out to Kristy Carroll who has shared Marissa’s story and journey with the members of Carrollton Surgical Group. They contacted me in interest of how to raise some funds for Marissa! Thank you for reaching out, her family was humbled when I told them of the email!

Super Bowl Date Night!
 M.D. Anderson Patient Superbowl Party
Everything's Bigger in Texas!
Thanks for the Flowers Leeny!
 Tables & Walls are COVERED with Healing Promises!

Just Taking a Stroll. NO BIG DEAL.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Just updating from sleep deprivation

MarIssa has been moved from icu to the 8th floor! She is currently sleeping super deep :)
Vitals have Been normal all day
Had bandages on head changes out one time
Good appetite- walking and sitting up 3 times a
Day for an hour each time.
Her face is back to normality- as in: eyes and smile are no longer shifted and higher on one side

I tickled her right foot today and she laughed! She moved her right leg by herself- 2 inches off the bed!!

They are slowly pulling the pain medication and she is requesting it less.

She had another MRI Done tonight and dr said "if you get a
Call tonight before midnight then something is on the MRI that worries me. If you don't get a call- we are in good shape."

That call never came in.

She is forming longer thoughts and sentences. Things like this (no exaggeration)

"I felt peace this time"
"tell her love her much"
"yea I want you read to me"
"I was about to say"
"so thankful I feel peace"

Many many more things. For those of you who have been around to experience her speech go from
Normal to simply head nods and points within the past month- this is the healing process
Taking place within her body!

Keep those prayers coming in. Stand in faith. It's way too easy to believe what doctored say or even what our bodies "feel"- and much harder to believe the promises of God. But stand strong because her body is being healed!

Give thanks!

I am going to attempt sleep.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Don't let up

Can't talk long- headed to recovery! Don't let prayers stop! Icu tonight and possibly regular room ASAP!! Do not let prayers cease!! God is not finished yet!! Will get you a room
Number soon as I have! And yes you can donate to the fund of you are out of state- if you call united community bank they will help you with that! Thank you much!!

Thursday Updates Begin NOW

While I will begin by offering my apologies for no updates yesterday, I will tell you that it truly wasn’t possible. Between fighting for battery power and my phone searching for internet capability- my updating was somewhat limited. Not only that; but the day that I experienced yesterday was like nothing I have ever experienced before.
My mom battled a late stage of breast cancer when I was a freshman in high school. There were times I would attend hospital and doctors visits. There were times I would just expect people to be at the house when I arrived home from school, whether there for visitation purposes or to provide us with food. But can I be honest? I seriously just got so used to it and that I began to view those things as normal. No stress or anxiety, responsibility or action was really required of me when I was 14. Mom was too “tired” to cook the meals. She was “always” going from doctor to doctor. Now, I chalk a lot of this up to adolescence. But after yesterday I learned what it felt like from the parent’s and the fighter’s position.
I truly have prayed for strength for the family throughout the year, but I now know the areas strength is needed because it literally drains out of you all day long.
From building to building, test to test, office to office: we were non-stop all day long for pre op. There was an MRI. Blood work. Speech Therapist examinations. General Physicals. Consultations. Review of procedure. It goes on and on.
I came here expecting a battle in the spiritual realm, and thank God that he has been preparing me. I laid my head down on the pillow last night and literally couldn’t sleep. Funny thing is, I WAS EXHAUSTED. I don’t know how Aunt Chris and Uncle Brad have been doing this alone for a year. I really got to experience the fullness of what are Marissa’s routine appointments. I felt so bad for never realizing what goes into it . I should have known because of my mom’s battle. However, at 14 years old, we are not concerned with the cares and concerns of much other than what outfit to wear to school and where can I find $7 to get into the Friday Night football game. If you have taken the time throughout this year to provide food, cleaning for the family, etc: from the bottom of my Heart- THANK YOU. I could barely feed myself from fatigue due to the day we experienced- and Uncle Brad referred to yesterday as “Smooth”… The small tasks that you need for your personal body to function properly (sleep, bathroom breaks, water, food) fall by the wayside. I have known a little of this by being able to take Marissa to healing classes and church services 2-3 times a week. So I was prepared for helping with food and walking. I was not prepared for the way doctors need you here, and then there, and go get this immediately, and trying to maintain the physical things also added to the concentration of maintain a sound mind yesterday so that my spirit man could be strong. I knew the only prayer I needed yesterday to get me through was, “God use me as your vessel while I am here. What do you need me say, hear, pray, think, do. What am I to do to be useful and helpful to both Marissa and her parents?” Truly, my respect goes out to the parents who can pick their children up when the children cannot do for themselves temporarily. I am honored by the man my father was to my mother. Never leaving, never cringing when hair came out, and never complaining that she wasn’t able to do things normally. It takes a strong support system full of TRUE people to stand when the going gets tough.  So again, thank you, to all who give to her family during this time; and to those who have not fallen by the wayside of this journey.
Tuesday night after a night on the town, I helped get Rissa ready for bed-never realizing the amount of energy that goes into this. Once in bed we read from the book my mom sent with us, Divine Healing. She made it through 3 chapters before her head began to nod. I would read each page and take notice to her craving for the Word. She would motion her hand as if saying, “Keep going”.. So I did. This book takes it so far past just reading the scriptures of healing and promises. It really breaks down how to have faith. What is required to have it. All that is required to activate it. It teaches healing in a whole new light. I tell you this right now; I will never again walk in something, small or large, that God promised me I didn’t have too. If you get the chance to read this book- please do so.
After reading, it was lights out, but not until we prayed together and invested in some much needed worship time. She has really kept The Word going into her spirit, that’s why I have nothing but confidence in saying that she is prepared for this battle. She is coming from a completely different place and point of view for this surgery, and I see if affecting all of us surrounding her. I know I am personally growing stronger in my everyday faith. I have never seen her parents look or sound this confident and calm. They are sending their daughter into her fourth brain surgery and there have been no moments of weakness. No emotion has been the underlying force behind little arguments. No tears have been shed this week. We have come together prayer and spoken in agreement more this time than we ever have. Marissa may or may not know this, but God is using her to bring people together. He is using her as a vessel to strengthen faith in people. She is using this circumstance to prove his might strong. We serve a faithful God.
I can’t even get into the full details of the visits. I know I said I wouldn’t spare any-but I cannot in full confidence supply the details properly without having time and rest needed to sort the day out that I experienced yesterday. Her parents and I are running on about 8 hours of sleep over the course of 2-3 days. You want to fall asleep when you lay down, but you just can’t. She will need this medicine at this hour, and I have to make sure this is packed before I forget it, and O, what’s that God? You are calling me to prayer and this HOUR?
 I heard so many opinions. I heard so many risks for every little thing. By 10 am I was spiritually worn out from having to try to cast out what the world says, and just tuning into Christ.  Marissa and I had the same spiritual awareness yesterday. There were times she just needed to leave a waiting room to get alone because there is a lot of sadness here. It’s easy to listen to our body and let the pain of our flesh dictate what words our mouth speaks. It’s difficult to find that quiet place with only you and Jesus when you are surrounded by many diseased and broken people. I knew my presence here was ordained so I could notice was around Marissa, and what was being spoken in her midst- I am here to help her maintain focus while her parents can do what they are meant to do also- be parents and care givers. By allowing God to take and use me as His vessel- the prayers of the saints are being heard and he is sending down perfect promises, reminders, and words for her- so again, THANK YOU for praying and believing. You are helping make this happen.
Side note: M.D. Anderson may be the best cancer center in the US. But imagine the number pouring in by the day, some know Christ, some don’t. Then you have an entire other group of people who know God is the healer, but they are not praying and interpreting some of his healing scriptures properly.
God calls on us to ask Him for our miracle. Seek him. Call out to Him. He wants us to exercise our faith- and here is the good news guys.. Marissa has done all of that- and its God’s turn. He always holds up His end of the deal. By walking with no cane- she exercises her faith. Good doctors and even we worrisome friends say “Let me help you”, and she refuses. It’s because Marissa had grasped onto this faith thing before a lot of us had time too. She has called to him. She has been grounded in His scriptures. Marissa is holding onto her healing and fulfillment of scripture like a bulldog holds on to a bone.
Now to get to some of the medical and procedural details:
 Love that when she had her blood pressure taken yesterday it was 141/82… Today, (the day she is scheduled for surgery) her blood pressure is 120/84. Her nurse looked at her and said, “That’s the peace of God if you have perfect blood pressure on the day of brain surgery”.
All of her tests were normal and good yesterday. Her doctors have expressed that there is a HUGE and noticeable disconnect between what they show on MRI results, and what Marissa is actually acting like. This is just another sign that God’s hand is in on Marissa’s circumstance.
As of 7:30 Central Time- She was put to sleep and surgery began at 8:30. They are estimating a 6-8 hour surgery. Updates will be given every 2 hours beginning at 10 am. I WILL update you- just know that my phone is an unreliable source (for those of you texting me) - and let me use this as an outlet to say.. Just say NO to AT&T…
Courtney Jackson has been awesome enough to arrange food for the family for the next month- a HUGE blessing headed your way and for all the people sending food that do not even know her.
It’s hard to be in a different city than your loved one or friend when they are going thru something. I know that. Why do you think I am here? I literally can’t stay still the day she is in surgery and I can’t be there to pray with her and help remind her of those promises God has made to us. SO TRUST ME, I get it.
But to help out- let’s all send a blessing to Marissa and her parents. Take a couple minutes and ask God, (or whoever keeps the finances straight in your house), what can I give financially to help them out? Can I spare one Chick-Fil-A drive thru visit this week? I know that we all feel that need to give unto people. We all want to reach out. I am telling you now, by sitting here and seeing what they do on a daily basis to help Marissa get from point A to point B- its take strength, energy, patience, so much unconditional love, and sadly- Money.
So, I want us all to help pay off the cost of this trip for them. You can all help do that. THEY WILL NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEMSELVES. Let’s bless them. Brad & Christine are taking care of the Marissa we all know and love in a way that we will never know. But we will reap the rewards of it because she will still be blessing our lives for many years in the future. Due to the love so many of you have shown, I know you won’t be comfortable sending them money with your name on it. That’s fine. If you wish to remain anonymous- double fine because United Community Bank has established a trust fund for Marissa when this journey began. I am going to provide the information for donations into her fund. Medical and travel expenses come directly out of this fund! For anyone wondering, your donation is tax deductable.
See what you can spare. $10, $15, whatever you can! Let’s help cover the costs of the taxis and airfare for this trip. If you can’t give anything to help them out- don’t feel bad about it and definitely make sure that you didn’t read this with the wrong mind-set. The last thing this should sound like is “Give me all your money or you are bad friend!!!”- Please, we are so far past that at this point. If you read anything I post, or know me personally you know my desire to help give them this is pure- and I want you all to help out because you have the same hearts that I have. But be sure that you really do take the time to pray and think on my request.

A Big THANK YOU to all the girls down at United Community Bank who made this Trust Fund possible. They set this account up for Marissa when they found out about the battle she was facing! They not only have a relationship with her and her family, but they genuinely care about Marissa’s progress.  If you choose to send donations, don’t be surprised if they strike up a conversation with you just to express how much they care for Rissa.
The Marissa Parks Trust Fund
United Community Bank
485 West Bankhead Hwy
Villa Rica, Ga 30180
You can ask to speak to any of the ladies working- they are all familiar with Marissa’s Fund.

The 10 Am update just came in- the doctor ended up starting half an hour earlier than he planned too- her vitals are good and they are already in the brain working!