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!