Home Sweet Home

Thursday, the day before the neurosurgery, was busy for all three of us.  I hadn’t planned it that way, but I was glad for it.  It gave me less time to worry.  John had office work and an afternoon meeting.  I worked with Eli doing some last minute physical therapy and I rushed around the house doing laundry and other “important” stuff.   We met up with John for a late afternoon appointment with Eli’s neurologist.  John and Eli then went home to put the frozen pizzas in the oven for dinner and I went to JCPenney for the pair of jeans that I’ve desperately been trying to avoid having to buy.

Finally, after the pizzas were eaten and we were all ready to crash, I told Eli to climb into his bed.  I told him that I had something I wanted to share with him.  Throughout the day we had been receiving e-mails and comments on our website and Facebook.  As I was able, I would copy them and put them into a Word document.  By the end of the day I had compiled three pages, and that was only a portion of them!  I printed the three sheets and brought them to Eli’s room.  John and Eli listened as I read the encouraging words.  So many people praying!  Our day had been a whirlwind, but it ended with a beautiful time of peace.  I will never forget it.  Eli smiled and seemed to forget his worries.

We left the house Friday morning at 5:15 am and it sort of felt like we were heading into battle.  But, we were heavily armed.  The e-mails, texts, and comments continued to come in and lift us up!  Even as we prayed, we knew that other people were praying as well!  I knew that it was covered!

We arrived at the hospital and they were waiting for us!  Without wasting any time, they took us back and got Eli ready for surgery.  Dr. Ward came in to say hello and he asked Eli how he was feeling.  Eli said he was a little nervous.  Dr. Ward said, “I am too!”  We all laughed.  Ironically, we spent a lot of time laughing during that pre-surgery time.  Our dear friends, Gwen and Shelton came in, and it was like a little party.  Various medical people were in and out asking Eli questions.  Eli had brought one of his stuffed Mickey Mouse toys with him and he told every person he talked to how he has been to Disney World three times.  Everyone who came in contact with Eli knew all about it!

Eventually, it was time to say our “see you laters” and let Eli go.  It was really nice to have our friends and Eli’s grandparents there.  The hospital had given us a buzzer, like you get when waiting to be seated at restaurants, so that they could let us know when they had an update.  When the surgery was over, John and I were allowed to go to the recovery area and be with him because they didn’t have a room ready for him yet.  I couldn’t wait to see him!  Walking through that hospital and seeing the things that I saw certainly brought back memories of our more traumatic time there in 2003.  I was determined to keep those thoughts away.  This was different, I kept telling myself.  And it was.  Eli was groggy, but awake.  He didn’t feel much like talking, but we could see that he was ok.  John and I hugged him and loved on him a bit and then sat down to wait with him until he could go to his room.  Eventually, a doctor who had been in the operating room came and talked to us.  He told us that 2 of the 3 shunt parts had been clogged.  They were able to replace them and everything went really well.  Finally, I felt like I was able to breathe again.  It was as if I had been “holding my breath” ever since we found out he needed the surgery.  I told John that I wanted to go outside and just scream to release it!

Once in his room and reunited with his grandparents, Eli was pretty alert and ready to be done with it all.  He enjoyed having a few visitors and rested for a little while.  His primary focus was on having the required head CT (to check that everything looked good) and then being released on Saturday.  He watched the clock on the wall.  A lot.  This is not unusual for him, but it prevented him (and me) from sleeping much at all on Friday night.  Sleeping (or not sleeping) overnight in the hospital really brought back the memories.  I’m so thankful, it was only one night!  The original plan that had been shared with us was that Eli would have the CT done in the morning and be released by noon.  It became obvious that that was not going to happen and we repeatedly had to explain to Eli that hospital time is just different.  Poor guy just could not rest or do anything because he was entirely focused on getting out of there.  In retrospect, we might have been better off telling him that he might be there for several days and then letting him be pleasantly surprised by getting released early!  Despite his dislike of “hospital time”, he continued to delight all of the nurses and doctors who worked with him.  He even had an impact on his roommate, Vincent, and his mom.

It was late afternoon when the CT finally happened.  “Shortly” afterwards we received word that Eli was going to be released just as we had hoped!  Eli’s words:  “Finally!!!”  So, by dinnertime we were back home and Eli wanted to get in his bed and arrange his stuffed animals adding in some new additions.  I think he was then able to breathe his sigh of relief.  For him, it wasn’t over until he got home.

Next week will be interesting as we have follow-up appointments and hopefully see some of the effects of the successful surgery start to show.  We were told that it may take a few days to a week for all of the excess fluid that had built up in his brain to completely drain out.

Words cannot express our gratitude for your prayers.  They work.  We felt them.  And we are forever grateful.

If you would, please continue to pray that recovery goes well and that the new shunt would function properly.  This morning, Eli had a headache which resulted in some vomiting, but by lunchtime he seemed to have recovered.

But as for me, I will sing about Your power.  I will shout with joy each morning because of Your unfailing love.  For You have been my refuge, a place of safety in the day of distress.  O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – Psalm 59:16-17


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  • smoothstones

    I just love you, Tricia. You’re so brave. Maybe you’re your very bravest when you feel your least so; what do you think? I’m so thankful that everything went well, but I think we all knew it would: God has big plans for your family!

    • http://www.TillerFamily.org/ Tricia Tiller

      :) I know that I’m not very brave or very strong at all. What I’ve learned, though, is that when I call on God, he gives me His strength. Thank you for your encouragement!

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    So thankful that everything went well. I’m sorry Eli has been sick, but I hope that he is now on the mend and will be improving daily with his new replacement parts. Your story of sleeping in the hospital reminded me of all the nights my sister stayed in with my nephew. He was only 5 when diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and given 5 yrs to live. She spent so much time in the PICU and just trying to keep him alive. And now he is 17, will be a senior in high school this fall, and doing fabulous with the medical strides that have occurred. Doctors now believe he will live a long and healthy life. God is so good.

    Tell Eli we’re praying for him, and can’t wait to see the good things God does in you’re lives as well!

    • http://www.TillerFamily.org/ Tricia Tiller

      God is so good! Thank you for sharing your nephew’s story. And thanks again for your prayers!

  • Donna

    Eli…looks great! So glad the surgery is done and is looking good. Will continue to pray for a speedy recovery. Your family is in our prayers!

    • http://www.TillerFamily.org/ Tricia Tiller

      Thank you!

  • Phil

    Praise the LORD! When you sing his name he can’t ignore you.

  • Susan Lloyd

    Sam an I praying. So happy things are going so WELL!

    • http://www.TillerFamily.org/ Tricia Tiller

      Thank you, Susan and Sam!

  • Stephanie

    So glad to hear that Eli is doing well after his surgery. Dr. Ward was my brother’s surgeon back in 2004 when he had a brain tumor removed. He is without a doubt the best!

    • http://www.TillerFamily.org/ Tricia Tiller

      You are right about Dr. Ward! We’re so thankful for him!

  • Angie

    Praise God! He is so faithful and good on His Word!! I thank God for all of you and how He is truly doing mighty things in your lives!! I can’t wait to see what’s next!! :) Tell Eli hi for us! We’re so happy he’s doing well! We love you guys!! The Wood family (Angie (Copley), Nicholas & Xavier

    • http://www.TillerFamily.org/ Tricia Tiller

      Hey Angie! It’s so good to hear from you!

  • Beverly Sweeney

    You have such a gift for writing. So glad to hear that Eli is healing and that all of you have this surgery behind you. You continue in my prayers.

  • Mpf

    Praise God…He is our Jehovah Rapha.
    Can’t wait til his follow up to hear the good news.

  • Mary Lewis

    So glad to hear that Eli is recovering nicely. All of you are always in my prayers. God is good.