Life Goes On . . .

Stephanie Brown blogged about Jerad’s surgery and recuperation as a way to keep family and friends informed before they were married, and afterward. It was not an easy time during this period for the newly wedded couple. Jerad had three surgeries and five hospital stays.  Recently EBTS asked to reprint her blog about this difficult period and reached out to Stephanie for permission.  She kindly consented and sent a personal message to members with an update.

stephanie brown 1“Two years ago this time, my husband Jerad was recovering from what hopefully will be his last brain surgery for a very long time (shunt placement after scar tissue from meningitis prevented the ventricles from absorbing spinal fluid). I was much more active back then in the EBTS group, but after recovery, life went on. We have an active 15 month old, moved from NYC to Florida, and our life is no longer dictated by hospital visits. The only time Jerad goes to the doctor now is when it’s for our little guy. So I just wanted to say to those newly diagnosed, or pending surgery, or having a rough recovery, it does get better! Everyone’s diagnosis, treatment, and recovery is different, but while we were going through the worst of it, there didn’t seem like there was an end in sight. Now, it’s almost surreal to think what we went through.”

stephanie brown 2This blog was initially started as a way to keep friends and family in the look after Jerad was diagnosed with an intra-cranial epidermoid cyst, but since then it has become so much more. In a way, it’s become my therapy, a pastime, a way to write outside of being in school, and a chance to connect with other families affected by brain tumors.

At the time of Jerad’s diagnosis, we had been engaged just over a week and were planning for a December wedding in Florida. Things changed, however. We put our December wedding on pause and had an intimate wedding in Astoria Park with some of our family present, on what was supposed to be two days before his surgery date. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy postponed his first surgery, which finally happened on November 15th, 2012.

Unfortunately, since his surgery, we’ve faced some medical complications from meningitis, four total hospital stays, and two additional surgeries, including most recently, a VP shunt.

Aside from the surgeries, we’re balancing taking care of our two hell-raising miniature dachshunds (and the rescue cat they like to antagonize), with working and living in New York City, and enjoying each other.

stephanie brown 3Yesterday marked two months of marriage for myself and Jerad. . .but today, December 28, 2012,  was the original date we had planned on getting married. It was the type of laid back wedding I had always wanted. . .a celebration of our love with family and close friends, done so in the relaxed atmosphere of my parents back yard, with the sunset, strings of lights, BBQ, beer, and lots of ideas from Pinterest.

Then, we found out Jerad needed surgery to have an epidermoid cyst in his brain removed, and as it was recommended to be done within a year, we decided to do it ASAP.

Originally, with the surgeon’s assurance, we planned to go ahead with the Florida wedding, yet do a small civil wedding before the surgery. We even thought about going to the court house–something I was grateful we didn’t do, when we later went to get our marriage license. Somehow things started evolving and both sets of parents planned on attending, along with my sister Hailey. We had a photographer. I returned the teal dress and had a white one made just in time. I went ahead and made a brooch bouquet, though my poor fingers weren’t too thrilled. This was turning into our real wedding. . .and though there were only five people in attendance, and we weren’t in my parents backyard, strung with lights; it was beautiful. It was a celebration of our love for each other, in the truest, simplest form. There was still BBQ, I might add!

Thankfully, we decided not forge ahead with two weddings and sent out letters cancelling the wedding that would have taken place today. Though we would have loved to celebrate with our friends and family, it wasn’t the best timing. It wasn’t fair to wait until the date got closer and then possibly cancel because Jerad wasn’t fully recovered, as guests could have made arrangements to come to New Port Richey, and by that time too many resources would have gone into the event. It also wasn’t fair to put that kind of pressure on Jerad, since he can’t force his body to heal quicker!

And here we are, six weeks later, and he’s not fully recovered. He has some good days, where he’s up to getting out of the house and going for a walk, and some bad days where he needs some extra rest and spends most of the day in bed. His body went through a lot and has been on obscene amounts of medicines. . .a few months to bounce back seems reasonable, to me. Yesterday was the first day since the surgery he has shaved with an actual razor, shaving cream and water. It took me a while to get used to seeing that baby face again! Now he looks like the man in the pictures from our wedding.

It’s a bit nostalgic to think of what could have been happening today, but I wouldn’t go back and reroute our lives over the past few months. Of course, it has been horrible seeing Jerad in pain and suffering – I wish that were different, but the surgery needed to happen and was potentially life-saving. Despite the sickness, and the hospital stays, I look back on the past two months and I see moments of tenderness, love, strength, and and above all else happiness.

. . . Stephanie  Brown, 2012