This update has been a long time in coming! Things are going pretty good at the Riddering house, all things considered! Many of you may have heard that Mark was diagnosed with cancer late last year. While this is true, the doctors at this time do not think that the cancer will have much affect on him. It looks like either all of the cancer has been removed, or any remaining cancer will move slowly enough that it will be a mute point in the end. For the time being, he is somewhat stable (as he gets), and says he’s feeling pretty much the same as he always has. We are hopeful that he will get to see the birth of his two upcoming grandchildren (Kevin and Sami’s in June, and Luke and Christina’s in late August/early September)!!
Their Christmas card recently stated, “Mark says that even though his body is looking weak if you could evaluate the health and well-being of his soul, he would look wonderfully healthy.” Through God’s grace, Mark continues to live joyfully and be an encouragement to all around him.
Finally an update on Sara!
Well, the end of last year brought some good things and hard things for Sara. She found out that her device was malfunctioning, and had to have a surgery in October to have it replaced. Thankfully, the company took full financial responsibility for the device and all related hospital and doctor costs. That was quite a blessing, but she still had to go through the inconvenience of another surgery and a small setback with the device. Since October, by my observation, she is doing very well. The progress seems painfully slow at times, but if you step back and consider how she was feeling/how many seizures she was having from now to last May, the change is dramatic and quite impressive. For example, she went through our cousin’s wedding last Saturday without any seizures, and none the next day either! Normally busy days like that bring about a couple bad days of seizures. She is still having seizures, but definitely not as many as she did!
She is still having the device turned up gradually, and has quite a way to go to reach the maximum potential of the device (good news, really, as that keeps us hopeful for more improvement). She still is on a lot of medications, and it seems that the doctors are waiting for her to stabilize prior to bringing her down from them.
So in all, things are going well, and we continue to thank God for His gracious care of my sister! Please keep praying that they will be able to bring the seizures under control and that she would be able to start coming off the medications. Thank you!
I just wanted to update you on how Sara’s been. (By the way, yesterday – July 22nd – was her birthday… Happy Birthday Sara!) Sara returned to the doctor to have her device turned up again on July 12. They now have it set on .75 millivolts every 3 minutes. Sadly, she did have a grand mal seizure on July 14, BUT it had been 2 whole months since her previous one!!! Going from several a week to one in 2 months is an amazing, miraculous improvement which we are extremely grateful to God for!!! She does feel better day-to-day, and has been able to do more. She is even allowed to stay home alone sometimes, which she was looking forward to (of course she loves all the time she gets to spend with people, but I think she enjoys being able to do her laundry and dishes as well!).
The magnet is helpful as well. Even Seth and little Hana have learned to use the magnet on her with good success. This is a blessing, as it pulls her out of a seizure when she’s already started one. The doctor says that only 20% of patients respond to it at all, so it’s wonderful that it helps her!
Thank you for all of your continued prayers and help!!! Sara, and our whole family, appreciate it so much!!! God has been very good to us!!!
p.s. Sara is attempting to put together a thank-you card list. While we think that it is pretty extensive, we wouldn’t want to leave anyone off. Please let us know if you don’t get a card in the next month or so.
Luke and Christina got married!!!
Mark’s son Luke got married to Christina Martin on June 9. It was a beautiful wedding, held at the Riddering’s home. Sue worked hard to see that thousands of beautiful wildflowers bloomed just in time, and the rest of the back yard looked spectacular as well. They were married by our pastor and Christina’s brother, Josh Martin. Luke swept Christina up for the recessional to “Eye of the Tiger” (Rocky theme song). Check out a few pictures in our photos section! We were helped all along the way by amazing family and friends… without whom it would have been impossible. Once again, we felt incredibly blessed to have the aid of so many wonderful people! Thank you to all of you who helped–you made it a perfect day! Check out the Photos section to see more pictures!
In other news, Sara visited the doctor again (on June 12). She got the frequency of her device turned up this time. So, now she receives 0.5 millivolts every 5 minutes (it was every 15 minutes before). She also got the go-ahead to start reducing one of the bad meds. It will be an adjustment as I hear it can be hard to come off of them. But, she seems to be adjusting well so far, with just normal tiredness. We keep praying that God will sustain her and are sooo happy about the dramatic improvement!!! She still has not had a grand mal seizure since the device was turned on–amazing! Praise and thanks to God for using this device.
Last week, Sara went back to the doctor, and he turned up the voltage on her device. He was very impressed with her quick adjustment to the therapy and pleased with the apparent improvement of her seizures. Sara has not had a grand mal seizure since the day of her surgery–Praise God!!! This is very good, and a surprise as we have been continually cautioned against getting our hopes up for fast results. But our hopes are in God, the Great Healer… and He does as He choses! Let’s continue to pray that He will continue to bless the use of this device! And praise Him for what He has done!
Sara is very happy and looks forward to her next adjustment, after which the doctor said she will be able to start decreasing her medications!!! This will be an exciting step. I (Sami) got to see her using her magnet last weekend and was impressed with how quickly it pulled her out of an absence seizure. Within seconds she was continuing the same conversation, with little affect from the seizure.
Thank you for all your love, prayers and constant support!
PS. Happy Memorial Day!!!!!