Sara Brigham’s Upcoming Surgery
Mark’s daughter Sara is a wife (to Ben Brigham) and mother of 7 year old Seth and 3 year old Hana. There are a lot of pics of them on the photos page! She has had epilepsy (seizures) since she was about 16. They have always been mild, an annoyance but livable and reasonably controlled by medication. Well, since around October, she’s been having grand mal seizures (I think, accurately translated, means “big and bad” which they are both–she always losses consciousness, and they can take anywhere from 2 hours to a day to recover from) reaching an almost uncontrollable point (by that I mean 1-4 per week, sometimes 2 per day), and getting increasingly worse. It is uncontrolled in the sense that they cannot seem to slow them down by means of any medication or med combinations that anyone can think of (she has seen many of the top seizure specialists in CA). They don’t know why they are getting worse, but it seems to be a dangerous trajectory. Eventually (or, now), the lack of blood flow to the brain and the trauma that the seizures cause can start to cause brain damage.
As of right now, she seems to be a good candidate for a procedure call Vagus Nerve Stimulation. I think of it as a pacemaker for the brain, which through regular electrical impulses is able to calm seizures. The statistics are good: about 75% see improvement and many see dramatic improvement. The goal isn’t necessarily complete healing, but a reduction to allow her brain to heal. It isn’t actually a brain surgery, but a wire attached at the vagus nerve during an outpatient surgery which is only supposed to last an hour. The doctors she’s seen have called this surgery everything from “a very good option” saying “you are a very good candidate for a success with this surgery” but some also say “it’s your only option.” Our prayer is that this would be the means that God would provide relief to her. But our confidence is not in doctors or medical innovations, but God the Ultimate Healer.
One of the challenges that has come up regarding this surgery is that it won’t be covered by insurance and will cost between $42,000-48,000. It has been a joy to watch God work in this, however!!! Through family and the generosity of a local PCA church about $24,000 has already come in!!! How good it is for my faith to see my God providing! And I know He will continue to, He knows exactly what she needs! It is also a beautiful testimony to God’s people and how He works though them. May He be glorified!!!
Through all this, my confidence is in the wisdom of the God who sent His Son to die for us. How can we question that perfect wisdom (Rom. 11:34-36)? And what a joy to know that this trial is “good” for my sister and my family (Rom. 8:28!). And it has been good. We do pray that He glorifies Himself in this situation.
We will try to keep you posted though this page!
Thanks for reading,
Sami Brandon, for the Riddering Family
- Read about the Successful Fund Raiser BBQ and see pictures from the event.
- Sara got to see the Doctor, and has a green light for the surgery.
- The surgery has been scheduled for April 24th.
- She completed her pre-op appointments and the surgery is all set for tomorrow.
- Sara had her surgery yesterday (April 24th)!
- Sara had her device turned on today (May 9th)!
- Sara had her device turned up last week (on May 22nd) and it seems to be working!
- Sara had the frequency of her device turned up, and she is starting to come off of her meds (June 12)!