Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
When Chris and I walked out of the trauma hallway on July 10 at Kennestone, we told ourselves to expect the sidesteps. We told ourselves that home was going to be a new season, and just one step closer to a full recovery. We have had many wonderful days at home, and we have had some hard painful ones as well. Chris enjoys his time in the (new) backyard. Home Depot gifted us a new fence, a cedar arbor for shade, a swing, and patio chairs for him to sit in! It's truly a wonderful gift. He enjoys watching the dogs play. He has been walking on the treadmill to stay active and we take little adventures here and there to get him out of the house.
We told ourselves side steps are going to happen. And they have. We had to go to the ER this week with severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Chris was admitted back to Kennestone for 48 hours when they found abnormalities in his gallbladder and kidney. Chris had "sludge" in his gallbladder from build up due to not eating (no reason for the liver or gallbladder to dump sludge into small bowel). While it was one of the worst pains to date for him, he is feeling much better after they inserted a drain into his gallbladder. Side note: there is officially NO more real estate on Chris' stomach for any more tubes.
Chris says he would appreciate continued prayers for his body, specifically his ureter that was hit by some pellets (tube between bladder and kidney). If it is healed when they do a test in a few weeks, Chris can eliminate a large amount of pain from the catheter and nephristomy tube (in his kidney).
We are home, again. Whew.
Thank you for the continued prayers.
Love, Chris and Jamie Lynn
"This man has overcome. On Thursday, I finally got to bring my man home. We were surrounded with joy & applause from the staff of Wellstar Kennestone Hospital as we walked out of the same trauma hallway that we both came in on April 29, 2014. 73 days, 21 trips to the OR, and one walk out that has changed our lives - he is finally ready to rest/heal at home for the next six months until the final operation. This season of our lives won't be easy, it won't be quick, but we will endure and press on.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of FAITH, let us strip off every weight that slows us down...and let us RUN with ENDURANCE the race that God has set before us...we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and PERFECTS our faith." - Hebrews 12: 1-3"
-Jamie Lynn Sparkman
It's been a steady few weeks for Chris - he had his 21st trip to the OR last Thursday where they put a skin graft over his midline incision. This was a big step for Chris - and we're praying for good results from the doctors this week! His actual wound is closing in very nicely, and wound care is consistently impressed with how fast it's healing in. Pretty soon, we'll be ready for our "waiting period" at home where Chris will wait for 6-7 months until his final surgery. He is still in some pain with the wound, the area on his leg where they pulled the skin graft, and constant bladder spasms and horrible headaches. It's difficult for him to get rest in the hospital, so he's looking forward to coming home. Chris has a lot going on with his body, and he says he appreciates specific prayers for some relief of pain during this time of healing.
Chris and I celebrated Independence Day at the hospital, and my parents were able to bring the dogs by to visit with "Daddy" for a few minutes outside. Chris was SO excited to see his boys...we sure do love our fur-kids. :)
One of the most difficult lessons we've learned through all of this is the natural roller coaster of dealing with trauma. The doctors tell us these "surprises" are ups and downs, we say they are just side steps. :) Either way, Chris' body is STILL healing every single day and we can remain confident in this. We will continue to see the GOODNESS of the Lord.
- Jamie and Chris
Chris has bounced back from his infection and he is doing really well! The power of prayer, God's hand in modern medicine, the human body - it's all phenomenal and continues to amaze me. Chris has started taking walks again. It's still very difficult for him to get around, but every walk is a step closer to home. Speaking of home - we're getting close. Chris is almost at the point where it's going to a "waiting game" for his body to heal until early 2015 when the surgeons can go back in and reverse the damage. He's very motivated to do what the doctors and nurses need him to accomplish so that he can come home with me and the pups one glorious day. It will be a true celebration. It's going to be a very difficult transition and very taxing on his body for a few weeks so we are asking for privacy during this time. Every knock on our door makes our Pitbull and Pug bark like crazy, so we would be grateful to avoid that commotion for awhile. :) He will have minimal energy (due to his IV food diet) and be participating in therapies, wound care, etc. Christopher is a very social person, and we will definitely ask for visitors down the road. During this transition it's extremely important to keep him away from possible outlets that could lead to germs/infection as he still has open wounds. Thank you all so much for understanding this. Love, Chris & Jamie Lynn
Please send up a special prayer for my husbands healing today. His body has picked up an infection and he is completely miserable with high fevers and low energy. We know this road has hills and valleys, we are remaining faithful that the weaker Christopher's body is the more Jesus is involved. Where we are weak he is strong. II Corinthians 12:9 - "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Christopher is scheduled for his 18th trip to the OR in the morning. The doctors had a good report for us after his last one, and he has been able to go 4 days in between operations once again.
The big news is that long term, the surgeons are optimistic about Chris requiring a smaller amount of time than originally stated before his reconstruction of the small bowel and abdominal region will begin. The harder news is that it will likely be after Christmas. This means Christopher's diet will remain the IV food, ice chips, sips of water, and the occasional popsicle until the small bowel is healed. Christopher is heartbroken because of his love of all things edible, but he understands and is willing to do what it takes to help make a full recovery possible.
Short term, we are waiting to see if the stint is healing the tube in between his bladder and kidney. It is our prayer that this will be healed so Christopher can keep this kidney. His wound is healing, and will take time for surgeons to close safely. His body is healing really well, and doctors are constantly praising his drive to get up and walk, and continue to keep his body moving. He has all the nurses laughing, and has even picked up so much medical jargon that he will give them the change-over report. It's pretty funny. :) He will likely be in the hospital another month or so, and then he can begin to recover with the necessary care at home with me and the pups. :)
Thank you all for the prayers and messages! I've had a chance to meet a few of you in the community and always pass along the stories to Christopher - he smiles. We have a lot to smile about.
Throughout this journey, we have had the incredible opportunity to lean on God's people. For prayer, for meals, for positive conversations, etc.
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20)
We have no doubt that God has woven our story into so many lives, and that Jesus is elated to see so many come together in His name.
If I could shake your hand, give you a hug, or just raise up my hands and praise our God right beside you - it would be an honor for me. Thank you. Your stories are changing our lives.
Christopher will undergo his 17th operation in the morning. The surgeons are going to be doing a standard "washout" and replacing his woundcare on the left side. We felt like we have turned a corner this week as Christopher was moved to the IMCU on Monday, and we have gone more than 48 hours without going to the operating room. Christopher is in good spirits, and we would like to ask for specific prayers to heal the holes in his small intestines and in the tube connecting his kidney and bladder. If the urologists are unable to repair that tube with the stint then Christopher could risk losing one of his kidneys. Please join us in praising God for all of His grace, for every breath, and for a renewed spirit and mind for both us everyday. :)
- Jamie Lynn
It's been a busy week for Christopher and family!
On Tuesday, Christopher's father's company held a blood drive in Christopher's honor. So many people from the company came out to give, it's overwhelming to think about how many lives will be saved from that donation. It was an amazing gift.
Chris celebrated his 29th Birthday on Thursday (29 on the 29th!) and was able to make great memories with a few friends and family that joined him at the hospital. With assistance, Chris was able to take in some fresh air in one of the hospital gardens. It was a very nice birthday treat, as one of the nurses volunteered to come in to take him. All the nurses in ICU love Chris, and love to help him out even though he certainly keeps them busy! :)
In medical news - the doctors were able to do a contrast exam to look for the holes in the small bowel. While they still can't identify where the holes are, they were pleased to see much less leakage than what was anticipated. Doctors placed a tube in Christopher's left kidney to drain it out of his back. They believe this will aid the stint, and be able to keep all urine out of the wound. Doctors say that if this works, we're in really good shape to move the recovery timeline up because the wound will be able to heal much quicker.
Christopher will undergo surgery #16 this weekend, and the doctors will redress his wound, etc to continue to keep infection away.
Chris and I are so thankful for everyone's prayers. I've had a few breakdowns this week myself, with all of our milestones (anniversary, his birthday, and mine next week), but I constantly remind myself that he is HERE and we are on the road to recovery, no matter how long it takes. This too shall pass.
We are surrounded by the best doctors and nurses, the most incredible, selfless family members, and a lot of prayer that Chris and
I constantly feel the body of Christ praying for us through all this.
With love and gratitude, Jamie Lynn
Christopher and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. While we never expected to be here, we are grateful to our God beyond what words can express that we have the opportunity to CELEBRATE. It is GOOD.
Chris & I wanted to extend a huge thank you to all of the ICU nurses and staff that made this day so incredibly special for us. They worked with my husband to plan everything down to the menu and my favorite cake from The Bistro here to surprise me. :) It was so selfless, because he is still unable to eat. It was a wonderful evening overlooking the Kennesaw Mountain sunset, and Chris & I were able to look forward to a time in the future when we will be walking that mountain together again.
In medical news, Christopher underwent his 13th operation yesterday and it went really well. Standard procedure for washing out infection, etc and the doctor was able to close up the middle incision. They were also able to identify a few holes in the small intestines and place tissue over in hopes that it will heal itself in those areas. Our prayer is for infection to stay away, so that this can remain closed. This will be a big step towards recovery, and Christopher will feel a lot better if so. He is in a lot of pain from the operation and seems to be building a slight tolerance to the pain meds - please pray that the pain would be subdued enough for him to rest. He needs rest.
His next operation (#14) is tomorrow morning, May 27, and we would appreciate prayers through that as well.
With love,Jamie Lynn
Christopher will undergo his 12th surgery on Friday morning. It's a standard procedure every 48 hours that they have been doing, and they will focus on removing infection and cleaning the wound and abdominal areas that have been worked on. We are asking for a special prayer for Christopher's body tonight - there is a possibility that there might be another puncture in the small intestines. This could be serious, and we won't know for sure for a very long time due to how long its taking for the swelling to go down from all of the surgeries. Doctors think it could be another 1-3 years until they heal enough to completely repair. If there is a hole in the small intestines, Christopher could be set back in regards to getting adequate nutrition for a very long time. We are asking God to heal any hole that might be in the small intestines causing leaking. As Doctors have told us, "Christopher's body is ready to heal" and it all looks good, but we desperately need all of the bodily fluids to stay out of his wounds.
Christopher is in good spirits, cracking jokes, begging for ice chips, and asking to go for a lap or two around the ICU. My man is a champion. I am a very proud wife.
We cannot thank you all enough for lifting us up in prayer. I have my Jesus, I have my husband, it is GOOD.
To every doctor, every nurse, every single person who has let me borrow a smile...cafeteria workers, custodians, fellow trauma families. To my mom, for being by my side day and night. To every person who has felt compelled to help us through this time and endure the journey with us... you are OUR heroes. Christopher enjoys hearing the stories of life change through this circumstance - knowing that Jesus has gone before us is our daily comfort. We're running the race God has laid out for us. Eyes up, straight ahead. Thank you ALL so much.
- Jamie Lynn
Chris has weathered the recent complications and is again doing better. He doesn't stay down for long. In fact, we completed a minor procedure this evening. We still have a number of procedures to endure in the coming weeks but can clearly see distant light in the tunnel. It is still a tough balance between surgeries, therapies, and medications. His long term recovery over one to two years will involve phases of surgeries to achieve full recovery, but we'll take it any day and twice on Sunday! We expect him to remain in ICU for a few more weeks and then a gradual journey eventually leading to home. His family, friends, colleagues, church fellows, and admirers in Jamie Lynns' class (and others) continue to send along their well wishes and prayers.
- Larry (Chris' Dad)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the LIFE of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us RUN with ENDURANCE the race God has set before us....We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who INITIATES and PERFECTS our faith..."
- Hebrews 12:1-2
Jesus will work THROUGH our circumstances to PERFECT our faith. We are running, eyes on Jesus, enduring the path God has laid before us.
- Christopher & Jamie Lynn
The weekend and last few days have been filled with ups and downs. New complications have arisen and Chris has undergone several more surgeries, one being extensive. We hope that will be the last for some time. Nevertheless, his spirit and strong will continue to inspire not only his friends and family but the entire staff at the hospital. His vital signs remain strong and his prognosis is still full recovery, but on a long, long road. It will still be many weeks before Chris can entertain visitors but we will be at his side.
Chris, Jamie, and the entire family are truly blessed by your ongoing support and prayers.
Chris has progressed well after the final closure and began physical therapy the very next morning (Thursday May 8th). We think he surprised even himself by walking 60 ft. (with help or course) and on the next day he walked 300 ft. all over the ICU! As expected, his gregarious spirit and positive outlook was a force multiplier for family, friends, and caregivers. For example; when Chris initially came into the hospital room he asked the surgeon to
put me under and fix me. After the 6th surgery, his vitals were way off the mark initially but improved significantly over the weekend. He is also learning to use his vocal cords and to swallow correctly again. Today, we are unfortunately facing one of those
bumps in the road that we were told would come. Chris is going into another surgery to repair some internal injuries discovered after the 6th operation and to clean up damaged tissues. The doctors are confident that he will be even better in a few days. There will undoubtedly be more routine (hopefully) procedures down the road and some of his wounds will take many months and more surgeries to heal.
Immediate family is watching over Chris 24/7 and we are communicating with him constantly. He is overwhelmed, overjoyed, and encouraged by your thoughts, support, and prayers. Chris will not be ready for visitors for quite a while but we ask that you continue to send up blessings, prayers, and good wishes to him, Jamie Lynn, and the family. We know if he could he would give you all a great big hug.
- Larry Sparkman (Chris' Dad)
It has been 9 days since Chris was shot on the Job as a security guard. Though it felt like forever to those close to him, it is a joy to say Chris is waking up and becoming more aware as doctors slowly ease the amount of sedation. Jamie got to spend some time with him last night and today and it was a huge relief to her. Chris is still very groggy but he is recovering and seems to be recovering well physically. We ask for prayers that Chris would be relaxed and discerning, as he really is just now getting a chance to process everything that happened, whereas family and friends have been grieving for over a week now. We write with continued thanks to God, to our friends and family, and to all of Chris and Jamie's supporters during this difficult time.
Christopher is out of his 6th surgery this morning. The doctors said he did really well, and they were able to finish closing up his initial incision. This is a step in the right directions and we are hopeful that this will allow Chris to be able to tolerate coming off of the sedatives and pain-killers and be more aware with his family. Christopher will begin getting his nutrition today, which should also help in his healing process. If all goes well we could be hearing from Chris in the next few days. Everyone close by is ready to love him and hear him talk, and having Chris be aware would be a great relief. Pray that his body will take the nutrition easily with no complications.
The good news is Christopher is doing well today and is on the road to recovery. However,Chris continues to need minimal stimulation as he rests because a relaxed state is best for him. Tomorrow morning he will undergo his 6th and hopefully final(for now) surgery. Its been up and down over the past seven days, and we know that the journey has still just begun. We are asking for prayer, focused on Chris and Jamie, and God's plan for their life, and for Chris' body and as well as his mind. That he would be able to wake up as relaxed as possible. Prayers for a continued healing, safety from infections, and for the doctors and nurses who are by Chris's side daily. We continue to appreciate privacy and quiet, as we focus on Chris and his recovery. Thank you everyone.
Christopher is out of his 5th surgery with no complications. Because of the skins swelling, they were unable to fully close the wound and hopefully the doctors will be able to finish as early as Wednesday. The doctors will continue to keep him sedated until he is fully closed. Everyone is ready to hear Christopher talk and open his eyes. The hope is that the swelling will go down and Chris can continue to rest easily until his next surgery. Once the wound is closed, the amount of painkillers and sedatives required could slowly decrease and Chris could finally be able to become more fully aware.
Christopher's blood pressure rose a few times last night unexpectedly but the doctors were able to get it back down after some time. The complicated nature and high pain level of an injury like this has led to the decision to keep him sedated, but occasionally he will get anxious as he is somewhat aware of his situation. The family asks for prayers for Christopher to find peace in rest today and tonight, and that his surgery tomorrow goes well. Resting easily without anxiety is very good for him, but it gets difficult to lay still for so long. Thank you everyone for your concern and prayers.
Christopher just got out of his 4th surgery earlier today.The surgery went without complications, however he will need to undergo a 5th surgery possibly as soon as Monday morning to further the road to recovery. Chris is being kept sedated during all of this to ease the pain and encourage sleep. Quietness and rest are the best things for Chris right now, as he slowly regains strength. Our family continues to be blessed by the amazing doctors and nurses, and by everyone's thoughts & prayers. Thank you to everyone for the love and support.
Christopher is doing really well this morning. Doctors continued to be impressed with his strength. Today he will be resting in order to prepare him for operation #4 on Saturday. His family and friends continue to wait beside him, although the visitation for Christopher has been limited to very immediate family due to his needs of minimal stimulation. Jamie Lynn and the family appreciate all of the prayers and support that everyone has lifted up for Christopher. Please continue to pray for his lungs, his strength, and for his wonderful nurses and doctors.
Truly humbled by the outpouring of support, love & prayer. Please continue to pray for recovery, the nurses, and all of the families involved. Thank you.
- Jamie Lynn
Messages are secure and will only be read by Jamie.