Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Not Out of the Woods Yet

We're still in the hospital.  It is day 7 of this hospital stay but today is one of the better days with Ryan's pain fairly managed and the NG tube pulled.

He had his 4th set of x-rays this morning and it showed no meaningful progress in his intestinal obstruction.  That's kind of neutral news because although food is moving verrrrrrrry slowly through him, but the issue is not totally resolved either.  So our goal is to be patient, try out a soft diet (toast, cream of wheat, ice cream, etc) and see how he tolerates it.

We will be in the hospital for at least 1 more night, if not more.  The important thing to know is that if the obstruction doesn't resolve on its own, he will have to have yet another surgery.  Please pray against that!

Keep going Ryan Decker-you can do this!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Ryan is still totally miserable with this tube in this throat but slow progress is being made.  The doctors put a nasogastric tube down his throat yesterday morning to help suction out what is believed to be a bowel obstruction.  

For whatever reason, after surgery, his bowels decided to freeze and stop working for a time.  An obstruction is super serious and made Ryan vomit, shake, fevered, and in so much pain.  This issue has to be addressed and resolved or other much more serious issues will come up.

 So although this tube is good it is not comfortable at ALL.  In fact, it's horrible.

We are discovering that warm drinks seem to go down easier than cold, he has been sleeping a ton, and we are trying to be patient for the moment when they will pull this tube out.  Once the tube is out it's a clear liquid diet for Ryan, and hopefully home by this week if he stays stable and problem free.

Ryan is for sure beat up from this battle and we're both exhausted but we're glad for our ever amazing surgeon Dr. B and a team of people who are helping him out.

Prayers please for continued progress and FULL healing!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Desperate Need.

This sweet man needs your prayers.  Desperately today, maybe more so than he has ever needed them.  Cover him any way you can or are led.  No prayer would go unappreciated or unnoticed.  The major requests fall into relief from pain, protection from shock/distress, for his bowels to work properly, for a COMPLETE healing from Crohn's, and the immense peace of Christ near us.

Crohn's is a nightmare and living hell.  Please lift up Ryan.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pick Up at #524

[Ry Update:  We are being released tomorrow (10/28).  Ryan is fighting a lot of bloating, some nausea, and general discomfort.  The surgery puts his bowels to sleep essentially and that means they function poorly at the moment.  You know that horrible tingle when your arm or leg falls asleep?  Imagine that in your intestines and you can see why things aren't functioning at 100%.  
His pain is fairly managed at the moment which is a blessing and he is able to rest and relax.  We're praying for a good night and easy afternoon]

This post was the last time I logged My Journey to 1000 Gifts.  My seemingly simple goal for 2012 was declared in January.  It was only to record all the gifts of the year, big and small, that surround us everyday.  The hard to see, the obvious, the frequent, the unexpected and the in-between.

 Little did I know what 2012 had in store for us:

Dozens of doctor's visits.
6 surgeries.
Commitment and love.
New changes.

But I haven't recorded a single gift, blessing, or thanksgiving in 3 months and that's a shame.  Because there is still a need to remember His faithfulness and goodness.   Our gifts are abundant and enormous, and small and beautiful even though this season of life is grueling.  

Our Lord has not forgotten us; He has showered us with endless love and presence, believe it or not.

So please read along or even consider recording your own journey to 1000.  This journey has led me to joy magnified and a thanksgiving filled heart.  And I predict with confidence my list will exceed that small number of 1000 because our God is endlessly good (Gen. 21:33).

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
524.  Dark rooms for rest
525.  3 cups of peaches stacked high
526.  Walks around a quiet hospital
527.  Sips of apple juice
528.  Matching slippers
529. A plate of wedding cupcakes
530.  Surprise visits from a bride and groom
531.  Texts to show love
532.  Snow dusted CO
533.  A blog to update
534.  6101
535.  Modern medicine
536.  A restful room
537.  CNA class
538.  Pumpkins
539.  Anticipation of Halloween
540.  A countdown to Christmas music
541.  Medical clearance for his shower
542.  Learning and adjustment
543. Ileostomies
545.  Trained surgeon hands
546.   Sunshine spilling in
547.  Marriage

548.  This little lady.

549.  Quickly dark evenings and welcoming lanterns

550.  Ttransitions from green to gold, red, orange, and brown

551.  This sweet, sweet face.

552.  Finding an engagement picture-and grateful we remain hand in hand

Friday, October 26, 2012

Doing Well

Happy Wedding Day Stacey & Jason!!!

Stacey is Ryan's sister and we are so beyond disappointed to miss their wedding today-like mind numbingly sad about it.  Ugh.  But the hospital is where Ryan has to be for now unfortunately.  So here is a smidgin' of an update on my man.  Pictures included so you know he is staying alive.

Stayin' Alive by Bee Gees on Grooveshark 
Our theme song, no?

Ryan doing the usual.  We go for laps around the unit, watch TV, chat with the nurses, and eat jello!

Random story:  The hospital offers a Chaplain service which is very thoughtful, but we got a weird visit yesterday.  Chaplain Gregory came in to get deep with us.  He solemnly told us that "all the answers we seek were within us."  HA!!  I immediately laughed out loud and told him I am full of a bunch of crap and that only the Lord has answers

We haven't heard from him again...

We've received enough dumb mumbo jumbo about us being able to heal ourselves with positive thinking and inner strength, so that dude got shut down real quick.  He picked the wrong room to get new-agey in.  We'll rely on Jesus first and any sweet medical technology second for healing.  Amen! 

Doesn't he look good??  He is such a stud.  So sweet, so handsome, so caring even after a major surgery.

Random stuff you might like to know:

Yesterday Ryan had plain toast, saltine crackers, sugar coookie, jello, and chicken broth.  Someday soon he'll be back on a regular diet which for us means very soft, plain, and easy to digest. 

Our hospital room is hilarious because it's in the ICU which means no frills, just the essentials.  The toilet literally folds out of a cupboard under a sink.  More than once I have been tinkling away when a nurse or doctor walks in and can awkwardly hear me from behind the privacy curtain.  It's like paradise here.


Last but not least, I have fully determined that Ryan John Decker is the most amazing studs of all studly studs.  He has been so considerate, peaceful, vulnerable, honest, and joy-filled in this experience.  It's hard no doubt and we won't pretend it's all easy, but he is an example of how I want to be if I ever face major health battles.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

About/Day After Surgery

Exhausted.  That is our sum word of the morning.

We got back to our room at 2 am.  His surgery started an hour late and it took about 2 hours total.  Then add in recovery room time, transfer to his room, and getting him settled in.  It was the very early morning before we were "resting".  

Ryan just didn't sleep great because #1 He had major surgery and #2 His pains meds and anesthesia made him super itchy (a normal side effect).  and #3 It's a hospital.  Hospitals ≠ Rest

He's on a clear liquid diet again and soooooo very tired.  He could barely keep his eyes open waiting for his broth and jello :)  We went on a walk around his unit today and he was so strong, his pain is fairly managed, and overall he keeps saying this srgery isn't as awful as the last ones.

About the Surgery:

Very very early on Tuesday morning, Ryan's skin and area around his stoma was itchy (stoma: the red piece of intestine sticking out of his skin).  It turns out the stoma had shrunk down very low into his skin; so low that is basically disappeared.  The sinking is called a stoma retraction.  That is super startling and we felt very scared.  It also, as I learned, is a major dysfunction that needs surgery ASAP to revise.
Stoma retraction is no fault of Ryan's and occurs in about 1-6% of all ostomates.  If you can pinpoint a reason it might be weight gain, blood flow restriction, failure of proper skin scarring, or just simply because it failed.  No good reason, maybe.  Complications of NOT fixing a stoma retraction include: stool diversion, infection, skin irritation, improper placement of an appliance, leakage etc.

The surgery he underwent last night was a revision and stabilization of the stoma as well as giving him a new type of ileostomy.  They sewed up his old stoma sight with stitches and basically moved everything over centrally about 2 inches.  They couldn't use the same opening because of scar tissue.  So now he has a new stoma placement and what is called an end ileostomy.  His previous type was a loop ileostomy.  Don't ask me the difference, I don't have an accurate or good explanation.

If you want to nerd out and read more about stoma retractions read thisIt's very medical jargon-y but who knows, maybe you dig that kind of thing.  
I hope all that makes sense to you!  It's a lot for you to read about and a lot for us to digest and explain.  The main point to get is: this surgery was major and serious, it will help him, and he should be on a new track to meaningful recovery because of this procedure.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting Room

Here is how our day is going...

waiting...more waiting...even more waiting...

Waiting room glory: tv's, florescent lights, and coffee machines

They just took him back to surgery at 9:10 pm so things are running late.  That's not the worst news ever but it does take stress up a bit because we just want it over with!

Ryan was brave, prepared, and peaceful going into surgery.  And hungry :) He hasn't eaten since last night and he is on an all liquid diet for tomorrow.  I am feeling a little more anxiety than I ever have before.  So I'm spending some time praying in the waiting room and unwinding.

  Our AMAZING friends Ali & Daniel came and kept us company tonight (and fed me!).  We laughed with them the whole time and Ryan just lit up the while they were with us.  I loved to hear him laugh especially after such a yucky, disappointing day.  My wonderful parents also made a supply run to our house and came with a big bag of clothes and necessities for me-I am set here for a few days!

We are blessed by so much support in our lives.  Probably another update in the morning because it will be a late night.

Prayers needed and accepted!!

Party in my rocking chair!  At least it's comfy

  Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.

Psalm 20:6

Surgery #6

Very early this morning we started having issues with Ryan's ileostomy.  It was retracting which means the stoma sunk very, very low into his abdomen and below the skin line.   That is not good at all and quite serious.  When a stoma retracts that means something is wrong and it requires a surgical fix.  Our doctor was paged early this morning and he said to come to the hospital ASAP.

 Ryan is scheduled for a surgery this evening at 8 pm.  It's the necessary and most beneficial step to take in order to correct this issue immediately and give Ryan long-term health.

Can we ask that you would pray for courage and peace for Ryan especially?  Please peace for me and the rest of our family, guided hands for our surgeon, and protection against any complications.  This is scary and not where we thought we would be today.

It's shocking and unnerving to be headed back into the hospital and especially back into the OR.  Just yesterday we were saying how great everything was going but things change very quickly.  Nothing is in our control.

Updates to come.  We'll be in the hospital for about 3 days, so posts will be as often as my time allows.  Thanks for praying in advance.

Harpo's Booties + Video

For your entertainment and enjoyment here is a video of Harpo awkwardly wearing booties.  Dog booties to be exact.

We bought these for him on a mega REI clearance.  He doesn't normally have footwear on but for times like hiking in the winter or snowshoeing, his little pads will need protection from ice and snow building up in his feet err...paws.

So he ate about 500 treats during this whole episode and looked like such a goon trying to walk in his booties.  Poor, sweet Harpo!  Ha!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ry Update/Random Happenings

The strep is just about over!  The pictures from yesterday's post were from 2 or 3 weeks ago so don't get any crazy ideas that I feed him chocolate cake and wine when he is sick.

His antibiotic was only a 5 day dose but it stays in his system for another 4 days thereafter.  His voice is still hoarse in the morning but he is back to work this week.  Go husband!

 Other Random Happenings:

*We're applying to volunteer here

*Incredibly kind words spoken about this little blog

*I am being rocked by studying this

* It's on our agenda next week to assemble these.  Join us? 

*This is what's for dinner

*Are these words beautiful and convicting or what?

*These would be amazing homemade stocking stuffers.  Only 62 days!

*A hilarious (and probably disturbing) look into the joys parenthood.  Awesome.

*Need something to pray for?  Just browse this site.  Have mercy.

*Loving everything about this.  Offer "wild, tenacious thanks".

Have a beautiful Tuesday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Young Pups, and Other Medical Confusions

I went to a yearly "wellness check up" this week (expecting a physical) but was thoroughly lectured by my doctor that I need to be doing more "23-year-old activities"What does that even mean??

Also, she was shocked that I did not think I needed an STD test, because it was rare that even her married patients were monogamous.  Sigh.  I have no words.

Dear spouses of the world, 
Don't sleep around.  Duh.  
The Deckers

Anywho, while she took down my vitals and history, she dubbed me a "young pup" and shared that she was quite unsure of her feelings about me already being married for 2 years at only 23 years old.  Well Ry, I sure hope she approves or else it's not lookin too good for you man!

{Might be time for a new doctor}

She poked and prodded she prescribed me a weekly dose of "have more fun".  Apparently she thinks I don't go to enough bars for a 23 year old and I should really consider loosening up a bit.  Ahem.

I literally did not listen to even a word this lady said because I think it is all a bunch of bologna.  Although we may not go clubbing every night, we do have plenty of time with our favorite people, doing life giving activities and enjoying this blessing of life!!

  One of them being game night!

The art of the shuffle.

One version of game night are when our two great friends, Matt and Katie, come over and we play Spades for hours, eat delicious dinner, always consume too much dessert, but most importantly love hanging out and doing life.

So doc, I know you don't approve that I got myself hitched at 252 months old and it's confusing that I'm not risking an STD every Friday night...BUT this is the life I love and will proudly live any day.

Over and out.

Homemade chocolate frosting.  Yes please!

Look at my husband looking like a stud.

Katie all wrapped up in her pretty sweater.

You look very thoughtful here Matt...or are you still mad that Katie and I whooped you two in Spades?!

Drinks and card playing.

Oooooo look how cute Harpo is tonight!!

Beeee-yoo-tiful, moist, chocolate cake.  

What is wrong with me??  Don't be like me and wear safety goggles late at night.  No.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

1 Peter 2:16

Thursday, October 18, 2012


If it's not Crohn's it's apparently strep.  Sigh.

Being on Remicade to keep Crohn's in remission is an AWESOME blessing!  However, that drug is an immunosuppressant which by just reading the word, it's obvious that it does in fact suppress his immune system.  Making him more susceptible to viruses, bacteria, and the normal yuck passed around.

And this time of year is not the most ideal time to be lacking in such a luxury as an immune system.

Somewhere Ryan has picked up a nasty case of strep-painful throat, red tonsils, green drainage, throat pus pockets, the works.  He's on an antibiotic (which we quadruple checked is safe with his Remicade) and we are praying for health!

Right now he is resting, overdosing on throat lozenges, and I think the tally so far is that I've received THREE text messages telling me to get my man a peanut butter shake!  There must be some mystical property in that delicious concoction I'm unaware of :)

Prayers please!  Kick this strep Ryan Decker!

Got to get his daily hit of Ricola honey herb throat lozenges

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Things to Know in October

There was recently a UK woman who's doctor's missed her cancer THIRTY times.  With that in mind, Reaching For Fringe is encouraging you today to not settle in your care.  Read on!


Would you like to know how Ryan Decker is doing these days?  Well let me indulge you...

#5.  He's getting fatter.  In a good way!  Last weigh in was 168 lbs.  Woo hoo!  That is 18 lbs gained back from August.  Nice work Decker.

#1.  Ryan went to work on Monday from 9:30-3:30.  That is ALMOST a full day.  We expect him to be back to work full time by November 1st.

#3.  We had a doctor's appointment with our new GI doctor on Monday afternoon.  It was uneventful but felt good to be officially under the care of an involved and interested doctor.  Dr. R did suggest a new drug therapy, Imuran, that is done alongside Remicade.  It is a new pill that is researched to show strong results of putting Crohn's into remission.  However, young males have an astonishingly high rate of developing rare lymphoma cancers on this combination of therapy.  So we said no and will only ever venture this road if Ryan's Crohn's re-flares and treatment becomes difficult.   We will see Dr. R again in December to make sure all is well.

#7. His ability to be out and about has dramatically increased!  We go on walks, dates, attend weddings, and are even thinking about a short hike next weekend.  Such an amazing turnaround from his couch bound and horrible days just a few months ago.

The two of us at a recent wedding

#2.  Remicade is working nicely for him.  It still hurts to poo which suggests the presence of the fissures  still in his lower colon. Sigh.  However the Remicade has returned his energy, prevented more fistulas and abscesses, and overall is a strong medicinal therapy for him.

#9. His ileostomy has been acting up a bit.  Well, not the actual guts I suppose but more so the appliance.  Remember how he has to put a sticky round guard over his stoma and it sticks to his belly? And then attach a bag to that sticky appliance?  Well the design just isn't stellar and we are finding that it often starts coming off without warning and can be itchy and temperamental.  Will you pray we get this figured out for Ryan's sanity and comfort?  Thanks.  We'll try new products and experiment with some pastes to get it to stick, but we would love to be free of this and not have to worry all the time.

#6.  His appetite is back.  See evidential picture below and point #5.

Chocolate cake and ice cream are main contributors to his diet apparently.

 #7.  By the ridiculous look on my face below you might guess I am awkwardly receiving some weird news...Incorrect.  I think I was cutting a birthday cake.  But the only reason I made it into today's post is to remind you that  I am headed back to the books and school!  For Nursing!  Holla.

#4.  Did you forget how cute this little lady is?  Well here she is in case your forgot. She got stung by a bee last Sunday and was VERY brave.  Oh, and she hates talking baby dolls.  Ha!

#10.  Finally, be on the look out for some posts about excess, and waste, and lots of lessons I am learning about reducing the clutter of our hearts and lives.  It's good, crazy wild stuff.  Can't wait to share and convince you all to be a little nuts with me!  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wedding Extravaganza Weekend!

This weekend (and most weekends lately) have been awesome times of celebration over life events and particularly busy with wedding season.  My amazing friend Alyse got married on Sunday!

It was a beautiful day in the mountains and she was a breath-taking bride.  I was honored to be in the wedding and really get to experience the day with her and her wonderful new husband.  Happy Marriage you two!

Also, Stacey had her bridal shower which you can see more of below.  It was a sweet afternoon and time of celebrating her and seeing all the fancy, new presents she and Jason received.

The very fancy beautiful cupcakes
The top of her GORGEOUS lace dress

The ceremony view.  It was a beautiful day with stunning scenery

The groom, Jesse, being a goof

 Gorgeous bride, Alyse!  And also the two of us.

After Alyse and Jesse's wedding we headed right to Stacey's bridal shower.  I did not get a ton of pictures because I had to be late but here are a few!

Little flower girl already practicing looking cute

Snuggle time with my favorite nephew!

Stacey with two amazing women and friends, Arissa and Beth

Stacey and her hostess, Diane (who I just realized blinked in the picture--sorry Diane!) and her mama

My two favorite guys!!  My type is clearly tall, curly hair, and handsome but the short, fat, bald guy on the right has won my heart too.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Exciting Changes

The Deckers are headed into a new season-a really exciting one that was a direct result of Ryan's chronic illness.

No we are not pregnant *ahem*  Always have to clarify whenever we say we have good news :)

The real announcement is that I am beginning to pursue my Nursing Degree.  Woo hoo!

If you've read this blog for any amount of time you know that Ryan has been so horribly, miserably, unbelievably ill with Crohn's Disease.  And in caring for him for the last 7+ months as well as being in many, many hospitals/doctor's offices/recovery rooms, etc...we've been discerning that these experiences have grown my heart and desire to serve in health care.

We're pointing the way into new and uncharted territory!

Quality nurses makes all the difference when you are sick.  These special people minister to you, provide confidence, educate, comfort, and physically care for nearly all your needs.  Our nurses were a tremendous blessing and a few weeks ago some processing began, "Hey, I could do this!  I would LOVE to do this job.  What a neat opportunity to love and serve people."

In order to start on this journey, I need to complete several prerequisites prior to any Nursing program.  My BA is in Psychology so clearly my science courses are lacking.   I have a few classes to get under my belt to prepare me well like Chemistry, Anatomy, Microbiology etc  The ultimate goal is to apply to an accelerated BSN program for those already holding a degree-preferably at Regis or UCD which are approximately 1 year long.

This has all happened very quickly, within the last few weeks actually.  But we are thrilled to share the news now and know this is exactly where we're being called.

When God is moving you know it and in this case, He has swooped us into a tizzy of new and exciting plans that are perfectly aligned to what He would want.  Our only job is to be obedient and available. 

Also, here are just a few of the most FAQ we get asked...

What field of Nursing do you want to pursue?
Gastrointestinal would be mega sweet given Ryan's health battles,  but I'm also intrigued by the ER or working at the Children's Hospital with the wee little ones. 

What is the time line like for this new plan?
Finish my pre-reqs by May 2013 and apply to several programs around the same time.  If accepted to Regis, I would begin in January 2014 and graduate in December 2014.  Any other program will vary a bit but should be roughly the same.

What's happening with Cru?
I have been on staff with a college ministry but will say goodbye mid-November.  It's a really sweet organization and will be missed but I can't do both.  So it's out of one season and into another-both things are good and we feel fully supported in the decision.

How will Ryan fend for himself while you're in school?
Ryan is my #1 fan and quite honestly the driving force of encouragement with this new pursuit.  We set up a meal schedule so no one is starving but here's the man is a STUD!   He already cleans, cooks, and serves us so much so he is prepared in the ways of survival when his wife becomes a student again!

So that is the news!  I'm feeling confident, hopeful, and increasing drive to pursue this out.  We hope you're pumped with us and thanks for letting us share! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Linny's Early Birthday Lunch

Reaching For Fringe has a particularly soul baring post up if you would like to read :)

My little sister, Lindsay (Linny, Lin, Linkel, etc) turns 22 this month!!  My mom reminded us that it is her Golden Birthday-where the age you turn is the same as the date you were born.  What an amazing birthday girl-we love her and were so glad to celebrate with her this year.  

Normally she is out of state at college this time of year but we got to see her early and spend the afternoon with the whole Nelson clan for a birthday shibang!  Such a fun afternoon chowing down on Mexican food, taking pictures, and eating birthday cake!

Happy Early Birthday Linny!!

The birthday girl and her sweet fiance, Justin (Dec 20th is the big day!)

The most delicious chips and salsa ever at Hacienda

Our Christmas card picture.  Not!

Take two is better.

Linny's birthday present from us-a pretty cream jewelry holder

I love everything about this crazy picture.   Linny and Justin look like they are posing for a wedding magazine, Ryan is in the background by a tree, my mom is looking at the fire, and dad's eyes are closed.  Awkward family photo moment!

 What a lucky guy.  Two red heads on each arm.

 Sassy birthday lady.

Dad and Ryan hanging out in the kitchen

Pre birthday cake wish!

Her birthday cake-a family tradition.  Black walnut cake.

What a great birthday!  Hope your "real" birthday is just as special as your pre-celebration Lin :)

P.S. This post wouldn't be complete with our one of our sweet, contemplative little Harpo...


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