Rick Hall Haley Update
Just 1 month ago Haley was coming out of a 12 hours surgery which she describes as “doctors mining in my brain” and we are humbled to be where we are today. Back in school full time, no drop off in academic performance, trips to the gym, adjusted to hearing in only one ear, no nausea or balance issues, brain fluid leak stopped, celebrating with a full, symmetrical smile, and walking with God closer than ever before with greater dependence, understanding the fragility of life, and even greater trust in God, seeing what he has brought us through with your partnership in prayer.
We had our post op check up with the surgeon who said he didn’t want to tell us how bad it looked before surgery, but now on the other side with a good outcome he was free to do so. Second biggest such tumor, acoustic neuroma, he has ever operated on. “How many of these do you do?” “About 20 a year”. Over a 30 ish year career that’s a lot. You do the math. And the one bigger tumor was an easier shape to get out, whereas Haley’s grew up and down as well as around, pushing on nerves and brain in some critical ways that made it remarkable that she had fewer symptoms and no surgical complications. I tell this to you, not as a fisherman bragging and exaggerating about the big one that almost pulled him out of his boat as he reeled it in, but in humility and thanksgiving, understanding why God stirred you all to pray so faithfully for us. So much going on that needed prayer. Precision drilling, snipping, tweezering in the brain. Vision in a small dark cavity to see blood vessels and nerves that one errant poke or cut could lead to trouble. Prevention of germs sneaking into the brain through the pores in a surgical mask or the tiny channel where the brain fluid leaked out for days. We have also been reminded afresh that the prayer battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of darkness in the heavenly realm.” So not only were the events in the operating room of utmost concern, but the spiritual dimension and activities that were going on as well. The “unseen reality”. I can picture the forces of darkness badgering God during Haley’s operation as they did during Job’s trials…” let her facial nerve be cut so she can never smile again and she will curse you God!” But Gods response was “Be gone, Satan!” “Not this precious child. Too many are praying on her behalf.” And for that that we are so, so grateful. Yet, having been on the edge of that canyon looking over into the deep ravine below, we have great respect and appreciation for many of those who God HAS LET bear the full weight of the trial and we are convinced more than ever that His reward for them enduring it in faith will be GREAT INDEED!
We’ve had a profound season of life and thank you for being there for us. A couple of days after Haley announced to the family that she had a brain tumor, our precious dog Choca (as in chocolate since she was brown) suddenly got sick and died. She went from playfulness to death in a matter of a few hours with no identifiable cause. It was the first time all the kids had been home at the same time in a while. (Maybe that in itself overwhelmed her! parents with 4 kids catch my drift.) so the timing of her death gave us the closure of being there when she died. The little funeral we had for her gripped me like few things in my life have. As I shoveled dirt over her I realized that as time passed I could go out and dig up her grave and she would have dissolved back into the ground. I have never had such a graphic awareness of “from dirt we were made and to dirt we will return” and was overwhelmed with how amazing it is that God can take DNA molecules that unwind and layout to be a framework to incorporate molecules of dirt into a being that has for a while life that has such an impact on those around it. Then those molecules disassemble and return to inertness! INCREDIBLE! How can such a thing be. I heard screaming in my mind “there must be a God and how great He must be. For an animal, that brief “life” is over, but in God’s plan for people, that “life” has the opportunity to join in the spirit with His spirit and continue on in Him for as long as He shall be. I understood Jesus’ words to Nicodemus like never before, “Unless you are born from above, you will not see the kingdom of God”.Take every opportunity to join your spirit with His spirit!
So, as you continue to pray for Haley, every time thank God. Because not all the tumor could be removed, it is likely that she will need a second surgery later this year to come at the remaining tumor from a different angle. Pray that the residual tumor will wither away without the need for another surgery. Pray for the protection of the hearing in her left ear. Pray that God will recreate the portion of her inner ear and skull that was removed like he did with the man with the crippled arm who he said to “stretch out your hand” and it was instantly restored to normal. Pray that God will use the experience in her life to guide her in her profession as a Physician Assistant. And, of course, pray that the experience of walking through this with God will lead to a life of unflinching trust and faith in Him.
Give a shout out to God for some special surgeons, Dr John McElveen, ENT and Dr Ali Zomorodi, neurosurgeon and Dr Chuck Smith.
And for a wife who tirelessly focused on meeting every need Haley had. Afterwards, Kaye mentioned, “when you are serving someone with that much focus you forget to think about yourself.” I think there is a spiritual lesson in that! It puts into better perspective Jesus’ mindset we he said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but TO serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many!” Sing with me what has become my favorite by hymn through all of this… “Hallelujah, what a savior!”
I just realized the first four letters in Hallelujah are Hall. What a reminder that that should be the essence of every breath from a Hall’s mouth!
I’m glad today is Sunday and you have little else to do but sit around and read this encyclopedia. I hope I didn’t make you late for church.