7 am this morning: The Neurosurgeon’s Resident came in and woke us up out of a deep sleep. I sat up and was working hard to just put two words together. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open yet. I heard her say, “Mr. Furlow, do you know where you are?” Right away, Clay replied, “Sure. I’m at MD Anderson in Houston.” I practically leapt off the bed, but instead I just started kissing him all over his face. The doctor was laughing at me, which means she couldn’t really understand how good it was for me to hear those words. You see, the hardest side effect of the surgery is that the anesthesia and morphine, added to the fact that they dug around in Clay’s brain for 8 hours, caused him to have short term memory issues. We’ve laughed a lot, but the truth is, I have been a little disturbed by it. I just want him to be here with us and when he was struggling to remember what happened a few minutes ago, it was sad to me. We’ve handled it really well. He laughs a lot but I was ready for that side effect to pass. For the past few days, his reply to the question, “Do you know where you are?” has included St. Jude, Nashville, Tennessee, Baton Rouge, Memphis, Lane Memorial in Zachary, Woman’s Hospital, Hawaii and the Baton Rouge General. It has been the hardest question to answer. Plus, the time that he has been the most confused is when he first wakes up from a good sleep. So, he had his wits about him before I even had mine this morning. I was ecstatic.
The Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapist have come by today and they are so excited about how well Clay is doing. He is walking, climbing stairs, putting on his own clothes, holding good conversations, remembering everything that is happening, remembering the staff names, and he even wrote for the first time this morning. When the OT asked him to write something, this is what he chose…
Amen. He does certainly know the plans He has for us. God is restoring Clay so quickly. I firmly believe that his life was saved this week. Had we not been here when we were, and had a doctor that quickly recognized concerning symptoms, we might not have ever made it home. It was that serious, y’all. God’s hand was all over us. He was ordaining every step and leading us to the exact place He needed us to be. There is such a peace in knowing Jesus.
Yesterday and today have been a little difficult for Clay. He has been emotional, as I mentioned yesterday. The scar seems really big right now and it is a huge reality check every time he looks in the mirror. But, even in his sadness, he has never accused God or been angry at God. He just keeps saying, “He knows what He’s doing, baby. He knows.” He has asked me if I know what God is doing. Of course, I can’t see the whole picture. None of us can. But, praise God, He can see everything. He knew when He made me and Clay in our mothers’ wombs that we would be sitting here right now. He always knew that He created us to walk through this trial. And, why you ask? For His names’ sake. For His glory. That’s what everything is about. We can’t see our lives with physical eyes. We must see our life through a spiritual perspective. Everything is about eternity. And, because all of you have showered us with so much love and support, we know that God is using our testimony. He is using it in many lives and people are being drawn to a closer walk with Jesus because of the testimony He is writing in our lives.
2 Corinthians 1: 3-11 says,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”
I feel like I could have written this scripture. I know exactly what Paul means. He is the God of comfort. When we are afflicted, He is nearer than ever and He helps us in our infirmities. We are living this truth right now. It is amazing to be facing such a mountain and to be filled with peace and praise. Paul knew that he was suffering for the sake of the church. I honestly believe that Clay and I are suffering right now for your sake. Of course, God is working in us. He is revealing Himself and bringing us to a new place in our walk with Him. He has brought repentance and healing of our hearts. But, He is also working in you. I know because you are telling me. Many of you have messaged me and told me how much God is speaking to you through this situation. Let me tell you, it is the Holy Spirit at work. When I sit down to write these posts, I type the words the first time and I don’t change a thing. I’ve prayed for the Holy Spirit to speak through me and that’s exactly what He’s doing. So, I beg you to listen. To receive. To allow Him to work. In this scripture, Paul recalls his time in Asia as a death sentence. They were utterly burdened beyond strength, but God used it to teach them not to rely on themselves, but to trust God. Clay and I have learned this lesson and are praying that He will allow us to continue to share our story so that you can be encouraged to lean on God in whatever trial you are currently experiencing.
The last part is my favorite….so that MANY will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. I’m praying that at the end of our story, there will be a huge celebration for many people who have been healed, including Clay, and a time of testimony for people to share how their lives have been changed. This will be granted to us through the prayers of many. You get to take part in all of our blessings because you are constantly lifting us up in prayer. And, we feel it. We know how hard you have prayed and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for it. Clay has had several visits, even though we are so far from home. Here are a few from yesterday…
Long time, good friends, Michael and Jason, visited from Beaumont and Fort Worth. Stephanie brought Andrew to see Ben and she took Ben home for us. What a blessing. He was getting a little stir crazy so it was the perfect solution for everyone. Andy brought us Pappadeaux Seafood for lunch. Delicious! He even entertained Sam and Grace in the evening and let them stay at his house. Clay’s cousin, Kelli, came by and really cheered him up. The visits are helping him so much. It shows him how loved he is and helps him to stay encouraged.
Today, we had a precious visit from our church friends, Anna, Hannah and Ingrid. The staff has been cheering him up and his nurse even prayed for him. Awesome!
Here it is….the scar! We’ve decided that it looks like a baseball seam and that makes it pretty cool. Dr. Weinberg, pictured with Clay above, is the amazing surgeon that put that mark on Clay’s head. We are happy to have it and we are thanking God that He brought this man into our lives for such a time as this. God used Dr. Weinberg to prolong Clay’s life. He is a gentle, caring, compassionate man who is gifted beyond belief to perform amazing tasks everyday. And, considering he is the top Neurosurgeon in the world, he is very humble. We love him and are so grateful for what he has done for us.
God has proven to be our comforter and our strength. We are praising Him today.
Because Clay is doing so well, we will most likely travel home tomorrow. They are preparing our discharge papers tonight so we can leave as soon as we get up. The mornings are his best time, so it will be the best time to be on the road. Everyone went home yesterday, except Sam and Grace. They stayed with us and my awesome cousin, Andy, and his wife, Brooke, let them sleep at their house last night. I’m so glad they stayed. Clay’s face lit up when they got here today. They’ll be able to help me with him on the way home. We are praying for little traffic, no pain, and safe travels tomorrow.
I am threatening to write a post that is just a list of the funny things Clay has done and said. If we have time, Sam and Grace are going to help me with it tonight. So, be on the lookout if you need a good laugh later. We love you all and thank you so much for your continued prayers. God is working. Be assured. Amen.