It's been a week since the seizure, and all is mostly well in the Westerkamp home. Heath's shoulder is still sore, and Harris has had a hard time shaking the visual from his mind, but life has resumed back to "normal," and we are in the midst of preparing for Christmas.
When the seizure doctor's nurse called me back last Friday, we had a long conversation about what happened and what to do next. Basically all we will do for now is increase his daily Dilantin from 100 mg to 130 mg and see how that works out for him. We discussed the importance of maintaining a lot of consistency in his life as far as sleeping and dietary habits and taking the medicine at the same time every day, keeping stress to a minimum, and exercising within reasonable boundaries. She knows full well that for a 20-year-old, those things can be a little tricky, especially the sleeping part, but when these things get thrown off, they can trigger a seizure in someone who's prone to having them.
Throughout this whole ordeal, many people have asked us whether or not we felt we should be getting a second opinion, so when a friend from Bible study offered her husband's willingness to look at his MRI disks for free, we knew that was God's way of providing one for us, even though we didn't necessarily have that gut feeling that we needed to get one. He called me from home last Friday night and basically reiterated and concurred with everything the Iowa City doctors had been telling us thus far, which was really encouraging. He agreed that a biopsy of the tumor was not necessary right now and commented that if it were his own child with this condition, he would be doing exactly what we are doing. What a blessing it was just to have someone else's opinion!
Saturday morning there was a Primerica event going on in the same office where the seizure happened. Harris was still distraught enough that he was not sure about going, but Heath really wanted to go so he could thank a few people, so the three of us decided it was important for us to attend. Many details of that night came to light for me as people shared what they saw and experienced. As Harris was kneeling by Heath the night of the seizure and watching his son nearly die, one man was watching and thinking about the two miscarriages his wife had recently experienced. Another man was watching and remembering what it was like to find his 27-year-old daughter when she died. This same man left the room because he wanted to make sure the door was open for the paramedics and ended up praying with another man in the building whose 40-year-old son had just been murdered a month ago. Unbelievable!
To hear all these stories just made my heart break because all of them had actually lost their children. I can't even begin to imagine what that must feel like, and my prayers are with each one who has lost a child, whether I heard their story that night or not. Even though we came dreadfully close to losing our son, God chose to spare Heath's life, and we are so thankful. We're thankful for the prayer chain that was formed around the room that night, and we're thankful for all the prayers that have been offered on our behalf since then. We're thankful that he was in a safe and warm environment, and we're thankful that he was in a room full of people who know him and love him. Even though it's a little frustrating to have the 6-month no-driving restriction start all over again, we're thankful that now we know that weaning him off medication would not be a good idea. We have to choose to look at the positive side.
Ultimately, we just know that God isn't finished with him yet, and we just have to trust in God's plan. No one ever said it would be easy.