Monday, December 12, 2011

Update Monday afternoon 12/12

My husband, children, and I wish to express our gratitude to all of you who have been continuous in prayer for our son Dale and our whole family.  Every day we feel the love and care God's people are showing to us, and we see the definitive benefits those prayers are bringing forth.  To those of you who may not be Christians or do not share our faith in an all-wise, all-powerful, loving God but are following this story because of its human appeal, thank you for your concern and your thoughts toward us.  We have been so overwhelmed by everyone's kindness and continued generosity in time, money, love, and gifts.  Thank you for making our family feel special and constantly bathed in prayer.  What a tremendously uplifting feeling to know our names are always in God's ears!  We cannot thank you enough and only hope that some day---maybe not even until Heaven---we may personally thank each of you for all you have done and are doing.  To those who read this blog daily (or, at least, every time I update it!) but have never commented, we covet your prayers and continued thoughts of us Heavenward.  You will never know how much you all have meant to this family through this God-sent blessing-in-disguise.  He is the Master Planner, the One Who knows how everything will work out best and what is needed most in our lives.  If we only trust Him fully, allow Him free rein to guide our lives, He will "work all things together for good."  He can and He is.

We have had several people both in person and on the blog ask if they can do anything for our family this Christmas.  I realize our family's name comes to the minds of most people who wish to do something a little extra for someone at this time of year, and we sincerely appreciate each and every gift we receive.  As you are probably aware already, we do have significant needs stemming from Dale's accident---loss of my teaching income, hospital bills still coming in, spending more than usual for gasoline to go to/from Dale's increased therapy appointments, etc.  But please do not feel as though you must do something for us just because our name has been in the paper alot!  There are alot of needy families out there, in your home church or in your neighborhood, who would love to have a little extra something this Christmas.  God through you all has blessed us so much recently that it seems greedy to tell folks, "Sure, you can give us some money for Christmas!"  Having said that, if you would like to send a Christmas greeting, you may send things through our church:  Chad and Kirsten Ostrander, c/o Bethel Baptist Church, 524 E. 176th Street, Spanaway, WA  98387.  (I did ask our pastor's permission first before re-posting our church's address!)  And, as always, thank you from the bottom of our hearts just for being you.  God bless you, every one!  :-)

On Friday, Dale went to SP and finished up the testing.  These tests have been very helpful in showing us just how much Dale has improved in SP and what areas he still shows weakness in.  We discovered that Dale's visual memory is much better than his language memory.  On one part of the test, she had Dale copy a geometric shape with lots of lines and dots.  About ten minutes later, she had Dale draw the same shape from memory---and he did very well.  I would've remembered literally only half of the drawing.  She and I were surprised at how much Dale remembered visually.  However, in one part of the test, she read Dale a list of words (ten or so) and had Dale repeat as many as he could remember.  She did this three times in a row, then set that part aside.  About ten minutes later, she asked Dale to repeat as many of those words as he could remember.  He couldn't remember any!  She then asked him if he recognized any words from the first list in the list she was now reading; again, he couldn't recognize any.  So, we now know that Dale's visual memory is quite good while he needs definite work in language memory.  That is now one of SP's new goals for Dale to work toward before the next testing in a couple of months.

Unfortunately, again this Monday morning, Dale had a seizure.  It has been exactly one week since his last episode, and again this spell didn't seem quite as long as before.  He fell asleep afterwards as usual, but he woke up completely within about twenty minutes.  He used to sleep for a couple of hours afterward.  Something new about this spell:  he remembered having it!  I asked him, "Do you remember the seizure?"  He nodded his head.  Surprised, I asked, "What do you remember?"  Dale replied, "I remember falling down and then blacking out."  WOW!!!  That has never happened before.  Usually, he doesn't remember anything, and this time he remembers falling (half-falling onto the couch before sliding to the floor) and then everything going black.  I was with him the whole time, even tried to prevent the seizure by helping him sit better on the floor, but I guess his brain just needed to shut down for a brief time.  Praise the Lord, Dale has been fine since and attended PT and SP as scheduled.  Last Monday, he had an episode, after which he had two or three good days in a row.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were not so good; he was shaking badly and very unsure of his ability to walk, insisting on someone holding his hand even to sit down on the toilet.  Since the spell this morning, Dale has been walking better and willing to let go of my hand to move.  Amazing!

Did I mention he fell in class on Friday?  Like I said, he was pretty shaky, and, while going to his assigned seat, his foot caught or something and down he went.  I had just escorted him to the bathroom and back to History class; I glanced back through the door as I was walking away and saw the teacher lunge to try to grab Dale before he hit the floor.  Poor Dale!  He wound up on the floor with a lump on his chin where he connected with the desk on the way down.  He didn't bite his tongue or go into a seizure though.  We gave him a minute to calm down (he was crying in pain and fear), and then I helped him up and walked him back to my classroom.  He was able to still attend SP later that morning, as you know, and that helped take his mind off the fall.  In the car this afternoon, I mentioned that he has no therapy scheduled tomorrow; I told him he could go to school in the morning and then we could go buy Dad's Christmas present together.  He said, "No."  I asked him what he meant.  He told me, "No school, only shopping."  When I questioned him as to the reason why, he explained, "Because I don't want to fall."  So I volunteered to walk with him to class and make sure he was seated safely each time.  He agreed to this!  I told him I didn't want to embarrass him by walking to class with him (you know.....mother walking her seventh-grade son to class!), but he said he didn't mind.  It's kind of nice to have my son still want me near him at school even though I could wish for a different reason for doing so!

So, all things considered, Dale is doing well and still plugging along.  (Is that even a phrase?)  God is good, as always, and He will continue to be though our feelings on the matter may change or falter.  Isn't it amazing how God created us in His own image and yet we turned out sooooo different?!  Maybe Star Trek's Data had it right:  human emotions are highly overrated!  It's reassuring to know that even when our personal lives are stormy and our thoughts are in a tangle, God remains steady and sure, unchanging and eternal.  Have you ever said, "It's a good thing I'm not God!"  I have, many times.  We would be in "a world of hurt" if I were in charge!  Thanks be to God for giving us free will to choose our own paths and then flooding His path with brilliant light to show us the way in which we ought to walk.  Thank You, Lord, for Your Word to direct us and guide us daily.  Once again, You have made life so simple for us---just trust and obey.

Galatians 6: 7 - 9  "Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing:  for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."


  1. Since I first heard about the accident, I've been praying for Dale and your family daily. I really appreciate the updates, which help me concentrate when I pray. Since you first mentioned Katie's headaches, I've been praying specifically for those to be ameliorated as well. Would you please give us an update on Katie as well?
    Here is a joke for Dale. "What do you call a submarine?" "A can of people."

  2. As an added bonus (for me) following your updates about Dale is very thought stimulating. I teach high school worldview as well as serve as senior pastor for our church family. Over the years I have become more and more convinced about the role of imagination in grappling with the truths of our faith in Christ. Over and over I will ask folks to think about what a doctrinal statement "looks like." One of the things I discovered has been that we think visually before we think verbally. This is not to say words are not important...they are vital in expressing what we are seeing; but we do think with the senses first (from infancy).

    I say that to say it is not surprising that Dale is progressing faster in visual memory rather than vocabulary memory. I suspect you will find that in time he will do much better with words when they are associated with real sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings. A finger of sugar on the tongue can put imaginative meaning into the word "sweet."

    Unrelated to that, I wonder sometimes and just prayed for Dale's classmates. It must be a tremendously complicated thing for them to work through the difference they see in the young man they knew at the end of the last school term. Great opportunity for real-life growth for them which could bump them off the "fun" treadmill and get them thinking about real people, real needs and real solutions. So many things God can do through this.

    Keep on keeping on. It's an honor to be in the same Family of faith with you.

  3. I feel so horrible that Dale has these two steps forward one step back with his shakiness and seizures and then his confidence. It is already awkward to be that age as his body is begining to change and his emotions, etc. I really pray that he can grow in his confidence and keep up the good work! I am so thankful that he is willing to humble himself and allow help. Many people his age or even older, wouldnt be so willing! God truly is using Dale as a vessel to send His message. I feel so blessed because of your updates and because of Dale going through what he is. I often wonder does he complain or feel angry about this happening to him? He seems so mature for his age. I pray that he will know in his head and in his heart that Jesus chose him to spread the Word!
    This year has been quite the year for me as far as finding people who need prayers for health and even though i am dirt broke. Heck i couldn't even sell my dirt at this point, my kids and I did make a generous (too much for us to afford) donation to the childrens hospitals! This year alone we have learned of your family, a baby who has had two heart transplants, come in contact with cancer patients, etc! My family is so lucky to be safe and healthy but through each of you i have learned that life can change in a moment, without notice. Once i am done with a medication i am on i will be back donating blood as well. Thank you Ostrander family for teaching my family what it really means to give and recieve! God bless you! I can't wait for the next update :D