Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thankfulness in Hospitals

Today Ryan is tired but doing OK overall.  He slept for 2 hours after a painful bowel movement that knocked him out but is feeling some energy for dinner soon.  We took a short walk with his enormous IV machine this afternoon and all the nurses cheered him on!  They are so good to him.

He ate a little breakfast this morning and some light lunch but we realize that anything that goes in has to come out. *Cringe*  So he's going easy since it's still so painful.

All his vitals are reading normally and our nutritionist said that one of his low vitamin levels (not sure which one) is up to a normal level now that he has been on his IV "food".  It's called Pro-Cal.  They also decided not to run a new PICC line on him, which was that large, multi entry IV because of the allergy.  We are OK with that and Ryan is not desperate for the calories at the moment.  He has gained 1 lb so far. Woo hoo!!  Celebrate the small wins!

Our goal for tonight is to order him some dinner, turn on a movie, and let him rest.  Has has a big day tomorrow so he will need the energy.  And while Ryan napped I realized how grateful I am for this place.  So I wanted to share with you where I am picking up on My Journey to 1000 Gifts.  We have A LOT much to be thankful for in this hospital and season even though it's hard.

More updates to come...probably Tuesday morning.

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
499. Dr. B and Dr. L and Dr. S and their knowledge and help about Crohn's
500. When Ryan is doing well-love that!
501. When he's not doing well because it reminds me that the surgeries and hospital are needed
502. That God made a pain response in us to know when something is wrong
503. For those crazy high calorie drinks called Ensure that are fattening Ryan up
504. Family: such sweet, supportive family in every way imaginable
505. For friends-their countless phone calls, visits, e-mails and love from all over
506. Facebook to keep people up to date on Ryan.  Love technology!
507. Ed and Joyce Anderson.
508. That someone invented IV's and how incredibly they work to get what Ryan needs 
509. Room service at the hospital so I don't have to cook :)
510. The coffee machine down the hall
511. For surgeries-glorious, crazy surgeries that will help his poor body
512. Watching the Olympics
513. Mountain views from our hospital window
514. The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler that we'll start reading
515. Sneaking out into the sun for a walk while Ryan naps
516. Hospital chocolate is seriously so good
517. Rest
518. Processing life change with a chronic illness
519. Remicade (his new drug therapy)
520. Watching thunderstorms roll in over the mountains from my chair next to Ryan's bed
521. Having time to write and blog
522. Health
523. That the Lord does not harm us but certainly gives us strength for the difficult seasons

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
 I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.
 Your way, O God, is holy.
     What god is great like our God?
 You are the God who works wonders;

Psalm 77:11-14

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Updates and Such

Man it had been a crazy 4 days.  We are both so thankful for this hospital stay that he desperately needed.  We're just so very very grateful.  Ryan is far more sick than we even knew.  Our original doctor actually apologized for not putting us in here sooner and said Ryan should have been admitted awhile ago.  I'm grateful for his humility but it doesn't change that Ryan suffered unnecessarily for far too long.

So Ryan's surgery on Thursday went very well.  The doctor did a much more advanced clean out of the abscess and used cetons (special rubber bands) to open up the fistula to allow for proper healing.  The Scrub Tech in on the surgery commented that Ryan had the worst case of Crohn's she had ever seen.  Wow.  These people see Crohn's patients every day so that is saying something.  It's amazing that we have so many specialists on his case taking the BEST care of him.  What a relief.

However last night was really difficult.  Ryan was started on something called a PICC which is a multi entry IV line and also handle higher volume fluids.  He was meant to start on a nutritional therapy intravenously-they hooked up a HUGE bag of milky white fluid that was 100% of his nutritional needs.  The bag contained 2400 calories and would help him put on weight.  But when they started "food" flowing through the PICC Ryan's arm began burning horribly.  He was sweating and tense and in a lot of pain.  Basically he was having an allergic reaction for an unknown reason.  So at 3 am they pulled the PICC line which is a big deal.  That large, specialized IV takes over an hour to put in and a specially trained nurse uses an ultrasound to do it.  We declined a new placement today to allow Ryan to rest but anticipate a different PICC being places early next week.

So after they pulled the PICC, they still had to have IV access so FOUR nurses tried EIGHT times to start a regular ole IV and couldn't do it.  He was not dehydrated or anything so it was totally strange.  Finally a Flight for Life nurse was called in to do it and succeeded.  That whole process took about 6 hours and Ryan has a very hole filled arm.  We didn't go to sleep until 4 am today.  Whew we are tired today and will be heading to bed shortly.

There is one other thing to mention.  Ryan's doctors have recommended a major operation for his condition that we are moving forward with on Monday at 5:30 pm.  We've felt really led to keep it private for the time being simply because it is new to us and really want to be sensitive to Ryan's privacy and feelings.  We might share more when we're more comfortable.  But know that it's a safe and wise surgery and we feel peaceful over the decision.  Does that make sense about keeping the details low key for now?  I hope so.   Know that we need your prayer for the Monday operation, recovery, and ongoing interventions for his health.

The medicinal plan is to start him on Remicade in about 2 weeks or so and really get his Crohn's under control after he is stabilized from his hospital stay.  We are feeling so excited that he has the best of the best here at Skyridge!  We are surrounded bu wonderful nurses, doctors, surgeons, dieticians, GI Specialists,  CNA's, and everyone else.

Finally, here is a glimpse into our hospital adventure.  Sorry for the low quality pictures; they were taken on the iPad camera but might let you know we're in a snazzy room, we are surrounded by love, and we'll be OK.  Thanks the Lord for every provision we need!

Ryan and his sister Stacey

Ryan and myself with a goodie basket that some sweet peeps put together for him

Ryan with a stethoscope-the nurse let him listen to his heart beat :)

The view from our window (our room is private I might add-a very nice blessing!)

Resting husband hooked up to so many tubes and wires.

Shaving today to keep his spirits up that he has a normal routine and is independent still

More updates to come everyone!  Know that we are grateful for your prayers, love, comments, and help.  What a refining and very intense journey.  Glad not to do it alone :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have been trying to fall asleep tonight on the hospital pull out bed...but the stress of the day and the steady beep of the machines making Ryan well keep me up.

This afternoon we were suddenly and unexpectedly checked into Skyridge Hospital; a top of the line facility where Ryan is finally getting the emergency care he so desperately needs.  He is desperately, horribly, shockingly sick and has gained the attention of a full medical team here at Skyridge.  Every medical personnel to see him has been nothing less than alarmed and shocked at his condition.

Here's what happened...

We were referred to a new colorectal surgeon, Dr. B, to simply gain a second opinion about Ryan.  His office miraculously squeezed us in at 11 am this morning which is astounding!!  Most GI doctors are booked 6+ weeks out.  The Lord was at work.

Upon entering his office we filled out 30 solid minutes worth of paper work and Ryan headed into the exam room.  Dr. B is a no nonsense, straight shooter kind of guy.  I like him.  He gained the best picture he could of Ryan's last 4 months and current medical condition.  Then he requested an anal exam on Ryan.  I cannot describe to you how far my heart sunk.  Ryan has barely been able to walk or sit, let alone allow someone to probe the most sensitive area on his body.  The thought of a metal scope in his you-know-where was BEYOND what he could handle.  But the doctor did it anyway.  Oh Lord my heart clenches up as I type this.  Ryan was shaking uncontrollably, sweating, and crying by the end of the exam.  I was shaking watching this horrific scene before my eyes.  It was awful to watch my sweet husband in such agony.  A grown man was completely and utterly destroyed from a 8 second exam.  It is almost too much to think about.  That is just how sick he is.

Our doctor, with as much tact as he could muster, said this to Ryan, "Honestly man you look like you just walked out of a bar fight.  You look awful.  You look beat up and extremely sick.  You are basically starving and experiencing a very, very severe case of Crohn's.  I'm admitting you immediately to the hospital.  You need help now!  Expect at least a week in the hospital if not more.  You are very very sick."

Praise. The.  Lord.

Someone finally gets it.  My sweet husband was wheelchaired to his  hospital room where they promptly started an IV in each arm, drew two rounds of blood for the lab work, and got him in for an MRI all within our first 15 minutes of being checked in.   MRI showed severe ulceration and inflammation of the rectum as well as a persistent abscess that needing surgical attention.  Wow.  More answered and steps toward progress have happened here in a few hours than in the last 18 weeks combined.

To clear up any confusion that this is in any way not serious let me tell you this:  Ryan has lost 40 lbs and is currently on an intravenous feeding plan.  He takes all calories and nutrients through his veins because he is so malnourished.  He has two IV's going round the clock with steroids, antibiotics, fluids, and various other drugs.  Nurses and doctors from around the floor have popped their heads in to see the guy with such a horrific case of Crohn's Disease and ask, "has he really lost 40 lbs since March!?!"

We have a top of the line medical team addressing Ryan's every need.  We are surrounded non stop by family, friends, and support.  We are cared for and hopeful.  More hopeful than we've been in weeks.  The shock value for me of a week+ long stay at the hospital is overpowered by my sheer elation and gratefulness that Ryan is finally being cared for.  Finally.  He's suffered long enough.  Tomorrow (7/26) Ryan has a 5:00 pm surgery scheduled to address the abscess.  Once his TB test comes back negative they will start him on an intravenous drug called Remicade for address the Crohn's.  There is a long, complicated journey ahead of us but we are SO beyond happy to have him in the hospital being cared for and slowly brought back to health.

Join us in praying for the doctors, Ryan's medical team,  Ryan (!!), and a special blessing over all that has been and will be done to him medically.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Clear Results

Ryan's CT scan came back clear and negative.  Meaning there were no abnormal growths, tumors, etc It did show severe inflammation of his rectum which was detected on the last scan so we were not surprised.  That inflammation points to Crohn's which we already know about.

Here is our plan of action in the next few days and weeks:

-We have a post-op appointment with our surgeon, Dr. W, tomorrow at 1:20 pm and she will hopefully give us a clear picture of what is happening internally for Ryan
-We have a referral to a very skilled GI Specialist, Dr. T, who can give us a second opinion.  If this new doctor confirms Dr. L's current findings there is a chance Ryan's drug therapy can increase and we will put him on Remicade immediately.  Remicade is for severe Crohn's patients when other drug treatments have failed.
-Our current GI Specialist is personally calling a recommended colorectal surgeon, Dr. V, for a second opinion about all of his surgical needs
-We pray that this Sunday, July 29th, Ryan would be able to do the colonscopy prep which is basically an intense laxative and clean out.  But as bowel movements are excruciating at the moment, it will be a miracle if he can do it.  His colonoscopy is scheduled for Monday, July 30th.
-Finally, we have a 3rd opinion scheduled from yet another GI Specialist for Tuesday, July 31st.

We feel like we have lined up all the medical resources we can.  Ryan's incredible CEO has put in personal calls to his GI doctor, we have so much support from so many people, and I know we are covered in prayer across the globe.  Thank you thank you!

A general update on Ryan:  Sick, sick, sick.  Ryan said to me this evening, "Am I dreaming all this?  Am I just going to wake up and it will all just be a nightmare?"  I certainly wish that were true.  Ryan has been so horribly ill the last few days.  He perks up a little when people are here because as you know he is such an extrovert and gets so much energy from being with others :)  He has been experiencing continually painful bowel movements, nausea from his new medicine, a very painful bum, and a whole slew of other symptoms. I am grateful that 70% of the day he is asleep because it is when his best healing will happen and the only time he is not in pain.  Please keep praying for him as you feel led.  We need the Lord for so many things at this point and only He can handle it all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

CT Scan Today/Ry Update

{Today's Post at Reaching for Fringe is especially uplifting for these hard days.  I hope it blesses.}

Today is not a good day.

We slipped into a 12:30 pm slot today for a full abdominal and pelvic CT scan for Ryan.  Only problem is he woke up SO sick this morning.  Weak, beyond tired, nauseous, stomach aching, and the dreaded bowel movement.  They are almost unbearable at this point.  I take that back...they ARE unbearable.  It takes 2 Percocet to make it through.  Percocet is a narcotic people, intense stuff.  Truly, I wish I could convey how horribly miserable and painful going to the bathroom is at this point for Ry.  I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

Fast forward to a 40 minute car ride which is never fun for a guy who can't sit: the doctor's office was freezing-like less than 60 degrees and at 150 lbs Ryan doesn't have an ounce of fat on him to keep him warm.  Top all of those awful symptoms I mentioned before with having to drink 2 huge bottles of the barium dye for the contrast.  It was not a pleasant morning to say the least.

I have a call into our GI Specialist.  I am very, very worried about Ryan at this point.  I am physically lifting him when he needs it and it takes literally every ounce of strength in him to get up out of the bath or out of the bed.  I've never seen anything like it.  There are also some new symptoms that I won't describe here because they are not pleasant to do so.  But know they are excruciatingly miserable.

Please please pray for Ryan.  He is so severely sick.  Things do not get better but seem to only get worse.  I've shared some fighting words with the Lord recently.  I'm glad that a lot of the Psalms are filled with cries of anguish and anger because otherwise I would stand very isolated in my exasperation and emotion.  At this point I am just begging God to show up.

1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
    How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?
    How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
    Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your unfailing love.
    I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me.

Psalm 13

Sunday, July 22, 2012

French Silk Pie

I'm told by a reliable source (my husband) that this is the best dessert I've ever made.  Poor Ryan has not always experienced those most delicious sweets in our marriage-that would be in part to me attributing all evil in the world to sugar.   Joking...sort of.

But through the years he has willingly, perhaps hesitantly, obliged to eating crazy "desserts" like Tofu Chocolate Pie, Zucchini Brownies, Chickpea Cookie Dough Dip and others.

But this recipe is nothing like those fakers!  This French Silk Pie just has the goodness of eggs, butter, sugar, chocolate and other things that make your taste buds tingle!

And this particular  recipe is courtesy of my good friend Katie's mom.  I've never met this pie genius mom in person, but her recipes rock so I like her already.  I have whipped up two of these in the last several weeks because it's so delicious and because we all need a break from health every now and then.  Plus Ryan loves it and I think anything to make this season more pleasant, even a dessert, is worth it.  Enjoy!
Mamalove French Silk Pie

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Friday, July 20, 2012

How Ryan is Doing...

We've been home from surgery for a few hours and Ryan has been sleeping all afternoon.  We received SO much help and love today-my mom brought me Panera Bread for lunch to the hospital, my friend Ali hung out with us in the Recovery Room, and our friends Hannah and Daniel dropped off dinner for us which was a HUGE blessing not to cook after such a long day.  We are blessed!

Ryan's super tired from the very exhausting day and the physical toll surgeries take on him.  We're managing his pain well and he is comfortable.   Sore and worn out, but in good spirits.

What happened in the OR: Doctor saw that the fissure was very infected and even thought it had progressed into an anal ulcer.  Doesn't matter much which it is because it's painful and is not supposed to be there.  She also saw that the fistula was not healing properly and removed a few hard abnormal growths but they weren't too concerning to her.  Basically she cleaned him out and set him up to heal as best he can in the midst of a horrible flare up.  The ultimate goal is to get Crohn's under control and stop this cycle of infection/surgeries, which is MUCH easier said than done. 

Grateful for all the prayers and love from all over today!  We are overwhelmed with gratitude and also hopeful for the care plan in place for Ryan.

Surgery #3

I never thought we'd be journeying to the hospital for a 3rd time in 6 weeks for yet ANOTHER surgery.  Next week will be the same scenario-scans, tests, IV's, prodding, poking and more.  But for now, this surgery, is our main hurdle and what we're trusting God for.

I am so unbelievably proud of my very brave, courageous, persevering husband this morning.  Who puts up with this much sickness for 17 weeks?  Dang, he is a stud.

We leave very soon for the hospital, probably in the next 10 minutes. Check in is at 11:30 when they get him hooked up to an IV, start fluids, get his medical history, and we recite all his meds.  I could do this in my sleep by now :) Then the procedure starts at 1:00 pm.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding this surgery because of SO much infection, why all his symptoms returned, and what the heck is going on in his body.  We're hopeful...but if I'm honest not really sure what to expect out of this.

Please life up Ryan and the entire medical team.  We are very in need of prayers and the Lord's hand over everything.  As for me, my amazing mom is bringing me lunch and one of my best friends, Ali, is coming to hang out with me around 2:00.  So both Ryan and I are well cared for today.  Updates to come this afternoon.  Thank you's to everyone and we are so grateful for the love and support...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ryan's Doctor's Appt

We're back from the doctor: Ryan is headed in for surgery this Friday (7/20) to clean up MORE infection. The doctor is very worried about him and says he is full of infection from his last 2 surgeries and the fissure.

After that, we go in to the hospital for a CT scan to check for anything abnormal. Doctor wasn't satisfied with the last one and thinks there is reason for another.

Finally, Ryan is going in for a colonscopy in 2 weeks if his health has improved as well as trying out a new drug to get Crohn's under control.

Sum up: He is VERY sick still but our doctor is amazing and is doing all he can to get him well. Still looks like we have a very long journey ahead of us...our doctor predicts another 3-6 months until Crohn's is under control.

Doctor Today

Check out the latest post at Reaching For Fringe today! 6 Ways to Serve Your Chronically Ill Spouse

We're headed to the doctor's office this afternoon at 3:30 pm.  Looking for answers and some significant relief for Ryan.  We'll post this evening to let you know the plan-we pray for answers!

But the day is not too bleak...check out this sweet faced girl!

Lunch!  Doesn't she look sneaky cute in this picture?!

Thinking and looking so sweet!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reaching For Fringe

There is some exciting news that needs reporting (that is kind of rare these days isn't it??).   I've been inspired to create a second blog-one that I am VERY jazzed about!

I think I've finally come to accept that The Deckers are in the midst of a health crisis and honestly a chronic illness is slowly becoming a part of our story.

And in that acceptance I began looking for resources to help us.  The hours I have spent looking for really good, Biblical, and encouraging websites, books, etc for young married couples in a health crisis or who are experiencing a chronic illness have been...well...slim.

So I started my own resource and website!  It's titled Reaching For Fringe (just click on those turquoise letters to be taken there) inspired by the beautiful scripture found in Mark 5:26-28.

I'll let you head over to the new site to read more.  It is my dream that RFF will serve as a site containing resources, how-to's, encouragement, devotions, stories, trials, and community for anyone who finds themselves where we are:  married, young (or not so young!), and either in a health crisis or in a place of living with chronic illness.  Specially a shout out to the caretakers out there because our role is not easy and the world of support is lacking.

I'll continue to blog both here and now at RFF regularly-I'm willing to give up some sleep or cleaning or another less important activity because both this blog and Reaching For Fringe are of growing importance to me.  So head on over and let us know what you think!
26...and [the woman] who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”

Mark 5:26-28

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Red Lentil Dahl

This is what you do when you're husband has been sick for 16 weeks and it's really not looking like he'll be healthy anytime soon...

You read the ENTIRE Harry Potter series together!  We've found reading together out loud is a sweet, fun way to connect.  Last night we headed to the back porch and set Ryan up with pillows and blankets on our fabric outdoor chairs so he could stretch out and be comfy.  Over a batch of  warm Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies topped with peanut butter, we read Harry Potter.  I'm really grateful for that mini-date we had :)

Is this not the cutest picture you've ever seen of Harpo?  Can't even stand his cuteness.  However he is really smelly at the moment because he got himself sprayed right in the face by a skunk. 

Also, this Red Lentil Dahl recipe is what we had for dinner.  It's a super fast, super healthy dinner.  I kid you not...time in kitchen = less than 10 minutes.  Time from beginning to table = less than 30!  And believe me I do not have the energy to be cooking right now so if I made this you know it's easy.  Serve along side butter or garlic naan or over basamati rice for an even heftier dinner.

Red Lentil Dahl 
(Spicy Optional)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced white onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp diced fresh ginger
4 cups water or vegetable broth or chicken broth (if you don't mind it not being vegan)
1 cup dried red lentils
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (only add this if you spicy food!)
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp tomato paste

In a medium pan heat your oil over medium heat.  When it's hot throw in the onion, garlic, and ginger.  Stir until the onions are translucent-this will only take a few minutes.
Next add the broth or water, lentils, and spices stirring well.  Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer.  Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes (when I make this is always need about 22-23 mins) or until lentils are fully cooked.  Finally, stir in the tomato paste.  If you like a thinner consistency add more water.  Serve with a dollop of creamy greek yogurt on top and enjoy!

Notes: I would add more veggies to mine next time-maybe carrots and green peppers.  I know this won't be as authentic but I like to get veggies in easily where I can.

Finally please please keep praying for Ryan.  Yesterday was not a good day and today isn't looking too hot either. He is experiencing so much pain consistently throughout the day and is struggling to sit or move about with ease.  Specific prayers would be for untroubled hearts (John 14:1), comfort (2 Cor 1:5) and some noticeable relief (or total miraculous healing!) for Ryan.  Oh and that our doctor would be SO wise, so attentive, so compassionate on Wednesday when we see him.  We'll keep you posted-thanks for caring about us and loving us so well.

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
499. Bright Light Ministries that minister to caregivers
500. Dreaming about starting a ministry/resource for caregivers
501. A large stack of books waiting for us to dive into
502.  Visits from parents, dinner form friends
503. Facebook message from a very very long ago friend offering to do yard work-how cool!?
504. Spirit-filled life and freedom from needing to muster my own strength
505. Linny and Justin coming to visit in a few weeks
506. Ryan budgeting for us and handling finances even when he is not well
507. Slowly learning not to care that the house is messy-just a shift in priorities
For just as the suffering of Christ flows into our lives, so also through Christ our suffering overflows

2 Corinthians 1:5

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ryan July Update

Things aren't looking too good around the Decker household.  And we are super bummed about this.

About a week ago (give or take a few days) Ryan suddenly began to experience A LOT of new old symptoms.  What I mean is that he had been on a very encouraging trend upward but suddenly many of the previous bad symptoms he had experienced earlier in his sickness were returning.  So they are new, but old.

Some of those symptoms include: burning and pain in his bum during poos and just pain in general is back.  Not our favorite at all.  Inability to stand or sit for long periods of time.  Fatigue meaning he can easily sleep 12+ hours a day and need every minute of it.  Decreased appetite.  My husband does not just skip a meal for fun so when he isn't eating it's not a good sign.  And those are the physical symptoms.  Declining health does a number on your heart, mind, and relationships too.  Sigh.

Basically we changed nothing and have done nothing to our knowledge that would re-invite these symptoms back.  We are so confused and so discouraged.  And feeling kind of hopeless lately.  I realize how dramatic that must sound but it's true...

I'm sure the Lord has some mega sweet plan with all of this but right now I just want answers.  I want health for my husband.  I want relief.  This journey has been 4 months = 16 weeks = 112 days...that is too much time for anyone to be sick.

Please pray.  Our resources are dwindling at the moment and we're just mustering joy and strength.  But it's kind of half hearted to be honest.  More updates to come...

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
491.  A life partner named Ryan Decker
492. Being inspired by his courage, bravery, and leadership
493. Meals, meals, and love galore to support us
494. The Lord providing houses for so many friends-what provision!
495. Holy Spirit's strength to cook-seriously a big deal these days
496. Baby Decker #2 coming sometime this month!
497. Brave
498. Reading Harry Potter together every night
26...and [the woman] was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 

Mark 5:26-28

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Friday, July 13, 2012

In Which I Write A Letter To Crohn's

Dear Crohn's,

Let me just start by saying I hate you.  Now don't take offense at that.  It's true and you know you deserve it.

You waltzed into our life almost 16 weeks ago and have made things miserable.  Is there a bigger word than miserable?  Because that's the kind of thing you are capable of.  You wrecked my husband's body, you tore up his intestines, you took 30 lbs from him that he didn't want (or need!) to lose.  You made him sick, you made him tired, you caused him unbearable pain.  That is something we can never forgive you for.

As if that weren't enough you took away my husband's ability to work.  And walk.  And sit.  And even eat for awhile.  What is wrong with you Crohn's!?!

It's because of you that we missed a lot of important events.  We weren't around when our friends found out they were pregnant, we've missed weddings and birthdays, Ryan's 26th birthday was no fun, our 2 year anniversary went pretty terribly, and you stole our dream of moving out of the country this summer.  But you gave us the pleasure of 2 surgeries last month.  Thanks for that.

But now, Crohn's this newest stunt is the last straw!  We had a very nice mini-vacation planned.  We were headed to Keystone this weekend where relaxation, and relief awaited us.  But here you come, rearing your ugly head and take it all away. You got what you wanted Crohn's...our weekend is canceled.  Are you happy?

Way to take a giant dump on our lives Crohn's.

If this wasn't a family blog I would call you some unrepeatable names.  But you already know what I think about you.  You might have taken away a lot from us.  But you don't take away our hope, you don't take away our Jesus, and you don't take away that Ryan and I have each other.  There are some things you can never affect.

With greatest disgust,
Carly Decker

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Green Chile & Such

I am addicted to Farmer's Markets.  Perhaps, my feelings border obsession because I have weekly access to them until October.  Score!

Other obsessions as of late: homemade caramel lattes, taking pictures the soft fur on Harpo's ears, the Jack Johnson Pandora station, and our swamp cooler.  But I digress...

Homemade caramel latte.  Come to mama.

At this said Farmer's Market, I recently picked up roasted green chiles and organic tomatoes.  Yum! What else should you do but make green chile?  I made a vegetarian version but I HIGHLY recommend making a pork or chicken green chile for all us carnivores.  It just adds more flavor.  I used this recipe from Gluten Free Goddess which was excellent!  Do you have a favorite Farmer's Market dish or recipe?  

Tomatoes, green chiles, garlic all chopped up

Add broth and seasonings.  Let simmer and fill your house with deliciousness.

Optional step: get your husband to "lip flick" you from across the room.  P.S.  I got him to read Redeeming Love.  Yes, he loved it.  No, Matt, he did not grow ovaries.

Serve green chile over fried eggs and beans.  Dollop with thick, creamy greek yogurt (like sour cream!)

And then, because it is a cool summer night and it's thundering outside and rain is dripping right down your kitchen window...make a chocolate cake.

Like this one!

Sprinkle with powdered sugar so it looks fancy when you serve it to your man.  Classy!  But he won't notice because he'll have inhaled it before he notices the fancy extra step you added :)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Do you ever make up definitions for things you don't have words for?  Me either.  Usually.  But today I did...

Omnivert [om-nuh-vert]: an introverted extrovert (or vice versa) who equally enjoys time alone to recharge and time with people but must balance them both to avoid burnout / exhaustion

Do you like that totally made up word AND definition??  One of my favorite questions to ask people if is they consider themselves "introverted" or "extroverted.  It tells me so much about their hearts and how they function best.  Ryan and I have learned that this particular trait in your spouse is CRUCIAL to know so that you can function healthfully as a couple and know the other person's needs.  This we have learned the hard way :)

Here are two other definition to consider...

Extrovert:  most people believe them to be outgoing or social but that is too simple.  Their energy is often gained from time with people/ social settings, with a strong preference to be with others which might explain such a stereotype.

Introvert: the term introvert refers to someone who often focuses on their own mental experiences, feelings or thoughts.  Often they are thought of as shy,  but that is not necessarily correct.  Their preference to be alone might explain this stereotype but many introverts can enjoy and thrive in social settings.

Ryan is an extrovert to the extreme-loving all social settings and everyone he meets!  However, I could never quite categorize myself because I have traits of both-like people but like alone time too.  And so was created the word, Omnivert, to describe such an individual.  Omniverts of the world, UNITE!  I hope this encourages someone else sharing in my dilema-or at least make you laugh at my ridiculous addition to English vocabulary.

Ryan the extrovert! 

Why is this important?  I think knowing yourself, your spouse, or anyone else important to you more intricately helps you love them best.  Especially this personality trait because it is crucial to social settings, how you approach conflict, personal needs, and more!  The reality for us is that: An omnivert married to an extrovert = some tension now and then.

Ryan has learned not to have hurt feelings when I need to be alone at a coffee shop.  His best line lately was, "I want to come to the book store with you!  I promise not to talk to you. I will just sit there but pretend not to know you."  HA!  Husband, you wouldn't last 3 minutes and then you would have to talk about something!  To serve him, I make sure our house/lives are full of people for social time.

Maybe I can get my own sign like this to let Ryan know I'm in recharge mode...kind of scary though.

I challenge you to figure out which you really are: Introvert, Extrovert, or maybe even an Omnivert.  But base your conclusion on the read definitions and not on some stereotype.

You're built uniquely-embrace it!   And perhaps ask those who you know best and spend the most time with which they are.  I bet it will help you love on them much more intentionally!  Have "labeled" yourself and/or what are your thoughts on this subject?
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend Recap

I'm kind of a fan of weekend recaps in pictures.  Hopefully you don't mind either :)

Anyway our weekend was pretty darn swell.  Friday afternoon I spend some quality chick time with my dear friend, Hannah, at Starbucks.  She is such a legit woman and she is getting married in 41 days!  P.S. If you can fellow Denverites, try the Starbucks at REI.  It has the best atmosphere!   Sort of outdoorsy because it sits on on the creek and has been landscaped like the mountains but obviously in the city.  Swanky.

Saturday I spent the day cooking away for our dinner guests that night while Ryan and Matt fixed up the house-mainly taking down a crappy basketball backboard.  Ryan is obviously doing better by the day.  He is still down 24 lbs and tires quickly but he's doing well.  We have at least 2 more weeks until another doctor's appointment which is the longest we've gone in months without one!  He finishes his steroid in 1 month and has 7 more weeks of an intense antibiotic that targets mean bacteria that can lead to a flare up.  Praying he recovers this month!!

Finally, Sunday we spent the morning at Hillside and the afternoon off in a Sabbath that was much needed.  Enjoy a snapshot into our weekend... 

Marc & his sweet daughter Corrie.  She is the nicest little baby.  Love her!

Harpo discovered one of our drains that spilled out rain water was very fun to "eat" and play with

Eating the batter of a French Silk Pie.  Recipe to come for that-it was epic.

Obviously it was good.

The crust to this said pie.  A meringue pecan crust.  Pre-filling.

Well I obviously forgot to take a "beautiful shot" before we dug in but there was 1 piece left by the end.

Mark down! Heck yes!  This is basamati rice 50% off.  Score.

Ryan drilling for the first time in a LONG time.  The ability to do this blessed him!

Measuring, drilling, being so manly

I wish you could have heard the thunder and seen the lightning that came wit this rain.  Wow!

Sweet yogurt faced Corrie and her amazing mama, Beth.

We had Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with pita bread and hummus.  SO good.

Look at that sweet baby!

Ahhhh I wish this was clearer-you can see that sweet smirky smile peeking out.

Have a stupendous week!  It's already the 2nd week of July!
And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”

Zechariah 13:9

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Unbridled Power

You must have heard by now about all the ASTOUNDINGLY crazy weather in the USA the last few weeks.  The Colorado fires alone have burned hundreds of homes and consumed 2.1 million acres!  There is a thick smog in our town, although we are miles from any of the fires. 

There was a freak wind storm called a "derecho", see below, on the East coast (that our friends were caught in!) which produced incredibly strong, long and devastating winds and rains.  "Experts say it had energy readings five times that of normal thunderstorms."  Just look at that picture-terrifyingly but I'm so intrigued by it!

And then add up all the flooding in Florida, droughts in the middle of the country with probably more shocking weather to come.

I've been emerged in this news lately, specifically finding several articles where scientists pointedly blame Global Warming.  And while that is probably true and a good scientific explanation...

Witnessing this weather also gives me a new, more awe-filled, reverent view of God.  The Lord had a very candid conversation with Job one time, asking the poor guy if HE was the one who had seen the   heavenly stockpiles of snow or commanded the morning to come forth?!  Did Job ever measure out the Earth or taken a good look at the storehouses of hail that are reserved for times of trouble??  Was it Job who could lead the way of a thunderbolt or command the waters to do his bidding? 

No.  That role is God's and His alone!

I think it's safe to say that the Lord is not shocked by this weather and certainly not out of control.  Although devastation often ensues from floods, fires, and more, it does not go unknown by the One who created it.  I think one purpose of it is to rightfully elevate our view of Him and His power.  There is so little we are in control.  A devastatingly, humble thought if you ask me.

I am experiencing a real awareness of my "smallness" in the midst of these powerful acts of nature.  I also am in astounding awe of the God who could create, command, and control the very power of what we see happening here on Earth.  

Isn't the power that He possesses overwhelming?  Join me in elevating your view of Him and that ALL of this-walls of fire, waves of water, strong winds, and more-point to His glory.
Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,

    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.

Job 38:16-18

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!


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