Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today our lives were changed forever.  You see, yesterday, September 10th, 2011, would have been Endurance's first birthday.  Hurrah!!!  Yet, a year ago today we were told he had a congenital heart defect.  When something like this is told to you of your one day old baby, the first thought, as mine was, might be, "What? This only happens to those 'other people' who are more prepared, more mature, and can handle stuff like this!"  In our time at the hospital this past year, I asked many parents their feelings about when they were "told."  All answers were the same as mine.  Yet, God is sovereign in everything.  EVERYTHING!!!!  I can be the weakest and He will take care of me.  Oh I'm so glad He has!

I haven't written much since Endurance went to Heaven, but I did want to write on his birthday.  I cannot find anything more appropriate than this beautiful poem written by a young man at our church after Endurance passed away.  And also appropriate for Believers on the 10th anniversary of the terrorists attack on the U.S. Here it is....


Though your days be dark and clouded,
Eyes red with grief and crying;
Life with pain and suffering shrouded,
To move through life you are trying.
Wishing to forget because of the pain,
Wishing not to because of the memories;
At Christ's feet shed tears are lain.

You may feel helpless and full of grief;
Dark and angry clouds covering your sky,
Searching for a sign of hope and relief,
To get by on your own strength you may try;
An effort such as that will only fail,
To find hope you have but to look to Christ,
He will carry and guide you along your trail.

Your look on life do not let this mar;
For earth is but a temporary place,
He who yo have lost is not lost and not far.
On Christ's knee gazing into His smiling face,
Those that see Christ's glorious face are few,
You sometime may be chosen to follow;
Then in Christ's face will gaze he and you.

Written by Joshua Booy, 15, for the Holston Family

God bless all of you!  ~Heather, for the Holston Family

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I do not know blog etiquette,  when I should stop Endurance's blog.  If anyone does, feel free to comment.

I had said previously that I would tell you about the passing of Endurance.  I'll do my best, in the short time I have...

The morning of Endurance's surgery was exciting!  We spoke again with Dr. Galantowicz, and then prayed for him.  Endurance was awake and ready!  I held his little hands which both had splints on them holding in IV lines.  I put my forehead on his and told him I loved him and that he was going to do great!  I told him I loved him...

That day we had so many visitors I am still thanking God for all of the brothers and sisters that took their time to drive to Columbus just for our family!  We were truly blessed by all of the fellowship.

Endurance's surgery went quite well.  It took longer than expected, as Dr. Galantowicz had to put a stent in Endurance's pulmonary artery, but everything went well.  Dr. Galantowicz came out and saw me first, away from the rest of our group, smiled, put his arm around me and said "let's go!"  He told us all how the surgery went.  He told us that Endurance "flew off the heart-lung bypass machine" (he knew we were told he'd never get off of it, so he made sure we knew Endurance had with flying colors!!)  He gave us pictures.  Wow!  What a difference of before and after the surgery!  God is amazing how He has given certain people this gift.  He said we needed to watch out for the next 24 hours, as they are the worst...

Once Endurance was back in his room, Mike and I zoomed up to see him.  Most people new to looking at post-op patients might think what we saw was gruesome.  But I didn't.  Yes, Endurance's chest was open, yet covered with gauze.  There was a lot of blood, wires, tubing, and so much more, but Endurance had made it through!  He was alive!  He was at a point where the surgeon in Seattle said he would never get to.  I just stood there in amazement to see where God had us.  Thank you God!!!

Mike went and got some of our visitors, now close friends, to see Endurance and pray for him.  After they were gone, I went back one more time to kiss him goodnight and tell him that he made it, he did such a good job, and that I was so proud of him!! That I loved him.

Mike took us home and then went back to the hospital for the night.  He said the doctors would call Dr. Galantowicz with updates and concerns.  Around 3:30 am Dr. Galantowicz came to the hospital to tend to Endurance himself.  He talked to Mike quite a bit.  He said they might have to put Endurance on the ECMO machine, which we all had agreed not to put him on directly after his surgery.  Dr. Galantowicz said that this was different.  Endurance was spiraling down, and he said that if Endurance was put on ECMO, even for just a day or two to give his heart a break, he should pull out of this.  Dr. Galantowicz said Endurance was okay for the time being, that they would continue checking his gases every thirty minutes.  Mike called me at about 5:30 am to say he was coming to pick me up and bring me to the hospital.  He'd told me some of what they've spoken about.  I was in full agreement with whatever the doctor said.

Mike called from the cell on our way back to the hospital at 6:30am to check on Endurance and they said he was stable still.  We walked in at 6:51 am and they were in the middle of giving Endurance chest compressions, bagging air into his breathing tube, giving him a lot of different drugs, and taking lab tests.  They said they'd been doing it for the past 5 or 10 minutes.  What?  Dr. Galantowicz came over and said that Endurance went downhill quite quickly.  There had been no time for the ECMO.

Endurance's room was FULL of doctors and nurses.  They had opened his room's huge sliding door.  The outside of his room was full of doctors and nurses.  I stood outside his room, and a sweet nurse named Nikalia came and put her arm around me and asked if there was anything she could do.  I said "pray."  She told me she was.  Mike motioned for me to come into Endurance's room and stand with him and Dr. Galantowicz.  Everyone was working so hard on Endurance.  Taking turns compressing his chest.  This was hard work they were doing.  A cardiologist would take a turn, then a nurse, followed by an interventionalist.  Everyone was doing their absolute best for Endurance.  Dr. Galantowicz was in complete charge of everyone there.  Like a captain of a ship.  It was amazing to watch.  At one point, Dr. Galantowicz's eyes were closed and I truly believe even he was praying.  I was praying that God's will would be done and that no matter what, He would be glorified.

We talked to Dr. Galantowicz again. Mike said he wished he would've just told him to put Endurance on ECMO right then, before he left the hospital to pick me up.  Second guessing decisions, etc.  What Dr. Galantowicz said is exactly what we needed to hear..."Don't beat yourself up.  There's a higher force at work here than us."  Yes God, we surrender to you again.

As the minutes passed,  Dr. Galantowicz turned to us and said they'd try one more "circuit" of meds, labs, and compressions.  After that, the doctor had everyone stop.  They watched for a minute to see if Endurance's heart would kick in on its own.  I really thought this would be when God would show everyone in that room how powerful He is, you know, last minute when everyone else says it's impossible, and God brings Endurance around to "stable" again.  No, this time Dr. Galantowicz turned around to us and put his arms around Mike and I and said that he was sorry. Just like that.  That was at 7:15 am.  Endurance passed onto a better life. 

The machines were turned off.  The noises stopped.  People started leaving Endurance's room.  His nurse for the day, Sarah, came over and gave me a hug.  She was wonderful in the short time Endurance had her.  She went to bat for him every time he was her patient.  I'm glad she was there the last day.  Then Sarah and another nurse cleaned up the huge mess of mess.  They clean Endurance's bed.  They clean Endurance's body.  She wrapped him in his blanket and let me hold him.  For the first time since he was one day old, I got to hold Endurance in a quiet room, with no tubing, machinery, and the like.  I looked at Mike and in loud tears, I said, "I'm holding his bodyHe's in Heaven."  What a strange joy I felt.  I cannot explain it.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
   and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,

   and he will make straight your paths.

So, now our family is temporarily living in a house in a small town called Steilacoom, WA.  We don't know where God is going to lead us on our next adventure.  We've gotten rid of most of our belongings, but still need to get rid of more.  Material items just don't mean as much as they used to, even when they didn't seem to mean that much.

We've really appreciated all of your prayers, encouraging words and comments.  People we don't even know (yet!) have let us know they've prayed for Endurance and our family.  God, again, is just so good.

I hope this wasn't inappropriate to write in this blog.  I can say a whole lot more, but I really just want to say that this is God's will and although it hurts terribly that Endurance is no longer here, God's will was for him to be with Him.  I'm assured of this.  Again, I'm not sure how and if I should end this blog.  But, maybe I'll just put pictures of Endurance and our family a couple more times?  I'm unsure at the moment :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Memorial Bulletin

Here is the bulletin from Endurance's memorial.  Here's something amazing.....when the printers saw what the bulletin was for, they didn't charge for the printing!  God is so good!!  I'm sorry if it's small.  If you click on the picture, I'm told it will enlarge.  I will put some pictures from the memorial if you don't mind on another posting.  God bless!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Links to the slideshows from Endurance's Memorial

Two slideshows were played at Endurance's memorial today, as well as a video.  The slideshows can be viewed here, and here.

Here is a link to the memorial video, thanks to Sam Young for editing and posting it.

Letricia Hatch

Friday, June 3, 2011

Memorial for Endurance, Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at 12:00pm

Dear Friends and Family,

Tomorrow we will celebrate Endurance's journey to be with our Lord Jesus.  Please join us from 12 - 3pm at Evergreen Bible Chapel in Federal Way.  Here's the tentative schedule:

12:00-1:00 Memorial Service
1:00-2:30 Reception, with plenty of refreshments. There will be an open mic if you'd like to share something.
2:30-3:00 Clean Up
3:30 A short graveside service at Evergreen Memorial Park in Enumclaw. Directions will be provided at the memorial.
All are welcome to come.  The Holstons look forward to seeing you all and appreciate your prayers,  calls and love.
Letricia Hatch for the Holstons

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A short note...

Dear, dear brothers and sisters,

We are driving home slower than the 46 hours it took to get to Ohio.  It's giving us a time to think, cry, make decisions, cry, and see God's beautiful country.   And cry a bit more.

Isn't God great no matter what the situation?

I really want to tell you about Endurance's surgery and his last morning on earth, but for now I will just let you know that we will be having a memorial service in the Seattle area, somewhere, on Saturday (June 4th).

May God receive every ounce of glory for the mighty works He has done, and is doing!!!!

Heather, for the Holston Family

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

He Ran the Race with Endurance

Dear friends of Endurance,

Endurance passed away this morning. His heart stopped and the doctors were not able to get it started again after half an hour of trying.

Thank you all for your many hours of prayers and fasting, for your visits and calls and e-mails and gifts, and countless other expressions of love, encouragement and blessings to the Holstons. I know you will continue to show your love to them in the days ahead.

Please continue to pray for the Holston family that God may uphold them in this time.

We praise God for this Beautiful Life that touched so many and give thanks to God for His will.

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Brad Petersen
For the Holston Family

Surgery updates. May 24

Update #1
Endurance went into the operating room at 7:30 est this morning.  It is now 9:10 am and we've just gotten our first update...

The anesthesiologists have given Endurance a new breathing tube in his left nostril now.  This is by request of the ICU team since the other one had been in his right nostril for over three months and kept growing colonies of bacteria.

Also, Dr. Galantowicz has opened Endurance's chest already and his heart handled it very well!  On his last surgery, as Endurance's chest was being opened, his heart stopped.  Praise God this did not happen again!!!

Update #2
Endurance's pulmonary bands are off!!!  Dr. Galantowicz is now working on Endurance's aortic arch, which is the largest part of this operation.  May God's name be glorified!!!

We had two visitors this morning who drove over three hours away from the south/east part of Ohio.  He's a preacher in West Virginia!

Update #3
Things are going quite well!  The tricuspid valve has been repaired.  They are re-warming Endurance now, which they had to completely cool him for the surgery.  This means to us (Mike and Heather) that they are almost finished!

We now ask for prayer for this.....Dr. Galantowicz will take Endurance off of his heart/lung bypass machine when he's completely finished.  This will tell the doctor if Endurance's heart will tolerate being on it's own.  If his heart doesn't accept not being off of the machine (which Seattle told us he'd never survive off of this), Dr. Galantowicz will put him back on for one hour.  If he can't come off, Endurance will basically pass away there.  He's in God's hands.  May it please Him to have Endurance survive on his own.

Update #4
At 4:15 one of Dr. Galantowicz's assistants came out and said everything seemed to be going well.  They were planning on putting a "patch" on Endurance's pulmonary artery, but it wasn't working so they were intending on putting in a stent.  He was bleeding a lot, but she said this is normal in "hybrid" babies.  She pretty much sounded like things would be almost done within the hour.  We have not heard anything else since then...

So, we are all still waiting for another update.  We still are thanking you for your continued prayers!

P.S. God has blessed us with so many visitors!  We're meeting new friends every day here it seems.

Update #5
Endurance's bleeding has decreased dramatically and his heart pacing is well under control.  The remaining challenge will be the ventilation, which needs to be reduced as soon as possible.

Endurance will be heavily sedated for a couple of days, as well as on "vec" which paralyzes him.  His crib is full of tubes, wires, and machinery, and his chest is open (covered with sterile gauze) to help quicken his recovery, yet he's alive!!!!!  God has spared his life through this surgery!

Thank you for praying throughout the day, as well as many days in the past.  Endurance will need a lot of prayer the next coming days.

Dr. Galantowicz said he'll be in everyday to check in on Endurance and us.  Thank you for praying for him too!  And yes, I gave him a huge hug when he came out of the operating room to talk to us!

 Update #6 
Please pray for Endurance! We were called in early this morning (6 am) due to complications.
Specifics will be sent later through updates.....
He just isn't doing well at all..... 

These updates were received by my mom from Aunt Heather.

Brad Petersen
for the Holston Family

Monday, May 23, 2011

Surgery tomorrow!!!

Endurance's surgery is TOMORROW (Huzzah!!!) and we're asking for prayer!  May it please the Lord to have Endurance's surgery go well!  As I write this, Endurance is having another echocardiogram so the doctors will have the most recent picture of his heart.  Also, his right lung is more "foggy" than yesterday, which could mean a lot of things (position, another infection?, he needed suctioned, etc.) so please continue to pray that his pneumonia will be completely healed!  They want his lungs to be optimum for the surgery.

If you click on this link: Comprehensive Stage II you will be able to read (page 5) about  Endurance's "Hybrid procedure" that he had back in September 2010.  Starting on page 6, it describes the comprehensive stage II, the surgery that Dr. Galantowicz will be doing tomorrow.  Endurance does not have hypoplastic left heart syndrome, but that's what he's being treated as.   His left ventricle actually works a bit.  He, as we all know, is a case of his own!  He's not the typical "hybrid" baby either.  Also, another complicated procedure the doctor will be performing on Endurance tomorrow is to repair his tricuspid valve so it doesn't leak as much.  His leaks severely.

I need to say THANK YOU to the visitors we've had already here in Ohio!  Even yesterday we had three families visit from the same church, who drove over an hour to encourage us, meet Endurance, and pray for us.  What an absolute blessing from God!  And we've had others as well!  Thank you!  We are so thankful to God for showing us how the body of Christ comes together.  I am greatly humbled.  I am excited for Heaven!

Thank you for the ecards that have been sent to Endurance.  My heart swells up with tears as I read each one and tape it up in Endurance's room.

We will post as much as possible to keep you updated on Endurance.  Oh, he will start the process of his surgery tomorrow morning around 8:00 am est (that's three hours ahead to our Washington/California brothers and sisters!!!) :), and the surgery, if all goes as planned, will begin closely to 9:00.  We will all be here.  Please pray.  Please call if you want!
The Three Blind Mice "watch him all day":)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Update for Endurance

The following post is the prayer update I just emailed our church.  One thing I need to add though is that Nationwide Children's Hospital provides the opportunity for friends and family to send ecards to patients and then they get delivered every morning in the special "mail."  Will you please send Endurance one, or many?  You can do it as often as you like!  The info that you need is his name, unit, and room number (Endurance Holston, CTICU, rm#7).  Here's the link:  send ecard  Thank you!

5-18-2011 update:

Endurance has had some setbacks this week since his arrival here in Ohio.  Endurance has pneumonia.  He was already on antibiotics for a different infection, so they've added a couple more.  Once the test comes back as to which type of pneumonia it is, they will get more specific with antibiotics and take off the unnecessary ones.  They have his crib mattress at a 30 degree angle to help his lungs.  Also he lays on his stomach for 24 hours and then on to his sides for another 24 hours, switching sides every 2 hours.  And lots of suctioning through his breathing tube!

We want to let you know that Endurance's surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday morning.  The surgery will take 6 - 8 hours.  Mike and I spoke with Dr. Galantowicz again today for quite a while.  He says that speaking to his team again (they do this daily, with more intense meetings about each cardiac patient on Wednesdays and Fridays), they are encouraged with how Endurance is doing and how the surgery will go.  Although he's had some setbacks, they really have nothing to do with his heart function which they're happy about.

Dr. Galantowicz drew out for us what Endurance's heart and lungs look like and what he will be doing.  He then explained to us that he goes over in his head, thoroughly about 10 times, how he's going to do a specific surgery on each patient.    He's said he's gone through Endurance's surgery 6 times so far and the last two have been phenomenal!  Mike and I broke out laughing when he said this.  I had to tell you.

We ask for specific prayer regarding Endurance's pneumonia to progressively get better, and for Endurance to stay stable.  On a lesser note, our van is in great need of prayer, but God got the family to Columbus!

Thank you for praying through many seasons for Endurance!  May God continue to be glorified through this little boy!