“Hope for a miracle, but don’t plan on it”

Those words were spoken to us this morning by Stephanie’s doctor. Hard words to hear. 

So Tuesday Stephanie received another (fifth, maybe?) brain surgery. They removed her EVD and her ommaya reservoir, and replaced that with a new ommaya reservoir and a shunt. Her surgery lasted a couple hours Tuesday late afternoon, and all-in-all it went well. She was moved from the special care unit she had been in with the EVD to a “normal” room. She was still in pain, but tried to rest. That night was a rough night, and yesterday wasn’t great either. She’s very tired and had many moments of staring off. She also had trouble answering basic questions, similar to before we went in last week. 

Today she has done better. I feel it took some time for the shunt to work, but her alertness and cognitive capabilities have been better today. Her pain is still high but not extreme.  She’s gone on several walks around the floor and has been able to eat again. She’s been more interactive, but is still easily tired and taking many naps. This morning we even got a little family movie time. 

Unfortunately all is not on the positive side. Her neuro oncologist spoke with us today and showed us her most recent MRI. The tumor had previously spread to a couple bumps on her neck and spine near the end of June. It has now continued to spread and has coated a lot of her spine. This is most likely what’s causing her increased back pain. It’s also clogged where her spinal fluid would normally seep out, making it like a clogged sink drain increasing her spinal fluid pressure (and hence the need for the shunt).

Based on this evidence, her doctor suggested that we make her comfort the top (and really only) priority. Stephanie and I decided that we want to push forward with a couple other treatment options. The Dr agreed, but caveated saying we can “hope for a miracle but don’t plan on it, being practical”. The treatments so far haven’t slowed or reversed it, and the new ones we’re trying are similar, so he didn’t express much chance of success.

I’m sorry to send this via a blog, as I know it’s hard to hear. I’m still praying for a miracle and know God can deliver if it’s His plan, but whether His plan is to have her join Him in a week month year or decades from now, please pray that I have the faith to accept His plan even if I won’t ever understand it. 



75 thoughts on ““Hope for a miracle, but don’t plan on it”

  1. Hello Michael: I am very thankful of being part of your support chain. I know from my friend Lourdes that Stephanie has been praying for my cancer recovery. I keep her, you and your family in my prayers. Never give up on hope. Every day is a miracle!


  2. Hi Michael,
    Praying for you guys. You are in my thoughts.
    You have mentioned Stephanie is in pain and I wanted to see if you guys might be interested in trying the aromatouch technique. I do not know if it would help. It might, but I just do not know. You guys have been on my mind for a while and after reading your post I felt the need to reach out to you. I would gift it to you. If you are interested I can give you all the info on it and you can check with the doctors if it is ok to do it.
    I hope today is a good day.


  3. Wow! I came across Stephanie’s story last night by way of a friend who posted your blog to Facebook. I stayed up nearly all night reading every single entry from the very beginning and cannot begin to tell you how much it has impacted my life and my faith. Your strength, courage, and perspective through this journey is truly, TRULY remarkable. It is so very clear why the Lord put you on this Earth and I can’t begin to imagine the number of lives you have impacted through this unbelievable season of your life. You are gorgeous and undoubtedly the most courageous person I’ve ever witnessed. How blessed your sweet Sarah is to call you mom! Sending so many prayers your way, that you will feel the presence of the Lord and his angels surrounding you and a peace that transcends all understanding. Thank you for sharing your story and for changing my life.


  4. Michael and Stephanie, I am SO SORRY to read this, and at the same time so thankful that you love all your unknown friends enough to share. Stephanie has been through so very much … gracefully, bravely … she is a true inspiration. I know we are not to question God’s Will, but granted …. sometimes it is more than hard not to. All my love to you both. Prayers for Stephanie to receive her miracle. ” …Thy Will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven …”


  5. Michael and Stephanie, I’m one of the many people at St Dominic who is praying for your beautiful family. I was running on the Hathaway Bridge the other day (something I don’t do very often) and it was pretty uncomfortable. I decided to offer my minor pain and discomfort to God and hope that in some mysterious way, it could offset some of Stephanie’s pain. As I ran (jogged – let’s be honest), I prayed that every light post I made it past might mean one more day for Stephanie to share with you and Sarah. That thought inspired me to keep pushing and to remember that my pain is nothing compared to hers. May the time you have together be rich.


  6. I just saw this blog through a friends post and I wanted to let you know I am praying for you and your family. I know it sounds crazy but I didn’t know if stephanie had tried any juicing? My mother in law has cancer and did some juicing which seemed to help her for a while until her taste buds couldn’t take it due to chemo. We juiced for her mostly carrots, watermelon, and kale. I know chemo affects taste buds but I just wanted to throw the idea yalls way. I havent read all of your post so maybe you have already discussed this. Prayers for both of you to have strength and for the Lord to be gracious to you both.


  7. Dear dear Michael,
    My heart totally, totally, totally is with you and Stephanie.
    Thank you for letting us know the latest. You two are the bravest people I know right now. As I tearfully write this I am filled with love and prayers for you both.
    May the God of peace fill you both and may Jesus the healer be with Steph all the way.
    I will have the music ministry pray this Sunday for the gal with the voice of an angel.


  8. Still praying here in sw Ohio–for peace, comfort, strength (those prayers are definitely being answered as you both are so incredibly strong at this point). Thank you, Michael, for continuing to share the step by step of what’s going on. Fun family movie time pic!!! Sending hugs through cyberspace!!


  9. Stephanie, Michael and Sarah
    My family and Sunday School class have been praying all along for all of you and your families. My daughter, Kelly McDaniel, is best friends with Stephanie’s Aunt Dina. We are continuing to pray for a miracle…may the Lord give you His peace in all circumstances. You have so many alongside you to encourage you and lift you up to the very throne of heaven where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. May God bless you and grant your needs…we send our love.
    Love, Susan DiFiore and family and class.


  10. Michael Stephanie and little Sarah. I’ve been asking God for a miracle for yall. I’m in Watkinsville and know of you through Joann Hill. I’m more familiar with glioblastoma than I ever wanted to be. It’s amazing what we can do when faced with it. I never thought of myself as being brave. But life and sweet Jesus have given me courage. I do believe in miracles!!! I am praying for an amazing turn of events which surprise the doctors to happen. You all are unbelievably beautiful. Jesus reach out and touch dear SStephanie with healing. In His love and mine Marion West


  11. Still thinking of you all and praying for you!! I found your blog through a friend of Stephanie’s and the words/stories/insights you all have shared are just so beautiful. The day after I read your post, one of the daily readings was “Brothers and sisters: We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28. We will keep praying for your family. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for inspiring the faith in others.


  12. Michael, Stephanie, and Sarah,
    I am a friend of Amanda’s. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable season of life–I imagine it has not been easy at any point. Please know that you have family, friends, and complete strangers joining you in prayer for wisdom and peace. –Arnie (Tampa, FL)


  13. To Stephanie, Michael and Sarah,

    I’ve been following along with your journey since seeing a post my friend Carly shared on Facebook months ago. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your strength and vulnerability in sharing these details. To echo what’s been written in previous comments, you’re being uplifted in prayer throughout the world.

    – Kaitlyn (Washington, D.C.)


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