Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just a little update.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog, since the family has asked me to update the blog for them.


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We are still moving forward with Amber. She did have a few seizures last night but they feel like they can control these ones and they are still moving forward waking her up. She will open her eyes, though she is not very coherent yet. She can't talk or respond (like we thought she might be able to last night) and her eyes aren't yet focusing. But we believe she is listening. We are all grateful for anything we can get. She could be waking up throughout the week (or longer) just a little at a time.

We are still confident and have faith she will make a full recovery, but we have a ways to go. It's definitely a miracle that she is where she is right now. It's just going to continue to take time.

Thank you once again for the continued love and support you show the family and for your prayers for her full recovery!
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Awake.

"Let all those praying know that Sleeping Beauty has awakened.
Our Heavenly Father has given us a miracle."

~Julie (Amber's mom)

This evening Amber is awake and somewhat responsive. This waking up business is a process which still will take a lot of time, but her eyes have opened and she can hear us. The doctors are watching her and are very pleased with her amazing progress today. We are too!

Please know how much your prayers, fasting, love, and positive thoughts mean to us. Thank you for joining with us in calling down the healing powers of heaven. We are most certainly witnessing a true miracle and it is absolutely incredible.
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Amber's Looking Good!

Things are still going very well today! She is showing all the signs of waking up (which can be a long process). She's coughing even now and then. Although she's still intubated at the moment, she is breathing all on her own. She even just opened her eyes all the way. She's just itching to wake up - you can tell! We are overjoyed!

She started running a bit of a fever today, but it looks like they seem to have that under control. Things are looking up. She's made a huge step in this process and we couldn't be more thrilled and optimistic!

Keep up the prayers. We are witnessing nothing short of a miracle here. She certainly is a special woman.
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Amber: Quick Saturday Morning Update.

She's doing such a good job! This is the furthest she has been able to wake up with no seizure activity. Keep on keepin' on, Amber! Viskas bus gerai, kaip visada.

Good Morning.
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. 12 January 2004

Amber has done very well warming up after the cryo therapy machine was turned off at around 1pm yesterday afternoon. The coma-inducing medication was turned off at about 1030am, so she was warming up/waking up without that medication.

This is the furthest she has come with no seizure activity. Her brain activity is looking better than it did last night, but still has a ways to go. She has had more eye flickering and coughing, which just means she is waking up.

It's still a long road before she wakes up but this is a huge step to go that long without seizing. The doctor is very pleased with her progress.

Keep those prayers coming to continue to normalize her brain activity and to sustain her as she is waking up. We are so grateful to you for joining your prayers with ours!
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Peace.

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
~Albert Schweitzer

Last night, I lay awake in my bed thinking about Amber, as has become routine the last three weeks. I started thinking about when we first met and the many adventures we had together as missionaries. I pulled out my mission journal and pulled up the document on my computer with all my mission emails home and reminisced, smiling and laughing all by myself.

This has been the background on my desktop for the last six months. I just love this photo.
16 July 2004. Lithuania.


Amber and I knew we would be companions before we ever met. We knew there were reasons we were together. I won't go into details because some of them seem too sacred and personal to share, but suffice it to say, we knew without a doubt, that it was meant to be and that there was a greater purpose for our companionship than just the fact that we loved being together. Looking back now, I can see even more things that seem to have fallen into place to paint a more glorious picture (in hindsight) of Heavenly Father's plan for each of our individual lives. I will be forever grateful for the twelve months we shared and the countless memories we have from Lithuania, as well as the friendship we still have today and the countless memories we've made since stepping foot onto American soil.

Amber taught me about faith, in word and in example. She truly is a woman of unshakable faith. Honestly. I'm not just saying this to make this post more flowery and inspirational. She really is a remarkable woman whose spirit seems to instinctively just know the right thing to do, the right thing to say, the best way to express love, how to be selfless. She knows and she acts upon it. Her faith seems instinctive, but it has also been earned. It by no means can be confused with naiveté. Her faith is genuine and powerful because it has been tested and tried over and over again and she has withstood her trials with grace and with full faith that Heavenly Father knows her and knows what is best. She has been blessed with the strength to stand firm and believe in Heavenly Father and in His plan for all of us.

As I was praying the other night, on my knees pleading with God to heal her and allow her to have a full recovery and return to her husband and babies, I had the distinct impression and the words just flowed out of my mouth, "I know that it is no coincidence that Amber is the one in a coma." As the words exited my mouth, I was a little shocked and felt like those words should not be coming out of my mouth. As I knelt there, I began to realize what I had said and what it meant. God was telling me that He knows her. He knows her faith. He knows of her example of true Christlike love. He knows that she is the type of person who could rally together a group of people like us and cause us to unite in prayer, love, and faith.

This week has been a tough week. We've been watching and waiting to see some progress with Amber. I'll admit that a couple of times late at night when I was tired and at my most vulnerable, I began to feel a little nervous. But then I would quickly think if Amber were able to be here right now, if the roles were reversed, she would have unshakable faith. It was almost as if Amber was speaking to me saying, "Emery! FAITH. That is not faith and you need to have optimistic, hopeful thoughts. Faith, Emery. Faith." So that's what I can do for her since she can't be here at this very moment, and believe me, it has been a blessing. As our mission president said in a letter to me earlier this week, "the miracle of divine communication blesses our lives."

JP is so lucky to have Amber. And Amber is so lucky to have JP. I'm not sure I've ever mentioned that JP served in our mission also. He was my district leader for five months. He quickly became one of my favorite people on my mission. He was a great leader. He is an incredible man, honest, kind, strong, and genuinely interested in you. The bond you share with the people you work so closely with as a missionary is unlike any other bond. Serving side by side, day in and day out, there is an eternal nature about those relationships, a connection you have that just can't ever be taken away.

I have been praying this week, harder than I think I may have ever prayed. Reminiscent of when I prayed for baby Bronson recently. Only this time, I've been praying for someone a little closer to home. I just know Amber will pull through this, if it is God's will. I know He hears each of our prayers and knows of our desire for Amber's full recovery. I feel like we will witness a miracle, but I know that she is in God's care, in His hands. And quite frankly, that makes me feel at peace.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Amber: A Note From Mom & Dad.

Read this beautiful note from Amber's mom and dad.

Amber: Holding Steady.

I know all of you are eagerly awaiting news, so I just wanted to let you know that the doctors have extended the cold treatment, which she has responded to very well, beyond the 24-hour mark. Last night, they were keeping her brain very calm at a Level 2 on the pentobarbital, which is good. The doctors are meeting this morning to decide the next step.

Amber and JP's mission president offered these comforting words:
"We may at times wonder about the events that unfold in our lives and the lives of friends and loved ones and for some, questions come to mind. How blessed are we, that we do not question the Lord and that we know of an eternal plan and that nothing goes by unseen by Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. They are watching. We all are praying and the miracle of divine communication blesses our lives. Amber is in safe hands as we each exercise faith and have hope for her complete recovery."
Thank you for your continued prayers. We feel them and hope that you do too.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fast for Amber. Miracle Needed.


Amber's family would like to invite all of you to join with us in a family fast tomorrow (Thursday) for her. We believe that fasting combined with sincere prayer can strengthen us spiritually, bring us closer to God, and help us prepare ourselves and others to receive His blessings (lds.org). Amber needs His blessings.

The most recent procedures they have been doing have not had the positive outcome we had hoped for. Amber began having seizures again this morning when they tried to wake her up. The doctors are trying a new procedure today where they put her body into a state of hypothermia for 24 hours. They are hoping that this will reset her brain and that the seizures will not return when they bring her temperature back up.

Thank you for your many prayers. Please continue to pray for her and join in our fast. We need a miracle. As Amber would say, "We just need to have faith."

EAM+P412
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Going well.

Amber has been handling the new treatments very well. Her brain activity was a little higher than it has been, but this is to be expected during this new procedure. The doctors will likely not try to wake her up again for at least a few more days, so they are keeping her meds elevated for right now. But things seem to be going well so far.

Thank you for your continued prayers! She needs them. We are certainly not the only family who is dealing with such a trying situation. Looking around the hospital, it wouldn't take long to find many others who are deep in the trenches of difficult times. But the support we feel from you and from your prayers is unmatched, and for that we are extremely grateful.

You, our friends, family, and neighbors who are reading and following Amber's story literally number into the thousands! This is incredibly humbling. Your love and support buoy us up. To have such an incredible support group - a group of people who so dearly love Amber and want her to get better, just as we do, is amazing. We feel your love and your unrelenting prayers and cannot thank you enough.
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Update - a Very Positive Update!

We've had a bit of a breakthrough this morning!

Amber's had more tests, scans, and screens than just about anybody has ever had, many so obscure that the nurses hadn't even heard of some of them. And today, we've had a breakthrough! The doctors now feel like they know what they are dealing with and will be changing up some of their procedures which will be taking place over the next few days. So they will be keeping Amber at a steady Level 1.5 while they change courses a bit.

The doctors are VERY positive now that we know what we're dealing with! Your diligent prayers are working in Amber's favor. Thank you!
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Her eyelids fluttered!

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog, since the family has asked me to update the blog for them.


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The doctors are attempting to wake Amber up again this weekend, and this morning her eyelids fluttered and she has coughed! This means she is waking up. Keep praying that this will continue to go smoothly!

I can hardly control myself right now. You guys, her eyelids fluttered! And she coughed.

Yesterday, they had her down to a Level 2 of the pentobarbital (the coma-inducing medication), which has been allowing a lot more brain activity. They are trying to keep her calm and trying to gradually pull her out again. The doctors allowed JP to put some headphones in her ears with classical music playing quietly to assist in keeping her calm.

This morning the nurse said her brain is even more active than yesterday, but they didn't say that they were seizures necessarily. Hopefully, they'll be able to take her down to a Level 1 this morning and .5 by tonight. Then completely off tomorrow.

Sorry for the delay in updates. As we've mentioned before, this is a process, and sometimes there isn't a lot of new news.

Amber has been successful at keeping the temperature away. The coma-inducing medication can be pretty harsh, and sometimes it seems that you're treating the symptoms of the treatment and not the symptoms of the true cause. But yesterday and today were looking better.

Again, all of the scans she keeps having of different areas of her body and different organs, continue to come back favorable. She looks good. This is positive, but they feel that waking her up from this coma will allow them to focus on any problems, if any, that they aren't able to see while she's sleeping.

To aid in bringing her out without seizures, they are going to use an anti-convulsion medication. Hopefully, that works well. They just want to wake her up and take her body off the pentobarbital because of the sometimes uncomfortable side effects. They feel if they can control the seizures and get her to wake up, that this would be best for her right now. The neurologist/EEG specialist will be watching her closely. If things get too intense, I'm sure they will put her back under and start the process again. Let's pray that we don't have to do that this time.

Please keep your prayers coming. Thank you so much! I'll keep you updated.
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EAM+P412

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog, since the family has asked me to update the blog for them.


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I'm feeling a little emotional today.

I miss Amber.

We planned to get together last night. Just three days before she went into the coma, we set a date to get together for dinner, chatting, a haircut, and catch-up. We originally planned it for Saturday morning, but I felt bad about her sleepless nights up with Kayla and her broken arm. I didn't want to add a burden that Saturday, and I was leaving town that day for vacation, and we didn't want our time together to feel rushed. We had a lot to catch up on. So we set up a date for a Thursday evening, two weeks from then. Yesterday.

That day we talked about hair, about Kayla and how having Kayla break her arm was a lot harder than Amber ever imagined but that she was "surviving," as she put it. We talked about the beautiful clouds the previous Sunday evening. I told her they made me think of her. She then sent me a video she'd taken of the beautiful cloud-filled sunset that Sunday night. I smiled. I loved that you took a video of the clouds, I told her. "I savored every second," she replied.

When she first went into the coma, I had ideas that by that Thursday, she'd be back with us, that we'd get to keep our date. I knew it would probably be in the hospital, but I thought I'd be able to talk to her by then, for sure.

I didn't get my wish last night. She's still sleeping. And I miss her. I have faith, with all my heart, that Heavenly Father will make her whole. But in the mean time, I miss her. I pray every day that she will be strong enough to take charge of her body again. I pray that Heavenly Father will grant the miracle that we all are praying so diligently for. Amber taught me that diligent prayer and faith can bring about miracles that Heavenly Father may not have initially intended, but is willing to grant if we ask for them.

"The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (Bible Dictionary-Prayer)

I believe that God is willing to grant this blessing, this miracle of healing for Amber. He has already granted so many blessings, but this blessing of full-healing for Amber is what I am praying daily, almost constantly for. I have faith that she will pull through. I recognize it won't be easy, but she is strong and so is JP. Together they will fight this. And we will help them.

Tonight, I am once again soliciting your most earnest, heartfelt, miracle-inducing prayers on her behalf. I know God hears our prayers, thoughts of love and concern, and positive energy sent out into the world. I know if we pray together for this miracle of healing, that he will hear those prayers multiplying exponentially. He is a God of miracles and if it is His will, He will allow us to see firsthand a manifestation of spiritual power.

I miss you, Amber. Talk to you soon!

EAM+P412
(Expect A Miracle and Pray For One, Too)
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Amber's Fever Is Gone.

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible."
~Christopher Reeve


*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog, since the family has asked me to update the blog for them.


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Good news - no fever last night with no fever-reducing medication. This is great!

Another positive development is that beginning last night, the nurses were able to lower the blood pressure medication, which is keeping her blood pressure elevated to a healthy level. This means that her body is doing a little more work on its own. This is definitely a good sign.

Today, she was receiving the coma-inducing meds at a steady Level 4. To give you some idea what that means, it will help to know that she was at a Level 4 on Sunday afternoon (after the first attempt at waking her up) and then they gradually decreased the medication again to a Level 2 by Monday night. Yesterday, when they tried to continue lowering the meds below a Level 2 and she began seizing, they raised her back up to a Level 5 to calm her brain. So today, they brought her back down to a Level 4.

Once again, we have to remind ourselves that the doctors said this would be a process. They'll calm her brain again to a point when they feel like they can try weaning her off the meds again, and try again to wake her up without any seizure activity. The doctors remain hopeful and positive.

Everything else looks good today.

We can't thank you enough for your continued prayers, thoughts, love and for sharing that with us through the comments on this blog. It has been so uplifting to read your thoughts and know of your love for Amber. We thank you. Now let's just pray a little harder that Amber will wake up for us soon.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Amber's Doctors Remain Very Positive.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog, since the family has asked me to update the blog for them.


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Things have been a little slow the past two days. The doctors have had her on a Level 2 of the medication that keeps her under, down from a Level 4 on Sunday afternoon. Today, they decreased it even more and she began having seizures. Back up again, to protect her brain and let it rest. They'll try again another day.

She is still running a fever of about 101. They have given her medication to bring down the fever, along with icing her. She also has a fan up in her room pointed at her. They are successful in cooling her down for a little while, but then the fever spikes again and the process starts over.

A fever is your body's defense mechanism and is typically indicative of an infection. The doctors will be running more tests to try to figure out where the infection is that they haven't been able to reach yet. It seemed that the antibiotics were improving the infection (the abscesses) in her abdomen, but clearly there is something else going on as well.

From Sheri: "Sorry there isn't great news, but the doctors are still very positive. When we find the infection, we have every hope she will come out of it 110 percent again."
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Amber: Stable is good.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog, since the family has asked me to update the blog for them.


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Yesterday, Amber spiked a fever of 101.6°F. By last night it was down to 99.4°F. They were glad it came down a bit, but she continues to stump them today because it's still hanging on. Originally they thought it might be an allergic reaction to one of the medications, but now they are not really certain. So all the doctors are still consulting to see if they can find the cause of the fever.

The doctors continue to check and recheck just about everything, and it all remains pretty stable. So this is good.

We'll update you, as we learn more or if there are any changes. We continue to be very hopeful.

We are overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love and concern for Amber. She is such a special person and has clearly affected so many of you in a positive way. We love her and are so grateful for your love for her. Thank you!
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Amber: Patience with the process.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog.


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"If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain."
~Unknown


Amber is back under the coma-inducing medication for at least the next 24-48 hours. The doctors believe the cause of the seizing is the infection, but sometimes it's hard to really pinpoint what the true source of a seizure is. It could just be a coincidence. It's just not always apparent. What the doctors do know is that the antibiotics are working. The infection is improving and the inflammation numbers are down. All of her other tests are coming back with favorable results. The doctors feel like we are on the right road.

At this point, we don't know how long things are going to take to reset. This can sometimes be a long process. The good thing is she is stable. Nothing seems to be getting worse and no additional symptoms have shown up. They are watching her for any changes and we feel they are on top of things. They are protecting her brain with the coma and that is what is important. We are just going to wait for her to heal more. They have had success with this process, but sometimes it just takes a little longer.

Over the next 24-48 hours they will continually monitor her brain waves, watching for improvement and when they feel like there has been enough improvement, they will try again to bring her out. If she starts to seize again as she comes off the meds, then we will just repeat this same process all over again.

Everyone is discouraged that she didn't wake up today, but it's not the end of the world. This is just a process and we have to be patient. We feel positive that she will pull through. She is strong. We just have to get her body ready to accept her mind. So we are just going to wait for her body to heal. We continue to be extremely hopeful and thankful for your love and prayers.
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Keep Praying for Amber.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog.


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From Sheri: As much as I would like to have better news, it kills me to tell you that she started seizing again and they had to put her back under for 24-48 hours. I'll keep you updated.
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Amber: So Far So Good!

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog.


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The doctors took Amber off the coma-inducing meds today! They anticipate the medication will be out of her system within 15+ hours. She is expected to start waking up sometime in the middle of the night tonight! Yes, I said waking up! Obviously, the doctors' main concern right now, is that she does not begin having any seizure activity, so they are monitoring everything very closely as they wake her up.

As of about 7:30 this evening, things were looking really good. As the medication began wearing off, the monitors showed a lot of normal brain activity. There were some erratic brain waves, but they were minimal and not conducive with seizure activity, according to the neurologist. Also, the infection is showing vast improvement from the antibiotics, which is very encouraging.

So far so good!



I can hardly wait to get an update tomorrow morning. I bet you can't wait either. I'll be sure to update you, as soon as I can!
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Amber: Not a lot of New News.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog.


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I know many of you are checking back for an update. Just lots of doctors and lots of checking. We'll let you know when there is new news to share.

Thank you again for your continued prayers. JP and the family are reading your comments and I know they feel your love and prayers. They are uplifted by your words and by the Spirit, as your prayers are at work. Keep them coming!

Heavenly Father is a God of Miracles. He hears each and every one of our prayers. Many of you continue to ask if there is anything else "besides praying" that you can do to help. Our answer to this is simply, your prayers are truly what is needed. It may seem a small and simple gesture, but we know that by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.

Great things have already come to pass. People who do not regularly pray, are praying. People who do not believe, are finding hope. People are reevaluating their faith and priorities. And THAT, my friends, is a miracle.

"As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7: 7-11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (Bible Dictionary-Prayer)

Amber is doing what she does best. She is literally uniting people across the world. She is teaching us about faith and prayer, and the power in collectively calling down the healing powers of heaven. Our love, thoughts, and prayers seem to multiply exponentially when we join together.

As a dear friend in Lithuania wrote, "Amber is a fighter! Even when she is sleeping she is helping people to learn something. I know that God lives! Amber helped me to get to know that. She is a tool that God uses to bless people. I pray for her fervently! The seed which with her help was seeded in my heart, in so many Lithuanian and all others ARE GROWING!"

Amber is giving us an opportunity to practice our faith and allow it to grow. Let us take this opportunity to band together for her sake and we will see miracles happen.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Information on Amber.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts on this blog.


Amber and I have always had a thing for clouds. So this is for her.

The results of the MRI/CT Scan today show that the infection in Amber's abdomen has spread to her liver. She now has a large abscess in her liver and also possibly behind her uterus. They have broadened her antibiotics to cover the infection in these areas and are calling in a surgeon to drain and remove the abscess, to get to the heart of the infection faster. They will leave her under longer to protect her body and allow it focus on healing. They also do not want to wake her up until they have this infection under control because they are worried about her having more seizures during this process. While this news sounds rather alarming, I'm hopeful that they have found the problem they were looking for and are able to really treat the root cause.

Directly from her family: "We need your prayers everyone, so keep praying. Please ask everyone to pray for her. We need to keep our faith strong and believe that God can and will work miracles. Please pass this information along to her family and friends."

Of course we're still praying. Every day. All of us. We're praying for Amber. For JP. For the kids. For the family. And also for the doctors.

Thank you SO much for your prayers, concern, and love. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to individually respond to everyone, but please know that your comments and notes are being passed on to Amber's family and will be available for her to read, herself, when she wakes up. She'll be overwhelmed at the love and concern you showed while she was sleeping.
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Amber: Thursday Morning Update.

*This post is an update in a series of posts on my friend Amber, who is currently in the hospital. You can read the earlier posts here.

**Also, the family has set up a blog to keep friends and family abreast of what's going on and also to help reduce the feeling of obligation to update everyone individually. Most of the posts will be duplicates of my posts here.


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Today was scheduled to be the day the doctors would begin waking Amber up, but their plan has changed slightly.

Since the doctors were still unsure about the cause of the severe seizure activity Amber was having, the doctors brought in a couple of specialists last night and this morning to examine Amber and her case. They ran some additional tests and believe they found an infection in Amber's abdomen. They have started her on three heavy duty antibiotics. Since they think the infection may have been causing the seizures, they have decided to wait one more day to wake her up, which will allow the antibiotics another full 24 hours to begin working. Amber is scheduled for an MRI of her abdomen today, so hopefully that will provide some more concrete information for the doctors to go on.

With this new development, the doctors now plan to begin weaning her off the coma-inducing medication tomorrow, Friday. With the half-life of the meds being at least 15 hours, we expect to start seeing a more visible change by tomorrow evening, but it could be well into Sunday before the meds are completely out of her system.

The doctors continue to be hopeful, which of course is promising news to us, because she is normally a very healthy person with no history of seizures or other major health problems. They have also said, that despite the many tubes and machines she is hooked up to and how uncomfortable she may seem, she is actually very comfortable. This was happy news.

Amber is a fighter. I'm certain she is just (im)patiently waiting for the doctors to give her body the cue that it's time to begin waking up.

Thank you SO much for all your love and concern. So many of you have asked what more you can do to help besides pray. Honestly, all of your positive thoughts, prayers, and love are so important right now. I know Amber is able to feel your prayers and love, and we can too. So thank you.

As you can imagine, JP and the family have been bombarded with phone calls from people who truly care about Amber and her family. The amberjoygiles blog has been set up to alleviate the phone and text updates and allow JP and the family to update everyone at one time, saving time that is more wisely spent at Amber's side. Visits are being kept to family only at this time, but if anyone has any letters or messages for Amber or the family, please feel free to use the comment section of this blog or the amberjoygiles blog and we'll be happy to deliver them. They will be very much appreciated!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today's Update on Amber.

*This is the third update on the condition of Amber, one of my very best friends, who is in the hospital right now. You can find the initial post here, and a second update here.



Amber. April 2009.

Amber's sister-in-law, Sheri, called me tonight on the way home from the hospital. Amber has responded as doctors had hoped to the second drug they gave her to stop the seizures. (The first one didn't really seem to do anything, as she was continuing to have seizures.) She has not had one seizure since they put her on this medication, which is very promising.

They are keeping her "under" in medically-induced coma so that her brain activity is kept at a minimum, allowing the brain to "reset" and rest from the many seizures she's had.

Yesterday, when they were giving her a bath, her brain activity increased much higher than they wanted (she's a fighter, I tell you!), so they increased the dosage of her medication slightly, to allow her brain settle and remain in a rested state.

Tomorrow morning, Thursday, they will decrease the dosage of the medication which is keeping her in a coma, and they will slowly bring her back to normal brain activity. With the half-life of the meds being 15 hours, we expect to start seeing a more visible change by tomorrow evening.

The doctors are hopeful, which of course is promising news to us, because she is a normally very healthy person with no history of seizures or other major health problems. The medical team watching over her are still running tests and bringing in specialists to determine the cause of these seizures, since it's still a bit of a mystery to everyone.

The cause may still be a mystery, but something I do feel confident about is that Amber will be okay. I just know she's there, (im)patiently waiting for the doctors to tell her body it's time to wake up. She is a fighter. She is not one to ever give up. She has faith stronger than anyone I know, and as she always told me, "Our faith can move mountains." I believe it will.

I'll continue to keep you all updated. One thing that made me so happy today is that the doctors said, despite the many tubes and machines she is hooked up to right now and how uncomfortable she looks, they say that she is really feeling good right now and that she's very comfortable. That made me smile.

Thank you SO much for all your love and concern. So many of you have asked what more you can do to help besides pray. Honestly, all of your positive thoughts, prayers, and love are so important right now. If anyone has any letters or messages for Amber or the family, I'm happy to deliver those as well, but I know Amber will be able to feel your prayers and love and we do too. So thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Prayers Still Needed for Amber.

*An update from yesterday's post on my friend, Amber.

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As you can imagine, Amber is about all I can think about right now. I have been praying nearly non-stop. I feel peace, meaning, I know that Amber is in Heavenly Father's hands. I know that Heavenly Father loves her. I choose to have faith in Him. I'm certainly anxious to hear about a change, but for now, things remain virtually the same.

The doctors have put Amber in a medically-induced coma to stop her constant unexplainable seizures and to keep her brain completely flatlined. In two days, they will try to bring her out of it. Keep those good thoughts and prayers coming her way. It's a watch and wait at this point. Thank you for your concern. It means a lot to me and to her family.

Amber taught me how truly powerful faith can be. I have a wooden plaque in my room, just above the doorframe which reads simply, Faith. Amber made that for me. She is a powerful believer, an extremely faithful person who is completely in tune with the Spirit. Every time I look at that plaque, I am reminded of our Heavenly Father's miraculous power and the power we have when we put our trust in Him.

Amber, Emery (me), and Brooke. Klaipėda, Lithuania. August 2003.

Hundreds, if not thousands, literally around the world, are praying for a full recovery for Amber. For peace, comfort, and strength for JP and the family. We plead that He will allow her to remain with us, with her husband and her children. That He will heal and protect her mind. That He will fully heal her. The Lord is bound to answer the prayers of the righteous when they are asked in faith. And this is the righteous desire of our hearts.

I believe Amber will pull through this. I have to believe this. She would want me to. She is just sleeping and boy, if I know Amber, she will have a story to tell when she wakes up! A story that will give you goosebumps and blow your mind with intensity. This girl is already so close to the Spirit with a thinner veil into the Spirit World than most people ever know in this life. I can only imagine what she's experiencing right now. The veil is likely much thinner for her right now, while she's sleeping. And like my friend Kristine said, "probably with good reason." There is something she needed to experience with all this. Something that will allow her to come back and share wisdom and knowledge with the rest of us. She is truly amazing!

Amber and JP, with Corbin and Kayla. August 2009.

My faith is strong. If this is Heavenly Father's will, Amber will fully recover and will live as a testament of His miraculous power and the miraculous power we can have when we join forces with Him in faith and prayer. I am praying in faith for a miracle and I know you are too. Your prayers have already been felt by me and by her other friends and family.

The doctors are taking care of her. But doctors do not know everything; they don't know why this is happening to a perfectly healthy 30-year old woman. They can only make their best guesses. And even they admit to seeing miracles every day.

My new mantra in life is "Expect a Miracle" or EAM. I am expecting one.
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Monday, August 09, 2010

Prayers Needed: My Dear Friend Amber Needs a Miracle.

"There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul."
~Edith Wharton

*I began writing this post back in November of 2009, but just hadn't posted it yet. Now, instead of just a post about how much I love my friend, I'm asking for your prayers.

Amber and I were mission companions for 12 months of our 18-month missions in Lithuania. That's nearly unheard of. I seriously love her with all my heart. She is one of my very best friends. We have a connection that I don't have with anyone else, which isn't surprising seeing as we spent twelve months, 24 hours a day/7 days a week together and are still the best of friends seven years later!

Amber and JP. Myrtle Beach, SC. April 2010.
Amber has had such a huge impact on my life, one that I am so incredibly grateful for. She taught me how to unconditionally love and how to be selfless. She taught me about hard work. She taught me how to stop and smell the roses. I had some of the happiest times of my life when we were companions taking Lithuania by storm. Some of the hardest times I've ever laughed (and cried) in my life were with her. I'm thankful for the unconditional love she showed me. She has astonishingly incredible insight and in many ways, I feel she has taught me how to live. This girl is closer to the Spirit and to God than just about anyone I know. She is amazing! I could honestly go on and on because this girl is seriously one in a million. I mean that literally.

Tonight, I am soliciting your most earnest, heartfelt, miracle-inducing prayers on her behalf. Amber is in the hospital in a medically-induced coma on medication to cease the recurring seizures she has been having since Saturday. She wasn't feeling well all day long. After coming home from a family birthday dinner for her younger brother, she told her husband she was going to take a quick nap on the bed in the guest bedroom while he put the kids to bed. When he came back to check on her, she was unconscious and unresponsive. Longer story short, she has been in the hospital, intubated in the ICU, since Saturday. Her brain has been in a continuous state of seizure since Saturday. They put her on medication that has finally stopped the brain seizures as of tonight. If she remains seizure-free for six hours they will begin to decrease the dosage and wake her up slowly. Until then it's a slow watch and wait.

Amber is one of the best people I know. Quite honestly, the best and the strongest. She is the most selfless, loving, and kind person I've ever met. The world needs more people like her. The world needs HER. Her husband and her babies need her. Pray for a miracle for Corbin and Kayla, to bring their mom home.

Amber and JP with kids, Corbin and Kayla. Myrtle Beach, SC. April 2010.
Please pray for her, think about her, share her story, put positive thoughts out into the universe. God is listening. I believe in miracles. I believe our faith can bring about miracles. Amber taught me that.

As myliu tave, Ses. Viskas bus gerai. Bus stebuklas.
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