the surgery: how it went down

Almost two years ago, I sat in a surgery prep stall looking at Brad. He was dressed in a paper tunic the color of blue mouthwash and wore a shower cap to keep his curls (I love those curls!) out of the surgeon’s way. Brad was getting his tongue biopsied, which I knew to be a really quick, no-risk procedure (other than the risk of actually finding something), but still. The sight of my precious husband decked out for the operating table made my gut drop. I clearly remember trying not to cry (because I didn’t want to be that overdramatic wife. Although honestly, I probably am) and drilling truth into my head, God is with us, God is for us, but struggling to calm down enough to pray for Brad before they took him to surgery.

Thankfully, these last few weeks have been nothing like that. Brad had another surgery two weeks ago, again in his mouth. God has been tangibly with us during the whole process, so much so that I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Strap in, maybe grab a snack. This is a long one.

A few months ago, Brad heard about a holistic doctor in St. Louis, Dr. Yu, who combined his M.D. knowledge with a strong belief in natural and alternative healing methods, including some traditional Chinese medicine. Brad read his book and really liked his approach to chronic illness. We prayed about making an appointment and honestly, it seemed like a no-brainer. For years we’ve been wishing for a doctor who had these credentials and this philosophy, and suddenly, in God’s perfect timing, here he was.

I say God’s perfect timing because four years ago when Brad and I first started visiting doctors in search of answers, I wouldn’t have been comfortable with some of what we’re learning now with Dr. Yu (and don’t freak out, it’s nothing too out there, I’m just really into things being black and white). I was hesitant to trust conventional doctors, but saw many alternative treatments as requiring too much trust or not being based on any real science or understanding of the body. From where we are today, still very much in the middle of figuring out what’s going on with Brad, it’s clear to both of us that God led us from one situation to the next, from one theory to the next, from one doctor/nutritionist/clinician to the next, all of them stringing together into a lifeline for us. Each road we took moved us forward, even the dead ends. They were a necessary reminder that we are completely dependent on God for healing, no matter what avenue He uses. And we’ve had some big wins! Meeting Tim and Terry and working out a nutrition plan with them was probably the greatest, but there have been others along the way.

In August, we drove down to St. Louis for our first appointment with Dr. Yu. (Another sign of God’s hand? Brad’s amazing grandma lives in St. Louis and we’re able to stay with her when we go down.) The first appointment was fascinating. Brad wrote a little about it in his most recent post. They started by testing Brad’s vitals and performing a body composition test, which revealed that a carrot stick probably has a higher fat percentage than my husband does. (Physiologically, that’s no bueno. But I swear, I make him pie and ice cream a lot!) When we met Dr. Yu, he tested Brad’s meridians to see what organs or systems in his body weren’t performing well. Several obvious ones came up (hello, every organ associated with the immune system!), but some results surprised us (dental, who knew?), and we were flat-out shocked by what read as normal (joints, virtually everything associated with digestion).

Based on the exam and Brad’s history, Dr. Yu gave him a conventional prescription for parasites and several homeopathic remedies to support his organs. That’s right: My husband took actual medicine for two solid months. And yet again, because of the circumstances, God gave us the clear OK on that front, too.

We covered so much more in the first appointment, but let’s skip to the goods: At the second appointment, Brad’s meridians all tested OK except for dental. I didn’t really know this prior to these appointments, but apparently the jaw is a big deal in the body. Dr. Yu explained it to me like this: If your body is a violin, the meridians are the strings. If they’re out of tune, it’s a sign something in your body isn’t doing its job correctly. In this same analogy, the jaw is like the bridge–if it’s messed up, the strings can only do so much on their own. Brad’s meridian testing, the intense jaw pain that’s plagued him for more than a year, and our guts all pointed to exploratory oral surgery to figure out what his jaw might have to do with the rest of his body.

So two weeks ago, I found myself in a waiting room again while Brad was under the knife. But almost everything felt different this time around. Don’t get me wrong, it is never fun or easy to be in that situation. But as I sat there, literally hearing the drill the surgeon was using to scrape bone out of Brad’s jaw, I felt so comfortable. I’m a terrible wife, right? But let me explain. God gave me a supernatural confidence that morning. I didn’t feel worried about Brad or about how the surgery would go. I had no near-weepy moments. All that went through my head was the simple idea that even though I couldn’t be back there with Brad, God was. I kept thinking The Creator and Holder of our universe is in that small room with my beloved husband, right by his side. I just knew it and believed it the same way I knew and believed it was Thursday.

The surgery paid off. The surgeon found a cyst and a black and brown paste in one of Brad’s wisdom tooth sockets. In the other one, he unearthed the root of the wisdom tooth that was supposedly removed seven years ago. Let’s all take a moment to think about how I’ve been kissing that mouth for four years!

Ok, moving on. Brad’s recovery has gone really well. We went back to St. Louis last week to get his stitches removed and all looks good on the gum front. Brad’s joints are going haywire right now, including some swelling in joints that haven’t been before, but we’re hoping it’s a sign his other symptoms are indeed tied to his jaw and we’re on the right path to resolve them. In a few weeks, we’ll head back down for a post-surgery checkup with Dr. Yu, which promises to be interesting.

In the meantime, anybody know any good car games?

More info:
You’ll find a link to an article explaining more about Acupuncture Meridian Assessment here.
Dr. Yu wrote an article about the dental/organ connection you can find here.

(This photo of Brad’s sister, Brad, and his cousin is one of my favorites hanging on the wall at Grandma’s house. I just want to pinch his sweet little cheeks! And his hair looks exactly like that tonight, I promise you.)




  1. Shanna

    Amazing!! So filled with hope (I am not surprised, given whose blog I’m reading) and so filled with Truth (also, not surprised). Rejoicing with you and these specific evidences of God’s grace and hoping for more good ahead!

  2. Tim


  3. Madison M

    How great! I love hearing good updates from you and knowing that you guys are making progress. It’s so uplifting and encouraging. :)

  4. Andrea

    I love reading your story and seeing your faith! Missing our lunches. Maybe Emerson and I will have to come visit sometime!

  5. joannalinberg

    I would love to see you both!!

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