7 Years Ago Today

On April 21, 2008, everything in our lives changed, and anniversaries like this remind us that life will never be the same. It's been painful but incredible to be writing a book in this season on the story that started 7 years ago today. We've cried many times re-living the horror of this journey, yet it's been a blessed reminder of the miracle I am living...that we are all living.

In honor, in memorium, of this day in my life, and all the days in all our lives that change the course of the rest, here is my story. It wasn't told by me or Jay even, but rather by those who loved us enough to not turn away from our pain. They watched and waited and told others the story, and in so doing, they told us that we were not alone.

Special thanks to Charlie Saliba, Dr. Jay Wolf {"Pastor Jay"}, Kim Arnold, Lauren Miller, Alex Wolf, Kelly Hughes, Ryan Dobson, Thomas Griffin, Sally Scruggs Griffith, and Sydney Taylor for telling our story that first week, and in so doing, creating a record unchanged by time that we might draw on as we continue to share. I am so touched as I read your words of hope. I know the sharing of this story to a world-wide digital audience of praying strangers changed more outcomes in our lives than we will ever know. Thank you, thank you, for that.

"If we don't keep telling the hard stories, we'll stop longing for the hopeful ones." - Jay Wolf (III)


APRIL 22, 2008 @ 4am PST

Katherine Wolf suffered from a rupture/bleed in her brain (Arterio-venous Malformation or AVM). Surgery is currently being done by Dr. Gonzalez at UCLA Hospital.

We have sensed God’s peace in this situation. We are standing on His promise, holding onto Romans 8:28-39–that God is in control. He is for us.

The scene in the hospital as Katherine and Jay’s church family have gathered is breathtaking. Jay was deeply encouraged. Pastor Jay is currently on a flight to California. Katherine’s mother arrived in California this morning. Continue to pray for a complete healing and have confidence that God is going to shine through!

@ 7am PST

Katherine is out of surgery and is currently in coma, but she is alive. The doctors have said the coma is expected. They will now perform a brain scan. Please pray that she wakes from the coma and that the brain scan is positive.

@ 1pm PST

Katherine’s condition is very grave, but the family is remaining hopeful and prayerful. She will be in a medically-induced coma for 48 hours. While Katherine is resting in that 48 hours we pray that God will restore and raise her up. Please keep Jay and baby James, along with the Wolf and Arnold families in your prayers. They have felt your prayer support and thank you for being diligent.

@ 5:59pm PST

There has been a bit of good news. The doctors did an arterial angiogram (a type of dye test) a few hours ago that showed the AVM has been entirely removed and that there is no further bleeding — in other words, the surgery was a complete success as far as that goes.

We still do not know (and still won’t know for a few days) whether and to the extent Katherine has suffered any permanent damage. The risks that she has are still very high. Obviously, it is still a very long road ahead and we need everyone reading this to absolutely start a mighty flood of prayer. At the hospital, we feel the Lord at work and are encouraged by this news.

@ 6:30pm PST

A nurse just informed Jay that Katherine raised her hand, responding to the nurse's command to do so. According to this same nurse, that means that she is NOT completely paralyzed as the doctors thought might happen. At this point Dr. Gonzales is saying that the most important thing is for Katherine’s body to remove the blood from affected tissue areas, such as her brain stem.

It’s been encouraging to see how many people have shown up at the hospital, and encouraging to see everyone here on online. Prayer is pouring in from all around the world and is making a difference. Thank you and keep it coming!  The words of Jesus that Jay’s father has been asking all of us to pray today can be found in Mark 5: “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

@ 7:15pm PST

Katherine has not only raised her hand but has wiggled all ten toes on command! This is a huge advancement, especially for it to happen so soon after surgery. They are still keeping her in a drug-induced coma for the next 36 – 48 hours to let her body rest and heal, but we are all very encouraged by this latest development. The Lord is at work…keep raising our dear Kat. up in prayer!

APRIL 23 @ 9:30am PST

Katherine has “blinked her eyes open” in response to them telling her that her cousin Johnny was in from Canada. Much like last night’s news of Katherine raising her arms and wiggling her toes, this kind of physical and mental recognition, is MIRACULOUS news! We’re seeing specific, tangible answers to prayer. These steps are magnificent, affirming strides in the right direction. Many of them less than 24 hours after the surgery!!

Family members are staying at hotels nearby and coming and going. There is always a scheduled small group point-person in the lobby with internet access so in the event that anything new happens, everyone will be notified right away. The response of the Community of Christ is absolutely overwhelming – your care and desire to do whatever is necessary is truly incredible.

APRIL 24 @ 12:30pm PST

Katherine is much less responsive than yesterday. There has been an increase in brain pressure and that is a concern. The swelling could be responsible for further damage to her brain. As a result, the settings on her ventilator have been elevated in order to bring down the pressure in her brain. Sodium levels are also being controlled to reduce the swelling. A CT Scan was just taken which shows that although there is swelling in Kat’s brain, there is no bleeding, which is positive news.

@ 11pm PST

Today was a rough day for Kat. God’s ways are mysterious indeed, and the day may come for our faith to be tested by a seeming silence in order that it may be made more complete. The knowledge that so many people are interceding for us and loving us and our incredibly precious daughter will help to carry us through those days if they should come. Thank you, thank you, thank you, one and all, for your life-changing compassion and support. It is AMAZING, as Kat would say.

@ 11:45pm PST

Katherine was unresponsive most of the day until the doctors decided to do a small surgery that removed her ventricular, a monitor that checks brain pressure. Removing the monitor actually relieved a blood clot, and Katherine instantly responded. God is at work, but we continue to be in desperate need of prayer.

APRIL 25 @ 8pm PST

K’s fever is subsiding, her brain swelling is subsiding and her blood pressure is in the range the doctors desire. She is alert and responsive. Please pray that these trends continue. Also, please continue to pray for protection against pneumonia and that she will be able to transition from the ventilator to breathing on her own soon. To God be the glory.

APRIL 26 @ 7:40am PST

In addition to moving her arms and legs on command, she raised the corner of her mouth when asked to smile and moved a lot when family members recited Romans 8, which she has memorized previously. At one point, they forgot some of the wording, and when Katherine’s mom said “I know you’re reciting this with us,” Katherine squeezed her hand.

Her MRI yesterday afternoon revealed less swelling than the doctors expected – the only swelling was where the surgery had been performed, and even that was less than the doctors had anticipated.

When Katherine was asked last night if she wanted Jay to stay in the room with her, she squeezed his hand – so he spent the night up in ICU. We’re still scheduling to make sure people are in the waiting room 24/7.

APRIL 27 @ 10:30am PST

(1) They are taking her ventilator out today and giving her a tracheotomy (tube that goes directly into her throat to help her breathe). The big prayer is that she will be able to swallow once they take the vent out, because so far, there has been no gag reflex or coughing (which there should have been at this point). Trouble swallowing is something they thought could happen, so we want to really lift this specific thing up in prayer, that there will be no problems with the throat, swallowing, talking, choking etc. This is the big issue right now — we want her to be able to gag and cough with no problem (otherwise she could choke).

(2) They’ve managed to get her fever down by using this cutting edge new treatment…the problem is, the treatment involves putting ice water in her veins. So, obviously, she’s really, really cold right now, and Jay says he is praying that the Holy Spirit will come along side her through this and warm her. And obviously we want to pray that the fever stays down!

APRIL 28 @ 11am PST

IT HAS BEEN ONE WEEK TODAY.  THANK YOU FOR JOURNEYING WITH US.  Katherine’s personality is beginning to shine through. Of course, there is still as much need for prayer as ever, but there is so much hope.

Yesterday was a very hard day, with the tracheotomy, removal of the huge ventilator tubes and feeding tube from her nose and insertion of a new tube to her stomach. It took longer than expected because they couldn’t get Katherine to “go under.”

Later when Kim asked if she wanted Manda, her 80 year old maternal grandmother, to come out from GA, Katherine looked at Kim, and with her mouth twisted to one side and her tongue swollen 3 times its normal size, she managed to whisper, “Yes.”

The doctors at the hospital are absolutely amazed. Dr. Gonzalez came in on a Saturday, even though he is no longer her doctor, just to see Katherine. According to the nurse, Gabrielle, he got tears in his eyes when he was doing the neurological exam. He is the one who told Jay before the operation that she probably wouldn’t make it through surgery.

Other doctors who were part of the team are incredulous as well. Dr. Gonzalez said that as incredibly well as the surgery went, he couldn’t take credit for it. We thought he meant the assisting Dr. and the huge team of doctors, but when asked what he attributed her progress to, he said he had “a helper’” and pointed up.

Specific Prayer Requests;

1) Unfortunately, Kat is in a lot of pain, esp. her throat

2) Her eyes – One has an infection and she doesn’t have control of them

3) Her temperature. It is up again and Drs. are baffled, doing constant cultures

4) She is freezing and shaking uncontrollably due to the treatment to keep her temperature down.

@ 3pm PST

Katherine’s nurse for today is named Courtney and she is a Christian. Courtney repeated that taking into account the magnitude and location of Katherine’s AVM, no one thought she would have come this far. She explained specifically, “Considering Katherine’s injuries, this is the most amazing thing I have seen in my experiences in Neuro-Intensive Care. We are seeing God’s miracle which could only be correlated to prayer.”

Please ask God for Katherine’s swallow, gag and cough reflex to come back because that will enable them to remove the breathing equipment. God’s Army, KEEP RISING UP AND PRAYING!