Saturday, April 23, 2016

Christopher Sparkman's Alive Day

Two years ago this coming Friday, our lives changed forever when Christopher Sparkman was made a victim of a shooting, and shot at point blank range with a shotgun by a FedEx employee in Kennesaw, GA. More trauma than we could have ever imagined has unfolded, and we are still so far from the finish line, but every step we are walking through together. There are many emotions we can feel as we reflect on this day - grief, anger, gratitude, regret...just to name a few.

When I asked my husband how he wanted to spend his "alive day" this year, he said something which inspired me and broke my heart at the same time - a rare feeling that I believe is the foundation for goodness and change in our hearts.

Chris wants to run.

If you had the pleasure of knowing my husband before the shooting, then you know how incredibly athletic he was. Actually, he was annoyingly athletic. He was the soldier in his battalion that would wake up BEFORE required PT, just to run a little more. He was the soldier that would run alongside those striving to do better. He was the best friend helping people lose weight. He was the husband that would drag me to a track after work and pushed me to run further and faster. He always gave 110% to anything competitive, and he was an adrenaline junkie who loved the wind in his face, the trail under his shoes, and an impossibly steep mountain ahead of him.

This Friday, April 29th, I wanted to invite anyone who has the ability to crawl, walk, or run a mile for Christopher Sparkman.

Someone asked me recently what Chris needs right now. He needs encouragement. He needs to know you are there. He needs a reminder that he is not just another statistic from a shooting, but a SOLDIER who still has a lot of fight left in him.

One day Chris WILL run again. Will you run for him now?

Run for Chris this Friday. Wherever you are, whenever you can.

Happy Alive Day, Chris.
- your Wife.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hello to All -

Chris has been home a little over a week, and we are adapting to home care once again. He is enjoying his time at home with me and the pups, but Chris and I count down the days (a little under a month) until his next surgery. He's had a few good days, and a few bad. The woundcare and the pain from the wounds is enough to make him pass out at times.

We count down the days as motivation to keep going. It's truly indescribable what we go through on a daily basis. We have been in "survival mode" well over a year, and our goal is to get Chris back to Emory and his GI working with one more surgery.

I don't post much about myself, but as many of you who have been a caretaker know, I don't get to be a "wife" very often these days. When he is home, "caretaker" means much more for me. Woundcare nurse, Pharmacist, Psychologist, Taxi, Physical Therapist, Maid, Infusion Nurse, Administrative Assistant, Legal Admin Assistant, Home Manager...etc. Chris tells me all of the time how proud and impressed he is of me, and it means so much to know he appreciates me. To the person who sent me the caretaker prayer info - thank you, MUCH appreciated.

Please continue to pray over Chris physically, myself mentally, and for our marriage in it's entirety.

Thank you for the encouraging messages. We read them, but can't always respond.

Until next time,
Jamie Lynn

Thursday, March 24, 2016

After five long months, the Emory team has concluded that more surgery is necessary to fix Christopher's GI tract. After being sent home briefly for Christmas, Chris was admitted to the hospital again mid-January. These amazing doctors and surgeons have tried all that is in their medical grasp to bind the wounds, but it seems God is asking for everything we have and then just a little bit more...

Yesterday, Christopher was allowed his first bite of food since November 2, 2015. Like a true southern man, he went for cheese grits and sweet tea. The sacrifice he endured of not eating, due to a small chance of the leak healing without surgery, was one of the most courageous things I have ever seen him do. Watching him take that first bite, even knowing it provides him no physical nutrition, put tears in our eyes that he was able to indulge in such a comfort that many take for granted everyday. We long for the day when food nourishes his body and mind once again.

We are fast approaching another anniversary of the shooting, and our entire family still feels the weight of shock that two years later, we are still fighting for Chris to be able to eat, drink, and have a functioning GI tract.

As Chris and I read through the Easter story this week, we find our encouragement in the knowledge that "it is finished". Jesus knows our story. He already knows the ending...all we have to do is love Him, trust Him, and put one foot in front of the other...

With love and gratitude,

C & JL

Friday, February 26, 2016

"Faithfulness in the Furnace of Affliction"

Whether it's surprising or not, one of the most popular statements people have made to Chris & I through this trauma is, "I'm not sure I could do what you do." I wish I had found the following quote 2 years ago, but my answer has always been a simpler version: this is marriage.

"...because God gets the glory when two very different and very imperfect people forge a life of faithfulness in the furnace of affliction by relying on Christ." - John Piper, "This Momentary Marriage".

You accept it, you wake up, you live it. You root yourself in wisdom from the Word. Surround yourself with people to help you discern truth from lies, and keep going forward. All glory goes to God, because "this is what marriage is for ultimately - the display of Christ's covenant-keeping grace."

We are still waiting on the final word from Christopher's doctors, I will be sure to update you once we know for certain if he will need additional surgery. We should know something by the end of next week.

- JL

Friday, February 5, 2016

New Year Update

Happy new year from Christopher and I. As I write this update, Chris and I are amazed it is February already. In just a few short months, we will be facing the second anniversary of the shooting at FedEx where my husband Chris (Allied Barton Security Guard) was shot in the abdomen by a FedEx employee at point blank range with a shotgun. Now, almost two years later, Chris still fights for his most basic needs.

So many of you have asked for an update, and I owe you one… although I wish I had better news to share. Christopher's wounds have healed significantly after the GI leak that happened last November after his 50th surgery, but they haven't healed enough to seal up. He's physically in a lot of pain, and mentally this is a lot on both of us.

Without going into graphic detail, the most important thing is this; we will know in the next 10-15 days whether or not Chris will be sent home to wait for another surgery in the spring. He has endured bags on his belly and acid on his skin for almost two years. Our precious family, along with the Emory Team, is desperate to see Chris healed without more surgery.

We are asking God for this miracle. Would you ask Him with us, in Jesus name? I will let you know more as we find out.

Thank you for caring about my family. Thank you for following Christopher's journey. - Jamie Lynn

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Yesterday, I was able to bring Christopher home for Christmas. After a long, exhausting discharge day - it was a gift to see him on the couch, just staring at the Christmas tree. Our pitbull wouldn't leave his side - a very sweet moment for us all.

The most difficult thing we face right now is getting the leaks in his GI healed, which means Chris will have to endure another few months of no food/water and IV nutrition. We still pouch bags over drains and leaks, and will continue with woundcare. He's stronger, and wants to get well - but he does feel hunger, and this time of year, that can be pretty difficult.

You say You're good to those who wait, Lord. We are believing that Christopher's body will be healed, and we can move forward with living the life that's been given.

Today, Chris and I are reflecting on God's grace and mercy that came in the form of a baby so many years ago...and how God wakes us up with that same grace and mercy today, and everyday...

From our family to yours...Merry Christmas.

- Jamie Lynn & Chris

Monday, November 30, 2015

Many have asked for an update on Christopher Sparkman. He is still in the hospital. They are doing everything they can to give the bowel leak that 85% chance of healing. He is in isolation for safety with his wounds, and he does not eat or drink anything to help with healing (no more ice chips or popsicles). Chris has set his mind to do whatever it takes to come home without this leak. 

One of our favorite things to do is take a "date walk" in the hall holding hands, although it's very difficult with the drain system on his belly. We've been watching Christmas movies, I put up a little tree, and I diffuse peppermint and other oils for him to make it smell "like home". 

Although we wished he could have been home by now, we make it work - because that's what we do. He's alive and we continue to fight for that life. Hope this update helps. We appreciate you all, always.