Annikah's Journey

Annikah Madisen had cranial surgery on October 2nd, 2006 at Kansas City Children's Medical Center. The surgery corrected a condition known as craniosynostosis.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy 1st Birthday!!!

Annikah's first birthday party was this past Saturday (6 days before her actual birthday). She enjoyed the presents and the cake! But she stayed pretty clean even with all of the frosting. :-)

Her next visit with the surgeon will be 6 months post-surgery for a follow-up CAT scan to check how the bones have healed. We anticipate no further treatment.

Annikah continues to delight us with her happy personality, silly games, and her giggle. She is walking fairly confidently now and has no fear. We praise God for her life and the testimony of God's grace that she continues to be!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

She's Doing GREAT!!!

We could not have asked for a better recovery!

Just 2 weeks after her surgery and Annikah is doing fabulous. Actually, just one week after - she was doing great. She had her first follow-up appointment with the surgeon today and he gave her a great report.

We are praising the Lord for the way He has answered OUR prayers...thank you so much for praying!

Now the new prayer request...Annikah just started walking this past week and keeps us on alert at all times :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Notes from Mommy...

Pam writes:
I have been so blessed to be able to spend all of this week with Annikah, in the hospital and now at home. She has been so calm and even happy, and we know that is another evidence of God's presence with us!

We have had many questions from people about Annikah's recovery time, so here are some details...

She has numerous disolvable stitches across the top of her head. We have been instructed to clean and medicate the incision three times a day for 2 weeks. At that point we will have a post-op visit with the surgeon to determine her progress.

Annikah also has a helmet, which is evident in the pictures. She is supposed to wear this when playing or active for the next three months. That is a long time for Mommy! But who am I to complain when God has been so gracious so far!

Something that I learned anew while we were in the hospital is that God allows our times of crisis to be a conecting point with other people. I had the opportunity to share God's grace with 2 other families who were experiencing crisis this week as well. We talked together about fear and uncertainty, but I was able to testify of God's faithfulness.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

Another thing that I learned is how easy it is to miss the opportunity to praise God out loud for His work. People kept coming to Annikah's room and commenting on how good she looked. The doctors and nurses kept saying, "Normally she would have more swelling and bruising. She looks amazing!" It was easy to say, "I know! I am amazed as well!" Then, in my heart I knew that God was calling us to give Him the praise for everything. Praise in my heart is not enough. The world must hear my words of praise.

Annikah's recovery, calmness in the hospital, everything, is a direct result of God's presence. We cannot miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He has done!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Life Goes On...

Her first full day home...Friday. Monday seems like a year ago. There's a definite mystery to crisis; time; energy; and rythym in life.

This afternoon, I visited friends from church in another hospital where their newborn daughter is still in NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit). Here they are, new parents, and they are already thrust into the world of being completely vulnerable in the presence of God. Really...what other choice do they have? Worrying?!? I think we all know where that will lead where!

As I was getting ready to pray with them, I asked, "What do people who do not know God do when they are confronted with crises? Where do they turn? Who do they depend on for hope? Humans? Themselves? Positive thinking?"

I'm reminded of words from a cherished hymn that I entered into a comment on another friend's website when his wife was battling a defeating struggle with cancer...

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand...all other ground is sinking sand."

The promises of scripture have rung true for us time and time again on this journey of ours. The reality is that those promises where designed for us LONG before we ever existed and they will ring true long after our lives are mere records in history.

He is Faithful!

Side note: With Annikah's recovery taking on slower progress in this phase of her journey, we will once again return to a once-a-week update. Please be assured that we have saved EVERY comment and email for her to read and be encouraged by as she gets older. While she will never remember the events of this week first-hand, the memory of God's grace in her life and the legacy of love she's been granted through people like you will be very fresh in her mind as she grows up.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yay! She's home!

After just a few details being wrapped up in the morning, Annikah was dismissed from the hospital this morning...

We have been so blessed by God's hand on Annikah's life this week. Throughout this entire journey, our faith has been stretched. At the same time, His faithfulness has been more real each day.

We're anxious to get back to life as normal (whatever "normal" is). Allison and Nicolas made a terrific homecoming celebration for their sister today - signs, balloons, cheering, and lots of hugs!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Almost home...

After only two nights in the hospital, Annikah's recovery is advancing beautifully. Her nurse practioner said that on their recovery curve, Annikah was definitely on the high end and was doing terrific.

After major head surgery, you'd think a person would want to keep calm with limited I'm writing this, Annikah is out in the hallway of the hospital walking with Mommy and Aunt Tracie (on her OWN two feet)!

All of her wires and tubes have been removed and she's almost home!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We asked for a miracle...

Things are going a little faster than we thought...or necessarily would like after having major surgery like Annikah's had.

All of Annikah's reports have been great today - 24 hours after surgery, the typical swelling and facial bruising has not been present! Of course, we are THRILLED!

We have had some GREAT visitors! Thank you so much for the encouragement - all of you who've stopped by and visited have been terrific (Kyle and Debbie, the balloons are perfect! Dayton's a long way away, but we felt like you were right here with us!). The stuffed pets from our missionary friends have been cuddled by Annikah today - VERY SWEET!

For those who've left comments on the website and have sent emails and made phone calls - the encouragement is PRICELESS! Also, the meals that our Central families have been preparing have been amazing. that the "thank you's" have been given...

The way things are progressing, the doctor may decide to send us home by Wednesday. Honestly, that's a little too fast in my mind - but we'll see!

Keep praying for Annikah and for her brother and sister, too. We've had great help here - our friend Tracie Johnson flew in from Ohio to help out this week and my mom is here to help with the kids (and me!).

We have felt God's love through all of you!

God answers prayer!

Thank you for praying! Annikah's surgery started a little bit late, but the surgeon completed everything in just three hours - instead of the 4-5 hours we were anticipating. He said that everything went perfectly.

We have a friend from church who was her primary recovery nurse. Melanie came to us while the surgery was still taking place and talked us through everything we could anticipate following Annikah's surgery. She also said that we had the best surgical team possible - the best surgeon; the best anesthesiologist; the best nursing team - she said, "just like we prayed about in church yesterday!"

Besides the countless emails and phone calls we received throughout the day, we had a great team of supporters with us at the hospital.

Annikah is still in the PICU (Intensive Care Unit), but is recovering well. Allison and Nicolas were able to go into her room to hold her hand; pray for her; and even sang a song for her. Keep them in your prayers, too. This is a difficult time for them.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Last minute info...

Several have asked about the hospital where Annikah’s surgery will take place. We will be at Children’s Mercy Hospital (downtown) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Children's Mercy Hospital:
Tel.: 816-234-3000
2401 Gillham Rd,
Kansas City, MO 64108

Annikah’s surgery will start around 8:30AM on Monday, October 2nd and the procedure will last around four hours. She will then be in post-operative recovery for a couple of hours before being moved to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). She will stay in the PICU until Tuesday, sometime and will then be moved into a regular room. If all goes well, the surgeon hopes to release her from the hospital to recover at home by Thursday afternoon – possibly Friday.

If you'd like to know how you can help, our friend Michelle is handling that fabulous aspect of this journey for us:

Annikah's Extreme Makeover

Annikah - getting her blood "typed and crossed" in preparation for the BIG day.

Pre-surgery = Annikah's bone structure of her skull is narrow with a protruded forhead. Post-surgery = Her skull will be more rounded; her forehead set more properly; and her bone structure will be able to expand with the growth of her brain.

Okay...we think we're about as ready as we can be...the time is here! It couldn't have a been a better day for us - spending our morning with our church family was a perfect send-off for this week. We were blessed today as our Senior Pastor, Rob Prince, annointed Annikah with oil and prayed a magnificent prayer. We were surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses" who were lifting Annikah and our family up in prayer as well.

Let me back up a few days, first...

This past Thursday, Pam and I, along with Annikah traveled to El Paso, TX where we will be continuing our current ministry position as missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene. Our time was spent looking at several homes - one of which we hope will be a potential home for our family. Annikah was super - she got to fly on her first airplane and didn't know a single stranger on the plane...or so SHE thought!

Allie and Nic stayed at home with Gramma Tooley and spent time with friends and cousins, too. Nicolas got his very first bee sting!

When we arrived home on Saturday - we discovered that there has been a pretty significant leak in our upstairs bathroom behind the wall where our shower is. The leak made itself known by showing up in our laundry room in the basement (lower level of our house).

Of all times...

In the midst of my immediate worrying and grumbling about that LITTLE problem, Pam calmly reminded me with these words, "This is not the biggest thing in our lives right now and it's not going to do much good to worry about it." While that's all fine and good, it doesn't make the leak stop - or it's subsequent damage go away.

I'm virtually useless when it comes to mechanical/construction kinds of, what can I do? I can either worry about it and let it get worse - or I can make my need known to someone who can handle the situation and hope it gets corrected.

I guess we're in the same situation with Annikah - I can either stay up all night worrying about her and tomorrow's outcome; or else I can make our need known to God and know that He is taking care of her situation. I'll admit...that's not always easy to do. It's in times like these that I'm reminded of how much we need the Church - the followers of Christ.

The emails; the comments on this website; and the daily reminders from friends and even strangers that they are lifting us up in prayer...that's what holds us up in these days.

Our faith in God is renewed each day and the strength we receive is from Him alone.

We will attempt to email at least one update on Monday - following Annikah's surgery. If you have not received email updates and would like to, simply send an email to and we'll get you added right away.

Thank you for your prayers and for your support!

The Tooleys