One Year Ago Today…

It has been one year, to the day, that Brad had his second craniotomy.

I honestly forgot.

My Facebook memories reminded me as I saw the posts I wrote before and after his surgery.
My eyes filled with tears as I was reading where our family was one year ago.
All the feelings returned as I remember how scary the days before and after that second brain surgery were.

There was so much fear, anxiety and many unknowns at that time. We didn’t know what was going to happen.

Would surgery go well?
Would he have another seizure? (Answer? Yes, directly surrounding surgery)
Would Brad’s tumor be removed successfully? And at what cost?
Would Brad come out of his induced coma?
Would he be permanently disabled?
How will the kids handle this? Are they being completely traumatized?
Will I survive this?

The answer….yes. Yes we will. It may not always be pretty, but here we are surviving and some days even thriving.

As I look back and reflect over June and July of 2021, life was absolutely flipped upside down.
Brad was in the hospital and in-patient therapy from June 24-July 18.

25 days.

Six of those days Brad was in an induced coma and we didn’t fully know what each day would bring.

We literally lived by the hour. Waiting to see what the next hour would bring…

Before surgery
After surgery in a coma

The kids were tossed around seeing me for a few hours here or there. They went the full 25 days without seeing their dad. In fact, they didn’t even get a proper goodbye due to him leaving our house in an ambulance the day before his scheduled surgery.
We definitely have our scars and battle wounds.

But…if you look back through our history of posts, you will see how God was with us and guided each of those frightening hours.

He gave me the encouragement that I needed, when He knew I needed it most. Remember my ten minute convo with Carl? That’s just one example, I could list many more.

He surrounded our kids with loving family and fun activities to help get them through those tough days.

He encompassed our family with an unbelievably strong community of people, who prayed over us fervently and consistently. The power of prayer is so real. We are a living testimony.

He was with Brad through those dark days.
His power continued to shine through.

The doctors said he could be in a coma a few days, weeks, or even months.
Nothing was a guarantee.
I was told, “This is not a sprint…this is a marathon.”

We were informed before surgery more than likely Brad would lose vision in his right eye and he could potentially lose feeling on his whole right side.

We were told he might possibly need a shunt.
The list of “what ifs” went on and on…


He got off the vent in 6 days, even though the doctors and nurses didn’t think it would happen.

His feeding tube was taken out, EEG wires removed, and catheter out all on the same day as the ventilator. Again, the doctors and nurses were doubtful. They thought these things would be spaced days apart, but Brad was determined and passed every test they gave him to allow it to happen.

In fact the respiratory nurses were surprised at how strong his lungs where…it was as if he was never on the ventilator. All glory goes to God!
(You can read more about that exciting day HERE)

Brad continued to keep progressing at an encouraging rate. He always seemed to be one step ahead of where the doctors said he would be. I still remember what Brad’s doctor said to him after he was out of a coma. Brad asked how surgery went and how he was doing. The doctor replied, “Surgery went good, but if you do not do treatment, you’ll be back in this position in a year.”

Well, it’s been a year.
And while I was reading through my posts on Facebook from this day a year ago, I felt so much gratitude. This morning I was standing in our kitchen, hearing our kids laughing at the kitchen table, Brad cooking himself breakfast, and me sipping on my coffee. All of us together.

Life is not perfect. In fact, it is FAR from it. We still live in so many unknowns. We still have bad days. We have no idea where we will be standing this day NEXT year. But today…today I am grateful to be where we are standing.

God is so good. He has promised to be with us through this storm and I have pages and pages in my own personal journal to prove it. Our job is to stay obedient to Him, and what He has called us to do. We are doing our best to do just that.

Please continue to pray for us.
+For healing and good discernment
+For the stamina and strength to keep marching around those Jericho walls
+For the unknowns to work out in God’s perfect timing (and for patience as it might not be OUR timing)
+Prayers of thanks for the many blessings that we have received over the last 3 years
+That our story may bring healing in some way to someone else

Thank you friends and family who have joined us on this journey. We are thankful for each and every prayer said on our families behalf.

Being strong and courageous, and thankful today,
The Holwerda Family

3 thoughts on “One Year Ago Today…

  1. You have touched more people than you will ever know with your testimonies. Continuously praying and marching with you! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


  2. You are such an inspiration to all of us. We couldn’t be more proud of all of you. May God continue to March along side of you during this journey.
    We love you all so much❤️❤️❤️❤️!!


  3. Yay!!!! Prayers going forward for all! He’s the One who gives us the strength to go forward each and every day!!
    Carol Klass


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