Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Man Who Saved Her Life

Today, Mary and I shook the hand of the man who saved her life. Dr. Lawton came into her room and it was the first time Mary has seen him since surgery. She asked him, "How did it go? What was it like?" He told her that it was long and difficult. She had a very large 'pipe' (artery) feeding the AVM. He dismantled that one during the mid-way point of the surgery. He was actually working on her for close to 8 hours.

Dr. Lawton- Mary's Surgeon

He said, "Mary, move forward with your life. It is done. I will see you for follow up in 6 weeks and then once more in 5 years for an angiogram to be sure it is gone. But for now, forget about it, it's done."

She thanked him. I thanked him. We smiled so much and he smiled. When he walked out of the room, I finally let go and cried in Mary's lap. After 7+ months, it was the first real relief I felt for her. She is cured. She will never deal with this again.

UCSF (to the right of the big tower, where we spoke with Dr. Lawton today)

Blinded Me with Science

We learned a few important things"

Her AVM will not go to 'waste.' Half of it was sent to pathology and half of it was sent to Neurosurgery Research Tissue Bank. They will study it. They are close to finding the gene that determines why AVM's bleed or not. Mary is so happy that the medical community will learn from her AVM experience and help other AVM patients in the future.

We also learned that UCSF has an AVM study group. We met with the head of it back in November and she came to see Mary again today. She told Mary that in 10 years of the AVM study, they have worked with 880 people from all over the world. She is number 801!
The first Saturday in May, they have the annual AVM/Aneurism Awareness Walk on the Golden Gate Bridge. Last year they had 300 AVM survivors participate along with their families and friends. Mary will be there this year!

Battle Wages On

Mary's pain level today is a 7 out of 10. But that's down from 11, 12 the last 3 days. Dr. Lawton said she should not have had the amount of swelling and pain that she has. But it will get better. Her eyes are in pain and she cannot look up. She can open them now though! Her swelling is down and she can shuffle to the bathroom. Hopefully we can find something that she will eat too!

She has many weeks of rest and recovery. We are so grateful for your continued prayers and faith. We will appreciate your patience and understanding that she will need quiet, private recovery for quite a while. But it is only good news and only better days ahead!

We were told with insistance that this was impossible. Don't ever tell us something cannot be done. We will ride to the challenge and prove otherwise.


  1. You are awesome Mary & Goodwin clan!!!! And thank you Heavenly Father for the power of prayer and fasting. Mary, you truly are a miracle, but ALSO a BLESSING to every life you come in contact with. You were very special from the moment you were born and you have been raised by a family with parents and siblings that are so amazing as well.

  2. I don't know you, but have been following your blog for a couple of weeks and have found great comfort and a renewed strengthening of my testimony. Thank you for your courage! Our Heavenly Father DOES hear and answer prayers.
    Hugs to you and your family. May God bless you.

  3. We are hoping for Mary's quick recovery from Japan. Thank you so much for keeping us updated. We love you all.

    Chieko Inagaki

  4. Our prayers and thoughts our with all of you during this recovery stage. Mary is truly strong and courageous like her mom! Looking forward to the time when she walks the bridge. We love your family!