Reaching the age of 25 was a victory for Anissa, especially considering how seizures had increased in volume and velocity. “Red tape” had blocked the release of Felbatol (felbamate), an anti-seizure drug for which she had been approved the previous year. Her neurologist hoped to obtain it as a “compassionate drug” rather than experimental, to avoid the strenuous testing otherwise required by the FDA, which could worsen Anissa’s frail condition.
Starting felbamate therapy was further delayed when it became apparent Anissa needed her wisdom teeth removed. This required general anesthesia with monitoring of seizures during the operation (x-rays, cleaning, extractions, etc.), which had to be done at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Throughout the summer of 1992, we met with the four doctors in charge – an oral surgeon, pediatric dentist, anesthetist and neurologist. In order to keep Anissa strong enough to survive the operation, we took extra precautions, protecting her from colds and viruses. The timing of the operation was uncertain, due to coordinating the schedules of the doctors, but finally the date was set for November 18th.
Evidence of answered prayers occurred the day before surgery when all the preoperative tests were done from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Anissa had blood work, urinalysis, chest x-rays, several mouth exams, blood pressure and pulse rate, a general exam and lots of waiting, while sitting in a wheel chair the entire time. She did not have her regular naps, or receive her food and medication on schedule, yet only experienced one mild tonic seizure. She was very happy, peaceful and cooperative – truly a miracle!
We knew Anissa was in good hands when Charlotte White, the oral surgeon, came out from the operating room to discuss with us what the x-rays and exam revealed: Anissa’s mouth was very healthy with no cavities, abscesses or gingivitis, but two of the wisdom teeth were impacted and the other two were shoving some teeth and could present future problems. Then, looking straight at us, Dr. White asked, “Are you Spirit-filled?” After receiving our affirmative answer, she replied, “So am I.” Another reason for the peace that passeth all understanding we were experiencing!
“For He [Christ Jesus] Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us.”
Ephesians 2:14 NKJV
After the operation was over, Dr. White explained that gauze was placed in Anissa’s throat to prevent the blood from going into her stomach, as well as a special type of disintegrating sutures and gauze-like packing to alleviate dry sockets. She hoped it would keep Anissa from vomiting – and it did! Even with the strong anesthetic, her EEG showed seizure activity in the brain but she did not outwardly convulse.
During the following week, Anissa required one-on-one supervision night and day to restrain her hands from digging at her sore lips and gums. Puree foods were a steady diet for a season. At the final checkup, she was given a clean bill of health!
We survived the great challenge due to the many faithful intercessors keeping us in prayer before the Lord and overshadowed with His Excellent Grace.
To contact Anissa’s mother email her at email@example.com
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