Thanks for visiting

This blog is created for friends and family to follow the journey of Jackson as he under goes surgery to correct his little heart. This site will be updated frequently over the next few months to make sure that loved ones are updated on Jackson's health and recovery. Please take time to read Jed and January's story as they go through this difficult season. Support our dear friends by leaving a comment of encouragement (at the bottom of each entry click on the word "comments"), passing on the blog to others, and praying daily for little Jackson's heart.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Home At Last

Well, Jackson, January and I are at home recuperating from our little adventure. Jackson was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday evening, a couple of nights earlier than the soonest we were expecting. As soon as we got in the door at our place, Jackson let out a beaming grin and a sigh of relief. It's kind of funny how you can really tell that he likes being at home with his family.
Sue (January's mom) came in yesterday to help us out with Jackson's recovery and it sure is nice to have her company and help.

This morning we went back to Children's for his post-op follow-up appointment. They said his tests look great and he is recovering well. We are even able to cut down on a few of the medications we were giving him because he is doing so well. With that said there are a couple of things that we would appreciate your continued prayer over:

1. Jackson is still really sore at times, and the surgery itself was such a traumatic ordeal for his body and mind, and he has had some difficulty as we have been home with discomfort. Please pray that God would continue to heal his little body and give comfort to his mind as he continues to recover.

2. January and I are still really worn out as well, and we need an extra measure of patience, tenderness, and empathy as we help Jackson out.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support, even if we can't thank each of you personally, we have been truly blessed by God through you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

First Smile...

Jed and I are so happy to announce that Jackson gave his first beautiful smile, since the surgery, on Saturday night! I have to admit, I was a bit jealous, because Jed was the lucky one who witnessed the blessed event, but my envy subsided quickly as overwhelming happiness consumed me because my precious boy was showing signs of feeling better. Jackson's smiles then multiplied as soon as he was transferred from the Intensive Care Unit to Immediate Care Unit late Saturday evening. Since then, he has quickly been showing more and more signs of his adorable self (i.e., smiling, giggling, grabbing his cute, chubby feet, and trying to put anything, within reach, into his mouth!).

Yesterday (Sunday), Jackson's first chest tube was removed and the second remaining tube was removed this morning. Praise God! Removal of the chest tubes is a great indicator that Jackson is healing as he should and it gives him much needed comfort as those chest tubes are not comfortable in the slightest! The nurses reported that even grown men who have had heart surgery complain about how uncomfortable the chest tubes are. So Jed and I are very thankful that the tubes are gone. Jackson has also had numerous other tubes and such removed with each passing day. Presently, he only has one connected I.V., has been breathing on his own for two days now, and had his pace maker wires removed (which they thankfully never needed to use, because his heart was beating properly on its own). Yeah!

Jed and I want to thank each and every one of you who have prayed for Jackson's surgery and his recovery (as well as for Jed and I!). You have no idea how much it means to both of us. We have truly been so blessed by the outpouring of support we have received from all of you. Words cannot possibly express the gratitude we feel. THANK YOU!!! With that said, please continue to remember Jackson in your prayers for his recovery. We know God is doing great things through all of your faith and prayers.

God Bless,
January, Jed & Jackson

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chillin With My Boy

It's such a relief that Jackson is on the road to recovery, it is like a village of 800 pound gorillas have vacated my chest! January is at home getting some much needed rest, and I am here in my comfortable new socks while my boy is enjoying his morphine cocktail. They're waking him up to induce coughing now and then to keep his lungs free from fluid build-up. So far so good. The fluids from his chest cavity are draining nicely and he is eating plenty of mommy's milk. All of this to say the recovery is going as good as we had hoped, maybe even better.

God has made his goodness known in this trial by bringing healing to my son, and hopefully providing for a speedy and thorough recovery. Though this is in part through the incredible skill of the Children's medical staff, we are convinced that this has been enabled by the sovereign hand of our God moving the hearts of so many of you to prayer and action.

Praise be to God!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Surgery Update (4:00)

Praise our merciful God! Jackson's surgery went well. He has been moved to the ICU where he will be recovering for the next couple of days. I'll post more in a few hours, but the doctors are very pleased with the operation. He should be brought out of sedation sometime tonight or tomorrow morning.

Surgery Update (11:30)

Jed, January, Bill (January's dad), and Jackson arrived at the hospital at 6:00am. Jackson was wide eyed and as happy as ever. Jed and January spent sometime with the surgeon and the prep work began. Near 8:00am January and Jed held Jackson closely... then with great courage and tears entrusted baby Jackson into the arms of the medical team and into the hands of Jesus. We just received an update from the nurses and everything is going just like it is supposed to. The team is currently working on patching up the hole in Jackson's heart and he is on the heart and lung machine. People have been coming and going at the hospital and we are doing our best to hold each other well. Jed and January are so thankful for your prayers... and ask for continued prayer over the next few hours. Updates will come throughout the day. With love.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Outpouring of Support

January and I have been so deeply touched by the prayers and support that so many of you have offered up for Jackson, January and I. Simply because of your overwhelming compassion, we probably will not have the chance to thank each of you who have called to leave voicemails, or left comments, or sent e-mails. With that said, thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

We have had the honor of seeing so many people from so many different Christian traditions come to our aid in this time of need. It is amazing how brilliantly Christ is made manifest when we set aside our peripheral issues and stop contending with each other, and unite around a common cause, compelled by the deeper love of Christ Himself and contend for each other. I know that this has brought a great deal of healing for me personally, and January and I have felt an increasing measure of peace, even though the stress grows as we approach tomorrow.

Here's a brief list of items that you can be praying for:
1. Above all else that God's good will be done in Jackson's life as he grows and lives his life before Him.
2. That Jackson's surgery would go as planned as God endows Dr. Lamberti and his team with the fullest measures of skill and care, and that the procedure will go without complication
3. That post-op, Jackson would be protected from infection and clotting, and his heart would beat within normal thresholds (ie: correct rhythm, rate, etc.), and he would be free of excessive buildup of fluid in his chest as he recovers.
4. That God would be giving us peace and confidence in His love as we face the stresses of tomorrow and in the coming days.

If you think of other things to be praying for, by all means pray. Pray as Christ would, pray for the things that Christ values remembering His promise:

If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it - John 14:14

Friday, July 18, 2008

Wondering how you can help?

Many people have been asking how they can help out Jed and January... here are a few ways:

1. Faithful prayer: Prayer for Jackson's recovery and rest for Jed and january. Prayer that God's love may be proclaimed to those who don't know Him through this situation.
2. Friendly words of encouragement: A way to show support can be a simple note, card, or email. Jed and January feel so loved by little simple words of encouragement. It helps just to know that people are thinking about them. Even posting a comment on this blog has meant so much. Here is their address/email:

Jed, January and Jackson Paschall
2746 Flower Fields Way
Carlsbad, CA. 92010

3. Financially: Thankfully Jed and January have good health insurance that will cover most of the medical bills. But there are always hidden costs, co-pays, and medicines. Jed will have to take a few days off of work 'unpaid' and January is using all of her sick days in order to stay home with Jackson while he heals. Little gifts are also encouraging: gift cards to restaurants, target, or the grocery store. If you feel led to help with out, you can send your gift to the address listed above.

4. Food: For all of you who love to cook we need your help! Once the surgery is completed and the Paschalls are back at home we want to organize weekly (3 times a wk) meals. click here to sign up.

They're so grateful for your love & support! Your kindness helps them get thru these hard days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dear Jackson...

What can I say? How can I express what I am feeling at this moment? I have been delaying in writing this letter to you, because I didn't want to have to feel, even in the slightest, the immense pain and fear that is gripping my heart and has been since the day your dad and I found out about your heart disorder. I have been keeping myself busy in the attempt to stifle the crushing reality of your condition and your upcoming surgery, but I cannot keep doing this. I am not doing myself any favors by avoiding this matter. So, I will try my best in the coming words to convey to you how I am feeling.

First of all, I want you to know how much I love you. Words cannot express the depth of love I feel for you. The quote that we posted on your blog rings so true to my heart when it states that having a child to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. I could not say it any better. You mean the world to me. Every night, after I have put you to bed, I silently creep into your room and peer over the edge of your crib to watch you sleep and every night I am overwhelmed at how beautiful you are and that you came from your dad and me. What an amazing gift you are! I praise God for giving me such a beautiful little boy, inside and out, and entrusting your dad and I to raise you. With that said, it reminds me that you are, in fact, a gift and on loan to me from God. You are my son, but you are ultimately His. This truth is hard for me to accept, at times, especially in the wake of this trial. I love you so much and don't want to face the fact that you are mortal just like the rest of us and God is in control of your life, not me. I feel such a fierce protectiveness over you, but I have to place my trust in the Lord and give you over to Him each and every day. He is your ultimate protector and has your best interest in His will.

As the day of your surgery looms closer I am attacked with so many emotions: fear, anxiety, sorrow, guilt. The list goes on. I keep wondering, "Why Lord? Why my little boy? What did I do?" It's difficult for me, being the one that carried you in my womb for nine months, not to feel guilt for being responsible for your condition. Did I not take my prenatal vitamins every day? Did I not eat healthy enough? Where did I go wrong? Although I do know that my actions were not the cause of your condition, these nagging questions are always in the back of my mind. When these thoughts begin to consume me, I rely on a verse that a good friend gave me, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, " said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life" (John 9:3). Jesus is responding to his disciples' inquiries as to why a man was born blind. This verse speaks God's truth into my questioning heart and provides me with a sense of peace that surpasses my limited understanding of the whys of this situation.

In closing, Jackson, I want to leave you with the following, May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace (Numbers 24-27).

I love you,

Prayer Meeting For Jackson

We will be having a time of prayer for Jackson this Sunday (7/20/08) at Jed's parents place. We will get started at around 1:30pm and go for a couple of hours (3:30 or so). Feel free to come by at any point between those times. Even if you can't make it please be lifting us up in prayer at that time if you think of it.

Here's the address and a link to directions: Map. If you get lost for some reason call Jed's parents (Sam or Brenda) @ (760) 798-0244.

Sam & Brenda Paschall
347 Toyon Terrace
San Marcos, CA 92069

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Donors Needed

Jackson is going to need blood for the procedure. If you are type O Positive or type O Negative please call the San Diego Blood Bank (877) 659-2001 to make an appointment and designate the blood for Jackson Paschall. You must have an appointment to donate blood; they do not accept walk-ins. If you are not sure what your blood type is, please feel free to still donate. The blood bank will run a test, after you donate, to see what type you are. If you end up not having the blood type Jackson needs, you have still done a great thing by providing someone else in need of your donation. You can donate any time from now until Monday 7/21 at any of the San Diego County Blood Banks. Please call the number for the nearest location near you. All donations must be made by Monday 7/21 for Jackson to receive them. If you have any questions please leave a comment. Thank you!

The story of Jackson's heart...

Jesus answered, It was not this man who sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. - John 9:3

Where do you even start when telling this story? In the case of the above story, (if you're unfamiliar read it in John 9) Jesus started with the eternal providence of a God who is always causing occasion for the pervasive goodness of His name to be made known in the midst of an aching, skeptical, mortal world. But neither January or I have access to the inner workings of God's eternal plan. We can simply live in this plan as it unfolds. All I do know is that we faithfully prayed for Jackson while he was in the womb; that he would be well in spirit, growing to know and love Jesus, and having strong faculties in body and mind. Yet for some incomprehensible reason God chose not to answer these prayers exactly as we prayed them. To say we struggle under this reality is a gross understatement, yet in the midst of our categorical lack of understanding we trust in the infinite goodness of our God. This trust is rooted in who God is and revealed himself to be in history, in our lives, and in spite of this, it feels like a leap, naked and alone, into an imperceivable darkness.

As for the medical circumstances, Jackson was initially diagnosed with the congenital heart defect, VSD which sometimes requires a surgical repair. In Jackson's case, a repair was likely due to the size and location of the hole between the ventricles in his heart. Understandably we were devastated by this news. I cannot remember being wracked with tears before like I was, and I was so honored to have January right there sharing those bitter tears together. We just wanted our boy to be okay.

As much as Jackson's condition always lingers in our hearts, we have resolved to love this gift that God has given us. God has brought joy to January and I through our little Jack like nothing we have ever experienced. He is about as sweet as they come. Attentive, and content for the most part. He loves the ladies, and almost never passes up the opportunity to flirt (which brings a certain amount of pride to dear old dad). His laugh is infectious. And he has a funny way of sleeping face first with his little butt pointing to the ceiling; it's quite a sight! It's so amazing how the trial has not diminished our joy, it has enhanced it because we have a true sense of immediacy as to how fleeting life can be and you never get back wasted moments.

In the third week of June we had a follow up appointment with the cardiologist, where we were informed that the VSD was but one symptom of the far more complex defect called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). Without an open heart surgery, Jackson's prognosis is grim to say the least - by 10 years of age only about 30% of TOF patients survive without surgery; and by 40 only 5% survive on average. Consequently the surgery is necessary. This operation does carry with a higher risk factor than other infant procedures, which is of great concern to us. However, we do trust that God's healing hands will be working through Dr. Lamberti's. Upon a successful surgery, Jackson's prognosis is good, he can carry on normal activity level as a kid. He will have to keep an eye on the condition throughout his life as further complications can develop as his heart matures. However these problems, from what we understand, are treatable.

Now January and I cannot take an overly triumphalist naivety and just assume that the Lord will make everything okay the way we want him to. About 1 in 20 of these surgeries fail, costing the infant's life. Even with the 95% success rate, we have real hesitation regarding the risk. However if we do not take this risk, essentially, we have signed his death warrant. Obviously we want a miracle and believe that God works this way all the time whether through the medical process or without it and in the position we are in, beggars cannot be choosers.

How God chooses to work through Jackson's ailment is not something we can say with certainty. What we do know is that God works powerfully and miraculously in prayer because there is infinite power in the name of Jesus Christ, to who all authority is given. In spite of this, we offer Jackson to God, he is His before he is ours, and in the arms of a just, loving Father, he is given care far greater than if we foolishly took that task upon ourselves alone. Because of this we ask for your prayers as often as you think of it. And we genuinely pray that your lives will be touched by Jackson's little life before God as ours have.

How Deep The Father's Love

I have been searching frantically for answers since we learned of Jackson's heart condition. For the first three months after he was born I was working in an overnight position at the Four Seasons, and I had nothing but time to think, to worry, to pray, and to worry some more during the lonely hours I worked. It's hard to describe what it's like having a vice-grip compressing your chest nearly every moment of the day as you wonder what will become of your child who is not well. Sometimes it comes in sharp crushing pangs, and sometimes in the slow steady pressure that reminds you even in happy moments that it is still there. Though January and I trust that God is working His will in this situation it has been profoundly difficult.

I was praying not too long ago as to what God would want from me in this trial, as a husband, as a dad, as a family member, and as a friend. In his clear, steady voice, He said, "Trust Me, and testify about my Son." This resounded deep within me, because I am convinced, that in the final estimation all things irreducibly point to Jesus and the Father's love that He leads us to. I do not ultimately know what this procedure will bring about for Jackson (though I sincerely hope for the best and trust that he will be well), however I trust in a sovereign and compassionate God who comes to us in our weaknesses and tears and opens our hearts to their truest longings. Jesus knows these longings because He created us with them, "Father I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you have loved me from before the foundation of the world... I have made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love which you have loved me may be in them, and I may be in them." (John 17:24;26) Oh how deep the Father has loved His Son. There has never been a moment in all eternity when the Father has not beamed with an infinite love for His Son. It has always been, and always will be. This same love is what He longs for us to be found and forever lost in.

So the other day, shortly after January and I were informed of the severity of Jackson's condition, I was changing his diaper. This process, no doubt, God is repeating on us as we soil ourselves on a near constant basis, except our poop is stinkier. Yet as I was changing the little man, he let out a gigantic grin and a squeal of delight that his daddy was giving such special attention. I was struck in that moment of our Father's deep love for His own Son in that moment, how powerful it must be, and that the love I experienced no matter how small in comparison pointed me there. Having a kid with a sick heart has literally torn my heart in half, I wrote a quick note down describing this love - Love pierced with pain, yet behind the pain is a joy that cannot be assuaged no matter how penetrating the pain may be. Because of the cross, because of the joy set before it, because of the Father's unyielding affection there is joy, joy that subsumes pain and makes it holy however devastating it may be. So I wept with my boy in my arms with the joy of love, mine for him, my Father's for him, and my Father's for me.

God, unlike me has a way to heal His kids' sick hearts. At infinite cost, infinite pain, and ultimate love, for the sake of His and our ultimate Joy, He sent the Son He loves most to us, forsaking his eternally beloved Son to make us His and to make our hearts whole. We may never now just how glorious God's love is for us, but what an unspeakable delight it will be in eternity learning more and more of it in the radiance of His presence. It has taken the pain of this trial for me to learn this, and I do not know what lies ahead, but I am grateful that in these times I can glimpse, if even through the shadows, how deep the Father's love is for us.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An answer to prayer...

Jed and I found out yesterday that Jackson's surgery will be moved ahead to July 24th instead of August 4th. Praise be to God! This is an answer to prayer as we had requested that the surgery be moved forward so that I could spend more time with Jackson during his recovery before I return to work. The nurse who called explained that another patient's surgery date had to be changed and that Dr. Lamberti, the cardiovascular surgeon who will be performing Jackson's operation, immediately placed Jackson in the open spot. What a blessing. My deepest gratitude to all of you who prayed on this matter. Please click on the following link to read more about Dr. Lamberti: Childrens Hospital San Diego

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Date for surgery...

Jed and January received news from Children's Hospital yesterday concerning Jackson's heart surgery. The date has been set for August 4th, 2008. Just less than four weeks away. 1) This is a praise because they have been anxious to just get a date set for the surgery 2) They are asking for prayer to move the date forward as much as possible because August 4th is the day that January has to go back to work. If the date could be moved forward even a few days it would give her more time to be with Jackson before and after the surgery. She is planning to take a few weeks off regardless, but really wants to have as much time at home with Jackson during his recovery. So please pray that the doctor would be willing to move the date. Please start praying for the surgeon (praise God he is the best in his field) and all the nurses involved in the operation. More info will be posted soon about Jackson's condition and the details of the surgery. For now please keep praying.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The day our son was born...

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
- Elizabeth Stone

Some of God's greatest blessings come to us through great trial and difficulty. Jackson Jedidiah was to be no different. I remember the pure shock when January told me the results of the pregnancy test. The world suddenly took a turn for the surreal. Then morning sickness came, except it unfortunately didn't stay in the morning where it belonged, lingering through the day and night. Poor January was so wracked with nausea through those first few months. I am surprised she could keep anything down at all.

What seemed like an eternity, finally the coming of Jackson's birth arrived. Since January was a week past her due date, our doctor decided to induce labor. Surprisingly, though, when we arrived at the hospital she was in the beginning stages of labor. For the next twenty-five and half hours January and I were in her room as she endured the roller-coaster ride of the first few phases of labor. When the final phase started at around 5:30 in the evening on January 31st, I was drawn into one of life's most profound experiences - the birth of my son. Now I can only speak from a father's perspective, but there was a transcendent beauty in Jackson's birth. With my own eyes I saw the incredible strength and capacity to endure that God gave my wife. In the stress of that moment, she was a vision of beauty as radiant as when she walked down the aisle to be my bride. January's mom, Sue, and I were by her side for three hours as January pushed and pushed my large-headed boy into this world. The little guy's head was so big in fact that he needed a little tug from the doctor to get out.

When Jackson came out into this world at 8:30 that evening, weighing 7 pounds and 11 ounces, time stood still it seemed. I watched his little eyes open one at a time as he took in the outside world for the first time. His first cry was so soft, alarmingly almost. The gentleness of that cry still rings in my ears when I think of it. Maybe because I figured that any son of mine would come out with a deep growl and a six pack of beer. Not Jackson, though, from the moment he was born I was struck by his gentleness, his attentiveness, his own unique unmistakable beauty. While January, in the fog that women feel immediately after labor, was recovering and the medical staff had cleaned and measured Jackson, I was with him as he laid on the table. He cried briefly, only for a few seconds a couple of times, but what was amazing is how intently he took in everything that was around him. His eyes were the deep kind of blue that you see in the sky moments before night falls. I remember how he held me in his stare, and how now, in a uniquely visceral way, I had some small category for how our Heavenly Father loves His son - without forethought or hesitation or restraint.

Once Jackson was swaddled, I brought him over to January and I saw, almost from outside of myself, what we were. No longer were January and I merely a husband and wife, with Jackson we became a family. Our own family set to live out our lives beneath the loving gaze of God. We spent the rest of that night getting what little rest we could and bonding with our son. Thankful beyond measure that God in his unfathomable grace had entrusted to us such a wonderful gift.