Thursday, February 26, 2009

The tracheotomy procedure went well and although it is something new to which to adjust, Tommy is very glad to have the original mouth tube removed. Robyn reports that the trach procedure has allowed Tommy to communicate with much greater ease. And, on a sweet note, she says it is wonderful to see Tommy's smile! Tommy and Robyn now have serious decisions to make regarding rehab. Please pray for wisdom and discernment. And, continue to pray for healing and strength, both for the body and spirit. Praise God that He is providing for Tommy and his family so beautifully. --"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tommy's doctors have decided the best way to progress towards reestablishing Tommy's independent breathing is through a tracheotomy. They will perform the tracheotomy procedure tomorrow (Thursday). Because the trach tube is shorter and larger than the current breathing tube it will allow for easier initiation of breaths. Tommy continues to give his all in physical therapy. Please pray for a successful tracheotomy surgery tomorrow. Also, continue to pray for successful breathing, reduction of swelling, and that God will provide physical strength for Tommy. And, praise God for His provision, healing and the wonderful plans he is establishing for Tommy. -- "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:1

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tommy continues to make progress in physical therapy. He is able to remain in a standing position for longer intervals with the use of the tilt table and he initiated several breaths on his own yesterday! If all continues to progress, it is hopeful that Tommy will be able to begin rehabilitation (probably in Dallas) in the near future. Praise God that he has provided caring and kind staff to care for Tommy at the hospital. Please pray for Tommy's physical strength to be bolstered, progress in breathing and subsiding of any swelling of the spinal cord. On behalf of Robyn, thank each of you for your prayers and thank you for sharing your gifts and talents. In so doing, you are truly being the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to and sustaining the Van Zandts. They are so grateful for your friendship! -- "I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tommy is continuing with rigorous physical therapy working towards the milestones which will facilitate his move to Dallas for rehabilitation. Although we are all anxious for the next step of rehabilitation, it will take some time and preparation before Tommy is ready. As our Pastor Steve Pulliam shared with Robyn and Tommy, the road ahead is like a mountain and before Tommy can take off for the climb he must gather up all the needed supplies. Being prepared will assure success in the future. Pray for patience as the supplies are being prepared. You may remember that Tommy climbed the Titon Mountains recently so he is up for the challenge! Please fervently pray for Tommy to be able to resume independent breathing. Independent breathing is a huge step in his preparation for rehabilitation. And, continue to pray for the swelling to subside in his spinal cord. Most of all, praise God for the way he has provided for Robyn and Tommy and for Tommy's amazing spirit. -- "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Awesome news...Robyn and Tommy celebrated today as Tommy had a successful physical therapy session. Tommy is now working with a tilt board and was able to withstand 15minutes of therapy. This is progress towards meeting the requirements necessary to enter rehabilitation in Dallas. Please continue to offer praise for God's amazing gift of strength. Also, pray for the successful removal of the breathing tube, subsiding of swelling of the spinal cord and the healing of Tommy's body. Robyn commented today about how wonderful it is to know that so many people are praying! Your prayers are powerful! -- "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up." James 5:15

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tommy's recovery from surgery continues to go well. Tommy was able to initiate several breaths without the help of the breathing machine today. This is quite difficult to do after many days of assisted breathing so there is reason for optimism. Please continue your prayers regarding Tommy's independent breathing and the subsiding of any swelling in and around the spinal cord. Also, please pray that God will continue to sustain Robyn, Tommy, Ross and Jack on this new journey. --"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God is good! Tommy is recovering nicely from his surgery. The completion of surgery is a positive step on the road to rehabilitation and will allow physical therapy to begin. The doctors will try soon to reestablish Tommy's independent breathing by removing the breathing tube. Tommy is quite anxious to have it removed so he can talk! Please pray for strength in Tommy's lungs and the successful removal of the breathing tube as well as subsiding of swelling around the spinal cord. And, please continue to pray for complete healing! Praise God that he has provided peace that surpasses all understanding just as He promises. -- "The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:5-7

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tommy's surgery was completed about 3:00 and was a success. He is currently in recovery. Please continue to pray for swelling to subside on the spinal cord and that Tommy will be able to breath on his own so that the breathing tube can be removed. Please offer praise and thanks to God for working out the details of the surgery. --- "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:7

Sunday, February 15, 2009

At the current time, Tommy's surgery is scheduled for 7:30am Monday morning (tomorrow). Please pray for continued peace for the VanZandt family, guidance and wisdom for the surgeon, and that conditions will be optimal for surgery. --- "The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace" Psalm 29:11

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conditions for Tommy's surgery are still not optimal so the doctors have not rescheduled at this time. Although we are all anxious for the next step, we can take comfort in knowing that this situation is not a surprise to God. As it says in Psalm 138:16, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." As we wait patiently, please continue to pray with hope and praise for the amazing work God will do. He has already provided comfort, peace, and protection from fear in the midst of these difficult circumstances. Your prayers are priceless treasure! -- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." Proverbs 3:5

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tommy's surgery postponed again

We learned this morning that Tommy was running a fever last night. As such, the doctors have decided to delay the surgery once again. At this point, there is no indication of when it will be rescheduled. Please continue to pray for optimal conditions which will expedite the surgery to stabilize Tommy's neck. -- "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him" Psalm 37:7

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Surgery scheduled tomorrow at 11:00am

The surgery to stabilize Tommy's neck has been scheduled for Thursday (Feb. 12th) at 11:00am. We are thankful that God is working out the details surrounding the surgery and we ask for your continued prayers. Please lift Tommy up in prayer tomorrow at 11:00 as he enters surgery. -- "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." Matthew 18:20

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Surgery date to be determined...

The surgery to stabilize Tommy's neck is still on hold. The doctors are waiting on optimal blood conditions before moving forward. Please pray that God will be at work to bring about these optimal conditions.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, February 9, 2009

Due to the postponement of surgery, there has been little change in Tommy's condition today but be assured that Tommy is continuing to amaze and bless us with his incredibly positive spirit. Despite difficulty talking due to a breathing tube, (which he is very anxious to have removed) Tommy continues to communicate his desire for everyone to smile. Knowing Tommy, this will not surprise you!

One of Tommy's doctors requested high top tennis shoes for Tommy to wear in order to keep his feet in good position. In an attempt to return the joy Tommy is so readily giving out, the Shermans went out and bought bright red converse high tops which friends then signed with scripture and love notes. We feel sure this will bring a smile to his face and heart!

Prayer: 1)Praise God for Tommy's incredible attitude and strength 2)Praise God for the friends that are bringing joy and comfort 3)Praise God for His trustworthiness and goodness 4)Praise God for His hand at work in taking care of every detail on Tommy's road to healing

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

on behalf of Robyn...

There are no words to express the gratitude and love Robyn feels towards each one of you. Every prayer, card, email, blog comment, meal and kind deed has been a tremendous blessing. She desires with all her heart to thank each of you personally. All her love to you.

Email Tommy & Robyn at Hospital

Below is a link to Washington Regional Medical Center's "patient email" service. I understand that they print emails daily for patients if you prefer to send them an email as an alternative to posting a comment on the blog.

Link to Washington Regional email below:

Meals for the VanZandt Family

Debra Broyles has volunteered to coordinate meals for the VanZandt family. If you would like to sign up to prepare dinner for the family, please email Debra at

Surgery Postponed

Tommy's surgery that was scheduled this morning (2/9) has been postponed for at least 24 hours (could be longer). When the doctors did the blood work analysis this morning, the conditions were not optimal for surgery (his blood was thinner than optimal). As such, they have delayed the surgery until conditions are optimal. At this point, there is no definitive date/time for the surgery.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Original post from the day after the accident

As most of you know, on Saturday Feb 7th, Tommy VanZandt fell from a ladder while trimming trees in their backyard. Tommy sustained considerable damage to his neck and spinal cord. Tommy never lost consciousness and his breathing has been stable which is a great blessing. Praise God there was no damage to Tommy's brain! Yesterday, the doctors stabilized his neck and back with halo traction equipment. This morning an MRI confirmed severe bruising to the spinal cord. The result of this damage at the current time is paralysis below the shoulders.

Your overwhelming prayers are sustaining his family and friends. Your prayers are increasing the hope of recovery.

Tomorrow (Monday, Feb 9th) morning, Tommy will go in for surgery at 7:30am to permanently stabilize his neck. This will be a 6-7 hours surgery

Following this current treatment, Tommy will most likely be taken to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas for rehabilitation.

Above all, please pray for:

(1) Blood flow to return to the spinal cord and spinal cord healing
(2) No complications during and after surgery
(3) Wisdom for Dr. Knox (his surgeon)
(4) Peace and comfort for the family
(5) God's miraculous hand to be at work

For the next two weeks, meals are being provided by the VanZandt's supper club. As we near the end of this two week period, we will reanalyze the need for meals and let those who would like to help know what is needed. (email Debra Broyles if you are interested in preparing meals at