Thanks for all of your prayers. We need them.
We got back from the neurologist a little bit ago. It's confirmed that Molly has Chiari I Malformation. Surgery is not only a must, but the neurologist also encouraged a sense of urgency. If it isn't taken care of soon there can well be more permanent damage done to her body.
Basically the lower back of her brain, the cerebellum, is pressing into her spinal column and putting pressure on her brain stem. Note in the Molly's MRI film on the right (click it for a larger version) the dashed line "T." That is the bottom of the cerebellum part of the brain where it shouldn't be. It's causing her both physical problems (limbs going numb, significant back and neck pain, balance issues, dizziness, etc) as well as some problems with her thinking. She is struggling to track well in some of her conversations and has difficulty coming up with the right words to say.
First thing tomorrow morning we are going to speak with a neurosurgeon at the University of Chicago. He is gone for the day or we would contact him today. U of C is well recognized for this kind of surgery and comes highly recommended by Molly's neurologist. We considered the Mayo Clinic, but with four kids it's difficult to go farther away (they likely will stay here in Woodstock with friends).
As we understand it, this surgery should really help to straighten things out. Many recover from most of their pain and difficulties. The hospital stay should be 3-4 days.
You would be right to guess we are concerned and a bit stressed over all this. Molly is doing pretty well knowing surgery is coming, but I have to admit I'm starting to freak out a little bit. We know God is in control and that we can trust Him with all our circumstances. And I do feel all will turn out just fine in the end. But I'm really starting to feel the weight of what's coming. The next few months are going to be very stressful.
I love my wife so much. As difficult as this will be for her, and for us, in many ways I'm looking forward to caring for her. Please pray that we will get this surgery in the works asap. And thanks again for all your prayers. I will post any updates when I am able.