I ended up using a workaround. Using Xpath I selected one of the node's children as so.
Of course IE didn't follow the standard and uses 0 as the index. However, I am to the point where I don't care what IE does.
I can pass the variable through the GET and then after the transformation I pluck a particular value that was created from the database.
I would still like some insight from others on how they pass variables between their controller and xsl stylesheets.....