Sunday, January 10, 2016
Have Faith and Be Positive
"We all struggle with health problems occasionally- others do so constantly. Illness and disease are part of the burden of mortality. Have faith and be positive. The power of the priesthood is real, and there is so much that is good in life, even if we struggle physically. It is ajoy to know that there will be no injury or disease in the resurrection" - Howard W, Hunter Family Update: It has been a week of trials and blessings. I am so grateful for the tender mercies and miracle my family has received in spite of all the madness. Over the past couple weeks my husband had been experiencing back pain, which with his spine history is not uncommon. On Wednesday and Thursday, he felt it worsening, so he took Thursday off from work to try to rest and go to the doctor. He went to a family physician to see if he should go and see a spine specialist. He was given a couple prescriptions. When he went to pick up the prescriptions he had to stand in line a long time to pick it up, which further aggravated he back. He got home and tried to rest. That evening, needing comfort, he called his parents from my son's room, because the main living area was noisy. When he went to stand up, he found he could not get up. He was stuck, kneeling on the floor. I tried to help him up, but he was in too much pain to lift himself and I was unable to lift him. We called the missionaries from out church and they came over and gave him a blessing and were able to get him into a lying position on our son’s bed. My husband really couldn’t move himself and was in searing pain. I called an ambulance. They arrived quickly and were able to get him to the hospital. My children of course were jumping all over the place with all the commotion and were not going to go lay down and go to bed with everything. I called and texted my youngest sister, who happened to be having a business party nearby. I also called my sister Rachel and her husband. Her husband immediately began the journey across Omaha so I could be with my husband, possibly all night. My sister Emily arrived and I took off, while she waited for Nate to arrive so she could go home to her young baby. I got to the hospital and was a bit frazzled and wasn’t sure where to park, but there was a security guard driving around who immediately directed me where to go. It was a long night, filled with lots of pain, an inconclusive x-ray, admittance to the hospital, and lots of medicine induced nausea. The next morning (Friday)my husband’s pain was being managed well, so I left to go back to my children. My brother-in-law had made breakfast and helped get my son ready to school, and even though I had failed to complete the laundry with the majority of my son’s pants, they had managed to find something. Nate took Tristen to school and I got the girls ready for the day, showered, and fed them. Then my sister Rachel came over for the day, so I could go back to Anthony. He had just had an MRI and so we just had to wait for the results. Finally the surgeon called and said that the MRI showed a herniated disc in his L5S1 (Lower spine). Since my husband had already had a surgery there, it was going to complicate things, so the doctor ordered another MRI with contrast. More waiting… I cancelled my doctor’s appointment with my OBGYN (I am 5 months pregnant, it was just a routine checkup). Finally, I left and went back home, where my girls were having great time with their wonderful aunt and cousin. I took the girls and we went to pick up their brother from school. We were so blessed to come home to delicious white chili that my sister had left in the crockpot. Another sister offered to watch my children overnight so I could stay at the hospital, but I decided to just take them to visit daddy and then come home. At this point his pain and nausea were down significantly, so I felt that it would be ok for them to see that daddy was ok. One of Anthony’s brothers from North Carolina had sent a basket of candy to cheer him up and of course, it was a huge hit with our children. They enjoyed themselves as best as young children can in a hospital, giving daddy kisses, climbing on the couch, and going to the family gathering room to see the exotic fishes. We went home and went to bed. The next day (Saturday) we got up. The children had an impromptu princess party before breakfast, then they ate, got dressed, and we went to help clean the church. After that I was anxious to see how my husband was doing. It had been a sad and lonely night for him. He had been able to meet with the surgeon and was feeling more confident. As suspected, the herniated disc was putting significant pressure on the nerve, which was why Anthony was unable to feel his toes very well and why he was having the pain and spasms. I was still very apprehensive about both the surgeon and the surgery. I had gone through surgery with my husband 4 years ago and knew that surgeries lead to more surgery and was wanting to avoid that. Unfortunately, at this point, this was the best option to save any feeling in my husband’s leg (which is still not guaranteed to come back). After leaving with the children, I was still feeling unsettled. I took the kids home, warmed up some leftovers for lunch, and then tried to do our Saturday chores. My children worked hard to help, knowing that Nana was coming and it was her birthday, and I told them if we got everything cleaned up in time, we could blow up balloons and put up some streamers. They enjoyed making a birthday sign using a picture Nala had drawn and putting up a few streamers. Then my mom came with pizza, and lots of food (which was a huge blessing as I had not gone shopping this weekend). It was such a tender mercy because my son had really wanted to have a pizza party for his nana’s birthday and our budgeted “eating out” and “food” money was gone. (With the giant cloud of medical bills over our heads, these things are such a blessing.) (We had also been blessed by a friend giving us dry food earlier that week). Rachel, Nate, and Zeke came over and we had a nice time. After the “party” (during which the birthday girl cleaned and stocked my fridge), my mom, my brother John Carlos, the kids, and I went to visit my husband. We had a nice visit (and the kids got to pick a candy) and then I stayed the night, and my mom and brother took the kids home. The next morning (this is now Sunday morning), Dr. Longley’s (the surgeon who did my husband’s last surgery) P.A. Pat woke us when he came in to check on my husband. He was able to reassure me about the necessity of doing the surgery now. After Anthony had breakfast (and shared with me), I went home to get ready for church. At church, not only were there beautiful messages about hope, the love of God, and quotes specifically comforting to me; but multiple people came up to me, asking how we were doing, offering kind words, offering to pray for us, and asking if and when they could bring meals. What a blessing to be among people who are so kind and supportive as we face this difficult time. My children were also so calm and quiet during the sacrament meeting, allowing me a stress free time to reflect and listen to the messages spoken. After church my mother and daughter made my mom’s famous lasagna together (a family favorite while I was growing up), and then my mom told my children a funny adventure story (the kind she used to tell me as a child) while it was baking. It was nice to see those beautiful memories being made. After dinner, we went up to see Anthony. He had been blessed to have received a priesthood blessing and had the sacrament brought to him. The children enjoyed the fish (and noticed one they hadn’t seen before), and enjoyed being with their daddy. I chose to stay so I would know when the surgery was going to be performed. Later that night the night nurse told us that the surgery was scheduled for 4pm on Monday. Anthony ate his last meal (a peanut butter and jelly sandwich), got his IV, we prayed together, and now we are going to bed. Tomorrow will change things for us for the next 6 weeks, but we feel so blessed to have each other, and a beautiful system of support from our friends, family, and ward (church congregation) members.