Friday, January 17, 2014

January15, 2014 A day that came and went

January 15 2013

We woke up in a hotel room that smelled a little funny after spending most of the night tossing and turning, and sleeping extra close to one another. 

We woke up early, Check in was early, Surgery was early, everything was early

Most days I feel the weight of growing older, that morning I felt too young. Too young to have a husband having surgery to remove cancer from his skull, too young to walk him through recovery, too young to ponder what the next year of our lives would look like.

I hoped and prayed, we hoped and prayed, our families and friends hoped and prayed.

It was by far the longest day of my life.

A best friend surprised me, taking a day off of work to spend her hours supporting me.

Saying goodbye to him as they took him back wrecked my heart.  How does one express the fear that comes from watching strangers take the man who is your heart away, knowing that he will never be the same?

Our parents, his siblings, and friends joined me as we waited, and waited, and waited. We watched the clocks and a status board. Technology at its best and worst still doesn't make the anxiety easier.  

Wishing I was hungry.
Wishing I hadn't eaten. 
Lots of comfort snacks and hugs. 
The minutes kept ticking past.

I suck at waiting.

One of his doctors appears. An iPhone appears. Pictures appear. Ryan on an operating table, his head, the hole, it’s huge! Is that his brain???  In those moments the enormity of the situation strikes completely. He will never be the same.  I can feel my soul breaking. He will never be the same.  I crumble and retreat into myself.

I am supported by loved ones who allow me the space and quiet to absorb the truth of what’s happening, and still offer shoulders for support and touches of hope.

In all of those moments my God showed up. As I contemplated my fears and hopes for the future he showed up. My Lord rested patiently in the depths of my heart and waited for me to break. And in the moments when I could not take any more; any more worry, any more waiting, any more frustration, he called to me quietly.  I saw him in the faces of my loved ones, in the comfort of a Butterfly pillow, in the words of my husband on a card that came with flowers he had delivered while he was in surgery. My God showed up!

As we waited, more doctors appeared. The surgery was finished, everything went well, he was resting, and at their guidance we should too. We had a long road ahead of us.Tears, Tears, and more tears.  Thankful Tears, Hopeful Tears, Tears of Love. Tears of Fear not knowing what would come next.

We had a bit of a celebratory meal; pancakes seemed to be the thing to soothe my weary heart and stomach.  A phone call letting us know that he was heading to his room from recovery earlier than we had planned induced a bit of chaos. I had a need to see him, I felt like every red light was an act of war against my heart.

We arrived just as he was wheeled across the hallway to the ICU from recovery. His eyes were barely open. His body was badly wounded. The surgery site was very visible and more than I could endure. I remember wanting to run away, to hide, I knew that he would hate me for pressuring him to start the journey, because this was not how either of us had anticipated it ending. He would never be the same.

If I’m being completely honest the story of that day really ends here, mainly because everything after seeing him in that moment becomes a blur. I know that there were friends and family who visited. I know that he was in and out for most of the night.

I can remember the first time he squeezed my hand that night. And the first time his eyes actually focused on mine. I can remember praying that he would sleep the best sleep of his life, because the next day and the moments of reality that would follow would be some of his worst.

And then I remember moments and thoughts of grace and compassion with my Lord. Ryan was alive. The surgery was successful. He would recover and move forward. Our prayers were answered. This was just going to be a season in our lives, and although he would never be the same, he was with me and we would continue our journey together. God was so Faithful!

As we reached the anniversary of Ryan’s surgery this year, it almost flew by without notice.  The past few months have been more normal than the first few months after the surgery. 

The road of recovery has been hard. The shock of the wound left on his head and skull was nothing compared to the shock that came from the wound where the vascular graft was removed from his arm. Those silly doctors thought I would be able to pack and dress that wound. Which in the end I was capable of doing, once the queasiness and fear of hurting him went away. 

 There is so much I can say about the last 12 months. So much has changed, but my sweet husband lives and continues to thrive. He has changed. He is not the same man that was rolled away to the operating room. We still have dark days and moments of vulnerability that come with this human existence. There are struggles and emotional pain, as well as physical discomfort and tweaks. However, there are also moments when I see a very different version of Ryan emerging. One who is more mature, who lives and loves wholeheartedly, understands hope, and one who connects with his faith and our Lord on a very different level than ever before.

We celebrate this Anniversary. We celebrate Ryan’s clean bill of health and our dreams for tomorrow. We are so very thankful to our Precious Families and Friends who stood and stand by us. We celebrate the blessings of a Loving God.

With mixed feelings, I am thankful that January 15, 2014 flew by without much hoopla. It is proof that we are in a new season of our lives, and I find great comfort and rest in that.

My God is Good, My Lord is Faithful, My Jesus loves my Husband!

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