3 S.R. Johannes: Sunny Sunday - A dash of hope

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunny Sunday - A dash of hope

Another kickoff into Monday's Perk Project! (check out Suzanne Young's blog and Robin Mellom's blog for more perky posts tomorrow!)

Today my thoughts are on healing, hope and thanks.

Even now, at 5:00 am, I am thinking of healing.

As most of you know, I have had vertigo for the last several months. Though I am getting better, I am still not me. But feeling my body heal from whatever caused it is such a relief.

I never thought about my body until these last few months. Except for the time I was Prego. Oh yeah - and then of course - as I have symptoms of the Post-Prego body blues. But I never thought about everything my body did and how much I took it for granted.

We can't trade in our bodies like an old pair of jeans, or a leased car, or a new computer. For us, there is no replacement. We also don't realize that doctors cannot fix everything. They do their best to treat symptoms, but sometimes they never really get to the problem. They can only do so much. I never knew that.

What's worse - is that sometimes they don't have the solution. Or don't know the right one for you.

Sometimes we have to find it ourselves from the inside out. We have to pray. We have to hope for something more. Hope for healing.

Now this post is not even really about me - though I can relate with the feelings of hope and healing.

This post is for my hubby.

20 years old, my husband had a back injury in a rugby game that never really healed. When I first met him 9 years ago, he had back problems but was still able to climb, swim, and fly-fish. He was also in little amounts of pain at times. Chronic pain. Pain that never fully went away.

During the time my daughter was a baby, my hubby's back worsened. I don't know if it was age or if picking up my daughter aggravated the injury. Or if his back just gave up.

Whatever it was , he was hurting. So of course, we all were hurting for him.

About 2 years ago, his back got so bad, he could not feel his left leg anymore. He gave up climbing, he gave up flyfishing. He could not even play with our daughter. The minute he got home, he laid down. At 36, he was unable to do anything he loved. His back "went out" several times, leaving us sad, frustrated and scared. He was in and out of Emory's Spinal Clinic and after many consultations and MRIs, he was told his only option was a spinal fusion which is only about 60-70% effective. Yes, it shocked me too. Some people actually go through the surgery and still are not better. Still are not healed.

My hubby didn't think the spinal fusion was the right answer for him. Even though it MIGHT work, he wanted something more and he deserved it. So he made a choice to continue suffering. For another 6 months he suffered. He tried not to complain, but I could see it in his face at times. he tried to help around the house, but it was hard for him. he tried to participate in activities, but it always hurt. He became a master at living with pain. He started researching online and applied to FDA studies but with no assurance of lessened pain. Then, one day, he found a surgery in Germany with a 95% effective rate. He sent his films over and he was approved as a "double-disk replacement" candidate. (Yes he speaks German :)

Great right?

Wrong. The surgery cost $50,000 and of course, our insurance would not cover it. Even though it was cheaper than a spinal fusion. ( my issues with the monetary goals of our health care system are a whole other blog)

Well obviously, we didn't have that spare change lying around so he opted to wait, hoping the FDA would approve something more, something better. So he waited some more.

And of course, his pain got even worse.

Until one day, I walked in and found him broken down, crying. Something I'd never seen before, He was in so much pain and at the end of his rope.

It broke my heart.

To make a long story short, we cashed in our investments and booked him into the program immediately. It was scheduled within just a few weeks. Our thought?What good is money down the road if you are incapacitated? All you need is love and health. Unfortunately at the time, my son was barely 6 months old and was also having a hard health time in addition to some childcare logistical issues.

Because the process was 6 weeks.

So at the last minute, we made a decision for me to stay here with the kids and have his mother fly from Wales to b with him.

For 6 long weeks.

And we all suffered.

I had to be here alone, taking care of 2 kids, one who was very sick. Most importantly, I could not be with and support my hubby during his scary, yet exciting/hopeful time.

My daughter had to be without her daddy.

But of course, my hubby had it worse. He had to go through this life-changing event without me, without his family by his side. He had to endure major back surgery where they went in through his abdomen, sever muscles, stretch his spine, remove two disks, and insert prosthetic ones. (he came about 2 inches taller!)

The process and the recovery has been a long one.

But today, it all paid off.

Because my hubby got up at 5am to run in his first marathon. 15 miles. Painfree.

So today I am so thankful.

Thankful we had the financial means - though we are still recovering today - to give my hubby his life back, to give our kids their dad, and to give him his passions back. Thankful to all the doctors who took care of him and gave him hope. Thankful to our friends & families in supporting us during the difficult time. Thankful to our kids for being patient and without their dad for that long. Thankful to his work for giving him the leave time and reassurance his job would be here when he got back. Thankful to all medical miracles that went in to creating this option for him to be whole again.

Most importantly, I am thankful that my hubby fought to get his life back. The life he deserves. The life he dreamed of. Thankful he pushed through the impossibly times and stayed hopeful.

He never gave up. But more importantly, he never gave in.

He persevered.

And I love him even more for it.

So here's to healing yourself, staying hopeful, and giving thanks for what you have.

Because it is all so precious and fragile.


C.R. Evers said...

Wow! What an inspirational story! One that I needed to hear. Thnx for sharing.

I hope you'll be feeling better soon! (((hugs)))


Kimbra Kasch said...

Great story - thanks for sharing it.

Stephanie J. Blake said...

This is a great post! Congrats to hubby for running a marathon!

Anonymous said...

Wow, sharing this very moving story. I kinda have a lump in my throat now. Congrats for staying strong thru difficult times and congrats to your hubby for never giving up. what a great story!

Tabitha said...

Wow, what a great story! I'm so happy for you and your husband. And you're so right - what good is money if you can't enjoy the basics in life? So glad he's feeling better. Hope you are too.

Adrienne said...

That's a very inspirational story. Thanks! Hope you feel yourself again, too.

Heidi Willis said...

Wow! Just - Wow!

Suzanne Young said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's a beautiful story. :-)

Christy Raedeke said...

Amazing and powerful story, Shelli! I am so happy your husband is out of pain and you have an equal partner back. You guys have had enough drama for a Lifetime movie! Hopefully the next few decades are smooth sailing.

holly cupala said...

That's a powerful story about your husband - and you. I have fibromyalgia, and I know how much it stinks to live with chronic illness and never know quite how you're going to feel! I'm encouraged by your hopefulness, m'dear!

Unknown said...

I am full of tears! I knew most of this story but hearing that he just ran a marathon just put me over the edge.


Jessie Oliveros said...

I'm so glad your husband has his life back. What a difficult time. You are right. Our bodies are the only bodies that we have.

Irene Latham said...

Shelli - so happy you and your hubby are on the other side of what sounds like a very trying time. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Carrie Harris said...

15 miles!?! Wow! He (and you) are both inspirational people... I'm not wearing a hat right now, but if I was, I would definitely take it off to you. :)

Mary Uhles said...

oh my goodness... what a story. I'm so glad it has a happy ending for your husband and your family. hope you stay on the mend too.

Robyn Campbell said...

What an uplifting story. My son was born twenty three years ago with a rare brain disorder, Shelli. So I know about prayer and uplifting stories. Thanks for telling yours. :)

King of my Throne said...

This is wonderful! Wow and he is running in a half marathon? Never heard of it. That is great!!!
Also never have heard of this surgery before. Have a brother in law that has had disk removed and the spinal fussion. He has had the surgery twice. UGH! I don't think they (the traditional surgery)worked.

AlistairWells said...

NONE of this would have been possible without the beauty and strength of my dearest wife! Thanks sweetheart

Dorothy said...

What a wonderful story. You were right about the money, it doesn't matter how much you have if you don't enjoy living. And when you have love and health, you don't care if you have less than the neighbors. Been there.

Thank you for sharing your husband's experience in such detail.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great story. The strength of your whole family is such an inspiration.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Ah hubby thanks for commenting - but you are NOT in the contest! :)