Tender Mercies

Dad is finally out of his hospital! It is amazing to me that he was having brain surgery on Tuesday morning and by Friday morning he is checking out. A little update on how these last couple days went.

He lost more function in his left side than we thought. He couldn’t open his hand or squeeze and if you touch his leg while he isn’t looking he has no idea. He has been working with physical therapy to retrain his brain and is coming a long way. Doctors aren’t worried though because they are confident that all function will come back. It seemed that every nurse or Dr that would come in would comment several times about how fast he was recovering and how surprised they were. Except I was not surprised. If they know how many thousands of prayers were said in his behalf they would understand.

I was able to go to the hospital this morning and help mom get him all packed and dressed. It was good for me to help him put clothes on and tie his shoes. I needed to serve him as this whole time I have felt helpless. We got everything loaded and brought the car around to pick him up. I helped him to the front seat and hugged him goodbye. The last time I hugged him I was scared to death and worried about his future. This time was very different. I’m still nervous and worried about him, but not so much that his time on earth is limited. The Lord has reassured me several time that it will be okay and I truly believe that it will. There have been several other family members that have said that very thing.

He was anxious to get home today but I also think he’s frustrated. He requires help with almost everything and when you are as independent as him I’m sure its annoying. He gets dizzy when walking so he needs someone to lean on, and he can’t necessarily feel with his hand to get himself dressed in the morning. I have no doubt that he will be dressing himself soon but I hope it comes back quickly.

The Doctors put together a treatment plan for him finally. In a month, after he has had more time to recover, he will start chemo and radiation. Chemo will be in pill form so hopefully it wont be so hard on his body. This will go on for 6 weeks and hopefully it will be done. This could very well be behind us in 3 months or so! He isn’t happy about six weeks of chemo but I had to remind him that some people have chemo for years at a time and that I was grateful for such a small amount. Not convinced that he appreciated that info but I told him anyway!

As for me, I’m doing fine. I’m torn between wanting to be home with him 24/7 and knowing that it’s good for me to have a break. I want to be there to hand him anything he might need but I also need to get back to work. I’ve noticed that emotionally I am turned off. I got a haircut this morning and the cute lady was just chatting away like she normally does and it was exhausting to me! I fought the urge to ask her if we could sit in silence because that would be both easier and better for my brain. In the middle of a conversation I feel like I have to talk to myself. “Okay smile now. Not like that, that’s a fake smile, show some teeth. She asked you a question, answer. She’s laughing, giggle with her.” Looking at myself in the mirror, I could almost see the emptiness and exhaustion in my eyes. I feel like I could stare at an bare wall for days and just process. I think after a week of terrible sleep, crying and worrying, my body is in autopilot and I’m just a body with eyes that look right through everything. I really do feel like when I look at someone, I have to make my eyes focus and my brain turn on.  Because if I don’t, I look right through you. If I feel like this, I cannot even begin to imagine how my mom feels. She doesn’t even get a break. She’s there 24/7. She needs just as many prayers as he does.

Its hard for me to swallow that he has cancer. It is weird even seeing that written down. I have moments when I get angry, and I have moments when I know there is a reason and a plan and someday we will understand. Maybe our family needed this trial to be reminded of whats important. There has been several occasions this week when I have been reminded of something I wanted, or something I was worried about and I have just brushed it to the side. It literally does not matter. It doesn’t matter that your stomach sticks out a little more than you’d like, or that your house isn’t as nice as your friends. It doesn’t matter that the new high school graduate has a nicer car and designer jeans. You can’t take that stuff with you, but the one thing we can have forever is family.

I have a family reunion coming up with Justins side of the family starting Thursday. I have been dreading it since I scheduled it. Yes, I’ve been in charge of this one. Talk about stress. I get worn out after these reunions. Its always nice to get a vacation. But this is the type of vacation that requires another vacation afterwards! The craziness this week has made me a little more thankful for his family also. I may struggle at times but they are still family and they’ve never treated me badly. Sometimes I just struggle with how different his family is from mine and I need to be more patient. I appreciate the fact that Justin is different so I can appreciate them too right?

Its been a long week and I feel like the days are all morphing together into one long day. But as this week comes to an end I am thankful for the blessings we have received. I am so thankful that my dad had a few small warning symptoms to give him time to get help before it was too late. I’m also beyond grateful for good Doctors who worked hard all those years of school to be able to stand in the operating room and save his life. I’m thankful for the amazing community I was raised in and the hundreds of people that prayed for him and my family. I had several friends and family members check on me daily and its so reassuring in a time like that to know how many people care. I’m grateful that my mom is as strong as she is. She struggled, and she hurt, but her faith never wavered. Such an example of a disciple of Christ. Thank you to everyone who called, sent texts and asked Heavenly Father to give us strength. Those prayers were felt all week. The mere fact that he is already home after having brain surgery just 3 days ago is proof that they were not only felt, but answered.


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