Programming Alert: Kate Dang has stolen this blog post!!
“Hello Boys! I’m baa-aack”! I can’t but help but think about that scene from Independence Day as I sit here next to Steve in the hospital. It literally feels like a bad case of deja-vu sitting here going through this for the second time. In the last 48hrs things changed pretty quickly.
On Monday at lunch Steve ate really well and I thought that we were out of the proverbial woods. About 30 minutes later Steve started to have some pain and decided to just chill on the couch and take a nap for the rest of the afternoon. I had still taken Evangeline to daycare so we could just keep her routine normal, so I actually was able to clean the whole house that afternoon. From then on every time Steve tried to eat something he felt progressively worse and I decided to write an e-mail to his surgeon to set up an appointment for the next day. Fast forward another 2 hours and it has become obvious that we are not making it through the night and I gave his surgeon a call (He gave us his personal phone number). He immediately told us to come back in and he called Stanford to arrange for us to be directly admitted to the hospital.
When we got here they had everything waiting for us got Steve comfortable and prepped for the OR. This was at about midnight so they procured for me the world’s most comfortable recliner (sarcasm) and we tried to get a little bit of sleep. The next morning was just a waiting game, first to find a free spot on the operating schedule (9:30am, pretty quick!) and then waiting for the surgery to complete.
This time waiting for the surgery to finish was a very different experience for me. With the last surgery we were so confident in our decision that this is what God had provided and this is what needed to be done that we both didn’t think twice about it. This time there was so much uncertainty as to what was wrong that it made even waiting for Steve’s surgery to finish a little bit more nerve racking. About 2 and 1/2 hours later his surgeon came out and let me know what they had found.
Here is the technical part, Steve was born with something called Meckel’s Diverticulum. What this means to normal people is that he was basically born with an extra little pouch or an extra appendix. At some point in the last 6 months this piece got infected. Most likely from a piece of food that got trapped inside it. When it got infected though it did something a little funny and what happened is it attached itself to the top of Steve’s abdominal wall, then slowly but surely over time his bowel started to wrap around it. Every time he ate, his bowels would try to move the food inside of his intestine through the pipe which would wrap around the Diverticulum until finally it just became blocked (think like a barber pole). This explains both the odd spiral and the bowel obstruction that they saw on the ct scan.This was an easy fix, first they removed the piece that was infected and unwrapped his bowel and then reattached the good ends. This hopefully explains the weird pains that he has been having since surgery that no one could explain for so long.
This time through, surgery has been so different for a lot of different reasons. 1. We were not prepared! Last time we had months to plan for surgery, do the food tour, both of us take time off work, prepare for Evangeline and her needs over the next few months and lastly just mentally to go through this juggernaut that is being in the hospital. 2. We were planning this last weekend to run our triathlon and this next week to go to Pismo for a day to ride ATV’s with our good friends the Yoder’s. (If the Yoder family reads please know that we fully expect to be taken out on the ATV’s on a different weekend!) We had the college tour coming up with our high school students and Evangeline’s first trip to Disneyland. This fall was so full with life really return back to normal for us on so many levels and it is a little odd mentally to be thinking that we are starting all over again.
This entire process has been all about trust for us. We have been thinking about how to put trust in God despite the uncertainty of what is happening in this moment. I love what Jesus said about this in Mathew 6. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.” I have really meditated on this verse for about a week now. In my current situation it is really vivid when I hear these words. Worry will not extend Steve’s life, plain and simple. He is in God’s hands just like he has been since the day he was formed is his mother’s womb and I have to trust God that his plan for Steve and his life is a good plan, a plan that will bring God glory.
The other image that I keep seeing in my mind comes from the Old Testament. It is of God leading the Israelites out of Egypt. I keep seeing this image of the pillar of fire leading the Israelites out into the desert. If you read on a little further we see that when they get to the Red Sea they immediately become upset with Moses and say “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?” I feel like this moment has been a little bit like running into the Red Sea for us. Just like the Isrealites, we thought, “Wow! We are finally on our way out of this situation that has been so hard” and you turn the corner and come smack up against starting all over again. I think the reason the pillar of fire image has stayed with me so vividly is because I want to decide in this moment, to confront the Red Sea and know that God is with us, He led us here, and will lead us out.
Going through waiting for surgery yesterday and speaking with surgeon makes me feel like we have crossed over and are headed to the Promised Land. Just as the Israelites found, this journey isn’t easy, but it does mean that I can put my faith and trust in the one true God who has brought us out of Egypt and I will continue to do so. Thank you all so much for you love and support. Steve will take the blog back over when he is feeling better.