Family, THE BRAINY BUNCH

One Year of Healing

It was August 15 of last year when King had a herniated or slipped disc. He was hospitalized for 10 long days, the first 3 of which he could not stand or walk. The proxy orthopedic surgeon was honest with us about our options that physical therapy might help King, but his case already called for surgery. Aside from the disc being slipped and protruding, causing it and making it prone to hit a nerve, we were told that it was deteriorated. This meant therapy would help King’s spine cope, but it will not reverse the effects. Only through surgery, removing and replacing the disc with a titanium cage, was it going to get better.

I remember it clearly. The day he was brought back to the room from an MRI was the first time my kids and I saw King cry out in pain. The nurses were somehow not in sync as they tried to move King from the gurney to his bed. Danae cried for her dad. I couldn’t. My heart was heavy and my eyes were welling up, but I could not let the tears flow. I had to be strong for her and for King. (Noelle was 2, and not as empathic as Danae 🙂 )

I think I was scared then, but it was such a mixture of emotions that maybe I didn’t want to dwell too much on the awful possibilities. I was too busy taking care of everybody anyway. There was too much to do.

photo credit: Thine Mojica

We were so pleased when King started making progress by the 3rd day, wherein he slowly sat up. By the 4th day, he was able to sit up and walk ever so slowly. We were already leaning towards forgetting about surgery, because therapy was working really well for us.

On the 8th day, our orthopedic surgeon (not the proxy) came by to check on King. Without establishing a relationship with his patient first since he was out of town during our first week, he casually told King that he had no other option but surgery. When I excitedly said that King was already walking, he told me that “walking is easy. It’s going back to the normal things that’s going to be a problem.”

I was stunned. We had already gone from sadness at the thought of King no longer being able to do sports or carry his daughters, to being in faith, excited for God’s miracle. He was like the Grim Reaper, spreading hopelessness and despair. Or the likes of a Dr. Gloom, bringing clouds of darkness in our bright, happy room. I was just stunned. I barely said another word after that, but we told him that we were sticking with therapy. No to surgery.

photo credit: Jo Tomas

Today the 25th of August, marks the anniversary of King’s exit from the hospital. And I am so happy to tell you that he has been doing great! We continued a few weeks of therapy after we went home, but that was it. By October last year, we traveled out of town, which obviously required some lifting and a lot of walking. By December last year, he danced with the pastors on stage. By February this year, we traveled out of town again. By summer, he started running, playing basketball, and dancing with the Xbox. By June, he was also able to play badminton. By July, we traveled out of town and he hiked up a steep hill.

It’s been a year of King going back to the normal things he does, albeit more careful than before.

It’s been a year of no surgery, no additional therapy, and no recurrences.

It has been a year of healing, a year of God’s faithfulness in our lives.

 
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

 

 

Please do read past posts about King’s slipped disc:

HOMEBOUND

SMALL FAVORS & TINY MIRACLES

In His Shoes

God of Miracles

Family

SMALL FAVORS & TINY MIRACLES

That Monday, August 15, began as usual, although King had been complaining of lower back pain for a few days. Danae and I were even discussing where we wanted to go since it was (and is for every week) King’s only day off. After breakfast, he bent down to plug in the electric fan in the kitchen and could no longer straighten up completely. I was in the room then and just noticed him inching his way, holding his back and stomach in pain. I didn’t realize it was THAT painful until he laid down on the couch and said he couldn’t move anymore. It was too painful. I asked him straight away if he wanted to be brought to the ER (although my mind was racing, not knowing how on earth I was going to do that). He declined. We didn’t know what it was either, so decided to observe first. I didn’t text anybody, but because I saw my mother-in-law and my friend Michelle online, I decided to ask for their prayers. Immediately both suggested to go to the doctor and both offered to help out. I wasn’t panicked yet at that point because King didn’t want to go to the doctor yet, insisting it was just a really bad muscle pain, but at least I had people available to take the kids in case we needed to go. 1 Advil and 1 Ponstan later, he was able to walk with crutches to the car. Yeng and Michelle Remulla came to get the kids, and the in-laws were on their way to meet us at the hospital. With our situation — no helper, no yaya — that was some favor!

We drove up to the ER around 6pm. I asked if there was a valet because I didn’t want to leave King and drive all the way to the underground parking lot (the nearby one is under construction). The guard told me the valet service was closed for the day already, but after a few minutes, he told me that a valet staff was on his way to help me out. He parked the car for me, got my ticket, and came back to give the key and ticket back to me. I was so thankful!

The ER doctor found no abnormalities in King’s x-ray and so deemed that we were okay to be discharged even though the pain was still there. He assumed that it was just a severe muscle strain. But somehow we ended up with the decision to be admitted, and when we were turned over to our assigned Orthopedic doctor, that doctor immediately ordered for an MRI. If not for that MRI, we wouldn’t know what we’re dealing with. So even though that doctor was that guy (check previous blog), he did one good thing.

The insurance liaison came and told us that the room we wanted, the cheapest private room, was not available because they were fully booked. We had to occupy the more expensive one, BUT at the price of the cheapest one. Like a hotel upgrade! Our room was huge. Beds were uncomfortable (for me, that is) but the space was good for the kids.

And like I said in my previous blog, there was no shortage of kindness or generosity from our families and friends. My mom took Danae to and from school. She and my brother would bring clothes & food for us. I got a few hours off from the girls one night, care of Michelle. My in-laws (King’s parents, sister, nieces, brother, etc) took care of the girls for 3 nights — a first for us, but we were confident that they were in good hands. Our visitors not only asked us what we needed, they brought what we needed and more — food, groceries, supplies, prayers and encouraging words.

King with Paolo the PT

We certainly did not run out of things to be grateful for. I am most grateful for the God that we love and serve, the God who is all-knowing and all-powerful, yet is loving, kind, and good. We were told that if there was no progress in therapy, surgery would be the only option. But He is, for now, HEALING KING THROUGH THERAPY and there seems to be NO IMMEDIATE NEED for him to undergo surgery — for his deteriorated and protruding (slipped) disc to be removed, and then replaced with a titanium cage. Serious as it is, because the disc is impinging a nerve and anything can cause another episode, we have been seeing God move in how King is progressing. On the first day of his therapy, which was twice a day, he could barely even raise up his leg while lying down. There was no way he could push himself to move more without any pain. But on the third day, he sat up! (3rd days are really powerful!) By the fourth day, he stood up….and walked!!! By the sixth day, they already had him on a bike! The hospital’s physical therapists are awesome, by the way. They are friendly, kind, and always encouraging.

First Rehab as Out-Patient

It’s been 12 days since King’s diagnosis and the start of his therapy –17 therapy sessions in total so far, 5 more to go before the Rehab doctor checks him again. Though he isn’t back to normal and cannot go back to work yet, he’s doing great! And though the doctors have said that sadly, he cannot go back to sports anymore or even carry his kids, we are believing for complete healing, whether through therapy only or surgery.

King doing the big march.

We are grateful for the small favors and tiny miracles that we’re being given. I say small and tiny not to diminish God’s strength and power, but to acknowledge that He works in many different ways. We believe He is absolutely able and He knows what is best. So we do our part as we pray, believe, and wait. 🙂

He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those greatand awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Deut 10:21

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jer 32:27