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, Just My Thoughts

In His Shoes

I’ve told King that in a way, I’m grateful that this (slipped disc) happened to him and not me, because I would not have gotten through it with much grace. I’m a big baby when it comes to pain! As I put myself in his shoes, I could only imagine the thoughts running in his mind and the frustrations he must have felt.

Being dependent on another person for your basic needs doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, and some of us might even think it great to be served and waited upon. But think about it. Meals. Basic hygiene. Nature’s calls. Not only that. We take our bodies and movements for granted. We don’t even think twice about sitting up or abruptly getting out of bed or turning on our side in bed. King could do none of that for at least 3 days. Lying flat on your back is good for sleeping, but it’s pretty tiring when you have to do it all day. He needed me to do everything for him. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could handle not being able to help myself or handle letting someone else clean me. I wouldn’t be at peace putting so much burden on other people as well. King was very very grateful and appreciative, don’t get me wrong, but I would have complained and cried the whole time.

Being told that you won’t be able to carry your kids or do sports is pretty daunting. King is a very active individual. He has always been an athlete and a dancer. He loves to travel, go on tours, road trips & adventures. He loves to play with the kids. He loves to be daddy — daddy who protects his girls and carries them when they need him. Imagine. If you were the track, badminton & basketball athlete when you were younger and loves sports, how would you feel when you can’t walk fast, let alone run? If you love to dance and see that your kids love it too, how would you feel when you can’t even bend over or twist your body? How would you feel if it looks like you can’t go on adventures anymore, if it’s one of the things you love to do with your family? I’d probably be angry and disheartened at the same time. The saddest for him, actually, is the reality that he cannot carry his daughters or let them ride piggy-back. For now.

Watching the people around you go about their daily routines normally can be frustrating. King used to help out in the house as much as he could when we didn’t have a more regular helper. I could rely on him to do many things when I had to attend to something else. Him seeing me have a hard time and get tired must have made him feel helpless, and him feeling helpless must have gotten him very frustrated with himself.

The whole thing was a test of character. I would have failed miserably, but King overcame.

Because of God’s grace, he has been able to break through. We have been able to break through. There were times that he felt impatient (read his blog about it) or that it seemed there wasn’t enough progress, but because we decided that I should not baby him and instead let him try to do normal things or find other ways to do them, and because we decided that he should challenge himself, he continually improved. Now he’s back at work! I can feel his joy and relief, that he can already go back to his normal activities. He has some therapy to go through still and though there are restrictions, we are very hopeful that he’s on his way to full recovery — maybe even go back to sports. He started dancing again the other night when he got challenged to a dance battle on my brother’s Xbox! It’s really really looking good! 🙂

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them;
    he rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Psalm 107:19-21