Pain, Pain Go Away

So it’s been about nine months since the chronic pain started. I saw at least a handful of doctors to help me figure out what was wrong; the first was a surgeon who increased the pain significantly. The second was a chronic pain specialist who, when I told him my symptoms and my quality of life, dismissed me without bothering to learn my story. Although he was kind enough to tell me my first surgery sterilized me. *sigh* Again, the pain never ended, it only got worse. It wasn’t until I went to a third doctor, another surgeon who has more accolades than I can count, decided a partial hysterectomy was in my best option. At 32, that word and the menopause to follow, were very scary things. At the time, however, I would do anything, and I mean ANYTHING to get rid of the pain, even if it meant officially, no children of my own. We scheduled the hysterectomy for December 27, 2016 (Merry Christmas!).

The day came, my husband and my mom were there with me at the hospital to support me and take care of my mental and physical well-being after the surgery. Everything during the surgery went as well as it could have gone. The surgeon needed to take much more than he planned, however. He originally planned to only take my uterus, but took that plus my right ovary, Fallopian tube, and cervix due to the endometriosis. Currently I am left with one ovary.

After the surgery, the pain seemed to continue, and not in a surgical manner. It was as if every time I moved, my insides burned and felt like they were being stabbed. Something didn’t feel right. I “recovered” and returned to work for a little less than two weeks before I couldn’t teach. I remember my last day: I ran our television studio from the floor in the fetal position and taught my first period journalism class from my desk with a heating pad on. My kids wouldn’t even let me stand; they are a wonderful, caring and a compassionate group of young scholars and I am blessed to have them. They watched me cry as I helped them with the paper and showed such strength for me.

During second period, a colleague of mine (one who taught my husband), saw me in excruciating pain and crying at my desk in our common planning area. Everyone suggested we go to our local hospital’s ER, but time and time again, I’ve been dismissed because they couldn’t see anything on their tests. To be frank, they considered me a drug seeker. My colleauge immediately called our administrators and my husband and I went directly to Mercy hospital in Baltimore instead.

At first they couldn’t figure out what was wrong and said they would send me home with pain pills. The entire visit took less than fifteen minutes. It might have been the pain talking but I finally got up the gumption to say, “If you don’t know what’s wrong with me, admit me. If you send me home with pain pills, you’ll see me again in a week.” My doctor said okay and I was admitted that day. Let me preface this by saying my surgeon is a wonderful man who is kind, caring and compassionate. He listened to my plea for help and ran tests while I was admitted. No one could see anything on either the CT scan or the sonogram and the answer again was pain pills and home. I refused his team’s suggestion and said I wasn’t leaving until he opened me up, looked around and everyone stopped relying on pictures to tell me “nothing was wrong”. Again, pain speaks volumes for me and my courage and my doctor agreed. He even did the surgery on a Sunday morning.

The surgery, again, (3 times in 9 months), was successful. I woke up to my husband telling me adhesions (scar tissue) had built up in my belly and was making my organs stick to my abdomen wall. Basically, every time I moved, I pulled organs that are not designed to move. After this surgery, of which I am still recovering, I am FINALLY chronic pain free! I feel like my old self, not like the shell of a person trying to survive.

If I could have you take away one thing from this post, only one, it would be to be your own advocate. You know your body better than anyone or any picture could ever show. Had I not been my own advocate and basically demanded surgery, I would not be on the road to full recovery!

I am grateful and blessed to have had a phenomenal surgeon, good friends and family check up on me and take care of me, even in the smallest of ways. They have sent cards and small gifts, food, flowers, and things to help me stay busy while I’m resting for one month. Needless to say, I’m getting very good at coloring and hand lettering calligraphy! Two of my cousins even sent me special gifts: one sent me a yellow bracelet, as yellow is the color of endometriosis awareness and the other sent me healing crystals which I keep by my bed to help comfort me.

My husband, during this final surgery, has been such a great support system. He has made sure I have everything I need, while sacrificing his own needs at times. I cannot tell you the love I have for this man!

I’ll also say that animals seem to have a keen sense of pain and healing. Our four dogs have been very attentive to me and don’t want to leave my side. They are loyal and they love unconditionally.

Together, now, it finally feels like we can move on with the adoption journey. We are both working side jobs to help raise the astronomical amount of money we need to have a child of our own. I teach to children in China online and he has a side business called WoodBuryDesigns.  He also does hand lettering and wood burning that started as a hobby and now we are using the money from both of our side jobs to make it possible for us to adopt our waiting Webster.

Now that the pain is gone from my insides, there is room for more love for a family and fun! Thank you to everyone for your support during this difficult time. I love and appreciate all of you and your gestures, big and small! They mean the world.

Next stop, adoption! ūüôā I can’t wait to meet our baby.

~Trenae

Advertisements

When one comment ruins a day

As an infertile couple we have had our experiences of people saying the wrong thing even when they think it is right and that it will help us cope. We’ve even tried to bring awareness to what should be said and what shouldn’t through this blog, but my wife and I are realistic in the sense that we can’t control what others say. However, it doesn’t mean the words hurt any less.

For those of you that have read our blog from the beginning you know the journey we have been on and more recently the surgeries that have taken place. For those of you that haven’t and are just tuning in, My beautiful wife at the age of 32 had a hysterectomy and it closed the door to us having a biological child. A hysterectomy is more than just the physical removal of the female reproductive organs. We as men will never understand what it means to our wives even though we try desperately to. This surgery is so much more. It takes an emotional toll on a woman like you wouldn’t believe. My wife has told me a while back that she can’t do the one thing she was put on this earth to do and that’s to carry a baby. Now I don’t buy into that is why women are here but I sympathize with my wife in this feeling knowing what hand she has been dealt what hand we as a couple have been dealt. The surgery is over but the emotional effects still linger and probably to some extent always will. She is only human to think will I ever hear the sweet little voice shout out to me and say “Mommy.” I have watched my wife cry over many situations that people who haven’t walked a mile in our shoes will never understand. Things that before we went through this I would have said oh for the love give me a break you’re reading into everything. The truth is though you don’t ever know what someone else is going through and it’s not fair to expect people to walk on egg shells but I do think people should try to understand your situation and the impact words can have on a couple struggling with this. we have been¬†hurt many a times throughout our marriage and journey to become parents by friends, by family, and by people who we don’t even know and in most cases not at any fault of their own people just are simply unaware. Most recently though a very simple conversation wrecked our day in a big way.

We were in a store where my mom works just browsing some of the vintage items that they have. A gentlemen was talking to my mom and I got the sense that he was a regular customer because it was very clear he knew my family and my nieces and nephew. My mom is a grandmother of three all of which have come from my sister. She is a very proud grandmother and no ne can fault her for that because we hope to experience that someday. The gentleman was just talking to her about his grandchildren and commented on how lucky my mom was to have this new grandbaby. It was a very casual conversation, one that you would never think would have such a profound impact on us. I instantly noticed my wife’s demeanor change. She went from smiling and happy to very stoic and quiet. Now¬†for those of you that know me know that I can read people and their emotions really well in fact its art of my job to do that. So I instantly ask her what’s wrong to which she replies nothing it’s stupid. Now me being me I continue to ask (totally annoying and not my best quality but I’m a fixer and don’t like seeing people I love in pain)¬†She tells me again its stupid but I won’t let up. She finally, holding back tears says I just wonder if your mom will ever get to talk about our child like she does my sisters. Now let me say this wasn’t her being upset with my mom or what the gentlemen sais it was her worrying we will never get the opportunity to provide my parents with another grandchild. It was her fearing we will never be called mommy and daddy. It was her showing raw emotion with everything we have one through. Our overall tone of our day shifted completely. It went from¬†a light airy fun day to being pushed in a hole and trying desperately to pull ourselves out. Even as I write this I fully expect for some people to still not understand the situation or get the impact such a simple conversation had on us as couple but I did it wrecked our day.

I’ll be the first man to admit I am not the perfect husband even though I try so hard to be. When my wife first told me why she was sad I minimized the situation. I told her she was reading into the comment and to not take it so personal. I thought about what I said and realized that’s not what she needed from me as her husband. In fact I didn’t need to say a thing I just needed to be present and let her know I am there for her. All she wanted me to do was to hold her. That’s exactly what I did after we got home and it helped but as I mentioned before I am not the perfect husband but I am man enough to admit that I am a work in progress. There are times when I question if I am enough for my wife and if she deserves better. I have certain tendencies and tones I take and they are not always pleasant but I am working so hard on that because she deserves that. And guys listen very carefully with what I say next. When speaking to your wife or your daughter¬† or son it’s not always what you say that matters it’s how you say it. For me this is my area I have to work on to be a better husband. My wife and I have been through hell and after this surgery she is still healing emotionally so now more than ever I need to keep my tone in check and be there for her no matter what. This is the overall theme of this post though how words can hurt people even when you don’t intend them to. Everyone has their own shit going on for lack of better words so next time you judge or don’t get why someone is upset take a step back and think about what they could possibly be facing in their life. Know it may not have anything to do with you that they are just going through a hard time. Be there for them and don’t try to solve or fix just be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on because for us that’s all we want from our support system.

The Beginning of the End…

It’s been a little less than one month since I had my hysterectomy where the surgeon intended to take only my uterus. Instead, he was forced to take my uterus, cervix, right ovary and Fallopian tube. Needless to say when I woke up and gained consciousness, I was a little taken aback by all that needed to be removed due to my endometriosis. According to my surgeon (no one else saw it), my right ovary was “indiscernible”; no one understood my pain or took the time to understand it. No one except this man. This wonderful man whose bedside manner is something to be commended. He reassured me and hugged me more times than I could have ever imagined. His staff was caring and compassionate and to put the cherry on the sundae that was this experience, he sent me roses during my recovery.

I’m blessed to have had such a great support team, from the doctors and nurses at Mercy Medical Center who took such good care of me and tended to me overnight, to my husband and my mom who never left my side for three weeks during and after surgery. My husband even slept on those awful hospital couches just to be with me. I’m one lucky lady. My mom, who I can’t thank enough for taking three weeks off from her own job to be with me and take care of me, Steffan and our furry family. My school family who called, texted, sent flowers, cards, Meal Train dinners to help lighten our load and focus on healing and taking over my classes; you are all wonderful and I’m proud to call myself a Clipper. My in-laws who came to visit and bring dinner to cheer me up and visit. There are too many friends to list, but your gifts and time meant the world. Lastly to a woman who, despite her own medical issues, took time to think of me and my classes and won a contest and gave my kids the money. Twenty years of knowing this wonderful lady and not seeing her in almost ten, and she still thinks of me. I am lucky.

recovery.jpg

There is always a flip-side to the positives. This has not been an easy journey. Surgical pain sucks. Knowing my childbearing years are officially over sucks when all I see are baby announcements. I try to be happy, but it’s a challenge sometimes. I am truly grateful for the people who show empathy for what Steffan and I have dealt with in regards to our infertility; you are our family. Therapy is helping. I’m learning techniques to keep from crying when it gets overwhelming; to put it into the words of Carrie Underwood, “This mountain is just a grain of sand.” Maybe mine isn’t that small, but I know this “mountain” is something I can climb over with time and support.

I’m learning to be kind to myself, which is incredibly difficult because I hold myself to such a high standard that when I am not perfect, I feel like I have failed. Kindness takes a LOT of breathing and patience, but I will get better at it.

Honestly, the hard part comes now. Surgery is over. Healing is underway. It’s time to take on the biggest journey of our lives and we’re ready. We’ve been ready. I know, because I’m nesting the heck out of my home, despite the chagrin of my hubs. Let the adoption process begin! We’re giving ourselves until June to reunite as husband and wife and grow in our love again and heal from this monstrous minefield.( “Dancing in the Minefields”by Andrew Peterson)

We can’t wait to have a child of our own; someone to dress and play with and spoil with love. Our turn is here. Our wedding song talked about “the beginning of the end starts with the words ‘I do'”. Well here is another beginning of the end, and this one is just as wonderful as our first one nearly four years ago. So here we go, time to get ready for another glorious minefield!

If anyone has suggestions for agencies or adoption lawyers, please leave your comments below! Thanks!

~Trenae

It’s Time to be Dealt a Good Hand Now

It’s 4:32 am as I sit alone in my bed and write this. This is my new sleep schedule. Go to bed at whatever time, be it 8 pm or 12 am and wake up somewhere between 3 and 4 am.

I’m a little over one week post-op and to say it’s been hard has been an understatement. I was doing great at the beginning; sitting downstairs with my family; and I even walked to get the mail, which is a huge accomplishment two days post surgery if you have A – been through this or B – seen my driveway.

After about day 4 is when things started to go downhill. I couldn’t do as much and I started to feel like a burden to my husband and my mom. They were doing everything; when you can’t lift more than 5 pounds, it’s excruciating painful because that’s less than my purse. They basically had to help me get dressed, make me food, help me into and out of bed and take care of my babies…my dogs. One who is now going through IVDD treatments because he hurt his spine and I can barely touch him, let alone hold him and it’s killing me inside.

I’m sorry if this is a rant, but I’m sleep deprived and a very independent woman. To not be able to put on my own socks is mortifying, but I know it’s in the best interest of my healing. I am crying a little right now as I write this because it’s so painful…that and coughing / sneezing.

My poor husband has been a rock through all of this and he’s starting to show signs of hairline cracks and I know it’s because of me. That alone is making me feel guilty. Not to mention the fact that now it is permanent: no baby. The uterus, ovary, Fallopian tubes, and cervix made sure of that. I helped it by falling three days ago and took a lovely trip to the ER where nothing was done…literally, not even an IV or any monitor when I got there. You go hospital*. You go.

*Not the same one as the surgery.

The finality of it all is setting in and it’s starting to break me down. I hear stories from women about how sorry they are for me; they had this two, but luckily they had a kid or two before…please, if you read this, comment about being in my situation: I have none. Zip, zero, zilch. No one yet to call me mommy, to draw me a picture or make me something god-awful in art class out of macaroni. My mom still has everything I ever made.

I guess my ex was right: I’m not a good “breeder”, nor will I ever be, but thank goodness I found someone who actually loves me for good times and in bad, sickness and in health. I got lucky that way.

Therapy is helping. Meditation is helping. But is it too much to ask that I be allowed to heal physically and mentally? Because this is harder than I ever imagined. I know my family, friends and colleagues are on my side and I appreciate that so much. But this is a solitary process if you don’t know what it’s like. I got a phone call from my first boyfriend’s mom, a woman I’ve known almost 20 years now, and she thought of me when she won a contest. She emailed my husband after surgery. She is a wonderful woman; compassionate and thoughtful. She made me smile and gave me the courage to keep fighting without being ostentatious. Thank you friend.

I think over the last 4 years I’ve been dealt my fair share of crappy cards. Can I please be dealt a good hand? I’m ready for the next steps…mine and tiny little ones that cause massive amounts of destruction, chaos and cuteness….and for once, ones without four feet.

Tug of War

To say that it has been a long time since we have written is an understatement. We have had so much on our plate it hasn’t only been difficult to find time to sit down and gather our thoughts but we haven’t even been making dinner. I think in the past month I’ve maybe cooked like twice. For those of you that know me know that this isn’t¬†ordinary considering cooking is a strong passion of mine. Let’s pick up where I believe we left off….

We were in Annapolis finding out answers for my beautiful wife as she had been suffering for almost six months. Well She was finally placed in the right hands or shall I say back in the right hands of our current surgeon. He previously did a surgery for Trenae years ago that provided her with relief for quite some time until her endometriosis had progressed. For the past two years my wife has been made to believe it was “all in her head” by several very respectful doctors because they couldn’t see the issue on your run of the mill tests. Blood work showed nothing, CT showed nothing, and internal sonograms showed nothing. It wasn’t until this past week that we truly found out what was wrong. Now granted as Rumpelstiltskin¬†says everything comes with a price and for us it was the price of my wifes uterus, Fallopian tubes and her right ovary. I will not say it came at the price of us having children because that is simply not true and a very negative way to think of things. This price was one My wife and I were willing to pay and had I known this is where we would be today I would have encouraged her to have this done years ago. What was found during the surgery was that after two different doctors told her she didn’t have endometriosis our surgeon said her right ovary was covered in it and removed it with her request. Every other month for as long as I can remember my wife would have excruciating pain associated with her menses and on December 27th we found out why.

For months I have watched my wife fade as a lighter version of the woman I fell in love with because of this awful health condition. She became more anxious than ever, angry about many different things, and just over all very sad. Honestly who could blame her. I can’t say with an honest voice I would have handled it anywhere near as well as she has. She is one of the strongest people I know. But when I tell you what happened simply two hours out of surgery I knew we made the right decision even in spite of all the anxiety the build up of the surgey caused. My mother in law and I went back to see my wife. Now at this point she was in the recovery room lined up with multiple other patients in recovery. When you walk in you get hit with a very distinct smell that i associate with hospitals. One that doesn’t bring back memories that i enjoy. In fact at one point I had to step away from my wife because I felt like i was going to get sick. But I digress what happened when I saw her is I saw her again. She had that sparkle back in her eyes. The one I hadn’t seen in months and possibly a year. Two hours after surgery she had humor back and was making jokes about her surgery. As dumb as it sounds I walked away not only because I was nauseated from the familiar smell but because I was choked up. I had my wife back. I always knew she was still in there and I would get glimmers of her from time to time but this was the real deal.

One day after surgery she was up walking and laughing again, and while she was in surgical pain, the pain that she lived with in her heart had gone away. Now I am not going to sit here and say it will never come back but this surgery provided us with closure. It allowed us to let go of control and realize that sometimes we don’t get to make all the decisions. It allowed us to set our sights on what it is we have been yearning¬†for these past four years and that’s to be parents. I’m not saying it will happen tomorrow or that adopting is going to be a piece of cake either but what i am saying is that we will have a child and they will be ours forever. If you’ve read my past posts you’ve heard me talk about ¬†riding on a rollercoaster that never stops. Well I can finally say it has stopped for us and we are buying new tickets on our ride that has an end and its one that leads to becoming a family of three.

Trenae was discharged the day after her hysterectomy and we headed back home. Now before we went up to surgery our beloved long-haired mini dachshund had injured his back. He seemed like he was improving the couple of days we were home, but then we get back and his back legs weren’t working very well. In fact they were dragging at certain points. Is this where I began to feel very overwhelmed. I had my wife who was recovering and now my dog who we are thinking is paralyzed in the back legs. I called our breeder to find out what she suggested to do, and she gave me the contact info of this amazing veterinarian that does physical therapy, acupuncture and multiple other modes of therapy. I called and made an appointment right away and we were to be seen two hours after I hung up. We go in and this place is like the Ritz of vet offices. I mean not a speck of dust or dog hair on the floors. They take Walter and I back and assess him and determine that it is either a bulging disc or herniated disc. She suggests two options one is surgery and the other is a culmination of different therapies. She goes over the pros and cons of both and makes some calls to get me an estimate of what the surgery will cost. Now keep in mind we are a day of being home when all of this is occurring. So you can imagine the level of stress in our ¬†household because our dogs are our children. She comes back and says Mr. Webster the estimate for surgery is going to be between 12 and 15 thousand dollars for Walter and they can take him today. Now my first thought was how can I make this happen because my wife and I love this little dog with all our hearts, and then my second is how the hell are we going to afford this when trying to adopt and everything else that has hit us in 2016. She suggested calling our breeder and seeing what she would recommend. She recommended the multiple therapy route. So Walter has been “lasered” and given a gamete of meds and he is walking again. He will be crated for weeks possibly months to regain his strength and allow his disc to move back into place.

I literally do not know how we would be standing without my mother in law here helping us or our friends that have brought us food and visited with my wife and I.¬†I am in this strange tug of war right now with a sense of relief but also a sense of being very overwhelmed. In the end it will all work out however it is supposed to but I would love nothing more just to be able to enjoy my wifes recovery with her and to have our little Walter snuggled up next to us in bed again. Only time will tell whats in store but for now I must go to bed because tomorrow is a big day for me….. I turn 30. It’s insane to think I am that young and have experienced all these different things in life already. Good night all and stay tuned for whats up for us next…

-Steffan

Just call me Sisyphus…

It’s my third day that I’m laying in bed, tethered to a heating pad because I can barely stand up long enough to shower. I need help from my husband to get dressed and then back into bed. For three days in a row, I’ve needed the support of my colleagues to help me plan and execute lessons for my kids. I am in pain. Excruciating pain that no one can seem to figure out definitively. I feel such guilt that I have made my husband Atlas and now he is carrying the weight of my world on his shoulders. He leaves for work every day worried sick about me because I can’t stop crying. I don’t want this view of me to be the last one he sees of me before he heads out the door, but I don’t know how to stop myself.

Steffan and I voted on Tuesday and then made our way to Annapolis to see the specialist of whom my gynecologist recommended. We went under the impression of determining a long-term pain management plan, as that is part of his title, “pelvic pain specialist”, and with a list of questions about the looming hysterectomy in my future. I’m 32 and the idea of having organs removed from my body scared me greatly…especially because in my eyes, these are the ones that make me a woman and now the thought of us ever being able to have a child is gone, aside from adoption. I am happy with that plan for bringing a child into our family, I’m just wished we weren’t forced into that position. Rational or not, it’s not like they can be replaced, and the thought of needed hormone replacement therapy at my age is not ideal in my small world view. *Side note: this was only our third visit to this specialist, but in our eyes he showed his true colors more and more each time.

We asked our questions about everything with this surgery and everything leading up to it: how this would impact my hormones, my libido, my pain and how to manage it until I’m ready, and recovery time. He had no concrete answers to any questions. It was all circular in nature; for example: when I asked about recovery time: he said, “Well that all depends on you. I mean you could be dancing in two days or it could take 4-6 weeks.” We were both taken aback by that answer, as it’s quite a wide range…and I’m a teacher who needs to plan accordingly to use my sick days. He also said it depended on my job. I said, “Well I’m a teacher, so I’m on my feet all day and moving around to help kids, and up and down by desks to work with kids, and up and down stairs to go to the office, etc.” Basically, I never sit. He responded with, “Yeah, but it’s not like you’re a firefighter or anything.” I was speechless. I just stared and looked at my husband. At that point, he knew I was panicking inside. I didn’t know what to ask since he just demeaned my entire profession.

Steffan asked about long-term pain management and he said, “We’re not doing anything for that. Is that why you thought you were here?” I said “Yes! That’s the whole reason we made the appointment!” How am I supposed to live tethered to my bed for the next six months without pain management? His only suggestion was a drug called Lupron. In all my husband’s research, he has found out so much about this drug that is utterly terrible. The basic premise is to induce menopause until I actually experience it with the surgery. This drug was originally designed for men with prostate cancer and failed. My doctor loudly refuted my husband and said that’s never been the case, despite it being able to cause diabetes, convulsions, epilepsy, impotence and heart problems (directly from Lupron.com). For women, in the short-term, it can cause convulsions, headaches, bone-thinning, fluid retention, heart or kidney problems (again, from their site). Sounds like a great drug that I’m dying to take. I asked what other options he had for me, since at our first visit he said, “he lived out of the box”. He said that was it. I could opt for the 1 month injection or the 3 month one.

So let’s recap: drive 1.5 hours to be demeaned, yelled at, and left with no options for any immediate relief. I got in the car and just started crying.

When I got home, I wallowed for an entire night. We got home at 5 pm-ish and I went right to bed. I am feeling abandoned by the medical system.

I couldn’t stand the thought of going back to that doctor…I called an got a referral to a surgeon in Baltimore with whom I’ve had surgery before. I called the Annapolis office and had all of my records transferred. I am starting all over again and it feels utterly like Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the mountain one more time. How am I going to do this?

Yesterday, I finally managed to make it to my family doctor who was willing to get me medicine until I can get to Mercy and see the compassionate specialist I’ve seen before. Every time I left his office, he would hug me and tell me it will be okay. He said, in 2012, the last time I saw him, he had such respect for teachers…polar opposite of what I’ve been enduring.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me the pain is psychosomatic…it’s mainly in my head and my stress is making it worse. I know what my pain is. Because of this part of our journey, I’m losing hope in the medical system. For those of you Golden Girl fanatics like me…yes, I love them. There is one episode where Dorothy has to travel across the country and see a plethora of doctors because no one can figure out what’s wrong with her. She knows she’s sick, her mother and friends know she’s sick, but because the doctors can’t see it, it must not be there. I feel like Dorothy. Turns out she did have something wrong with her, but it took a little empathy and compassion and someone who is listening to hear, not to respond to figure it out. I’m still waiting for that person.

In the meantime, I’ll lay here with my heating pad, my mini-dachshund, Walter; my snoring Newfoundland, Frank and watch endless episodes of Parks and Rec. I am forever grateful to my loving husband who stands by my side and makes sure I am taken care of, even when I feel like I can’t do it anymore. I am grateful to my friends and colleagues who send thoughtful messages, help me with plans, and even take over my classes. You’ll never know how much it means to me. I am thankful to my in-laws and grandparents, who have checked up on me constantly. I am thankful to my mom, who even though she lives 10 hours away, offered to drive down today, spend basically one day with me and then drive home, because she too is a teacher and needs to be in school on Monday.

I will get better. Could someone tell me when? Please…

~Trenae

When its more than just a movie…

Quite a bit of time has passed since I wrote our last blog. Maybe its because we have been going through the grieving process, maybe its because we keep hoping that we will wake up from this dream/nightmare or maybe its because we just couldn’t put our thoughts into words. Regardless what the reason was I felt like the only sane thing I could do the night before not only a huge day for our country but also for my wife and I, I needed to write perhaps to distract myself from the political posts from Facebook and possibly for a little therapy … just a smidge to prepare for our appointments tomorrow.

There¬† have been times in the last couple of weeks since our news dropped that I haven’t been a good husband. Its not because I haven’t tried its not because I stopped loving my wife its because life happened. We don’t always get to choose the paths we are put on no matter how hard we fight or like to control where we end up. Sometimes your just dropped there and don’t always land on your feet( in our case I think we landed on our heads). I have watched my wife agonize in pain both emotionally and physically in the last couple months and felt like I could do nothing to make it better for her. I tried telling her its going to be alright our plan was always to adopt so don’t be upset. I tried holding her,¬† I tried protecting her and fighting for her care. I felt like I did everything in my power to make it better but It still wasn’t. This began to anger me that I couldn’t fix it because that’s who I am. I inherited that trait from my Dad. Like him it pains me to see someone I love so much struggling with the path she is in at this moment in time. It wasn’t until this past week that I realized I haven’t been a good husband to my wife.

We use Netflix like pretty much all of America and love our Netflix DVD. I always go through the queue with Trenae and add movies together. It was a few weeks ago that I added a movie called “Miracles From Heaven.” I thought it looked decent so I put it in the line up. The movie arrived sometime last week and just sat on our counter for a while. That doesn’t typically happen. We get a movie and watch it instantly because we’ve been anxiously awaiting its arrival. Not this one.. It sat there until Sunday morning after we did our usual routine of drinking our coffee and talking about what our Sunday plans are going to be. I suggested the movie and Trenae said ok even though I could tell she didn’t want to watch it. Before I go into to much detail about the movie¬†I feel like I need to explain a little on who I am as a person. I am not religious. I know that hurts some people for me to say that but its who I am. Please respect that and don’t tell me I need to be it is who I am. I had faith as a child but throughout events in my life I don’t have a whole lot left in me. It doesn’t make me a bad person and there are moments when I believe but for the majority of my adult life I haven’t. With everything we have been through can you honestly blame me? It has always upset me when people say well maybe you have sinned and that’s why this is happening to you and your wife or have you tried praying. These are just the tip of the iceberg of what people have said to¬†us and tried to preach. We are on our own journey and struggle everyday and its for no one to tell me how to get through it because you haven’t lived it. And if you have then you know where I am

I say all of that¬† because this movie hit me so hard and I’ll explain why and how it all ties together I promise just stay with me.

This movie is about a little girl named Annabelle Beam. Annabelle is about 7 or 8 when she starts throwing up in the middle of the night and her parents think its the flu or stomach bug. They rush her to the doctors and are told its a bunch of different things; acid reflux, lactose intolerance etc.. Annabelle keeps getting worse and no one will help her get better. the doctors just do the regular scans they do with every patient and say the test say she’s fine and they have no answers. Immediately I feel like this story relates to us and I am drawn in. I know the feeling Christie Beam went through when she knew something wasn’t right and no one would listen to her or look beyond the papers in front of them and look at the little girl sitting there in pain pleading for help to be told she’s fine. I know that feeling all to well. Christie continues to fight for her little girl because she knew something wasn’t right¬† just like I keep fighting for my wife when everyone¬†looks at me like I¬†am crazy. It saddens me that an industry that I work in and love so very much has taken this turn where its no longer about the patient its about the paycheck and reimbursement. I sit here watching this movie much like I’ve done on appointments with my wife contemplating going back to med school just to show people that there are still doctors that care. Christie finally takes Annabelle to the ER one last time and loses it on the doctor much like I have done before not because it was my intention but sometimes you have no choice. Finally she is heard they get her in the right hands to find her daughter, her precious little girl has a disorder that twits her bowels and makes the nerves in her intestines non responsive. Basically her body is rejecting food. There is a specialist in Boston that tries to help Christie and Annabelle but even with all his efforts nothing works. Christie is in church praying every Sunday that her precious daughter is healed and can live a normal life but much like myself she gave up along the way and lost faith. The tipping point for her was very familiar to what I have experienced when a group came up to her and asked if her and her husband had considered they were being punished by god for sins they hadn’t asked forgiveness for. She stormed out of the church and told her husband she will never go back there.¬†they go back and forth to Boston multiple times until¬†Annabelle pleads with her mother to please let her go home and stop the pain she’s ready to die. Christie agrees and they fly home. I’ll stop here..

I am not trying to say what my wife is going through is as terrible as Annabelle in any sense but I found it so relatable because she has had to fight for someone she loves to get the best quality care there is. I also have experienced what she has in terms of losing faith, and have turned into an angry bitter person. Even towards the people I care about the most even the woman who is going through all this pain… My wife.

Annabelle comes back to the family farm and is sitting on the front porch watching her sisters play when her older sister asks her to play soccer or climb a tree. They climb and climb until they are pretty high up and at this moment you can see the pure joy on Annabelle’s face because for a small moment in time she feels like a normal kid. the branch cracks and her sister tells her to climb into a knot in the tree for safety. She climbs in and the tree is so hollow she falls down inside the tree quite some distance and hits her head. she is unresponsive. Finally they pull her out she’s rushed to the hospital and she makes it. When Annabelle fell it did something to reset her brain to make the nerves in her intestines work again and “cured” her for lack of better words. It flashes back through the movie and shows you all sorts of “miracles” that happened through out that you don’t even realize because you’re so focused on the tragedy in front of you.

The movie ends and being the giant sap I am I sit there crying for a little while because this story seems so familiar to me. I saw my wife in that little girl. Sitting on the cold paper dangling her feet off the doctors chair waiting for someone to tell her what it is. Crying herself to sleep at night because the pain medication doesn’t touch what she feels. Wishing that I understood what she was going through but knowing I never truly will. every time I looked at Annabelle I saw Trenae. It’s because of this movie I realized I haven’t been a good husband to my wife. Any men out there reading this I hope you really take a moment and think about what I’m saying and ask yourself if you’ve been the husband your wife deserves. I haven’t been a good husband to my wife because rather than fixing everything she’s going through or explaining why she shouldn’t be upset I never thought about her the person in front of me and what that would feel like. I never took a step back and recognized the magnitude of the path we have been dropped on unwillingly. I wasn’t there for my wife like she needed me to be and this movie made me realize that.

I walked over to Trenae after what I thought was pulling myself together until the tears start falling down my face again and grab her hands. I look into her eyes that were once a bright blue and now just appear a sad grey and I tell her sobbing I am so sorry. I am sorry I haven’t been what you needed and I am sorry that I will never understand what you are experiencing in this moment. I haven’t been a good husband to my wife and I admit it but I also am not the kind of man to just say that its ok. I recognize where I went wrong and I am trying to fix it because I love my wife more than anything, but it is easy to get caught up in life when you have been beaten around a lot. I held my wife that afternoon for maybe twenty minutes and told her we will get through this together and that I love her. I owe so much to Annabelle Beam and her family for sharing their story and allowing it to be made into a movie because I say this honestly if they didn’t I don’t know that I would have ever realized how my wife felt or what was needed of me. So I end in saying this Thank you to the Beam family and to the¬†men out there¬†don’t be afraid to show your emotions and be the man your wife deserves.