"Thanks for this weekend," he said.
The husband. He was off this entire weekend...an unusual occurance lately since he's been working 6 days a week of 12 hour shifts! We have spent this weekend chatting, snuggling, watching movies, running errands, snuggling some more, and enjoying meals together. Not a particularly exciting weekend for some people, but a time of togetherness for us none the less. He wanted to surprise me by being off 3 days in a row, since my birthday was last Tuesday and I was sick. Sometimes, he can be so sweet. I so completely love this man. I have blogged about my love for him before here...
We realized at some point this weekend what we were doing this time last year.
Before I tell you about that, I will explain the above photo. This was taken of my father, me, and the husband at the Pananma Canal some time during the week of August 4-11, 2007. We went on a week long cruise to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama with 20 other family members! We had such a wonderful time...exploring places we had never seen before, enjoying our family, laughing and playing on board the ship... The most surprising thing about the whole trip really is just how rare it was... a-once-in-a-lifetime trip...so rare that I would be able to take off work for the very first week of school (something I will NEVER do again) and for the husband to take an entire week off from the hospital! Remarkably rare! We were just so fortunate to be together on such a fabulous trip!
Nine months before this trip (in December) the husband had brain surgery to remove a softball size benign meningioma. This surgery was shocking, and at best one of the toughest things we'd ever been through! To hear that your husband has a softball size brain tumor and that his brain has shifted causing personality changes- I can not say how scary that all was! He came through the surgery just fine, had a remarkable recovery, and we were just so thankful to God that it was all over. This was actually one of the deciding factors for us when we finally made the decision to go on the cruise. Taking that much time off from work was not an easy task for either of us, but we realized how short life can be, and it is not all about work all the time!
Little did we know that after the cruise and less than a month later, we would both be off from work again, but this time for totally different reasons. In September of 2007, the husband had a follow-up appointment to see how his brain was doing. (He can not have an MRI, since he has a defibrillator for a rare heart condition that was discovered in 2006.) So, when he went in for his CT scan, they discovered that he had another golf ball size tumor in exactly the same place...the nightmare was reoccurring! Still benign...still needed to be removed. We were told the first time that this kind of tumor is very slow growing, but how it grew back this fast was a mystery to all of us.
So, this time last year, I was watching the husband go through literal hell once again. The second time was so much more difficult for him- more pain, more swelling, more bruising, more weakness...just all around more difficult. He stayed one entire day and night in ICU just after the surgery, and then they sent him home. (I know. That's what I thought too. WAY too soon!) I am not a nurse. How was I going to be able to take care of him? I really needed to get back to work. So far, in six weeks of school, I had missed two and a half of them! I did the best I could...scheduling people that I love to come and check on him, make him lunch, and keep him busy during the day...and make him rest from time to time until I could get home from work. He also experienced some depression during this time, and that was a very tough thing to see. This man, one of the strongest men I know, was weak, sickly, slow, and so very fragile. He was missing so much work, after missing so much work so recently for other surgeries and the cruise...he actually lost half of his pay for awhile since he had not had time to build his sick leave back up...and we began having serious financial difficulties from which we have yet to completely recover.
One year later...we realize how blessed we are...God took care of us...everyone prayed for us, and the entire situation left us completely aware how much the hand of God is on our lives. Though I often do not deserve it, He takes care of me and loves me in spite of my many faults. As I look back at that time, I know that prayers of many sustained us. I did not fall apart. I was not sick with worry. I felt an unusual peace...the kind of peace that can only come from God. He has carried us through some of the most difficult things, and for this I will be eternally thankful.
One year later, the husband is strong and healthy once again. His scar has healed. His memory has returned. His personality is back to normal (if it ever really was normal to begin with!) He is kinder and more tender to me. He is the man I love...the one that shares my home, my bed, my heart. I thank God for him. I know things could have turned out differently, and when I look at him now, I realize how truly blessed I am...
Such a difference one year can make.
Right now, I am going to go climb back into bed to snuggle the man that I love once again...and continue the togetherness of our weekend. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend too! Until next time, I wish you much laughter, love, happiness and many, many blessings.