A Glimpse of Hope

It was December 30, 2011. We had just finished up another year end at work and I had a 3 day weekend in front of me. I knew that I would be getting off work later than normal to wrap things up, but I didn’t care. I had a rough month and a half and I decided to drive down to visit some of my family in The Woodlands, TX to try to clear my mind of a few things. I had traveled to the outskirts of Dallas, which is about the halfway point of the drive, when my phone rang. I looked down and saw that it was mom; this wasn’t uncommon, because I love my momma and we keep in pretty regular contact. However, as soon as I answered, I could hear in her voice that something was wrong; and she confirmed it by telling me, that my sister in law Andrea was on her way to take her to the ER because of chest pains she had been experiencing.

As soon as I hung up the phone, a million thoughts were racing through my head. My dad had passed away 15 years earlier and I had just been through some other pretty painful experiences not long before this. I remember the words coming out of my mouth, “I just can’t lose anyone else.” I let logic prevail over emotion and stopped myself from driving straight to DFW to catch the first flight to Juneau; and instead continued my trip to spend the weekend with my family until further information was available. My was mind racing the entire drive down. The tests that were done in Juneau didn’t really reveal that much was wrong, but they medi-flighted her to Anchorage to have a heart specialist take a look at her.

The diagnosis was made pretty quickly when she was checked out. She needed it a quintuple bypass heart surgery and she needed it pretty much immediately. Again I had a decision to make, do I jump on a plane immediatley or do I wait until after the surgery when I can be more help? After speaking to my both my brother and my sister, we came up with a plan to where we could all be there for various shifts of the hospital stay. We were told that she would go through the surgery and have about an 8 day stay in the hospital after. When we were told that, I thought for sure that it couldn’t be right because it seemed so very short. I took the doctors word for it, and we started to put a game plan into place. Sarah would be there for the week leading up to the surgery and then Jason would arrive to stay for about a week after. My shift would be her last couple of days in the hospital and then bring her home and get her settled in. Even with the plan in place, I still fought the urge daily to fly up and be with her right away. But I trusted that it was better to be there to help after.

So I played the waiting game. The day of the surgery was long and stressful, I was nearly 4000 miles away and receiving updates through text message. Finally we got news that the surgery was over and that she had made it through; but in the midst of our rejoicing, we knew that this was only the first hurdle. The surgery it seems had taken a lot out of her and so they didn’t wake her up the first two days. It became apparent pretty quickly that this post surgery stay was going to be longer than 8 days we had been told. In fact when I arrived for my shift more than a week after her surgery, she had just had the breathing tube removed for the first time and had not been out of bed. Around the fourth day I was there, she was pushing herself to walk around the ICU and they moved her to a private room. It seemed we were on the verge of going home, but the very night they moved her things took a turn for the worse. I had made it back to my room and was sleeping when I received a call at 3:00 am. It seems that she had stopped breathing; and after resuscitating her, they rushed her back to ICU. I was still pretty groggy when the call came in, so I wasn’t fully aware of what had happened until the next morning. When I arrived she was alert and responding to questions but having a lot of difficulty breathing. I stayed with her throughout the day and went back to my room again. That night, for the second night in a row I got a phone call that she had stopped breathing yet again and that they were reinserting a breathing tube. This was the last night that I slept while there.

It was apparent that she wasn’t going to be leaving the hospital before I would have to go home. The doctors and nurses weren’t sure what was going on. I was growing more and more concerned and frustrated. I broke down several times. I did all I knew to do. I put on a brave face when reporting back to friends and family, and I cried out to God. I told Him again, “I’ve lost so much; I can’t lose anyone else.” Finally the doctors determined that she had pneumonia. I don’t think anyone could ever be as happy about a pneumonia diagnosis as I was at that time. It meant that there was an answer to the mystery and they could begin to treat it. Time was growing short, and I kept begging her to breathe. I didn’t want the image I went home with to be with her with a tube in her mouth. I worked with the nurses to push her to build strength. I felt so very mean, but they assured me it was the only way to get her out. The day came, my flight had been changed multiple times. I had been there for nearly 2 weeks. My sister had returned to take another shift so that I could return home to work. She still had that breathing tube in; and for four days they told us, “we think this is the day it will come out.” The clock ticked and ticked until I absolutely couldn’t stay another minute. I ate dinner with my sister and was saying my goodbyes. The nurse came in and said the tests are in and we can take it out. I believe God heard my prayers and gave me something lasting to hold on to as I left. He gave me a glimpse of hope to take home with me. I didn’t get to see it for more than a few minutes, but that breathing tube was gone before I left. I hugged and kissed her and cried and told her how proud I was of her.

We were told she would be there 8 days after the surgery; overall she was in the hospital for over a month. It never was easy leaving or being away knowing how much help she needed. But I continued to get progress reports though complications persisted. In May, after 3 months of being home she had further complications with breathing. She was flown to Seattle to see a lung specialist and told she might need surgery to remove fluid from around her lungs. Many prayers were lifted and when they looked they didn’t see any need for further surgery. She still has a road to travel to reach full recovery, but she’s fought hard to this point.

I’m telling you all of this now, because God gave me a chance to see my wish further fufilled this past week. I was able to fly us both down to Orlando, Florida for a vacation. I wanted to give her a trip to a place full of sunshine that didn’t involve a stay in the hospital. I tried my best not to push her beyond any limits, and I must say that I was once again proud of the progress she has made and the strength that she has. She’s been through a lot in her life. Too much to list here, but her ability to stand up again and again and to fight through things is just inspiring. I know this is a long post, but it’s something that has been wanting to come out for a long time. Whatever you face today, know that God’s grace is sufficient. He is there to give that glimpse of hope to you.



8 Responses to “A Glimpse of Hope”

  1. Mallory says:

    This is a beautiful post, friend. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. It’s easy to see where you get that persistent strength from. 🙂

  2. Oh yeah, a very rough month and a half on every level. With us headed to Japan too, it was just crazy. You never realize how exhausting sitting around all day can be, but it is. I guess it’s emotional exhaustion more than anything. Praise God though! She’s come a long way!
    Jason Stasyszen recently posted..Pick your Poison (or Find Your Freedom)My Profile

  3. Angi says:

    This made me tear up!! I’m so glad you guys are all coming out the other side of all this – life can be so hard sometimes, and it’s only by the grace of God that we make it through some days. I know I’m thankful for that!

    Been praying a lot for all of you!!

  4. Jeannita Stasyszen says:

    I know if not for the prayers of friends and family I would not be here. Also my children being there when I didn’t even realize they were I am sure kept me going. God is so faithful over and over he has proved his faithfulness. I am so thankful for all the prayers and my children standing on God’s world to see me through. You will never know how much I love you guys and love what God has done in you. You all amaze me with the strength you have to stand firm in Gods will.