Tuesday, 3 July 2012


In case you hadn't heard, my husband had major abdominal surgery today. For the past week or so I have been haunted by the idea of the what ifs for this surgery. He also has a condition named gastroparesis which is a kind of paralysis of the stomach. That means that he is more likely to vomit and asphyxiate under general anaesthesia. Not really a good feeling having this knowledge while my husband is in surgery and I'm at home with four young children. So, I've been freaking out. Maybe a lot. But I haven't JUST be freaking out. I promise! I have been praying up a storm for him and for the doctors who would be operating on him.

This morning when the sun had barely risen my father came to whisk him off to the hospital, leaving me in a very quiet house. The kids were still sleeping so I was left with my thoughts. Just as the thoughts were taking a dark turn my phone rang. Clearly God was whispering in my Dad's ear because he was calling to invite me to Mass this morning. So, while my husband was in surgery, being carefully sliced open by the surgeons, we were walking to Church in the early heat of the day. The sunshine and delicious breeze were a beautiful distraction for both myself and the kids. When we got to Church we had the pleasure of praying for him, and hearing a beautiful homily all about how having faith in God doesn't always mean we trust Him, and that we should seek to place our trust in God with great abandon. It was without a doubt exactly what I needed to hear.

Not too long after we got home the phone rang and my heart skipped a beat. As I walked the few steps to the phone my heart was pounding and my brain traced through the series of possibilities waiting on the other end of the line. To my endless joy, we got the good news that not only had the surgery gone well, but that my husband was coming home a full two hours earlier than expected. When we greeted him at the door the kids were practically bouncing off the walls, and I have to add that I was tempted to join them I was so full of gratitude. I realise I totally blew this surgery out of proportion, but I think it's only natural when someone we love so deeply is ill and facing even a small percentage of death, we act as though it's already happened. Luckily God worked through the hands of the surgical staff and anaesthesiologist and he's back home, safe and relatively sound. He has many weeks of recovery ahead, but that's far better than the alternative.

Once he was through the door and I'd put the kids down for a much needed nap, my husband gave me the run down of what the surgeon had told him post-op. We both fully expected some explanation of the mesh used to repair his hernia, as well as the magnitude of the hernia. As it turns out, the reason his surgery had taken so long (and the recovery so little) time was that when the doctor cut him open, he couldn't find a hernia. Rather than using a scope as he had hoped, the doctor ended up having to cut a larger incision to explore the area in hopes of finding the hernia. The doctor was clearly confused as he himself, as well as no less than three other doctors, had diagnosed an advanced hernia in the area he was looking. My husband's description of his symptoms were also concurrent with the symptoms of an inguinal hernia that had reached an advanced stage. And yet there was the doctor, cutting him open a little more and a little more trying to find this mystery hernia. Eventually he found the cause of all my husband's pain: a little ball of fat that had been there long enough for the nerve and muscle to encircle it. (The idea of my very slim husband with a ball of fat anywhere on his body is kind of hilarious to me!) The ball of fat had been pushing against a nerve center causing intense pain below and above its location. This tiny, seemingly insignificant ball of fat has been causing my sweet husband chronic pain since before we met. I can think of so many unexplained symptoms that lead back to this one problem. For the first time in many years he is regaining some feeling in his right thigh, which has been gradually going numb from his upper thigh down toward his knee. This is important because the fat ball is located at the spot where the leg started to go numb. Not to mention all this business with his digestive tract! They told him early this year that the nerves in his stomach had gone numb, thus the diagnosis of gastroparesis. Everything is finally starting to make sense.

I firmly believe that if my husband hadn't been diagnosed with a hernia, and his pain hadn't been so severe as to implicated a dangerously incarcerated or strangulated bowel, he never would have seen a surgeon so soon. Now, it is my hope that once he's recovered in six weeks, his quality of life will increase dramatically. I can't help but feel excited because I know that when he's back to full strength he'll be able to be the father he wants to be without worrying he'll get hurt. With that in mind, and with the blessing of the misdiagnosis that still led to the proper surgery so quickly, we cuddle up as a family around his chair tonight and said our prayers of thanksgiving. I don't doubt God's hand is in all of this, and it gives my heart so much consolation to know that God is watching over our little family with special care. Today more than ever I will whisper the prayer:

Jesus, I trust in You!

1 comment:

  1. That’s good news! At least he was still able to get the right surgery, despite the misdiagnosis. I hope your husband recuperated well after that. Anyway, I wish all the best for you and your family. Stay healthy!

    Sabrina Craig @ The Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein