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The following was first posted on Aggieland Mormons. To read the full article, click here.
Five years ago, a month before my 25th birthday, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor called an acoustic neuroma. It was slightly larger than the size of a golf ball (which is huge in terms of a brain tumor). Due to the tumor pressing against my brain stem the doctors had concerns that the tumor could prove to be fatal and would need to be removed as soon as possible. My oldest son was two years old, and my daughter was just 6 weeks old. Needless to say, it was a time of immense stress and fervent prayer.
So many questions flooded my mind. What will this mean for my family? For me? What will the rest of my life look like? What if the doctors concerns were realized and it was fatal? How could I leave my husband alone with our two babies? The questions of the unknown were overwhelming. Most days leading up to the surgery were spent trying to keep busy in effort to keep my mind off of the reality of what was happening but would usually land in a puddle of emotions.
The surgery was complex and would required two doctors and over eight hours to complete. Following the surgery I spent a week in the ICU and hospital. When it was time to go home, I would have been happy to never go to a hospital for the rest of my life. But after only two days of finally being home, I was rushed back to the hospital for another emergency surgery due to complications from the first one. I was so disheartened.
As my sweet husband was caring for me, our children were being passed around between family, friends, and sometimes strangers from our ward. I had not seen them for longer than an hour in the past 10 days and knew that another surgery would only prolong my time away from them. As part of my recovery I was ordered not to lift more than 5 pounds for eight weeks and to avoid bending over. So when I did see my children I was unable to pick them up and would have to rely on someone else to put them into my lap. I will forever be grateful for those who cared for my babies at a time when I could not.
The first surgery left me with pain and nausea that would last for months, and with a large portion of my head shaved to allow for the 7-inch long incision. It also left me completely deaf in one ear, and unable to walk on my own as my vestibular nerve had been severed. The hardest part was that it kept me from being the wife and mother I wanted to be.
As I sat alone in the hospital waiting for my second surgery, I had reached the threshold of what I could possibly bear. I wept. I cried more than I think I have ever cried before and fell into a fog of despair. Up to this point I felt I had taken my trial with a faithful heart, but now I had finally broken.
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