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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Strong

When Trevor began to lose strength in his right leg eight days ago we wanted to pretend not to notice.  After all, he had just gone hiking the past Saturday, the 17th, with our dear Josh and Sam Jackson and our Ripsi dog. They'd hiked in the snow. That's not easy. You wouldn't be able to do that if you weren't strong. So we dismissed the emerging deficits in movement. Sometimes when you have become so hyper-sensitive to any "would-be" symptoms, you can almost consciously ignore the "actually-are" symptoms that creep in, dismissing them as your ever-present paranoia, not wanting to see them for what they actually are.

When the coordination in his right leg began to decrease more, and when it became difficult to curl the fingers on his right hand around a spoon at breakfast we couldn't really ignore things anymore.

Doctors were called.
New pills were issued--bringing the fist full of drugs I deliver to his bedside every night and morning to seven little white tablets. Steroids and more anti-seizure drugs.

But each day he continued to lose strength. On Monday the 19th, my dear childhood friend, Devri, from SunRae Photography came to our home and took pictures of our family reading, playing, and trying to wrestle tired kiddos.
Though she still managed to capture mostly their cuteness and not their late-night monsterness.

  We waited for the steroids to kick in, to help inject more strength into the limbs and muscles that were becoming heavier and harder to move each day.

When he continued to lose strength and mobility throughout the week I called the doctors again.

We upped the steroid dose.

I called Trevor's mother to ask if they could bring down a recliner, because I was worried about Trevor's ability to get up and down from the couch.

On Sunday, the 25th, we traveled to Sandy to my cousin Suzy's photography studio (Simply Suzy Photography). Her studio is perched on the second floor in a business district, and although his steps were stilted, we were able to climb the stairs, get up and down on the floor with the kids during the shoot.
Trevor could painstakingly strum a few chords on his beloved guitar.
He and I slowdanced to the best of Creedance Clearwater Revival while Suzy whirled around us with her camera, capturing tiny details like our interwoven hands.
On Monday the 26th he fell down the stairs coming into our house. I try not to hover, I don't want to worry or rush him. I know it is important to him to continue to do things for himself. So I bit my lip when it took ten minutes for him to fumble his wallet into his pocket, or when lifting his arm to struggle into his coat was too much.

I called the doctors again. More steroids.

Trevor's parents went to work with him, one bracing his body on each side as he walked. There were more falls. There were lots of tears. There were more frantic phone calls to the doctors from me. There were now twelve pills in my hand at his bedside morning and night.

Monday night sweet friends from St. George came by. We laughed. We cried. Trevor's boss and the VP from his company came by. They brought love and peace about our (mostly my) worries when it comes to Trevor's work.

On Monday night he asked me to lift and manipulate his arms around me so we could just lie tangled up together as we both tried to find sanctity in sleep and each other's warmth. We cried.

Tuesday, today, Trevor was even weaker. I called the doctor and begged them to do another MRI.

Somewhere between Sunday and today I fell apart.

"He was hiking ten days ago." I cried to my mother on the phone.

Trevor and I recently made each other the promise that we would endure this trial with grace and strength. So many people send messages and notes and leave comments saying we "are so amazingly strong." But I didn't feel strong in the past 48 hours. Trevor's strength had literally seemingly left his body.

The doctors ordered another MRI today. The tumor shows additional growth in the past two weeks. And this is causing a lot of swelling in his brain. How much of his motor deficit can be blamed on swelling and how much on tumor is hard to say. The doctors say it has been amazing that Trevor has had no symptoms so far, despite the tumor growth we've experienced over the past year. They say that perhaps the symptoms are simply finally catching up. They say they can't tell us what the future of Trevor's mobility holds.

But a wise friend told me tonight that he was going to choose to believe that Trevor would be okay. That we'd hike again and that we would all be okay.

And maybe that choice is what actually makes you strong.

Maybe having the courage to walk into your office, where you manage 300+ employees while leaning on your mother and father is what makes you strong.

Maybe letting your best friends lift you back up off of the front lawn when you fall is what makes you strong.

Maybe not being afraid to cry in front of your boss is what makes you strong.

Maybe making a joke as you rub your husband's freezing and numb feet instead of completely breaking down is what makes you strong.

Maybe not holding your breath while you watch him struggle into the shower is what makes you strong.

Maybe the secrets and hopes and fears and dreams and promises we share just between the two of us when the house full of help and love and family and friends finally settles for the night are what make us strong.

Maybe the tearful prayers we offer together before we finally try to close our eyes are what makes us strong.

Maybe strong is more than being able to move freely.

Maybe strong is choosing to believe that one day we will again.  


****A HUGE thank you to Devri and Suzy for the gift of these beautiful photos--I'm so grateful you found the time over the last two weeks to squeeze these shots into your schedules. We had no idea what was coming and I am so eternally grateful to have these pictures before these latest developments.

10 comments:

Mel Eppich said...

You are strong, strong I ways I could never imagine. Tears have fallen more than once for your little family today. Thank you for being strong enough to continue to share. You are always in our prayers.

Marianne Hales Harding said...

Yes, that is strong. Writing about it so beautifully is also strong.

Di said...

I don't have much more to say that I haven't said already. I love you both. And for whatever little weight it may carry coming from a heathen like me, I prayed for you today. I can safely say this is the only truly heartfelt prayer I've said in a decade, which I thought might make you two laugh a little. You have both been so accepting of my lack of religion that it did make me giggle a little that Trevor has injected the only religion I've had in my life for quite some time. But I figured if there's even a tiny chance of it doing anything at all to help, I'll do it.

Devri said...

Sometimes being strong is trusting God even when your world is falling apart. You amaze me, and I'm so proud to call you my friend.

markandjenny said...

Yup, you're strong! And brave. Continued prayers for your family.

corradiniphoto.com said...

with you strongly and fiercely. xo.

Susie Sutton said...

I can't even begin to say how my heart hurts for you and your little family... So thankful for the sweet pictures that will always be there to show the love you have for one another and your sweet little ones... May God ever be present in the days ahead, and that you will be able to find comfort...

Traci said...

Hi Chelsi, I've followed your story over the years through family and friends in Rexburg, and have been a periodic lurker on your blog. I just want to tell you that I am praying for you and Trevor. May you find the grace and courage and strength to face whatever is ahead. And may tender mercies continue to be yours. Your kids are the same ages as my daughter and son. I am praying for them too. With love, Traci (Smith) Hansen

Jill Hancock said...

Sending love and support from NE Indiana. Trevor and I performed in "The Pajama Game" together our senior year. He is a solid man made of all the best material. May you and your family be buoyed up and strengthened by the love of those near & far. Trevor-you're the man! I am honored to know you. Much love, Jill Hancock

angie farrimond said...

Chelsi I continue to pray for you and your family, may all the strength you need be with all of you. Please let me know if you need anything at all even if it means to take your kids to play at the park with my kids, I would be more than happy to do so. With love angie