Wednesday, September 23, 2009

...i am changing, less and less asleep...

A week or so ago I was sent to the Provo hospital to pick up some films for my boss.

As I walked the halls I had a series of flashbacks. I've been here before. Many times. I remember these halls, the smell, and the sounds. My footsteps echoed as I walked faster and faster to my destination. I felt my stomach start to turn and my head start to spin. I heard the clanking of my 'courage' necklace against my chest, but the sterile halls swallowed all the courage I could muster. As I turned the corner I saw a darling young woman, obviously pregnant, being escorted into an ultra sound room. She was all smiles as was her husband who followed close behind.

I know these halls, and I know that room. In my heart I said a quick prayer for that sweet couple. That the news they would receive in that room would be everything they were dreaming about. I prayed they would not walk away with their lives shattered, but would feel the hope and excitement this new little one would bring.

I remember being wheeled through those very halls almost 3 years ago. I was hugging my belly, praying for a miracle. I heard doctors being paged over the speakers, the beeping and clanking of MRI machines. You know how some people say that some of the most traumatic experiences of their lives were, 'all a blur?' This was all a blur. Studly was by my side, his face expressionless. To this day I feel horrid because I wouldn't even deal with my own pain, let alone comfort him. He is strong, my friends. He was strong for me and for him. After the nurse confirmed the loss of our sweet little girl, he picked up all the shattered pieces of me, and carried me out the door. 

It was a long walk through those halls back to our car. We left our hopes and dreams lying on the floor of that hospital.

As I approached the reception desk to ask for the films, I saw a patient dressed in the typical hospital garb going in for an MRI. Again, a small prayer left my lips that what he was being scanned for was nothing too life altering. I was told to take a seat for a moment while the films were retrieved.

I knew these rooms. These machines. How blessed are we to have such technology? Of course, 2 years ago I wouldn't have thought that at all. Blood tests had confirmed that something was going on inside my brain. I knew they were looking for something big, but I couldn't stop praying that it was nothing. I adorned my hospital gown, took off all the metal on my person, including my wedding ring. I thought of Studly. Of how much I loved him. I thought of the promises we had made to each other the day we were married and sealed. In sickness and in health. No matter what the doctors found, what happened, he was going to be there for me. I took a deep breath and walked with the radiologist to the MRI room.

I was hooked up to an iv where they were going to shoot die into my blood stream so they could see certain parts of my brain. It made me feel nauseated and cold. I lay down and they put a cage over my head. Here we go. The loud clanking of the machine and the fear of the unknown brought tears to my eyes. I tried so hard to sit still, to be quiet and calm so that they could get the images they needed. I didn't want to have a repeat of this experience. It was a long 45 minutes and it was about to revel my future. Life as we knew it was about to change, and I wasn't sure if we were ready. If I was ready. 

The receptionist called my name and I snatched the films up and hastily made my way out the door.

The sunlight was a welcomed feeling on my face as I walked out the door. Before I got into my car, I turned around and took one more look at the hospital. My eyes were drawn to the second floor of the hospital. That was the ICU floor.

Studly had to be to classes the day of the surgery. Luckily, well, somewhat luckily I had to be at the hospital by 5am. Studly drove me there and stayed with me until they wheeled me away, through those halls, to the holding room. Studly promised me that I'd wake up, and all would be okay. I didn't believe it, but I knew he would never lie to me, so I held on to his words. In the holding room, the anesthesiologist started hooking me up with all sorts of iv's. It was in this moment that I realized what was really going on. I had a brain tumor. I was about to go into brain surgery. Yes, there was a chance I could die. No, I didn't think I would, but I was scared nonetheless. It was in those moments that I realized that things were never going to be the same. That when my neurosurgeon said it was going to be a long road, he was right. It was going to be painful. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I took a deep breath, signed over my life with a series of "x's" on a stack of papers, and felt the burn of the first anesthetic I would be receiving. I giggled, I sighed, and then I was gone.

My first lucid moments after the surgery were, well, weird. I felt naked because I was indeed, naked. I had a thin hospital towel draped over me. I felt some pressure being released from my head (they had taken out the screws from my skull) and I heard nurses clamoring over me. I tried to move, tried to speak, but a nurse quickly shushed me and said, 'Honey, don't try to wake up right now. Just sleep. It will be over soon.' I'm pretty sure I tried to cry, but didn't have it in me. Another nurse, while using a wet cloth to wipe the blood off my head & face, said, 'This is so sad.' Although I couldn't voice it, I totally agreed. 

My Daddy and sister were there when I woke up in my ICU room. He told me all I said was, 'Ouch.' Over and over again. I'm thankful I don't remember that pain so well. I don't think it's something I need to remember. The week I spent there is all a mess in my head. My Mom couldn't stay in my ICU room for more than minutes at a time. I guess I looked pretty bad. I spent my days eating ice chips and begging for more morp.hine.

Enough with my sappy, flashback stories. Although there is a point to it, I promise.

These experiences have shaped me and you know what?

I. Am. Grateful.

Last night I had the most wonderful opportunity to have dinner with some friends. One old, one new, both very dear to my heart. As we stood out in the Applebee’s parking lot talking I realized how much both of these strong women have to offer. The three of us have an array of struggles between us, but we are able to connect via these experiences. I left that conversation last night feeling calmer and more uplifted than I have in a long time.

I left grateful for my trials.


I have much to ponder on still. There are parts of me and my life that need to be altered. I know this, and I'm trying.

What would I do without all of you? You are the reason I keep moving forward.

'It's not everything I want, but it's everything I need.  It's not always happy endings but it's happy in between.'

Thank you.

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Ashley Cooper said...

So many thoughts going through my head as I read this. The silly ones, like I get a kick out of the picture of tubby and your labels. :) The analytical ones about how much I enjoy your writing. The thoughtful, serious ones, like you are hard core. The ones where it's like I can feel you growing and stretching as you continue to conquer and overcome. And the thankful ones, like you are also the most thoughtful person in the world. Thank you so much for your friendship.

Roger and Tasha said...

I can't even imagine...

TIM&SHAN said...

Kenna I am positive that you are the most beautiful writer I have ever had the privledge to come across. I feel like I was on your journey with you. I feel like I am watching the most inspiring movie in my head. I am grateful and changed by you and your experiences. I am so grateful Kellie refered me to your blog. I feel like I can go on in my struggle because I glean strength from you. I have to say your blog has been a saving grace for me this past month. Your words are beautiful and uplifting and honest and have touched me to the very core of my spirit. Thankyou for your words, thankyou for your strength, thankyou for being you.
If I can be just a quarter of the kind of person you are then I would be proud of myself;) This world needs more people like you Kenna.
Grateful. For. YOU.

Kristin said...

Thanks for sharing. I can really see a difference in your posts lately. I know there are always highs and lows, but it seems like you're having more of the highs lately. I hope that's the case.

The Wendler Family said...

The fact that you are grateful now for those experiences that happened not too long ago says alot about who you know you are.
You are wonderful Kenna. Really. Thanks for being so inspiring and inspired!

Jessica GaleforceOne said...

I was over at Deanna Shaw's blog and saw your comment...I thought she was talking about me..hahahah and you thought she was talking about you. Well anyways your comment made me wanna whiz over and check your blog out..I haven't been over in a couple of weeks. Hope your doing well. I have been on the look out for anyone looking for a great home for their little (cause of course your the 1st one that comes to mind). I look forward to seeing all the new updates to your blog with colors and names and such. Keep in touch!


Anonymous said...

You seriously are my hero. I know I could never be anywhere near as strong as you have been. You have so much courage and faith. I love reading your blog and respect you so much. Thank you for being such an inspiration. Please know that you have touched my life more than you will ever know. I hope to one day be as wonderful a person as you are.

Thank you :)

Wahines in Bikinis said...

Firstly, thank you for not posting anymore of your surgery pictures (they give me nightmares).

Secondly-You're great. Not just "hey you're great" but really, truly, WOW you're GREAT and AMAZING!

There is something new in your "voice" so many of us have been praying and hoping for-It makes me happy.

I love you lots.

Michelle said...

This might be inappropriate, but exactly how soon after losing your sweet Addalyn did you find out about tubby?

It's just too much to take in during such a short amount of time, and my heart hurts just thinking about it.

I hope you know that you're remarkable.

Kenna said...

We lost baby Jan. of '07.

Diagnosed with Tubby Nov. of '07.

Sooo, give me a minute to do the math...

10 months.

Amy said...

Mckenna, you are inspiring. You are a beautiful writer:) You have amazing strength.

lauren said...

that wasn't too long. not at all. i think it was just right. and beautifully written.

and maybs i got a little teary too.

Jen Nelson said...

That was beautiful.

Tina said...'re the best! Love you!

Stephanie said...

I. Love. You.
That's all I have to say about that.

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