Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So We'll Just Deal with It

On October 18th, a couple of hours before DH's first stent placement, and when we were believing that he only had two arteries that were 70% blocked, DH said, on the way to the cardiologist's office to get prepped for his first angioplasty, "Well, Debbie, we'll just deal with it."

Our approach to dealing with my most feared trial, other than actually losing him or one of my children to death, was to deal with it.

Dealing with it.  Comforting words, really.  Had he said, "Oh, no! I'm going todie!  How am I going to keep working! I can't believe this is happening to me!"  I think I would have fallen to pieces, but he just calmly said, "We'll just deal with it."

That is the way he approaches all trials.  He bites off a big job a little at a time and deals with what ever comes.  It reminds me of the talk by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, where he said, "Come what may and love it."  I always got a little aingst in my own heart when ever I heard that quote.  How can you love a gallbladder attack?  How can you love your child's mental illness?  How can you love a crippling ice storm?

Now I'm being asked to love heart disease that I worked tirelessly to prevent in my husband.  Knowing that he had a extremely strong family history of heart disease in his family, I cooked healthy home cooked meals, and nagged him not to "eat that cheese" in restaurants.  But he got it anyway, and now I was faced with loving this trial that had suddenly come up, a trial I had tried to avoid, and now I was dealing with it.

Dealing with it was the best approach.  Not looking too far into the future, was very helpful.

"Don't make any  life changing decisions, just get through the procedure and the recovery", I would tell myself.

That is how I surved the first three days, day one being angioplasty day, and day two and three, the days I followed him around with a blood pressure cuff and a pad of paper which I recorded symtpoms, and blood pressure readings.

We were walking on a tight rope for many days, knowing he still had a 100% blocked artery and not knowing exactly what that meant.  But, as we "dealt with it", we in time learned what he could handle and what he couldn't handle.  He couldn't handle walking briskly, but he could handle a stroll.  He could handle a full day at work, but he couldn't handle taking the kids to Seminary.  He could shoot hoops, but he couldn't run the court.  We, in time learned, that chest pain didn't necessarily mean a heart attack, but that his heart was starving for air, and that he had to back down on the activity.

After the six weeks passed, and we looked back, we were were amazed at how well we did deal with it.

We saw six weeks of more time together than we had ever had in our entire 32 year relationship.  More time to cherish the children.  We saw it as a time to take that old ladder and lean it against a better wall.

We had the best Thanksgiving we ever had; good food, simple food, hardly any mess or dishes, more time to spend with each other because we weren't babysitting a turkey.  We climbed the 50 yards of boulders of the shoreline to our local lake and watched the boys skinboard on the shore, even though it was windy and 50 degrees outside.

We walked hand in hand up the gravel road, a 20% incline for 1/4 mile, one small step at a time.  We laughed at the thought that the kids had made it back to the car 30 minutes before us, thinking they were so smart, but we had the keys to the car, and they had been in the water, and it was still windy.

We got the biggest and prettiest Christmas tree we ever had, and I had to help drag it to the car, but that was okay.

Then we spent two days doing early shopping together.  Christmas shopping with him, for me, was awesome, because he tends to spend more on higher quality stuff than I do and I didn't have to worry about him getting upset with me for spending too much money.

We went to the symphony with the boys.  We walked the 20 minutes down the sky walk to the Civic Center at a strolling pace, which we could do because I told him we had to plan an extra fifteen minutes more than we usually do so as not to force him to cause himself chest pain, and at that pace, we saw more things in that sky walk than we ever saw, a huge crane being used to put up Christmas lights on a nearby highrise, fancy people dressed in their concert best walking on the street stories below us, and many beautifully decorated Christmas trees.

"Dealing with it" became a gift from Heavenly Father.  A chance to slow down and enjoy living, enjoy people, and their creations, to enjoy God and His creations.  Dealing with it gave us time to talk, and once we knew we were past the worst, we had the chance to make those important plans we kept ourselves from making on the day of the first procedure.  We solved many longtime family problems that we didn't have time to think about before.

We fell deeper in love, and I learned that even though he was physically weaker than me, at the time, he was still the head of the family, and still my patriarch.

Now we are week past the last stent placement.  Since then, he has replaced the siding on our garage, which is the garage of the house we are renting, played frisbee with the boys, and had several foot races with them.  I am no longer afraid to let him out of my sight, and I am able to ask him to do things like replace the broken garbage disposal.

We are getting back to normal, but with lessons learned that will never be forgotten about what is most important.

Today he saw his cardiologist.  When she saw his weightloss numbers and his lipid profile numbers she got a huge smile on her face and said, "These are not medication numbers, these are lifestyle change numbers.  Congratulations!"  His total cholesterol was 88 and his triglycerides were 110 and he was put on "no restrictions in activity."  He is even allowed to ride rollercoasters in a few more weeks after his incisions completely heal up!

As we left the doctor's office today, he left me briefly to use the restroom, and I was standing there by myself processing the last two months, and the thought came to me, "We dealt with it!"  And I began to cry with a joy I have not felt in a long time.

It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  It was hard, but not as hard because the Lord was walking by our side and we had much support from family, neighbors, and church family.

We said we would deal with it, but dealing with it meant dealing with it with the help of  many people, not just the two of us, and dealing with it with constant blessings from a loving Heavenly Father.


  1. Thank you for this post. The journey our family has gone through is an inspiration.

  2. Thank you for reading this, Lindsey, and commenting!