Attack of the Heart

I wish I could put into words what the last four months have felt like.
Exhausting, frustrating, exhilarating, joyful, hopeful, fear-inducing, tear-inducing, full of peace.
Mix. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I remember going through those emotions in the months after my return from the World Race, after the routine eye exam that turned my world upside down and put me through five months of tests and blood draws and doctor’s appointments.
Even a spinal tap, honestly.

Not understanding what (else) was going on in my body was one of the worst feelings I can describe because it was such a potent mix of exhaustion and frustration and fear and sadness.
Eventually the diagnosis came, but that was almost worse than the not knowing (even though it turned out to be nothing deadly at all) because the doctor told me there wasn’t anything he could do for me unless things got worse.
My vision, by the way, in case anyone was worried – calcium deposits in my left eye that cause the optic nerve to swell.
I’m losing some peripheral vision, but it’s not been enough to stop me from doing normal things.
Hence the doctor’s declaration.

All of those feelings have come back in the last four months as my family started with Dad down the treacherous path towards recovery after his heart attack.
We try to celebrate the small victories – good numbers, the days he feels strong enough to try to do the normal things.
But there are days when the ugliness of it reemerges – when the medicines are kicking his butt or the uncertainty of how the medical bills will be paid or the depression tries to set in.
I’m watching my dad struggle with the realities of the new normal, and I’m watching my mom…
Well, I’m watching her shoulder the weight and the responsibility of a lot of things that are and aren’t related to my dad and his health, and some days are better than others for her, too.

I think what I’m trying to say, and failing, is that it’s hard – harder than it’s been to find a closing for this blog that fits.
I know my family is neither the first nor the last to walk through this type of journey.
I know that I’m strong, and I’ve been able to step up and do a good job helping my family through this as best I can (and if I look like I’m going to start crying when you tell me such things, it’s because I’m not used to hearing such things… not because I doubt what you’re saying).
I know that, even though there are occasionally stray guilty thoughts, I have no reason to feel guilty about being halfway around the world when everything happened – I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing, and God worked everything out the way it needed to happen.
And I know that finding joy in the midst of everything is as important as it ever has been.

My family is incredibly thankful for the prayers and well-wishes from everyone who has expressed them.
Continued prayers, of course, are always appreciated.
Hit me up in the comments, or on Facebook, if you’d ever like more specific things to pray for.

Until next time.