Monday, March 12, 2018

Never Ending Fun!

The never ending cycle that is Chads health reared it's ugly head again this past weekend as my loving, but accident prone husband severely injured his knee by falling while doing some side work.

Truth? He fell off a bucket.  He was edging in some trim work on the ceiling. The ceilings are too low for a ladder but too high to reach, so he was standing on a 5 Gallon bucket. Less than two feet off the ground. He lost his balance and actually landed on his feet. However, the way he landed - it is believed he hyper extended his knee, it shot back - he heard a pop. I found him crumpled in the floor in agony.

We spent Saturday afternoon in our local emergency department. They gave him an x ray which did not determine much as there was a lot of swelling and fluid. There were no obvious breaks but that's about it. They said we needed an MRI and to consult an orthopedic surgeon. They gave him a prescription for pain, a set of crutches and a mobilization brace.

Today, we had a scheduled appointment for pain management follow up for Chads back.

The good news:  There's only a small bit of disc degeneration but generally speaking his lower back spine is in good shape. This means no surgery. All of his pain can be contributed to muscle issues.

The Bad News: There is basically no treatment plan. The doctor would not prescribe injections. The only thing he was willing to do was put in for an acupuncture consult and suggested water aerobic training to help strengthen his core to alleviate the stress on his back. When they split Chad open for his cancer surgery in 2015,  all of his stomach muscles were cut, which meant his back had to do all the work in supporting his frame - so we believe all that stress on his back is the contributing factor to his pain. Only time will tell where this is concerned.

Right now, his knee has become our major focus. He is unable to walk and cannot put any pressure on his right leg.

We went to the ER here in Marion, IL to get them to run the MRI since that is the next set of images that needs to be obtained in order to determine what is wrong and how severe the injury is. We hit a ton of roadblocks. Originally we were told the ER couldn't order an MRI.  We were instructed to call Chads local clinic and request they submit a request. Then they told us they would need the paper work from the ER visit on the weekend and that they couldn't do an X-Ray and an MRI on the same day due to radiation. Huh, what!? First things first. He already had an X-Ray done on the weekend, we just needed that from our local hospital.

So, I called there and they needed us to sign a release form. Since that clearly wasn't an option considering we were 2.5 hours away we were able to get the hospital here to fax a request.

It seemed like a miracle had been answered when Chads local doctor went ahead and put in an order for an MRI. That is until the radiology department here said the absolute earliest they could get us in was Thursday.

Chad can't drive. I have a job. This hospital is 2.5 hours away. He is in pain. Waiting an extra two days for just an IMAGE. Not even a treatment plan ? This was just unacceptable.

Long story short.  I took the phone from the receptionist and spoke with the Radiology department personally.  Suddenly they could get us in tomorrow. Better! But we weren't done trying. A trip to Marion basically takes an entire day and like I mentioned, I have a job.

We came down to the radiology department ourselves and I told them, tearfully, (lol) we needed this done today. I asked if they could throw an additional appointment on at the end - we were more than willing to wait -  anything at all. Please. They said they would talk to their head cheese and it would come down to getting approval for both staffing and over time etc.,

It didn't look hopeful. Until it was.

Not only did they promise us they would get it done today ... they somehow managed to squeeze him in! We don't even have to wait until 5 pm anymore, he's in there right now.

God is good. The VA is good. One thing I've learned over and over and over while maneuvering these crazy medical waters... You are your own advocate. Make your voice heard. If you don't fight for the health care you need then no one else will.

I'm so grateful that the staff on hand took time to hear our concerns and went above and beyond to help my husband. We are so blessed.

Thank you for your love and support

Update: Once Chad was done his MRI, they sent us down to the Emergency Room to get the results. This obviously wasn't good. It turns out Chad actually did break his leg. A Tibial Plateau Fracture, to be exact.

The ER put in a request for a consult, locally, for an orthopedic surgeon. They will determine the treatment plan once they review the images and determine just how bad it is.  The options would be Surgery (Worse case), A procedure where they insert a screw to ensure the bones align properly or a cast if the screw is not required. It looks like he will be on crutches, unable to bare weight on his leg for a minimum of 6-8 weeks (ONCE they fix him). We now wait to hear from the VA. They will call us and ask us what city we want to see the surgeon in. They will they contact the closest group and set up the appointment. God willing, all of this happens very quickly.

This is hard. It's hard for Chad and it's hard for me. There's just always something to deal with. Nothing is ever easy. So during the moments when I am feeling super stressed and emotionally distraught - it is THOSE moments I have to remind myself just how blessed we are and try my best to remain grateful and thankful for all the good in my life. Honestly, my biggest fear is the financial. I have no idea how this will work with Chad being off again for a few months. Once that question mark is answered, I'll try to wrap my head around everything else.

Thank you - again. For your love and support.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Colonscopy - Thursday

Just documenting this and letting folks know, Chad's annual colonoscopy is on Thursday at noon.

Prior to Chad's original surgery, he had to have one and there were polyps. Some were pre-cancerous but fortunately no cancer. Due to the polyps and a history of colon cancer in Chad's family, (and his own appendix cancer) he has these colonscopy's annually in a preventitive step. So we're paying that not only is there no cancer but also no polyps! Praying for colon health!

Thanks everyone. I will update again after the procedure.

We appreciate your love, prayers and support! <3

Friday, March 2, 2018

Three Years Ago today....

Chad's life, my life - changed forever.

When people ask me how Chad is doing, it is difficult to answer. All things considered, he's doing well but his 'new normal' is less than awesome but considering the alternative...

I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately. It seems everywhere I turn someone is fighting cancer or dealing with sever health issues or even dying. It's heart breaking.

With this day approaching and Chad's everyday chronic pain, I think about what my life would have been like if he didn't get cancer, or worse ... didn't catch it when we did. So many things happened the way they did for a reason but there was really one point in this whole story that changed everything.

That fateful day in the ER? When we originally went to the hospital in January of 2015. They sent us home.

They. Sent. Us. Home.

I was in Wal-Mart trying to fill the subscription when Chad called or wrote me to tell me to come home. His pain was back and worse than ever. I called the ER to let them know we were coming back and it did nothing. We sat there for hours and hours. After I raised all hell, we finally got someone in there but it was a long grueling process. Then? They wanted to send us home. Again.

I refused. Chad refused. If it meant driving to the VA Hospital in Marion, IL - We were not going home without answers. That pivotal moment saved his life.

Fast forward to the original consult with Dr. Sardi, who straight up said had even a few more months passed, we would've been looking at a very different scenario.

The point in this blog post is two-fold.

1. I want to thank God for guiding us and bringing the right people into our lives. I want to thank Chad for being such a fighter for his family and never giving up, even when he really wants to. I want to thank our friends and family for still checking in us, for giving compassion and understanding how difficult it is to live with this fear every single day. I want to be thankful and express that gratitude. I hope you all know the impact you've had and mostly - to Chad, how proud your family is that you're not just with us but that you push through every day...


2. I want to stress the importance to everyone out there, to have a voice. To stand up for yourself. To do the research and arm yourself with knowledge. To not just 'accept' what people tell you because you think they know better. Trust your gut. Fight for what you need - whether it be at the Emergency Room, or somewhere else - you be the commander of your ship. You're only given one life, don't be a passenger.

Happy OFFICIAL 3 Years Chad. I love you. <3