A year ago today was a significant moment for Team Thomas
Around 7:30 in the morning, I said goodbye to my beautiful wife as they wheeled her into the operating room. I didn’t want to say goodbye, but I knew that I had to. As I went to the waiting room that morning, surrounded by family and friends, there were 3 things that I was hoping for.
I was hoping that by the end of the day my beautiful bride would be alive. I was hoping that she would have the ability and cognitive function to remember and recognize me. I was hoping that our baby would survive the 6-8 hour ordeal under anesthesia. I never mentioned these three things to anyone. It was just between the Lord and me.
Throughout the day, we gathered in the waiting room. We told stories, made each other laugh, some prayed off to the side, we ate and we waited. Even Susie’s perinatologist, Dr. Glover came and waited with us. Everyone did great in the midst of the heaviness of those moments. Every hour and a half, they would call my name. I would get the standard update, “Everything is going fine.” I knew not to expect much more than that.
After about 7 hours, maybe 7 and a half, they called me to meet with the surgeon. Susie’s parents and brother joined me for what may have been the most intense meeting of my life. Dr. Glickman came in, and he told us a lot of things. He got almost all the tumor. The pathology came back inconclusive, or at least he wasn’t sure about it. There were so many questions, emotions and thoughts swirling in my brain as well as being asked of the surgeon. I can honestly say, all I cared about was seeing Susie.
After another hour or so, and us moving from the waiting room to the Neurological ICU, I walked in to her room. I saw my bride and she was beautiful. Her head was bandaged, she had an IV going and was connected to all sorts of monitors. I walked around to the side of her bed. I kissed her on the forehead. She was alive and she recognized me in the midst of her grogginess. What a joy and peace that gave me in my heart. .
A few minutes later, a resident doctor came in and said, do you want to listen to the baby? We said yes. He rolled over an ultrasound machine and within a few seconds we heard it. Our baby’s heartbeat was strong. Our baby had survived the surgery.
I kissed Susie again and went out to the waiting room. I sat down on a relatively comfortable waiting room chair and I exhaled. Everything I had hoped and wished for that day had come true. I knew that we would have an uncertain road ahead of us, in light of what Dr. Glickman had shared, but that could wait for tomorrow. Today, I had everything I needed.
I ate some spaghetti, went into Susie’s room and made my bed, right next to her and laid down. Well, I mostly laid down, except for the times she wanted me to pass her phone to her so she could play Words with Friends.
A year later, I look back, we look back on this year, and call it our gift. It is certainly not anything we would have ever imagined or scripted – pregnant with a brain tumor – but the lessons we have learned along the way, we are so thankful for.
It is showed us how much God loves us. How much He cares for us. How much He is with us. All the things we knew about God before and have spent our lives sharing with others, have been deeply confirmed over this past year. What a gift!
It has also showed us how much we love each other. Susie & me, our kids, our wonderful families, our friends and people we’ve never had the privilege of meeting. All over the world, we have been loved and cared for. What a gift!
Each day there have been new lessons learned as well as old lessons reinforced. Our lives will never be the same, and we do not know what lies ahead. However, we do know that even in the darkest of circumstances, God’s presence, love, grace and mercy were with us and will be with us. We know that our love for each other will not dwindle or diminish, and that by God’s grace our kids are experiencing His love and ours. What a gift to go into each day with these truths reinforced in our hearts, minds and souls.
Happy Craniotomy Day!