Sunday, October 25, 2015

Standing Up Tall

Greetings friends and family,

Kendra's back surgery to inject cement into her vertebrae is done and we are happy happy with the results.  She was understandably not looking forward to getting a needle full of cement poked into her bone but her courage and peace through all of this was nothing short of amazing.  I took the day off work to be with her through the process.  This was an extended Doctor date for us because we spent so much time together without the kids who were at school.

The surgery went as scheduled and Kendra was released from the hospital a few hours later.  She wore her back brace for the last time as she rode in the car home that day.  She says the incision part feels like someone kicked her in the back, but her bones feel much stronger and she's getting around fine without her brace.  I took this picture because it shows very well what she is like at rest.  She really is this happy and peaceful even without medication! Even with significant discomfort from the surgery.  even with the side-effects of radiation.  Even with the uncertainty.  She is joyful from the deepest part of who she is and it just splashes out on everyone around her, including me.

This was the first day in seven months where we sat together and cuddled on the couch without her back brace between us.  Made my day and I know it made hers.  Trina came by to take Kendra to her radiation appointment because she wasn't sure how she would feel the day after surgery.  I watched her walk out the front door for the first time without her brace and it was momentous.  Not because of what happened, but because it was the reality of turning a page in the book of Kendra's story.

This thing sits useless in our bedroom now and it's wonderful.  Kendra is no longer held back by the thing that helped her back heal.  She immediately felt the stability of her vertebrae when she stepped out of bed the morning after surgery.  It's given her a great amount of confidence and given me peace of mind.  I no longer have to be the enforcer when it comes to keeping her from bending lifting and twisting.  She is free to move about the cabin. and the world.

Two days after the surgery I decided to go camping for an overnight trip with the twins.  One hour from our door is a lake and campsite with water and electricity.  $20 plus snack food and gas is all it cost for us to have a memorable 24 hours together while Kendra rested in the quiet house.  It was well worth the sleepless night and added stress of herding seven-year-old twins around a lake and campfire.

We sat quietly on the edge of the rocks overlooking the lake and sunset.  I requested a sixty-second block of silence.  No moving, no speaking, just observing and relaxing.  It was fun to pick them up from school with the van already packed and surprise them with the trip.  They were shocked and excited about our camping adventure because it was so spontaneous.

I taught them how to build a fire.  We each built our own little fire in the rock ring and lit them together to produce a big inferno.  The highlight of the trip was lighting little sticks on fire and watching them curl up as they burn.

The second favorite part was the electric lift at the marina.  We stopped by for some fishing worms and rode the lift up the hill from the marina.  They thought it was like a disneyland ride even though it moved at a snails pace.

My favorite part of the trip was laying in the tent with one of them on their own blowup mattresses next to me.  We had so many laughs and creative fun times.  The extra stresses of loading the car, setting up camp, and cleaning up were all worth it for those memorable moments that money could never buy.

See you soon!

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