Yesterday was 4 years since August’s first surgery. With his 3rd surgery just weeks away, the emotions of that first time came back to me in a more real way. It is traumatic to send your kid off to surgery no matter what. But when it is because of a trauma, it is even harder. When August had his first surgery, I was so resistant. I was still reliving the trauma everyday, and I blamed myself. I prayed and prayed and prayed for a miracle. I prayed that August would heal without surgery. I prayed that things could just be as I thought they were supposed to be. And it didn’t happen. August still had to have surgery.
August’s First Surgery
That first surgery I was so nervous. I am in tears just thinking about those emotions. We hadn’t even met Dr. Kozin before. I had sent him a video and had a phone conversation with him, in which he told me August needed a nerve transfer, and that we needed to schedule the surgery. The imaging we had done had actually shown that August’s nerves were fine. But when I brought this up to Dr. Kozin, he told me MRI’s can’t show the true damage. The only way we would know is when he opened him up. So Greg and I decided to trust him. We scheduled the surgery and flew across the country. I know I was led to find Dr. Kozin, but at the time, it was so scary. I was mad at Dr. Kozin for not seeing August’s potential and the progress he had made. He had no doubt that August’s nerves wouldn’t recover on their own, and I didn’t want to believe him. It was major surgery, and August was only 4 months old. I dreaded this surgery more than I remember dreading anything. I didn’t want it to happen at all. I wished it away. I hoped Dr. Kozin would change his mind when he saw August in person.
August’s Second Surgery
The second surgery happened when August was 19 months old. It was scheduled for months before that, but Greg ended up in the ICU, and our whole world crumbled to the ground even more. This second time, I also prayed for a miracle. Had our family not been through enough? Could we just not have to deal with another surgery and trip to Philadelphia? We didn’t feel like it was a good idea for Greg to come. His health was unstable, and we couldn’t risk an emergency happening while we were so far away from home. So the decision was made for my dad to come along. It was good to have his support and to feel less alone in this scary thing.
This time, I will take August by myself. With the coronavirus it isn’t even an option to take someone else. Only one parent is allowed in the hospital at a time. I have much more peace about this surgery. I’ve done this before. I know the drill. August has shown that he is resilient, and I know he will be fine. Dr. Kozin has earned my complete trust (something that is hard to come by for any doctor). Thinking about how emotionally unstable I was the first surgery, it is amazing that I can even consider doing this on my own. I definitely have concerns about it.
Trauma is an interesting thing, and I am still healing from the trauma of August’s birth and life events. I suspect I will always feel a need to heal more. It is the thing that has impacted my life the very most. Even more than the vEDS diagnosis for half of my family. Interesting, right? The trauma is a part of me, and it will always be a part of me. It just gets easier to know how to manage it with time. No matter how much I have worked on it, processed it, learned and grown. It can still come back in an instant. It just takes a trigger: seeing August wearing a birthday hat (unexpectedly), watching an ambulance speed down the road, passing a hospital, my mom’s dog getting sick while in my care. I can’t always predict what will take me back there.
I’m Not Going to be Alone
While August was in surgery the first time, I was amazed at the peace I felt. I had been sooo worried. I had thought of how I might feel when he was in surgery. I imagined pacing the halls, crying, going back to his birth in my mind. It wasn’t anything like the reality. The reality was I felt peace and nothing but peace.
Taking August to a surgery directly related to the trauma by myself is scary for me. I’m sad I can’t take someone else with me for support. But I know I won’t really be alone. I never have been. The faith and prayers of those around me have lifted me up so many times in the past 4 years. I know that will happen again. I have angels with me, and also a loving Heavenly Father who truly does love and care for me.