There's nothing better than being a daddy to my little girls. Being a daddy to my little girls is hands down the best thing I've ever done with my life. Now, for as awesome and wonderful as it is to be a parent… there is nothing that can truly prepare you to be one.
Of course, when there's a bun in the oven you hear advice from every other parent out there about what you should do to be a “good parent.” The thing is… the advice you never heard or received back then is… what do you say to your little girls when Mommy is sick?
Not sick with the cold or the flu, but really sick… like in and out of the hospital sick… Mommy crying in pain sick. How do you speak to your children when that happens? Yeah, that's not advice people are running to give you.
The thing is… both Zoë and Kaylee are very perceptive and they're both extremely bright. They are both very present and can see Mommy's condition. They hear Mommy in the bedroom crying in pain. They see Mommy not being able to walk in a straight line. They see her wince in pain through her smiles when they're giving her hugs. They can feel Mommy is nothing but skin and bones when they hug her. They know something major is wrong.
We've been playing all of this by ear and making it up as we go. Some people think we should not tell our kids what's going on and keep them in the dark because that's what they would do. That's not us. We've been very open with Zoë and Kaylee about Chrystal being sick. We've been very open in explaining exactly what is going on and trying to do it in a manner that won't scare the girls. And believe me, that's easier said than done.
Both girls were so confused when Chrystal got out of the hospital and she wasn't better. They both thought that since Mommy was out of the hospital, she would be better, unfortunately, that hasn't been the case. Chrystal has been on a rollercoaster of downs and ups since coming home from the hospital.
What do we do?
I hope you never ever have one of your children ask you… “Is Mommy going to die?”
With teary innocent eyes staring up at you, searching for an answer… what do you say? Do you lie and tell your little girl “Mommy is going to be alright” when you don't know. I've put some deep thought about the repercussions if I lie to my little girls and I'm wrong.
What if the worst possible outcome for Chrystal is in our future and I lied about it? I would then lose all credibility with my little girls for the rest of my life. Is that a risk I am willing to take? No, absolutely not. We are 100% honest with our kids. In the long run, we hope it's going to make them into stronger women.
Both of my little girls have asked me on separate occasions “Is Mommy going to die?” It's so hard to hear those words… that's not a question you are ever prepared to hear. It's certainly not a question you're prepared to answer.
The other day I was sitting on the couch and Kaylee came into the room and gave me a giant hug. She pulled back from it with super teary eyes and asked me “Is Mommy going to die?” and she stared at me as her eyes swelled and tears started to stream down her face.
“Honey, I don't know. I promise we are working as hard as we can and the doctors are working as hard as they can to help figure out what's wrong with Mommy so we can help her get better.” I had to fight back my own tears.
She cried on my shoulder for a while and snuggled with me. I comforted her as much as I could… and for as much as I was comforting her, she was comforting me. I'm very lucky I have a very open relationship with my girls. They know they can come to me and talk about anything and they do.
The day after Kaylee asked me, Zoë came to me with big tearful eyes and asked: “If Mommy doesn't get better, does that mean she's going to die?”
I said to Zoë, “I don't know.” Zoë and I had a deep discussion about life and death. She is doing such a great job at being brave and strong… and just like her little sister, she's terrified. She is so strong and you can see the pain in her eyes.
I let both of our girls know… no matter what happens Mommy and Daddy love them with all of our hearts. And no matter what happens and even if the worse thing in the world happens and Mommy does die, Daddy will be here for them. Talk about rough conversations. Things you never dream in a million years you'll have to talk to your children about.
I can't tell you how much it breaks my heart to hear my little girls in that much pain. No child should have to ask if their Mommy is going to die and it's so horrible that so many do. I'm so sad it's my children who are asking the question, the light of innocence in their eyes is gone. It's been replaced with glimmers of hope dashed with despair and helplessness.
I so wish there was something I could do to take their pain away and get them back to that place where they were at 6 months ago. They were so happy and carefree without a worry in the world. They always had laughs and smiles on their faces. Today, there are still laughs and smiles, they're just coupled with lots of tears and looks of worry and concern.
Positive energy and positive vibes!!!
I'm trying my best to keep the positive energy up… and at the end of the day, I'm stressed out. I'm not perfect by any means… I'm far from it. I raise my voice when I shouldn't. I don't eat when I should. I'm juggling a million things and trying my best to make sure I'm doing the right thing while I have a million things in front of me. I dropping stuff I should be handling and handling stuff I should be dropping.
I track my sleep and health, I've been averaging 6 hours 20 minutes of sleep per night. Last night I got 4 hours 40 minutes of sleep. My plate is super full. I'm trying my best and I feel I'm barely keeping my head above water. I'm not asking for or wanting any pity. I'm doing it and holding strong. I just want to express to everyone… no excuses.
Life isn't fair… it never has been and never will be. Your life path can change in the blink of an eye. You can either adapt and overcome or crumble and fall. This is a conscious choice you make. You can focus on the positivity or focus on the negativity… either way takes the same amount of energy.
How I act and react to Chrystal's health crisis is going to affect my little girls for the rest of their lives. Are they going to see their loving daddy taking care of their sick Mommy or a husband who emotionally checks out? Are they watching their daddy work hard and try his best or watch him complain about everything and give up? Are they going to watch me practice what I preach by me keeping my head up and moving forward… or are they going to watch me go stagnant with a deer in the headlights look? I'm not going to let them or their Mommy down, that's not in my nature.
What they see me doing right now with and for their Mommy is going to affect the type of men they choose to bring into their lives in the future. I'm leading with love and showing them… teaching them… no matter what life throws at you, you rise up. You don't ever give up or quit on your loved ones, it's just not an option.
Life is so short and so precious… tomorrow isn't promised, good health isn't promised, accidents happen and the world doesn't stop spinning. Seriously, be grateful for every breath of air you breathe and for every moment you get to spend with your loved ones.
Life isn't about money, possessions or trying to impress other people. Life is about creating memories. At the end of our final day, all we have left are our memories. I want mine to be of my family smiling and laughing and us having an amazingly great time together. I want them to be of us going through trials and tribulations together which help us all grow together as humans along the way. I want my final day to be full of memories of my family and those who are closest to me, not of the things that don't matter.
We had this amazing summer of traveling planned and so many fun things and in an instant, Chrystal got sick and deathly ill, and just like that, poof plans changed. None of that matters… when she's better we're going to pick up where we left off and get back onto our amazing family adventures. That said, this illness has put such a huge focus on all of us living our lives to the fullest no matter what. Regardless of where we're at… we are living our lives to the fullest and we're trying our best to create good memories.
We have hope!!!
We have hope Chrystal is going to get better. We have faith everything is going to be alright and we're keeping as many positive thoughts as we can. We are also being pragmatic as we are also preparing for a possible worse case scenario.
On the positive side, we're super glad Chrystal has a pinched nerve in her neck… well… that the pinched nerve is what is causing the excruciating pain in her neck and face. Being that it's mechanical, we're very hopeful it can be fixed… that is, once the muscle atrophy which is causing it is figured out and stopped. Regardless, we see this as a positive.
We're hoping the muscle atrophy is due to a condition called Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). That's what our most recent doctor thinks it could possibly be. He's just treating her for it without testing for it first and we're totally on board… testing includes a biopsy, a trip to a GI specialist (which we're waiting on an appointment for) and treatment is antibiotics. So if that's the case and it is SIBO, this is something that is treatable and it's the best news in the world.
If Chrystal has SIBO… that would be wonderful. I mean, don't get me wrong that sucks… but if antibiotics can fix her, that would be such a relief. Then we'll be on the road to recovery. Regardless of which road leads us to recovery, Chrystal will have to have several months of physical therapy which won't be easy. And I would take that road any day of the week rather than being on the one we're on right now.
So far Chrystal may be showing some positive effects with the antibiotics? We don't know yet, she's only been on them a couple of days. So we're really hoping it's no coincidence that Chrystal has gained 3lbs since starting the antibiotics. Only time will tell.
We have an appointment with another Endocrinologist next week and an Ear Nose Throat Specialist the week after. She'll probably have to have her thyroid biopsied again. One of the biopsies she just had on her thyroid came back inconclusive, so, there's that. Hopefully, it's all going to come back negative. We have so much hope!!!
Thank you to all of you reading this!!!
My heart is with every family out there dealing with a situation similar to ours… dealing with uncooperative insurance… dealing with medical misogyny… dealing with scared children. Due to all of you who are following us, we know we're not alone and there have been many of you who have had and/or know someone who has had a similar experience to us.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us and offered to help us. Thank you to everyone who has shared our story on social media. Thank you to everyone who has shared with us your personal stories. Thank you to everyone who has offered kind words, prayers, and well wishes. We appreciate every single one of you more than you can possibly know.
Go pull your kids close, hug them and tell them you love them. Make sure the first and last words they hear from you every day are “I love you.”