Today seemed to go good for Aly. She walked around quite a bit. She was able to get her IV removed and is taking her medicine by mouth now. She just took another round of pain meds at 10:00pm. The main source of buzzing and noise making from the previous nights is now gone.
The machines that monitor Aly's breathing and administer fluids and pain meds beeped on and off the whole night. They are now gone.
Today Aly was able to take a shower which that process in itself may have been one of the worst things I think a patient can experience. A nurse comes in and gives Aly a shower. So we are in a hospital shower room that even as nice as this place is it still isn't big enough for 3 people. Aly sits there while this nurse removes the bandages and showers her.
There have been a few moments through this process where I have truly thought that it was unreal. That moment to me was about as much of a personal space violation as you can experience as a person. Having been in surgery, then stuck in a bed for two days and then on top of that the nurse is showering you. I struggle the most at those moments for Aly, those are the moments you are not prepared for. Pain is somewhat a part of a normal life but some of the things that happen are so far from what any person should have to experience. Those moments are de-humanizing. Not sure if that is an actual word but that is the best I could come up with.
Aly ended up being completely unhooked from all machines so it makes going to the bathroom easier, eating easier and just more comfortable to be sitting there.
This week has been a test. When we realized what was happening to Aly's skin on Sunday/ Monday we were wrecked. We knew that something was going to happen that wasn't planned and for us that was not ok. I know for me since we had been home for about a week I had been desperately trying to figure out and ask God to show me what our life needed to look like from here on out. So much of our life is dictated by what we do for a living. That is what for Aly and I had dominated our schedule and our conversations. This next season for us will not look the same. The trick is figuring out the balance God wants for us. I had spent almost 7 solid days in the woods working and most of those days asking God to show me what does balance look like for Josh and Aly Taylor. My version of balance had not been good enough. My version of balance kept my mind on most everything other than hearing God and living what I heard to my wife and in my life.
We have taken practical steps to change this. We have changed the time we go to bed, the time I wake up. Being overly intentional about giving time to sit when nothing else can be going on and read, pray and then truly listen for and to God. At 5:00 am there is nothing I can do outside, it's simply too dark. In the past when life got interesting or things got tight I begin to dig in and work like a dog. I looked at life problems as production problems. Cancer can't be outproduced. Chemo can't be avoided by buying another flip property or putting on a great fundraiser. For once we were facing something that took our "bucket" of life and picked it up and just dumped it out on a table. That was not a pretty table, I promise.
For me this kind of came to a head when I heard Pastor O'Neals sermon on Fathers day which was about Wounded Warriors. Men are not trained to ask for help, especially not emotional and spiritual help. That would be classified as weak and failure. Only problem with that theory is the B-I-B-L-E. In one of his points in the message it says that "Failure to acknowledge our woundedness will result in us never stopping the bleeding".
I had finally reached a point I wasn't willing to bleed anymore because I was affecting Aly and that wasn't something that was ok in my world. About a month ago I had what I have described as being as close to a mental breakdown as I can have. I simply didn't have the ability to finish anything that was frustrating. Not a physical labor or time issue but anything that required repeatedly addressing a problem and seeing something through. I felt like I was drowning. The next week I listened to Pastors sermon which we had missed while in Houston. My honest thought was that I was at a point where I was willing to tell other guys that I wasn't ok, I truly believed I would get no response. I thought it would be the classic how are you doing? I would answer, I am not ok and then they get the dumb look on their face and you can see they are kicking themself for asking because all they wanted was oh yeah life is great.
Literally the first time one of my friends asked me I told them I was not ok and that person not only continued the conversation but continued to let me know they were behind me. This process has been repeated with probably 5 other guys and all of them have continued to speak life to me. Most of them looked at me and said they were either in the same place or had been at some point. They are not speaking "words of wisdom", they are praying over me, quoting scripture over me and Aly. I have been a different person, husband and friend the last 30 days. God gave me the ability to lead Aly. I just wasn't giving him the ability to lead me. I am not done with this process but I am fighting tooth and nail to change the course of where we were headed before October 17, 2011.
We truly felt in our time back after radiation that we were beginning to create our new normal. So when this happened and happened so fast beginning Sunday when we realized there was problem this took our breath away. Monday was a rough day knowing we were coming back and then Tuesday certainly piled on after that. It was a low.
Brokenness isn't weak. Brokenness is admitting a need. If you wait to admit your need when God literally breaks you I can promise you it hurts worse and takes longer. You bleed longer and then you have more blood to clean up.
There's my sermon, I bet you guys have missed these "moments with Josh", well Aly is out of commission so I got a little bit saved up and you just got a piece of my preaching. That's me preaching at me.
Aly and I look forward to being home. We love you guys and continue to be so blessed in the midst of this war.