Friday, July 29, 2011

Falling in Love All Over Again

After three hours of Kevin being in the OR and me being on the verge of a breakdown because the procedure that was only supposed to last a little over an hour ended up being over three hours. Panic was beginning to set in to the point I had to ask the Red Cross Volunteer woman if she could find out what was going on with my husband. Of course, she went to the OR area to check the status of his procedure and find out what was taking so long. She was only away from a few minutes and came back with the news that they were in the process of transferring him from the OR to the recovery area and that his doctor would be visiting with me within moments.

Not long after the conversation with this sweet lady, Kevin's neurosurgeon came in to get me and Nicholas. As we were walking to the recovery area, Dr. Caram explained all that had taken place and why it had taken double to time. Once he had made the incision and was in the neck area, he was able to see the extent of the damages. He was able to see that the MRI did not show how horrible things really were and what had been done to Kevin after being hit with so many IED's. Kevin has severe arthritis and bone spurs in his neck as well as the bones crushing down on his neck. There was a lot of drilling and moving around in order to replace a disc and perform a fusion. He had bones pressing down on the nerves that was causing a constant pain in his neck, shoulders, and stabbing headaches. 

As we approached the recovery area, I saw my husband lying in the bed not even knowing who he was or where he was at that moment. I saw a side of him that I had never seen, even after he had his arm surgeries he wasn't as bad. He kept lifting his arms and placing his hands against his heads in hopes of trying to ease the pain. The good sign that I immediately picked up on was that my husband was lifting his arms again with no problem. But, to see him in that amount of pain I felt my heart just ache. For about an hour they kept pushing the pain meds through him in hopes to alleviate some of the pain. I felt helpless seeing him this way. Yet, he kept grabbing onto me and keeping me as close to him as he could.

About an hour after being in the recovery area, we were taken a few floors up to a room that he would be staying the night in. During the few hours that I was able to stay with him, Kevin kept me laying beside him, holding me close, which Nic played on my phone or watched a movie. I felt like at some points I was Kev's crutch as he tried to hard to not let me see the pain he was in. I don't think he realized that it all showed through just by looking at his eyes. Through this time, Kev kept telling me how much he loves me and yet, I still felt helpless because I couldn't just make him feel better.

During this time, I felt my heart break into a million pieces as I watched the battles, yet at the same time I felt my heart swell with pride knowing what all he has done and been through. I caught myself on multiple moments after he pulled me beside him to lay with him on his bed, tearing up and trying my hardest not to shed even a single tear. I mean, how do you explain to someone fresh out of surgery the thoughts that were going through my mind. Everything from the past two deployments and his injuries became raw and fresh to me all over again. My husband has honestly lived through the true hell of combat. He has done, seen, witnessed what we all fear or worse, what we all imagine the most difficult situations to be in war. He pulled convoy security, he did the recovery missions, he was involved in multiple firefights. He's lived the true hell of war.

For the first time since his return in 2007 and again in 2009, everything truly hit me. It all came falling down on me like a pile of bricks. When I returned home that evening, the tears just poured. I often hear many wives mad and yelling at the world because their spouse is no longer the person that they sent off to war. I know this is true.... Yet, how can one find so much anger in this situation. All I could think was, my husband came home. Even if he has severe problems with PTSD, TBI, sleep apnea, skin cancer, and everything else that has come out of the deployments, we can work through it all. He's home with me and our kids and he is alive. There were so many times over there when things could have gone differently. I could have been one of the many that had to live through the feared and dreaded speech of "On behalf of the United States Army, we regret to inform you...", yet I wasn't. I didn't have to explain to our children that their daddy wasn't coming home. I haven't had to rebuild my life, alone, while daily just trying to keep it together because my spouse didn't come home physically.

So, here I am, lucky and relieved because I can lay my head down every night with Kevin beside me. As I write this, I feel selfish and in pain because I know how many others there are that are no longer able to experience this any longer. In the end, regardless of what war has brought to my house, I no longer have doubts, fears, or worries that we not overcome everything. Sure, life and marriage won't always be easy, nor do I expect it to be. However, something during the recovery period following Kev's surgery hit me hard and I found myself falling in love all over again with this man that I met years ago and have been blessed to share my life with. War changes people, but it's what you make of it in the end and the determination a spouse and veteran have to make things work. I welcome the new changes that lie ahead, including the challenges that come after combat.  Kevin will never be the same mentally or physically again as he was before he ever deployed, yet he will always be the man I love and continue sharing my life with. 


  1. Beautifully expressed, sweetie! You and Kev have a powerful love! You are an amazing wife and mother and I'm proud to call you my friend. (((hugs)))

  2. Beautifully expressed, sweetie! You and Kev's love for each other is powerful! You are an amazing wife and mother and I'm proud to call you my friend. (((hugs)))

  3. Thank you so much, Steph! (((hugs)))

  4. Wow. I ran into your post on facebook and clicked on your link out of curiosity. I know I don't know you but we are friends through VOW I believe. Anyhow I found your blog very powerful and heartfelt. Your words are encouraging, My husband also has a TBI and PTSD he hasn't had surgery or anything, he is supposed to but that's a whole other story. I just wanted to say that you are very strong and have a positive attitude, may God bless you and your family!

  5. So touching, and tender, and raw. May this serve as a reminder to love hard and treat eachother with the knowledge that life as we know it can change/has changed/and will undoubtedly change again, in the blink of an eye. You are a beautiful soul and I praise God for sharing you and your husband we me....(((hugs)))) and peace, and gentle days to you.

  6. What a wonderful reminder to all of us, Britt. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!


  7. Thank you so much, everyone. I could never explain what each of your words mean to me, as well as the fact that you took the time to read my thoughts and emotions on something that means so much to me. Shayla, if you ever need anything, please always feel free to contact me! I am just a message away!

    Life is too short in general and in the military life we lost moments, hours, days, months, and even years. It's what we do with it in between these times that counts the most. I share my experiences because I want others to know they are never alone!

    Thank you so much to each of you for reading and commenting! (((hugs))) to you all!