Come What May and Love It

June 30, 2011

"...every life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring. Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result."
-Joseph B. Wirthlin ("Come What May, and Love It")

June 2, 2011 was a day that changed our family's lives forever. Our faith was tried, we experienced one of the scariest things ever, and we also grew closer together in our marriage and as a family. 
About 2 1/2 years ago Mike started having “episodes” where he would feel an aura and his heart would race. After this funny feeling, his whole body would tense up and he would stare and basically be in another place for about a minute.  Then these feelings would go away and he’d feel fine, sometimes tired since they would exert so much physical energy, and often he wouldn't remember too much about them. Looking for answers, Mike searched online and came to the conclusion that these episodes had to be panic attacks. We went to the doctor, Mike told him his symptoms and what he thought they were, the doctor agreed and prescribed an anti-depressant hoping it would take care of the problem. Things didn’t get better. He would have these episodes at work, home, anywhere. Finally we took the next step and Mike began meeting with a Psychologist to learn tactics to deal with these “panic attacks” and hopefully get rid of them all together.  After several months, things still didn’t get better and it seemed like they weren't making any progress.

Then, on the morning of June 2nd, 2011 everything changed. At about 6:15am, I heard the alarm clock singing. I rolled over to tell Mike to turn it off and closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep. My eyes opened again a minute later to see Mike sitting up on the side of the bed, getting ready to get up and get ready for work; I closed my eyes again and nodded off. The next thing I knew, Mike was laying down in bed and having a grand mal seizure. I leapt over to his side of the bed to see what was going on or try to console him or anything. I didn’t know what to do. I ran for my cell phone and dialed 911. When the paramedics finally got there, Mike was unconscious and they couldn't wake him up. He finally came to when we arrived at the hospital but he had no recollection of what had even happened as amnesia is a common side affect of seizures. They got him checked into the hospital and started running tests to try to find out what had caused this seizure (when he had had no history of them in the past). 

We spent a total of 3 days in the hospital while they did a CAT scan, MRI, EKG, EEG, and numerous blood tests. Of course in these situations your mind goes crazy with all of the what-ifs and maybes. I remember talking to Mike about what could be wrong and he said, "It doesn't matter. Whatever it is, we will get through it and we will be happy." That thought has stuck with me and looking back, it seemed to be the theme for the entire experience. No matter what, we will be happy. 

We spent alot of time together, just the two of us, over those three days. As crummy as the circumstances were, it was nice to be able to be together and just talk and laugh. The girls went and played at friends' houses during the day and then I would bring them up to the hospital at night to give goodnight kisses to Daddy. I know it was always the best part of his day :)

All of the test results came back normal which was, of course, a huge relief, but also left us wondering. It wasn’t until we met with the on-call doctor (and later the neurologist) that we finally started getting some answers to questions we had been asking for 2 ½ years.  It turns out these “panic attacks” (as they were misdiagnosed so much earlier) were actually complex partial seizures (it's no wonder the other medication wasn't working). We always felt like the "panic attack" thing didn't really fit, but it seemed like the safe answer so we went with it. Looking back though, it is completely clear that these have in fact been complex partials. We learned that they have been happening because of a little something firing in the left frontal lobe of his brain. We don't know why, what triggers it, or how to stop it but we are hoping the medication will help.

This was certainly a trial that we never even imagined would come our way but we are glad to finally have some answers. We have certainly felt the amazing love of our Heavenly Father throughout this entire experience. We know that there is nothing too big for us to handle as long as we lean on Him and trust that everything will be okay. 

Mike is now on anti-seizure medication and we are told it will eventually make these complex partials go away completely. When people ask how he is doing or feeling, he always says he's great, never been better! He's still the same funny, compassionate, outgoing, and good looking guy that he's always been, and really he's been dealing with this for 2 1/2 years, we just didn't know what it was until now. He's my rock and I am so grateful for him. I am so grateful for tender mercies and for the love and blessings that our Heavenly Father has poured down upon our family.
"I know why there must be opposition in all things. Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives. We can learn to love it.

As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say... 'Come what may, and love it.'"
-Joseph B. Wirthlin ("Come What May, and Love It")

Through it all, when I was putting on my brave face and trying to be strong, he was still smiling.
Looking oh-so-cute hooked up to the EEG machine.

Diana  – (July 18, 2011 at 7:57 AM)  

I can't imagine how terrifying that would. Thank goodness he is ok and things are looking up!

Rufuz and Kare  – (July 18, 2011 at 11:31 AM)  

What a scary thing to go through, I'm so glad that everything worked out ok and you were able to find out the cause. We missed you guys at the reunion, now that you're moving closer hopefully we'll be able to see you more often.

The Ross Family  – (July 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM)  

Thank you for sharing that story with us. I love to hear the experiences of others and learn from their strength and their testimonies. I am so glad that all is ok with you both and that things are turning around. You will all be in my prayers!

Grafulas  – (July 20, 2011 at 1:56 PM)  

I hate that Mike has to go through this, but I definitely think your family's optimism will get you through anything :) I have Emily's bottle and lots of Soy Milk, we'll give it to you in Utah (probably not the soy milk..). Tell Mike he's not allowed to "read" Geryn's books anymore...

Kayleen  – (August 5, 2011 at 12:45 PM)  

so scary. I'm glad he's okay. I can only imagine how terrified you must've been waiting for the paramedics. I'm so sorry!! You guys are such great, positive people.

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