There are no words to describe that heart sinking, gut punching, life changing phone call. “Andrew collapsed at work, Sam. The ambulance is on their way and they’re working on him.” My Andrew? My Andrew that I had just spoken to less than an hour ago? He was fine; this can’t be right. My head spun and my heart shattered. I prayed, I cried, and took off to make it to the emergency room, unsure of what I would find when I got there. In short, that day and the days following were the worst of my life. The emotional and physical tornado that took over our lives has left quite the mark and, admittedly, we’re still trying to work our way through it. That is why it has taken over a month since Andrew’s stint in the hospital to update or post much of anything; we’re still trying to process and figure everything out.
Andrew and I are private people, which may seem odd considering we have this blog. But I even fought this blog and said no to until I could no longer deny that the Lord was calling us to share our testimony through recording this journey. With that being said, we can’t share every detail of those 12 days spent in the ICU. Those were the most private, intimate moments that we’ll ever have between us. But what we do want to share is how much of an absolute miracle Andrew’s life is. And I understand that is hard to comprehend and grasp without having all of the details, but trust me when I say, the fact that Andrew is alive is only possible by the grace of God. The fact that Andrew can walk and talk is a miracle. The fact that Andrew woke up out of his medically-induced coma as my husband, the same man I fell in love with years ago, the same goofy man who laughed with me just hours after awakening, the same man who fights through every single battle with every ounce of strength within him, is an absolute miracle. The fact that Andrew and I are sitting here together, side by side, is a miracle. Our hospital room was frequently flooded with doctors, nurses, medics, ER staff; all of the people that took care of Andrew at his worst. They had all heard how remarkably and inexplicably well he was doing, but they just needed to see it to believe it. There was no way that the man they had resuscitated and worked so vigorously on just days before was sitting up in his hospital bed, smiling and laughing. Several nurses that had been in the medical world for thirty years made a point to note how they had never seen anything like this. And I must say, I never dreamed I would see anything like this. How many people in this world get to see an honest to God miracle? I don’t use that term to negate the exemplary and impeccable care and treatment Andrew received. The medics, nurses, doctors, and specialists worked tirelessly on Andrew, and for that, I could never give them a big enough hug and thank you for. But every single one of them recognized that things should have been worse. Despite their care and despite their efforts, Andrew should not be where he is today. The initial scans looked bad. The circumstances were tough. The fact that he has cancer complicated things. Basically, things were not looking great the first day or two. I did not sleep for those first three days because if things got worse, I needed to be there for him. But if he miraculously moved his head or squeezed my hand, I needed to be able to see that, too. That’s how bad things were; we were at the point where I just needed to see something. Something to show me that he was still there.
In those moments, I prayed to God that Andrew would wake up and, of course, knew that I was going to love whomever came out of that coma endlessly. But I certainly was not the only one praying. Thousands and thousands of people were blanketing Andrew in prayer and I truly, truly believe that he was being prayed over every single second of those days in the ICU. I know, without a doubt, that the Lord heard each and every one of those prayers and gracefully gave my husband another chance at life. Andrew woke up quickly, which is not typically the case; we were preparing ourselves to potentially wait days for him to fully come to. He didn’t make me wait long to let me see that beautiful smile and share in side-splitting laughter. He was there. He was alive. He was Andrew.
Three weeks later, we are snuggled in our cozy home about to make cinnamon rolls and watch the premiere episode of “Houdini.” Andrew is doing wonderfully and every day gets easier and easier. He is starting work again this week and this time, I will be at his side as his company graciously offered me a position since he clearly cannot be trusted to keep breathing on his own ;) . We have hit the reset button on our lives and plan to continue to live every day as fully as possible. The mantra of living every day because you’ll never know when it’ll be your last is a common one, but I truly hope and pray that after reading this, maybe that will sink in a little further in your hearts. I was speaking with Andrew a mere forty minutes before he collapsed and he was completely fine. For days, I feared that was going to be my last conversation with him and that I’d never hear an “I love you” again. Be grateful for those breaths filling your lungs and the “I love you’s” that are spoken from your loved ones mouths. Live each day as purposefully and gracefully as possible and love one another as the Lord has loved you. (John 15:12)
A note from Andrew: Even though I can’t remember everything, I just wanted to thank all of the people that came to visit Samantha and I at the hospital, and for all of the prayers, cards, gifts, and well wishes we have received. I know that Samantha would not have been able to get through the first few days in the hospital without all of your support and I am truly grateful for how well everyone took care of her when I was unable. Things are getting back to normal slowly but surely and that can only be attributed to the many prayers that have been said over the last several weeks. Thank you again and we look forward to continue to report good news.
“The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and then He saved me. Now I can rest again, for the Lord has been so good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!” (Psalm 116:6-9)