Operation Iron Man: Week 6.5 – The Final Update

Herb went to work this morning. When we were told at the beginning of this adventure that he’d be out of work for 6-8 weeks, it seemed like an eternity. In some ways it has seemed that way, but today felt like any other work day. Herb will be working half-days until he is done with physical therapy sometime late March. We continue to trust God for the provision we need to see us through until he is getting full paychecks. I kinda miss those little rascals.

My nature is to fret about the budget, going over and over the numbers until they make sense (can’t take the CPA out of this girl). I struggle with letting go and resting in my faith that God will supply what we need (emphasis on NEED, not want. I sewed new Velcro on my son’s shoe straps this week. I can’t justify spending $50 on new shoes just because he broke the straps on the ones he has. We repair, not just replace.).

That being said, I don’t believe that trusting God means that we are passively waiting for Him to move. I trust God to stretch our resources when we are good stewards of the things He provides. If we were out spending money willy-nilly we would run out of cash, go into debt and find our selves in a financial bind. Faith + action = results.

In the past 6+ weeks (3 pay periods), we have not dipped into our modest savings to pay bills or keep food on the table. To me, that’s a win.

But back to the main topic…

Herb is healing well and was cleared to drive just over a week ago (I meant to write an update at that time, but our oldest came down with a nasty case of strep throat, so…well life happens.). He continues to have pain in his chest that is part of the healing process. He is impatient with not having the stamina he’d like, even though he is getting stronger daily. For him, he can’t wait until he can feel “normal” and do all the things he wants. It will still be some time before he can lift his canoe or go hunting with his buddies.

Oh, and then there’s the itching.

That deep, inside, can’t-quite-reach-it itch. It is about to drive the man crazy. Some day soon, he’ll wake up and not even realize that it is gone. That day can’t come soon enough.

I’m so happy he’s back at work. As much for his mental stimulation as for the paycheck. But I have to say that I miss his presence in the house. Even when having a rough day, Herb took everything in stride. Samantha and I enjoyed having him around to have lunch with and to go for walks around the neighborhood. We just have to get used to the house being a bit quieter during the day.

I find myself reflecting back to mid-December when we first got Herb’s diagnosis. I remember my knee-jerk reaction of fear and angst. Later, giving that fear over to God so I could take care of Herb and the kids. We might have managed on our own, but God is so faithful to provide family and friends who didn’t think twice about jumping in with resources of money, food, and their time. Having my sister-in-law, Jackie, here during Herb’s time in the hospital was invaluable to me. She was able to be with him during the day while I took care of the kids.

My other champion was my sister, Gretchen. Every day she drove the 25 miles from her house to spend the night with the kids. Without her, I wouldn’t have been able to spend any time with Herb at the hospital. Even after he came home, she would spend most of a Saturday or Sunday helping me clean and organize the house. We were able to knock out a few projects that were plaguing me.

That’s what family does. They jump in to help without thinking twice. We are beyond blessed.

As much as I want to say, “Whew! Glad that’s behind us!” and just move forward, I know that Herb’s Coronary Artery Disease was not cured by the surgery. It is always there in the  background, lurking. We must be diligent not to let it take over ever again. We have adjusted our diet (what’s good for one of us is good for all of us) and increased our physical activity. We know that the genetic component of his disease is unavoidable and will have to be managed with blood thinner and cholesterol-reducing medications–for life.

I guess what I really want to say in this final update, is that it is vitally important not to blow off seemingly routine medical exams. Had our primary care physician not insisted that Herb have the colonoscopy and stress test, he could be dead now. I’m not being dramatic. We came very close to complete catastrophe.

Excuse me as I make an appointment for a mammogram that was due in October…





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