Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Patience of Job

I have been told many times that I should write a book about my life, and surviving cancer. About a month ago, I added a new chapter to my "story" and figured I would write a blog post once it played out. I was diagnosed with Gallbladder disease and told I needed to have my gallbladder removed. But then about three weeks ago, my "story" came to a screeching halt. Let me start at the beginning.

My husband, Marshall, and I flew to New Mexico on October 3, for my brother's wedding in Ruidoso. It was a wonderful weekend with my family. We stayed in a cabin with my parents, my sister, and her fiance. We watched Tres and Liz exchange vows, and partied into the night with them. Tres also had the DJ play our song (Randy Travis' Forever, and Ever, Amen), so we could dance. It was truly a memorable event that I was glad to be a part of.

Marshall, my sister, future brother-in-law, and I headed back to my parents house on Sunday night, since Marshall had a flight back Atlanta the next afternoon. We had a great night watching movies and eating pizza. The next day we had planned a trip to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta,  and a quick trip out to Moriarty, so Marshall could "walk the land" we were planning to buy.

I woke up that morning with horrible indigestion. Traci and Jeroen weren't wanting to wake up earlier either, plus the balloons had been grounded due to weather. We finally got up and about and headed to Albuquerque. We decided to head to Marshall's favorite restaurant for breakfast, and then run post-wedding errands for the newlywed's, then out to Moriarty. By the time we dropped Marshall off at the airport, I was feeling pretty bad again. We headed back to my parents and they had just gotten home. By about 6PM, I was feeling horrible and had thrown up twice. This is very unusual for me. Marshall called to tell me he had landed in Las Vegas (his connection) and I told him I was headed to Urgent Care. He offered to turn around, but I told him he needed to head home and go make money.

When I got to urgent care they were concerned I was having a cardiac event and called for an ambulance. Two hours later I was headed to Albuquerque for the second time that day, where I waited several hours for the cardiac tests. Several more hours later Marshall made it home, and was ready to head back. Again, I told him that he needed to go to work the next day. I had an ultrasound done, and the doctor saw TONS of gallstones.

Long story short (sorry, it was already LONG), I had a hard time getting in to see a surgeon just for the consult. Marshall and I decided I would stay in New Mexico, since the doctors were already getting the ball rolling for my surgery, and if I headed home, I may be waiting longer. I finally got my surgery scheduled for October 18 (six days after I was supposed to fly home) in Rio Rancho, about an hour drive from my parents' house.

On the day of the surgery, it turns out my gallbladder was A LOT worse than the doctor's originally thought, and the operation took a little longer than the surgeon thought. While I was having surgery, Marshall was meeting with a Workman's Comp doctor. He had pulled his neck/back while working in the freezer at the grocery store where he works. (He had recently been named frozen food manager in September). His doctor told him he needed to stay home from work and could return on Monday, October 22, on light duty.

I guess his neck/back was still bothering him, because he went home early that day, and called me before 7PM Georgia time to tell me he was going to bed. He generally did not go to bed until around 11PM. I didn't think too much about it. Tuesday, he was supposed to go to work, and then see his Workman's Comp doctor that afternoon. Tuesday morning I texted him, as I figured he was at work. A couple hours later, I tried calling him. Still no answer. I figured he was busy at work. After several calls throughout the day, around 5PM Georgia time, I called my neighbor across the street and asked him to go see if the truck was at the house. Doug called back to say the truck was parked at the back door, and the house was locked up tight. He and his wife walked around calling Marshall's name, with no luck.

My mom called the store to find out if Marshall had gone in that day, but it turns out he called in sick. I told Doug to do what he could to try and get into the house. I knew it would be hard, since Marshall had that house locked up tight. All windows are screwed shut, and the doors were reinforced. My mom called the non-emergency police and told them what was going on, and asked that they send an officer over to assist Doug. After trying and failing to get the hinges taken off the back door, Doug was able to slide the guard on the A/C window unit over in the bedroom window, and see Marshall laying on the bed. The police officer with them called the paramedics.

I then told Doug to do whatever he could to get the door open. Once they got into the house, it was determined that Marshall had passed away in his sleep.

He was 57 years old, and other than the neck and back issue, as far as I knew, he was healthy.

The worst part has been losing my best friend, and being in Georgia without him. My mom flew with me to Atlanta that Thursday, and my aunt (who unfortunately lost her husband on August 5) drove in from Texas on Saturday. Marshall wanted to be cremated and did not want a funeral. We had a celebration of his life on Sunday at a local restaurant. It was exactly what I think he would want. There were some tears, but there was also laughing and a lot of stories. I think he was looking over us and beaming.

I have several family trips planned over the next month, and will head home to New Mexico for Christmas and New Years. The holidays were our favorite, so this will be pretty hard, but I am doing my very best to hang in here.

Maybe someday I will write this book, and it will be dedicated to the greatest man I have ever known. He was my best friend, and while he annoyed me more than I would like to admit, he taught me patience, love, and how to be my independent self. That is probably the best gift he ever gave me, he encouraged me to be me.


  1. oh Lonnie you should write a book baby!! I am so sorry for your loss.... Wow your amazing!!!


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