It is past 1:00am and I should be sleeping, but I just couldn't sleep. There are plenty of school related things I should be doing, but my mind is racing and I cannot concentrate.
In 2 days February will be over, and I cannot help but to think of all the eye-opening experiences I have had in 2011...and it has been less than 2 months.
You always hear about people suffering from a variety of medical problems but you can never really understand how fast life can change until you have an experience like that with someone in your family.
2011 started out with my mother in law (one of the most health-conscious people I know) getting open heart surgery to replace a valve and to remove an aneurysm. Lisa is such a strong person and we are so blessed that she has recovered very well with no problems.
We were told by the doctors that if she had not listened to her gut feeling to go get her heart murmur checked, that this year it was highly likely (if not expected) that one day she would have been out running, her aneurysm would have burst, and she would have been gone, just like that.
Naturally we took Mitch in to the cardiologist to get his heart checked since this condition is genetic...and have discovered that Mitch has the same valve problem. Nothing to freak out about immediately, as he is still young and his heart is healthy...for now. He will have to follow up with a cardiologist a minimum of once a year to get it checked, and it is inevitable that he will someday need surgery as the problem worsens. It is a blessing that we know this so soon and can keep track of it, but that doesn't change the fact that it will constantly be in the back of my mind, haunting me. I will always be worried whether his valve problem is causing an aneurysm to form...until finally our yearly checkup comes around and then I'll be good for a few months until the worry sets in again.
The last major medical problem we have recently discovered is that my cousin in law, Alexis Kaufusi has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, stage 3 that has spread to her liver, spleen, and the outer part of her skeletal frame. It is hard for me to grasp because she is so young, has so much life left to live. But I know if anyone can get through this, it is Alexis because she is strong and she is a fighter. She has also had a very good attitude about this whole situation, which I hear is a big factor in helping your body fight it off. You can follow her battle here: http://alexiskaufusi.blogspot.com/
I guess these situations have made me come into grip with reality. When Mitch and I volunteered at the hospital every Sunday, we saw some very sad things but it didn't affect me as much as the past 2 months have. I guess I have just never had things like this happen to close, young members of my family. I have had grandparents who have passed away because of health issues, but it is a completely different feeling when it happens to people so young who still have so much life to live.
These experiences have deepened my passion for wanting to be a nurse, for wanting to have a permanent positive effect on people. I want to help save lives. I want to help bring new lives into the world. I want to comfort those who feel like the struggle is too much to bear and I want to be there for the people who feel like they are alone. I want to be a tool that heavenly father can use in his miracles, whether it is the miracle of healing, the miracle of bringing a new life into the world, or the miracle of helping people find comfort in the last moments of their lives on earth.
I have never been very good at expressing my feelings about things like this, and I don't feel like I let Lisa and Alexis know just how much they mean to me in my life. Its amazing how closely tied your relationship with someone can become in such a short time. Its scary how one moment everything can be fine and the next moment your life can change so quickly. I feel like Mitch and his family are so much better at handling things like this because they had to overcome one of the toughest family tragedies ever. When I think about Daniel, I miss him and my heart hurts inside even though I never got to meet him, but I know someday I will.
I get so much comfort from the gospel. I am blessed to feel and know that this life is not the end, there is so much more after this. So blessed to know that every struggle we go through in life is only to make us stronger, and that everything happens for a reason. So blessed to know that when we have to part with someone in our family who's time it is to move on, that good bye is never forever. So blessed to know that we are never given a trial that we cannot endure.
I started this blog post with the intentions of letting everyone know just how much they mean to me and I ended up rambling a lot. Even though I feel like I don't always do a good job of expressing it, I just want every one to know that my love for my family, both my "original" and my "new in-laws" family is deeper than I can even begin to describe. Life is so precious and those little moments we get to spend with each other mean the world to me. I am blessed to have each and every one of you a part of my life and I am so thankful that we will be a part of each other's lives for all eternity. I am sorry if I don't talk to you enough. I am sorry if I seem to put my studying before spending time with you. I am sorry if I have ever done anything to offend you, and I am sorry if I have not told you recently how much you really do mean to me.
I envy Mitch's passion, positive energy, and his ability to constantly make everyone feel how much they mean to him every second while in his presence. He is the best husband I could have ever dreamed for and I love him so much. Thank you to my in-law family for being a part of Mitch's life and for helping to mold him into such an amazing person. Thank you to my family for being a part of my life and for helping to mold me into a person who was somehow able to get the attention of such a wonderful man.