Last year was a rough one. Being pregnant is amazingly difficult for me. I know, I'm lucky. I understand that. I have two beautiful, healthy daughters. For me, the growing them part is extremely challenging. But that's not what I want to talk about.
Three weeks after Lettie was born, we were getting ready to spend a week at Bear Lake with the Stewarts. Nic, of course, was busy getting everything ready, including the boats. While he was working on one at the shop, he did something that hurt his back. Justin gave him a pain pill, and he finished what he was doing and came home. That night we ended up at the emergency room because the pain was so severe. And that was just the beginning.
The past six months have been a blur of doctor's appointments, MRIs, steroid injections, chiropractic work, physical therapy, and prescriptions. And you know what? He's still not much better off than he was in September. It is so incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking, and I think that anyone else would have folded under the pain and the mental exhaustion that comes with it. But have you met Nic? He can keep going long after others would have given up.
As of today, we're waiting for an appointment with a surgeon. Nic had another MRI last week, and that's the next step. Six months ago, we wouldn't even consider surgery--just because it's so invasive and there's no telling how the recovery and aftermath will be. But if you asked Nic today, he'd have surgery immediately; anything to help lessen the pain. I'm telling you, the past six months have been a nightmare for him.
In the midst of all of this, there's little Lettie Kay Stewart. You guys, she has been a constant source of light and love and joy. She is human sunshine. Having her with us has changed everything. I know that's what new babies tend to do, I get it. But we needed our Lettie at this exact moment, and we didn't even know it. She fills the room with hope and makes you forget that anything could ever be sad. No matter how much Nic is hurting, her smiles can make him forget. And guys, she smiles with her WHOLE body. She smiles when you're not looking. She smiles when she hears our voices. She smiles when she wakes up. She is the force that has kept us going.
One of the many problems of dealing with chronic pain is that there is so much waiting. We know Nic is going to have surgery, but the surgeon only does consultations on Mondays, and the next available consult isn't until March. Yes, we're on a cancellation list, but so are a ton of others who are desperate to be seen. And I'm sure that after the consultation, there will be more waiting until the surgery.
In the meantime, we're doing our best. Lettie, of course, is awesome. In addition to her regular preschool, Norah has started going to Daybreak Academy, which is where she'll go to full-time kindergarten in the fall. They teach piano and karate and Chinese and have a garden and chickens and rabbits--so perfect for my free-spirited Norah. I've started training for a half marathon and actually enjoy running for the first time in the history of ever. Feel free to smack me in the face. Besides his health problems, Nic is doing well. His work is busier and better than it has ever been. He always makes sure that his girls are taken care of and even manages to fit in some fly fishing. We really are fortunate to have so much good along with the bad.