Written by Amber Fuller, Owner, LMFT, EMDR Trained and Board approved supervisor
I’d like to put the disclaimer out there before you read this that I will never push my religion down your throat. Different strokes for different folks and all are welcome at my table and also at our practice 🙂
It has been so so long since I’ve written a blog. I literally just stopped into my office to grab an envelope and a stamp to send something off in the mail and found myself right here. Writing this blog. About this one guy.
My life forever changed on December 23rd of 2021. I can’t say for the good or the bad. All I can say is that it’ll never be the same. I am a chronic pain patient and on December 3rd I went in for spinal cord stimulator trial. I had it implanted in my body for 8 days and do you want to know something? It worked! It worked amazingly. I literally went from a pain score of 10 daily down to a 0/1. It was amazing and I will never forget that week of my life. I, of course, couldn’t wear this battery pack on the outside of my body forever so they took it out and scheduled a surgery to put it back in a week later-December 23rd.
There I was, in the front seat of my Jeep, terrified of what was about to do. Something didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on what, but it was something…something just did not feel right. My husband and I walked into the waiting room and it was “that lady”…the one who wouldn’t let my husband go back during the procedures. There’s another lady who lets the spouses go back but she felt this one on surgery day felt this undeniable need to cover her butt and I suffered because I REALLY needed my husband with me.
I walked in by myself when they called my name. I told the lady who was taking my vitals and prepping me, “something doesn’t feel right. I’m so nervous and it doesn’t feel right”, The surgeon came in and took no more than 5 minutes with me in this environment that felt like chaos. It felt like there were people everywhere in this place, not enough room, and nobody to listen to my concerns.
“You’re up, Amber”…I walked to the door and whispered “Lord, please be with me, and the surgeons, and the nurses. This is going to be good Lord, right?”
”Count backwards from 10, Amber” says the anesthesiologist. “10…9…8…”
”Oh my gosh Dillon, this hurts so bad”. I was sobbing uncontrollably and I was in more pain than I had ever been in my life. The doctor comes over and seems unconcerned. I can hardly talk. My husband explains to him what’s going on. The doctor says, “I don’t like where I placed it but a 15 minute procedure turned into 2.5 hours and I had to be done” and then he walked away. My husband wanted to see if sitting me up helped at all, the doctor comes over again, “oh look at you! You’re sitting up, this means you’re probably good to go home”…I’m still in the meantime crying harder than I ever have in my life. I was in so much pain I dissociated from my body and everything is in slow motion from that moment forward. The ambulance was called and I had to pick a hospital. I remembered somebody on facebook recommending Southdale Hospital and every day I question that choice regret my decision…I should have gone to United…that’s where my pain doctor is located. “Southdale hospital..into the ambulance I went and Dillon met me there in the ER with my mom on the phone”. I have no words to describe the pain I was in for more than 16 hours. I was getting the Spinal cord stimulator because I became opiate tolerant which is a common reason to get one. So in order to get my pain under control we had to wait for a bed to open on a floor that allowed a special ratio because they needed to put me on a ketamine drip. In the meantime I was getting all sorts of other meds that not only didn’t help but were terrifying *(define K-hole)* In order to get to the floor I needed to get to I had to get on a hospital bed and it was then that I realized that I could not walk. I was so dissociated at the surgery center that I didn’t realize I couldn’t walk or stand, they just put me on the stretcher. But this was the place, this was the place that I found out I was unable to walk. This hallway was where I realized what journey would lie ahead. I was finally placed on the floor and was finding some relief. By Christmas Day I was tolerating the pain. I didn’t expect this part to make me cry as I sit here and write this. I think the tears are tears for myself. Christmas Day. That was 3 days. 3 days of undeniable, uncontrollable pain. I tried to stay positive about not being able to walk. It’s easy to stay positive when you don’t need to walk. I literally couldn’t even move my neck to fix my pillow. I needed help with EVERY movement. Merry Christmas to me 🙁
Dillon and the mom of the year got everything arranged in regards to our kids. She made them a bedroom in her house and took care of them. We developed our hospital routine. Dillon dropped Brody off at school everyday then came to the hospital and worked. This is where I talk about how the Lord is a creative genius. I had hired Dillon a month prior and had I not I would’ve been completely overwhelmed and, well, screwed. He worked away while I did PT, OT, hospital vitals, doctors coming in and out…ya know what I didn’t really do? Sleep. I didn’t really sleep. There was always somebody there doing something with me. I had too though. I had to fight and I knew it. If I was going to walk again and soon I needed to pull it together and fight for my life…my kids..myself. I took a my first unstable steps with a walker and an assist that equaled about 2ft from the bed to a chair on January 6th. I was so proud. I couldn’t breath and I Was in so much pain but I was so proud. But then it got better, around January 9th I was able to make it to the shower room, with two assisted helpers and a walkers. I came back from that shower and the nurses who worked with me and got close to me cheered for me. It was beautiful and messy all at the same time.
I’ve described the whole thing as a beautiful trial. I had the right nurses at just the right time to say just the right things. Nurses that brought me worship music that I needed. Nurses who prayed over me when I asked. Nurses who gave me prophetic words. Dillon had a pastor friends on speed dial to call when we needed prayer and we had SO MUCH SUPPORT. It was beautiful. Winnie was her name…she was my favorite. But also Tgea who knew just how to position my pillow, and megan who always came in bright and cheery, and kristen who pushed me because she knew I could do it and believed in me, and lastly Wegga, who got down to my level, looked into my tired wet eyes and said, “you’re going to get through this amber, you are so strong”,we also had an amazing therapist that helped dillon and I process our trauma-Andria Twingstrom…she was literally the best.
The most beautiful moment of all, however, and the one that this blog was inspired by was when this upcoming event occurred. This doctors who botched my back continued to be my care team so I knew I needed to choose forgiveness or this wasn’t going to be good for my spirit. There were three of them that came and stopped by every single night, but my favorite, my favorite was the one who ACTUALLY botched my back. I remember the first night my doctor came in. It was about two days after the surgery. I saw him and he looked so tired. He looked like he hadn’t slept in days. He looked beat up and tormented. I saw his eyes. I saw kindness in his eyes. I don’t know how to describe it but the moment I looked into his eyes I saw Jesus in there. I knew I had to say something…”Hey doc…I need you to know something. I need you to know that I forgive you. You’re human. I’m human. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Don’t lose sleep over this. Don’t beat yourself up over this. I know the pain in losing a client and feeling like a failure. I know you’re a kind man and I forgive you”. I saw a burden lifted. He was silent, but it lifted. And I do forgive him. I looked around the room for Dillon and he was standing there crying…my beautiful husband was the one who was really struggling with forgiveness. How could this man mangle my wife’s spine? How could he just do that and walk away everyday? To this day I think he still struggles a little, he moves closer and closer to forgiveness daily and I can see him a little lighter daily but holding onto that…man…that’s not good for anybody. I cried when I said it and blew it away to the Lord. Justice is his, not mine.
It was finally time to go home on January 12th. Could I walk? Yes…well?…not at all…lol. I had to go the bathroom so badly on our way home and we stopped at a grocery store where I used my walker and could clearly hardly walk (I hadn’t gotten my wheelchair yet) and I felt so embarrassed. Dillon was so cautious and made sure nobody got in my way. He guarded the woman’s bathroom door in case I would need his help.
We facebooked our whole ride home recording it. How thankful we were. How the Lord showed up at just the right times through nurses. And most of all, how excited I was to get to go home and see my boys. I missed them so much. We take life for granted…even right now, the little one is yelling and being a “not so good listener” in the background and I just think about the long days and long nights that I couldn’t see them. And at the same time, I’m so thankful for my mom. My mom gets the mom of the year award, and I think I’ll end my hospital story there. It seems appropriate to honor her like that.
Where am I at right now? Well, I spend most of my days still laying in bed healing. Every M,W, and F I go to pool PT and it is helping a lot. The pain sometimes is hard to tolerate but Dillon and I pray through these times and a huge shout out to Maverick City for getting me through all of these hard days and nights. We have had SO MUCH SUPPORT…but I need to clarify who the support has come from because it’s important. Outside of my immediate family(including my mom,dad, and sister) we have had support from our heart warming church family/pastors who is ALWAYS there for us…on speed dial when Dillon needs them…lol. But here’s the real kicker, we’ve had support from our older son’s school thanks to Amanda Abney, a church friend, who set up a meal train for us. We had a literal stranger offer to pick Brody up from out in the boon dogs where we live and bring him to and from school indefinitely until we have gotten all of our bearings together. Our friend Jess Puccini (Brody’s best friend’s mom) brings Brody to her house and then to youth group on Wednesdays. Complete strangers were dropping food off at our door step. An almost complete stranger came and did our laundry(thanks Jess!) and the outpouring of love that we received from my mom and dad kept me going day and night. Strangers. Strangers who were following God’s voice. Strangers were loving me…and the Lord knew I needed it. Because I struggle with feeling loved, if a stranger loved me this much, how much more does my Lord love me! We have ministries coming over to our house every Thursday to pray over us for two hours…some friends…and some people we had never met. They’ve all said the Lord is going to heal me, and guess what, he is…and I’m not uttering a single word that doesn’t align with those words. Loved. Simply, wonderfully, and beautifully loved.
I’m still on ten different meds that I take three to four times a day, working away at my practice while “triple-chinning” it in bed, and delegating work to my newly hired billing assistant-my mom. Who just so happened to have gotten her degree in medical coding and never used it (Dude…the Lord is such a creative genius..like…seriously). I’m still in the thick of it but I can see the sun rising day by day. And that’s how I take it, day by day.
I want to end with this. I had more than just that one dude to forgive. I was harboring this unforgiveness towards my mom that I just couldn’t let go of. I saw the way she loved me. I saw the way she let me crawl and cry into her arms. I saw the way she kept me safe and advocated for me. I saw her get angry on my behalf when I wasn’t being treated right…a righteous anger. The Lord knew. He knew all along that this would be the incident in which I would blow it all away, My mom is the best. She is my best friend and I’ve never been able to say that, and now, well now I can. She did the best she could with what she had and I love her so much for it now. This, again, is the part where I have tears rolling down my face and makeup smeared (jk…I only wear make up on Sundays…lol).I’ll take my mom who is now my best friend and freedom from resentment if it means I have to go through this trial. I’ll stop rambling about how great she’s been and about how great the Lord is. I experienced the Lord’s love through my mom…so not only has my mom become my best friend, but so has my Jehovah Jireh. I’ve strategically been watching (The Chosen) during this time and I can no longer deny that he is living and breathing and working in and through me and others. I’ve gotten two best friends and a new bedroom *my dream room in our house that I always wanted to be our bedroom but that was to much work to turn into our bedroom until we were forced to make it one)*, and a deeper relationship with my husband through all of this. I’ve learned the church loves me and so do strangers. I’ve learned that letting it go is much easier than holding onto it. This doesn’t mean don’t have boundaries. Have GOOD STRONG HEALTHY BOUNDARIES. I’ve had to practice those a lot during this time. But let the Lord be the judge. Let things go. Don’t dwell. It’ll eat you up inside…literally…hold on to self care and don’t let people cross you, but also, let those who love you in…life is so fruitful when you do. Practice forgiveness and it’ll become contagious.
-Mom, I love you<3