Oh man what a week. Can I just tell you I’ve never been more happy to see Friday night than I was this past week. Let me back it up a little and fill you in on a few details. You might want to get something to snack on…this might take a bit.
Let me preface this post by saying, there are a lot of amazing and wonderful things that happen in the Barrus house. Those moments definitely get a lot more love on Facebook. Brielle and Brooklynn cheered in their first basketball game of the season and parents could actually watch. College kids made it back to school in time for their sporting seasons (we hope!), I survived COVID and didn’t share it with anyone in the house, Brialee and Spencer came to visit last week, and Ben was approved for Social Security. Answers to so many of our prayers are all wrapped in to this one small paragraph and many many amazing blessings. With the new year here, I honestly am going to try and share more of these treasures with you. Promise.
This week, however, was a bit of a whopper. A long time ago, Ben and I learned the value of humor in hard things and it surely was put to good use in the past seven days. Last Saturday, I decided it was time for Grizzly Adams to go because I missed my darling husband’s face. I cut his hair and set about shaving off the beard that hadn’t been touched since November. To our surprise, underneath was a lump on the side of Ben’s face, in front of his left ear. Imagine a bouncy ball underneath the skin, and that’s what it feels and looks like. There are some activated lymph nodes around it but the lump itself is not hot or painful.
It caused enough concern, that we visited our phenomenal (and amazingly patient) PCP on Wednesday. Some old imaging suggests that the mass was once much smaller and has been hanging around for a bit. It doesn’t explain the sudden growth or the unhappy lymph nodes around it so off we go this next week for an ultrasound and perhaps a biopsy to see what we are dealing with. For now, we are trying to not borrow any trouble and focus on the fact that lumps and bumps are usually nothing.
Later that evening, Ben told me that his ear was bleeding. While we had been at the doctor’s office earlier, they had cleared out the left ear of some wax so that they could make sure that an ear infection wasn’t the cause of Mr. Lumpy. Some of the wax was sticky and when it was removed, it took his left ear drum with it. So in addition to his new friend, Ben will be temporarily muffled in his left ear while he waits for his ear drum to heal.
Ben also had an MRI of his lower back this week. We have been battling intense tailbone pain for almost a year. It is excruciating for Ben to be in his wheelchair for more than a few minutes so the majority of his life is spent in bed or in a recliner. It has significantly impaired his ability to go anywhere and do much outside of the house. We honestly thought it was a deep pressure sore that couldn’t be seen on his skin but it just wasn’t getting better. On Thursday, we learned that Ben has a bilateral L5 spondylolysis. Essentially he has a fracture in his L5 vertebrae on both sides. We are waiting on pelvic x-rays to see if there are any breaks further down. Is it any wonder that he couldn’t be in his chair with a broken butt?! Do you know how terrible I feel for taking speed bumps too fast, being grumpy about missing date nights because he couldn’t be in his chair, or for the number of times a day I know he has to transfer to and from his chair for the bathroom?!
So yup…this week has been a whopper! Lumpy faces, ruptured ear drums, and a broken back. We see the doctor on Monday to figure out next steps. Since it hasn’t healed in months, we aren’t sure exactly what those next steps will look like but for now it definitely means more time in bed, a lot more laughter, and definitely some chocolate. We are going to try to focus on the goodness we feel around us, the people who have checked in on us, and the healing power of laughter.