So, I think most of us know that we are not actually invincible but sometimes it’s hard to imagine that something bad can happen to us. It is even harder to imagine a health crisis when you are so dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle and eating real foods. It’s even harder to imagine your young (ish), strong, hard working (and handsome, I might add) farmer husband having a health crisis. It can happen…….. and it did, to us.
There are some health issues that can happen that have nothing to do with a healthy diet. Farmer Derek had this happen, completely unexpectedly, and shook us to the core. I hesitated to even write about this. I’m not super keen on sharing our private health information with the world but this is something that people need to be aware of. It could potentially save a life. Here’s our back story:
Late this past summer (end of August 2015), Derek was doing some landscaping as a side job. He accidentally stepped back into a hole. He hyper extended his knee and pulled his calf muscle. Not a huge deal, a good bit of pain but he pushed through and kept working. That’s what he does, he works hard to provide for his family.
He continued to have a lot of pain and actually went to the doctor about. Not something he would usually do. They confirmed the injury and said to rest it for a few days. He followed orders and tried to stay off of it as much as he could. Being a farmer and a daddy, this is hard to do.
I went into labor with our little farm baby on the first Saturday of September while Derek was working on the landscaping job again. He came home and a few hours later, we welcomed our sweet boy to the world. Derek had the next week off of work to be home with me, the baby, and our family.
Derek began to have severe pain in his leg, it shot through his thigh and up to the very top of his leg. He also developed a strange rash in this time frame. The rash wash red/purple blotches that itched a lot. I was concerned but he really thought it was some kind of fungal rash and a coincidence of timing. We treated it naturally as a fungus for the next 5 months. Yes, 5 LONG months of the rash worsening and constant itching.
In January, I began to worry more and became very concerned. I finally told him he needed to make an appointment with his doctor and have it checked right away. I suspected a blood clot. He heeded my advice and called his doctor. They had him come in right away that morning. As soon as they saw his leg, they said he needed to go to the ER by ambulance because they thought it was a DVT rash (Deep Vein Thrombosis, a form of blood clots). He reluctantly agreed and called me to let me know. I got ready and headed to meet him at the hospital.
After 10 hours in the ER (I won’t even go into the details of that. All I have to say is our health care system in severely messed up.), they finally had the Vascular Specialist look at the ultrasound results of his leg. The doctor was very concerned and admitted him. Derek had a large clot in his Femoral Vein, 2 more clots above his knee, and 5-6 clots in his calf. All of this after the ER doctor and Med students told us they’d be shocked if he had any clots.
Derek had developed DVT from his leg injury in August. It isn’t a very common thing but it does happen. The signs were there but we didn’t really know it. That’s why I am writing this now. Please, be aware of your body and your limitations. This is something that very easily could have killed him. He had been working hard all of this time doing things like, jack hammering, building fence, landscaping, wrangling livestock, butchering, and the sort. We were told he was a walking miracle. Those clots could have and probably should have broken loose and went to his lungs.
Treatment is taking blood thinners until the clots are gone and rest while continuing to move so more clots don’t form. He has been doing this. He did have a scary episode during his time off work where they think a small clot or clots went through his lungs. It was terrifying. As a wife, I have felt helpless in this situation.
I’m so thankful to God that He has protected Derek’s life. I need him, the kids need him, and I know that God isn’t done with him yet. We have definitely spent much time in prayer during this situation in our lives. This is not something we have ever dealt with, or ever expected to have, to deal with. Most people, especially hard working and generally healthy people, would never expect to deal with a major health crisis.
I’ll be glad when the clots are dissolved and Derek is out of the woods. Until then, he has to take it easy (MUCH easier said than done) and focus on getting better. This is not how we expected to start out our new year at all. We are spending much time evaluating life and the important things in it. Life is too short to take for granted. Perspective changes when you have a crisis. We appreciate your prayers for our family as we push through this and move forward with our life.