Eric and I are back in New York after a long stint in Florida. Thanks to all who have been praying and sending your well wishes for Toni and the rest of the family.
A lot has happened since my last post. I really have debated how much to share on here and how much to keep private. I decided I'm going to try to give a general overview here. I just can't come back from something so emotionally intense and act as if nothing happened. For as long as I can remember, writing is how I best process things like this. I'll try to keep it brief, but I make no promises.
As I mentioned in my last post, Toni had a massive stroke on October 30. This stroke essentially wiped out the entire left side of her brain. They also found blood clots in her leg and lungs, and she has been fighting pneumonia as well. She was heavily sedated for a few days to keep her still and quiet while her brain was so swollen. On Thursday (November 5), they stopped sedating her, but she didn't wake up. She was in a coma.
As days passed and Toni did not wake up, the family was forced to discuss how long to keep her on life support, knowing that is not what she wanted. What an awful, awful thing to have to decide. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
Thankfully, Toni saved the family from having to make that final decision. On Monday (November 9) she opened her eyes, and on Tuesday she started to responding to commands. I will never forget standing next to her and asking her to reach up and take my hand, and she did. It was incredible.
As the week went on she continued to respond, and started showing signs that she recognized us. She would touch Eric's face (like only a mother would) and play with Kelley's hair. She even squeezed Eric's hand when he asked her if she wanted us to change the television channel to the Food Network for her!
These positive developments are nothing short of a miracle. Again, I thank you all for your prayers - I sincerely believe that she is where she is now thanks to prayers from so many who love her so much.
However, there is still a long road ahead. We still don't know exactly how much the stroke affected her, and in what ways. Thankfully she is left-handed, which means she likely primarily uses the right side of her brain, which was unaffected, so there is some hope. But there still could be problems that we don't know about yet, and only time will tell what challenges Toni will face. At the very least, she has a long rehab process ahead of her. She is also still battling the pneumonia, still has the blood clots, and still has the cancer concerns. There is also new concern about the fever she has been running since she has been in the hospital. As always, we are waiting on more test results. So please, keep praying for Toni and the family.
I have been so impressed with how the family has been handling this. They are a strong bunch of people and they love each other so much. Toni also is so loved by so many - the outpouring of support has been incredible. I hate that this amazing family has to deal with this situation, but I know they will be alright in the end.
These past weeks have just been heart-wrenching. Words just can't even describe the raw emotion that filled that hospital room as we all crowded in every day. It has been an exhausting couple of weeks for sure, and I know that even though Eric and I are back in New York, it's not over. In fact, I hate that we can't just be there indefinitely with them all. Now I can picture them all going to the hospital every day, trying to figure out what is best for Toni and the family, dealing with this day in and day out. I hate that we're not able to be there with them through it all. It's just such a helpless feeling to be so far away at such a crucial time.
But, we are far away, and now we have to settle back in to life for a while. Eric is back at work today and Achilles is enjoying being back at home. Thankfully his "camp" was so accommodating when we had to extend his stay (we were originally scheduled to fly back to NY last Tuesday, but decided to cancel our flights and extend our trip). They even gave him a free bath so he's soft and smells pretty. I have lots to do to get caught back up on life, but this post is a start. I'll have more coming this week, so stay tuned.
Thank you once again for your prayers. Please continue to pray for Toni. We love her so much!