Oh My. For those of you who don’t know Zachary or his family… well, I’ve got a lot of updating to do! So, last time I wrote, Zachary couldn’t join me for the triathlon because he had a fever. Actually, I did write a little after that but I didn’t post it in my blog out of respect for Zachary and the family’s privacy. Feeling helpless and anxious, I finally asked if it was okay to write about what’s been happening, and I’m happy to say that Sandy was OK with it. In fact, she seemed more than OK with it. Thanks Sandy.
That was sometime last week and I’m finally settling down to face my thoughts and put them into words. I’m not even sure I’ll remember everything exactly how it happened or how it was relayed to me, but I do remember my feelings. Fear. Worry. Anxiety. Stress. And that’s just me – just someone who cares about these people I’ve come to know a little bit and their son, my walking (and sometimes running) partner, Zachary. My friend. I can’t even imagine the intensity of feelings that everyone else has experienced!
Do you ever feel like you’re on the outside of a scary situation just waiting to help, just wanting to do something, anything to help those in need? But you wait. And you’re relieved to receive updates. And you pray that everything will be alright.
When I saw Zachary after the Pelican Fest, he seemed uncomfortable but I got him to smile some so I thought he had a little virus that he soon would get over. Wrong. After a few days Sandy called to let me know he had gone to the ER. Next thing I knew he had gone to Children’s Hospital. Then Zachary’s aunt Kathleen called to update me – I’m so thankful! It was comforting to hear a real voice letting me know what was going on, even if the news was scary. And it was. They had found a small mass in Zachary’s heart and were scheduling him for open heart surgery. Doctors thought the source of the fever was the mass.
That night I had my first Horsetooth Tri Series swim and run event. I really need to work on swimming, because I want to be comfortable and strong enough to pull Zachary in the raft. I had just gotten over a 3-day migraine, at least the pain part of it, but I was exhausted and worried about my friend. I hoped that the endorphins from the exercise would bring me out of my funk, but I was just too tired. I cried when it was all over with. Sometimes crying is good.
His surgery was two days after that, and that’s when I had to write –
Friday, June 08, 11:30 AM
As I am writing this, Zachary is going into open heart surgery. He has had a fever since the day of Pelican Fest, about two weeks ago. The doctors found a 1-3 cm mass in his left ventricle. I don’t really know a whole lot more right now but am thankful that Kathleen included me on the email update list. I can’t stop checking it.
I’m having trouble concentrating at work, so I’m taking my lunch break to deal with my feelings. I just looked though some of my videos and photos of Zachary. I feel so helpless – all I can do is hope & pray that the surgery is successful. That Zachary will enjoy many more years of life and Athletes in Tandem races. That his family will be blessed with more time together. That we will all get to see his infectious smile again. That I’ll get to do that triathlon with my partner someday and hear his happy voice – his “words” to tell me how much he is enjoying himself.
There, I prayed again.
In my mind I’ve always been that sort of awkward person, the one who has good intentions but maybe doesn’t say the right thing at the right time, or whose words come out differently than intended. I find it easier to type, read my words, say, “Oh – that’s not what I meant!” and then I get to try again.
If I could speak to Zachary right now I’d tell him, “Hey kiddo. I know you haven’t been feeling well and I’m so sorry to hear that. You have an amazing family here to show you their love and support! You have friends and followers who love you and who are praying for your recovery. You are full of life and I can’t wait to see the sparkle in your eyes as you smile and laugh! Hang in there, buddy. You will get through this.”
If I could talk to Zachary’s mom right now I’d say, “Hi Sandy. I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I wish I could take away your pain and worry and tell you everything is going to be alright. Try to focus on the love, the happiness, and the light that Zachary brings out in those around him. Hope. Pray. Then let others hold you up the way you’ve always held up that sweet son of yours.”
Are those the right things to say? I don’t know. But they came from my heart and I truly wish I had the opportunity to speak them. I don’t know if I’ll post this blog or not. I’m trying to respect the privacy of the family and not intrude, as I am really just a newcomer. For now, I’ll continue praying and sending my unwritten thoughts of love and support for my friend and his family.
Are you crying? Because I am. But Zachary made it through the surgery like the champ that he is!
So much more happened after that, though. When it rains, it pours. When it doesn’t rain…
I would continue telling this story tonight, but it’s late and I’m very tired. June has been an incredibly eventful month. Zachary is still recovering, so send him all of your thoughts of love, hugs, prayers and wishes for a speedy recovery!