Family Strength Overcoming Illness

Marleyna - Shelbyville, Tennessee
Entered on December 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, illness

The strength of family is unbelievable. Family is where everyone gets their start. They are there from birth to death and believe in you and your dreams. Whether you are best friends or they annoy you, they are still your everlasting support and inspiration, be it by encouragement or your drive to not be like them. Through strong, constant support and encouragement, they are the ones who can pull you through anything.

To my family’s surprise, my regularly healthy Aunt Stasi was admitted to the hospital this past October (2008). She had severe body pain, weakness, a red rash all over her body, and swollen lymph nodes bulging through her neck. She was diagnosed with severe pneumonia in both lungs. The severity of her condition escalated quickly and by the next day she was in the Intensive Care Unit. The doctors knew she wasn’t just suffering with pneumonia. They performed tests and biopsies to discover what else was wrong, but couldn’t find any answers and even thought it was possibly cancer.

The doctors had tubes down her throat connecting to her lungs to help get the pneumonia gunk out of her lungs. Aunt Stasi hated that tube and wanting to yank it out, she was kept in a sedated state. The doctors were clueless about the severity of her condition, so that left our family in a state of confusion and hysteria. We became worried for the worse.

Half of our family was here by Aunt Stasi’s side since the beginning. The others, hearing of her condition, made flight reservations immediately and were out as soon as possible. They all put a screeching halt on their lives to fly over 2500 miles from California, Arizona, and Washington to be by her side in Tennessee. Since only two visitors were allowed in her room at a time, we all crammed in the small waiting room waiting for any answers. There wasn’t a day that went by when there were not several relatives in the hospital all day, periodically checking in on her and talking with her. We also took turns staying overnight making sure things were going well.

Aunt Stasi just kept fighting to get better. Through steady visitations and great medical staff, her condition started looking up. Her rash was clearing, her body started performing normal functions, and she was becoming more coherent. Feeling more relieved and needing to get back to their regular lives and jobs, a few relatives flew back home as the rest of us continued to stay by her side.

Once started on that upward path of getting better, she continued to climb. Eventually, she was well enough to be moved out of the Intensive Care Unit, but stayed in the hospital for about another week. The doctors never figured out what was wrong with her other than the pneumonia. Whatever it was though, our family truly believes our great strength and support helped pulled her. We’re also thankful things turned out for the best.