Our 28-year-old daughter Anna is having brain/spinal cord surgery on Tuesday of this week. It is the fourth surgery over the last ten years. (Anna is the one on my left in this picture.) Ten years ago when Anna had her first surgery at Childresn’s Hospital in Atlanta, she was 17 and I was 45. I was completely in charge of her medical care. I was the advocate who kept saying to doctors, “Something is wrong.” I think I was a good advocate for her. I did a ton of research, identifying who she should see, where she should have surgery, and what needed to happen to make her better. I remember feeling the burden of being a mama and trying to make the right decisions for my girl.
Fast forward ten years. Anna and her husband Brad are both PharmD’s and live in Florence, AL. Brad manages a private pharmacy and Anna works in a hospital pharmacy in Florence. They just bought a house. And now Anna advocates for herself. As a medical professional, Anna has navigated the waters this time. She’s done the research. She chose the doctors to consult. And she picked the doctor and the facility where she would have this surgery. My role has changed.
Like most of you, I wear many hats on a daily basis. Wife, mother, counselor, friend, sister, writer, teacher, and currently Mother of a Bride. Beginning tomorrow my role will be to love and support Anna and Brad as our family navigates this unknown scenario. Will and I are flying to Chicago in the morning to be there for the surgery on Tuesday. Brad will return home on Sunday and my best friend will fly up to spend the second week with Anna and me in the hotel. She’s a nurse practitioner, and it will feel comforting to have a nurse with us. We’ll fly home the following Friday and Anna will stay with us until after Frances’s wedding October 21.
So I’m temporarily taking off all the other hats. For the next two weeks, I’m the caregiver. Our family would covet your prayers, especially Tuesday during Anna’s surgery. If you’re interested in following along with Anna’s journey, she blogs at www.annareidbowling.com and plans to update friends and family there.