Wednesday, April 30, 2014

On Blood Clots, Moments, and Just in Cases

I don't really want to write this.

I'm a bit a superstitious.

I'm actually feeling sheepish for admitting my silly feelings towards believing in the universe's signs... but sometimes, I wonder.

I developed a subclavian deep vein thrombosis blood clot on the night before my family and I were to fly home from Hawaii. It was April 13th. I spent that afternoon reading on a lounger by the pool while my devoted husband took my girls snorkeling on the beach at the Fairmont Orchid.

It was maybe only an hour or two until my husband returned to the pool with the girls, and I noticed that my entire left arm, shoulder, arms, fingers were swollen to a ridiculous amount. My first thought was, "have I eaten too many cookies and creme macadamia nuts?" I mean, a bag and a half on my own is already insane, but could that be it? I took some Benadryl that evening. I had a weird thought in my head of a possible blood clot. Only person I knew with one,  was before I had kids, she was pregnant and had her arm wrapped up.

The following morning, with no relief, or change, I called the hotel doctor who told me that I was not to get on the plane, but head straight to the ER.

The ER in Waimea, HI

That's how they found my blood clot. There's an entire saga at the ER, a kind bishop who came to help my husband give me a priesthood blessing, and a place to spend the night. There's also a story about how ridiculous our insurance is about resisting giving patients drugs they deem too expensive. There's also the story about my vascular surgeon quitting the practice and my husband putting his foot down to get me a surgeon and a date to take care of this stupid clot.

I'll share those with you - when I recover.

I go into the hospital tomorrow.

In the moments since discovering this blood clot, mortality feels a bit more delicate. I used to think I really enjoyed the tiny moments, but in the days since this clot, I feel my eyes linger longer on my husband's face as he entertains my daughters. I feel my heart swell longer as my daughters smile, giggle and snuggle into me. The sun shines warmer on my skin, and the breezes seem to caress me more gently.

I'm either getting towards, or at the age where some doctors look much younger than I am. It's this stage where, while I still feel young and energetic, pretty serious medical stuff starts happening to people I know and love. It's new, and unsettling.

I saw the tail end of Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays. He does a bit in it where he talks about the cards he's been dealt in his life. Father died when he was 10, has his mother his whole life, achieves his dream of a comedian, has a wonderful wife, and great kids and grandkids... it touched me. We are all dealt different cards in this life. Sometimes the first cards we see aren't ideal, sometimes they are. Sometimes the cards we get last aren't great, but sometimes they make the first few seem unimportant. We never know how long we have here. We can make the best of the time we do have.

Today I took a drive to run errands. I wanted to make sure my girls had some yummy lunches while I was out having surgery. My friend Kirsten is taking my girls tonight, and taking them to and from school tomorrow. I'm very grateful. As I was driving on this gorgeous, sunny day, I could of easily taken my thoughts and gone dark, and moody, but I didn't want to be gloomy, I wanted to be sunshiny. So, even though my arm is aching, I did something I normally would do on glorious sun-shining days, minus the clot. I dropped the windows, opened the sun roof and turned up my tunes, and I sang at the top of my lungs. It always makes me happy. I put my playlist on shuffle and I heard in succession, Wake Me Up by Avicii, Demons by Imagine Dragons, Trouble No More by Mindy Gledhill, Happy by Pharrell Williams and I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles. Not a bad way to go if you ask me.

I will admit to singing Happy with tears coursing down my cheeks. That song for me says who I am.
"Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah, Well, give me all you got, and don't hold it back, yeah,Well, I should probably warn you I'll be just fine, yeah,No offense to you, don't waste your time... here's why..."

After school my girls asked if we could go for ice cream. We have four different flavors in our freezer, but we don't have the bubblegum kids love so much. So, since it is the day before my procedure, I'm likely to agree to anything. Plus, Baskin Robbins' Pralines 'n Cream is the best flavor of all time. It's been my favorite since childhood... and my loyalty has never wavered. In fact, I expect it to be served at my funeral party. When it is my time, I expect it to be a dance party, I want Happy playing, and I want there to be joy. That's all.

During this trying time, I've felt my heart full to brimming with gratitude. I didn't realize I had so many people who were rooting for me. That has been so delightfully surprising, and humbling.

To my dear friends and family, thank you. You mean the world to me.

To my parents, I forgive you, and hope you'll forgive me. To my brother Chris, I miss you. To my brother Tim, I'm so grateful for the chance we have to be buddies. To my sweet sister, Jessica, the best sister a girl could have, you better tell me if you're not getting up for seminary... and make sure you remind me of this later.

Trunk Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands

To my husband, Ry, thanks for taking a chance on me, teaching me empathy, compassion, and showing me what patience, and love look like. You've changed me for the better, and I'm yours. To my Kalea, you are my joyful babe, and my thoughtful girl, you are a bright light in this world and I am eternally grateful to be your mother. You have taught me how to be a mother, and what fun it is. To my Melia, you are my darling cuddle bug, my mischievous sweetie pie, you bring laughter to my life, and I am so lucky to have you as my daughter-friend. I love that you always smell my scent, like you're hoarding it away in your memory. You are strong and that makes me so proud. I am so grateful God gave me two stunningly brilliant girls to learn from and to gently guide. I hope you'll forgive me for my grumpy days, and mistakes, and know that you two are my most precious, most important gifts in all this world, and in all eternity. Motherhood is the best role ever.


Well folks, this post is getting a bit long now. If you couldn't tell, I'm a bit nervous. Hey, I'm covering my bases, I'm preparing for just in cases, and I'll be off memorizing these simple moments.


ps. Hey girls, guess what?

I love you!

pps. If you want to stay updated on my progress, I'll likely share over Instagram (QueenScarlett), Facebook, or Twitter (@QueenScarlett). Prayers, good thoughts and happy vibes appreciated.


  1. Stephanie! What a sweet, thoughtful post. I have tears running down my cheeks. You are a wonderful mother and wife! Your family is blessed to have you! Everything will be fine. God bless you! Love you!