Face the Pain

The security guard led the way upstairs.  Well, actually I led the way. I was racing down the hallway pushing Lisa in the wheelchair while he was 4 or 5 steps behind me giving me directions!  We got to an empty room that was quickly filled with doctors and nurses.  Unreal!  It was as if they all just appeared. Moments later one of the nurses tells me to hold Lisa’s leg back.  I had the right leg and the nurse had the left.  At 1:57a William M. Yancey Jr was born!!!!  Life as we knew it changed in that instant.  Among several other serious complications, William’s most severe problem was the IVH Grade IV brain bleed.  Grade IV is the most severe brain bleed possible.  It leaves babies with severe brain damage, Cerebral Palsy along with a list of other complications assuming they even survive.
William was born on a Monday.  His Neonatologist met with us and would be off until Friday.  I’ll never forget what he told us upon his return that Friday.  He said, “When I came in this morning I did not expect your son to still be here.”  That cut through me like a knife.  It wasn’t a feeling of hitting rock bottom.  It felt more like I was falling into an abyss.  Looking down at William in his make shift bedding was as if he were lying deep in the bottom of a well.  He was sooo small.  I wanted desperately to help him and he seemed so far away.  I could only reach him through prayer.  A painful, “Hang in there, son” prayer.  I was in a lot of pain!  This pain was not ordinary.  Not like a tooth ache or hangnail.  This pain was invasive.  There was no substitute for reality.  Couldn’t cut to a commercial.  There was no remote.  I was engulfed.  By pain.  Do you know of such pain?

September 11, 2006 was an awesome and traumatic day for me.  Awesome because my son, William, was born just after midnight.  Traumatic because his birth was 14 weeks early AND he weighed 1lb-14oz.  Ya, they call that a 26 weeker.  That was my introduction to the word micro-preemie.

Just the evening before my wife, Lisa, and I spent a few hours at Virginia Beach General Hospital getting checked on by nurses because of cramping.  They gave us the thumbs up.  Everything was fine.  So, around 10pm we left the hospital reassured.  At 12:07am reassurance came to a screeching halt!  I was awakened by excruciating screams from Lisa.  She was in the bathroom, on the toilet, doubled over, bleeding!  My only words were, “What’s wrong?”  I was in a panic, a frenzy!  My wife was in agonizing pain and I felt helpless.  I picked her up, put her on the bed, put her clothes on and next we’re flying down Laskin Road headed for the hospital. 

I pulled up and tried to go to the same office that we were at just hours earlier BUT IT WAS CLOSED!  Off to the emergency room we went!  I ran in looking for help and found the security guard.  All he said was, “Sir, what’s wrong?” and I lost it.  I broke down crying.  “My wife.  She needs help.  She’s out in the car.”  The security guard followed me outside with a wheelchair.  I helped Lisa out of the car and as soon as she stood up her water broke.  To me, at the time, that was no big deal.  I did not know what it actually meant!  I had absolutely no idea that William would be born shortly thereafter.  I just thought that my wife was in a lot of pain, the doctors would help her and we would simply go back home.

NOPE!  God had different plans for us that morning.  The point of no return at times makes you feel defenseless.  Not everything makes sense.  Not every decision seems right.  Sometimes decisions are made for us and we feel completely out of control.  That is how I felt.  Completely out of control.  Unarmed.  Unprepared.  Undermanned.  Ever feel alone and the world as you know it appears to be coming loose at the seams?  Me too.  I lived it and I kept it together.

When I realized why God put me on this earth, Christian life for me opened up and became so much easier.  Lives are changed when others reap the benefits from inspiring one individual.  For me, this happens when I encourage someone who encourages others.  I motivate people to get healthy!   I encourage others both to strengthen their body and mind.  It is amazing what a few resistance exercises and an improvement in nutrition can accomplish.  How do I do it?  I listen to and learn from people. I take what they say and help them use it to make improvements with their lifestyle choices.  Most of the time I help them transform into a physically stronger, and mentally more confident person.  There are, however, instances when I use their own words against them to create change.  This is what I call Tough Love.  I tell them what they have to hear, not what they want or need to hear.  I tell them the truth!  To improve one’s health and body it takes consistent exercise, sound nutrition, time and patience.  It’s a process!  Facing The Pain of your own body and mind.

I am more than just a personal trainer and coach.  I am a husband and father.  My wife, Lisa, and I have a son named William.  He is amazing!  William was born a 1lb 14oz micro preemie on September 11, 2006.  We were told by the doctors that he would not live.  “He will not walk.  He will not be able to see.  He will not be able to breathe on his own.  He will not be able to feed himself.  He will be stuck in a wheel chair for the rest of his life”.  We grudgingly digested their bleak prediction, yet embraced our son’s complications and set backs with faith that he would prevail.  Here I am almost 5 years later writing about him!

Along with William, I am Facing The Pain.  There is nothing easy about William’s battle.  It’s everyday.  There are ups and downs.  I do my best to maintain a positive attitude, and, at the same time I have moments when I break down into tears.  The feeling is indescribable.  What I do know is that ever since I started writing about this experience, I feel better.  Many say that time heals, however, a friend of mine emphasized, “It’s not just time that heals, it’s what you do with that time.”  Therefore, I am using my time wisely and blogging diligently.  Writing heals!

I look forward to sharing  through my eyes and heart actual moments of my son’s life with Cerebral Palsy.   His life continually opens my eyes as a husband, a father, and a business owner.  William is my strength and inspiration.  I see where he began, see where he is, and see where he is headed.  Much like what I do for a living, it’s a process.  I Face The Pain.  I give myself my own Tough Love.

My son is a person with special needs and I believe he will do everything doctors promised he would not.  It will take time and patience.  It will happen.  I have embraced his struggle as well as my own.  I am hopeful.  I have faith.