Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ari remains in "critical" condition, but stable

Written by Elizabeth Lane Hibbard

"How has Ari been doing?" I called Travis directly tonight. I hadn't heard any news by 6:30 this evening. Usually the email or texts are buzzing with updates. I had an especially busy day, so I didn't do my follow up as early as I would have liked. However, I crossed my fingers and hoped that no news was good news. Travis who is famously optimistic replied to me, "Well, she's in critical condition. Her spleen and liver have taken about as much damage as they can handle. Her platelets are low. Her stomach is swollen and we can see the outline of her liver. She's going to get another blood transfusion tonight. But, she's looking good." He had his usual happy, unwavering spirit that is familiar to anyone who knows Travis.

He further explained that they have not been able to make a diagnosis regarding her “other” medical condition that appears to be completely separate from LCH. As you may recall, she is also suffering from a metabolic condition which does not allow her to metabolize proteins. In an effort to discover a possible diagnosis, her doctors discussed her case in an international medical forum. The doctors were not able to come up with an answer as her tests don’t indicate anything that they have seen. They told Travis that they do believe it is fatal. Meaning, if they can’t find a way to treat it, it will cause her death.

I had a good talk with Travis. He’s as happy as I’ve ever heard him. I know that may seem strange for someone in his situation, but if you know Travis at all, you know he has an unusual optimism unseen in very, very few people. I believe if he would have lived during the Holocaust and been put in a Concentration camp he would have organized a self-improvement sector. He would have made friends with the guards and invited them to his motivational seminars. If they asked him to dig a ditch, he would have made an irrigation canal. He has no prejudice or malice towards any man. And, his faith and belief in his Heavenly Father’s plan is unshakeable. I could say the same for Haley.

I think my point is even more illustrated in a story Travis told me tonight. He said that the doctors came in to talk to him and Haley. They suggested that they get counseling for their situation. Travis and Haley looked and each other and said, “Oh, we’re fine. We don’t need counseling. It would just be a waste of time.”

After continued prodding from the doctors for them to get counseling, they finally said, “Hey, most couples in this situation are blaming each other; blaming the doctors; angry, confused, and it tears them apart. We don’t believe you understand the gravity of your situation.”

Travis said, “We understand. We know her situation is serious. We know full well it is a miracle she is still here. We know she may not make it.”

The doctor said, “It’s just that we have seen you around the hospital. You seem to have an extra stride in your step. You seem happy. You and Haley are visiting with the nurses, smiling, and happy. We just don’t want you to have too much false hope.”

“Well, you’ve just met Travis and Haley Lane. That’s how we are,” Travis responded.

I know that they may seem like they are in denial, but truly Travis and Haley are two of the most happy-go-lucky people you may ever meet. Furthermore, I know that Haley’s faith is so strong and she has such a faith in her Father-in-Heaven that she puts complete trust in the hand of the Lord. I want you to think about someone, anyone you know that never says anything bad about anybody. I only know one person—and that’s Haley. She is pure in heart, guileless, and full of faith. Where ever this trial is taking Travis and Haley, they are the kind of people that will end up on higher ground when it is over.

I asked Travis, “Do you have anything specific that you want people to pray for?” He answered, “I don’t know what to tell people to pray for. I hope for peace. I know there is purpose in all of this. I can feel the love, support, and prayers from everyone.”

I told him I wanted to update the blog as so many people are concerned about how she is doing. I said, “Is there anything you want anyone to know?” He said, “Let everyone know that if they come and visit us they can kill two birds with one stone.”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“Vicki and Jaden will be checking in to Primary Children’s tomorrow afternoon. Her seizures have gotten worse and they want her to get here as soon as possible. So the good news is, we’ll all get to be together.” I knew Jaden’s seizures were acting up again, but I didn’t know it had come to this. I know it may sound un-orthodox, but we actually laughed. I know Vicki would be laughing with us. The irony that two of my siblings would be in Salt Lake City Primary Children’s Hospital with two of my nieces facing serious medical conditions makes for a bad soap opera story line. So, we just laughed.

Over twenty years ago, most of the older siblings in my family were working in the pizza parlor in Page. We complained about how much we had to work. My Dad always said, “Hey, you kids should be glad you get to spend so much time together. A lot of families don’t get to see each other this much.” As kids, it didn’t make much sense. But as an adult, you can appreciate time spent together whether it’s work or play. It’s what you make out of it.

I guess if the Jay and Mina Lane family has some good family values they passed on they would be: Learning to be happy no matter how bad the situation. In fact, sometimes the worse the situation is, the happier we can be. They would also include being happy because we’re together. And they would include having faith in the Lord and putting your trust in him.

Travis and Haley are good people. It’s obvious by how many people we see visit this blog each day. It’s obvious in all of the emails, phone calls, letters, texts, that have been full of love and support.

I know Travis didn’t ask for anything specific to be prayed about, but I would ask that everyone pray for them to feel the Lord’s hand in their trial; to bless Ari to make it through this trial feeling love, support, and as little pain as possible. Pray for Travis and Haley to remain strong, happy, and peaceful. To make their marriage stronger as they lean on each other and know that their companionship is one of eternity which with outlast the adversity of mortality. May they always feel the light of Ari’s strong spirit in their family. Pray for them always as our prayers may be the best we can do to offer support in their time of trial.

Vicki has a blog for Jaden. It is: or you can visit her family blog at:

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