Wednesday, February 12, 2014


This months inspiring lady is my cousin, Amyanne Rigby... check out her blog, Barnwood & Tulips.
Amy has had a few scares over the past five years but she decided to turn those moments of fear and confusion into moments in her life that have defined who she is now. At her most challenging and trying times she turned to the Lord and found peace and comfort in the gospel. She is an inspiring woman, mother, and wife. Here is her story...

I have a reoccurring nightmare…. I am scrunched up in a hospital corner in a metal chair clutching Maleck’s infant carrier. While my eyes and body beg for sleep, it is interrupted by the sounds of a Polynesian family. They are loud. Evidently somebody’s uncle’s brother’s cousin has had a turn for the worse. Throughout the night, my sleep is constantly interrupted by the intercom. I keep hearing the urgent voice of a nurse, “Stroke patient room 11, stroke patient room 8, the list goes on… Where am I?”

I wake and remember this is not a nightmare… this is my reality. It is February 28th, 2009. At age 35, my husband Travis had a stroke. Our baby boy (number 5) was 12 weeks old. After Travis was put on life flight to the IHC Stroke hospital in Murray, he was placed in Neuro ICU. The decision to life flight him was made after less than 12 hours at our local hospital where more tests and blood work then he or I can count were performed. Two black spots on his brain were found. He had indeed suffered from a stroke. And the question lingered, “Strokes happen to old people right, not young healthy 35 year olds?”

It had been nearly 24 hours since our sweet little three year old daughter came to get me in the bathroom. I was brushing my teeth. Our other four were settled for the night. She said, “Mommy daddy needs you,” Doesn’t daddy always need mommy (were my thoughts)? I kept brushing my teeth. “Mommy, please daddy needs you now,” she said with a pleading urgent tone.

I went into our family room where I met his eyes...those beautiful blue eyes that had seen me through 5 difficult labors were filled with panic and fear. And then he spoke. His words were nonsense. Something was wrong.

Dad Rigby drove me and our five little ones to Murray while Travis's mother went with him on the life flight. Travis arrived before us. Thankfully, his brother and sister were there to meet him. When I walked into the room holding our sweet baby, words fell from my hubby's lips. I looked up to see his neuro surgeon wiping tears from her eyes with a look of disbelief. Travis had not uttered a single sensible word until his baby boy was placed in his arms - miracle!

There were so many miracles that transpired through this “lesson” in our life. It would be hard for me to count, but miracle number one… the Lord was preparing me. Months before the stroke, I was being prepared. It seemed everywhere I went, I saw or heard information relative to strokes- the back of doctor’s doors, TV and radio ads etc. I also received emails and had conversations with associates about strokes. I read literature about the signs of strokes. So when the night came, I knew Travis was having a stroke. I knew to give him an aspirin, and then I knew to call our neighbor who was a doctor. He took Travis in the back door of the hospital and announced, “this man is having a stroke, he needs a doctor immediately.” The ER staff came to attention.

Long story short… After spending the weekend in Neuro ICU and after various tests and lots of blood work, the doctor ordered an echocardiogram. This test showed that there was a hole in Travis’s heart that had caused the stroke. Conclusion, to prevent any future strokes, the hole would need to be repaired. The surgery was performed and a 20 mm hub shaped somewhat like a mesh umbrella was placed in my hubby’s heart. The cardiologist told us it was the biggest hole he had seen in any patient. After nearly four hours of making sure his vitals were stable, he was discharged. We were told his heart was fine — now just go home and get over the stroke…
Not nearly as easy as they made it sound. The hard part: my husband is young and a very highly functioning stroke victim; there is not a lot of information and support for young stroke victims in our area. I have Googled a lot — information please!
The stroke affected the speech control portion of his brain. Typing a one sentence email was a crowning moment for Travis. Speaking in front of a crowd was another milestone. Feeling a connection with deity took nearly four years (during the initial stroke I experienced an overwhelming spiritual high. There were so many angels strengthening me. Travis on the other hand, was left without words, without clarity, and without the ability to feel the comfort of God), He would have preferred his limbs had been affected by the stroke and not his communication, Wanting to be around large groups of people…. Hmm…? We mark the years off like birthdays since the stroke. This month: February — five years
The effects from his stroke may seem minor or termed residual if you were looking them up in a textbook. But to me, the wife of this wonderful man and mother to his five children, they are ever present in our daily lives. Most victims of any brain injury suffer an alteration to their personalities. We have waited for our “Travis” to return. Likewise, he as waited for this as well. Although discouraged and seemingly alone, Travis never quit. When others may have simply quit talking and hid away, Travis has led a successful company, served as Scoutmaster, and coached several of his kids’ athletic teams. Finally, I believe we have reached the summit. In the distance, I hear an echo of the priesthood blessing my father and Uncle Kurt administered to Travis that night in the hospital, ‘In due time, he will be healed.”

Fast forward 3 years and it is Halloween night. Travis and I are taking our two little ones trick or treating. We are smiling and laughing (It has been a long time since we have done so) and indulging ourselves in this memory. The autumn night is beautiful and Travis is visiting with neighbors and friends. Our children delight in the magic of the evening.
The next morning, I awake and join my girl friends for our morning run. We decide to take the golf course loop. I remember not feeling well. I even asked to stop and walk (I never walk). After which, we kept going and finished our run. I remember thinking, “I wish someone would stop and ask me for a ride.” Upon opening the door, I thrust myself into the morning routine… my mind was trying to talk my body out of what was happening. I fried eggs for Seleck and Stockton. I told Travis I was not feeling well. He took the boys to school. I got Emma and Madsen up… Travis returned. My symptoms were worsening. My heart was pounding, my skin was cold and clammy. I tore my clothes off hoping to remove the pressure from my chest, and then I had a bath hoping that would help. Nothing did. I called for Travis and then began vomiting profusely (I don’t vomit. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I have vomited in my life).
Now I told you the Lord had a way of preparing me for things. Three weeks earlier I woke from a dream. In the dream my grandmother was gently rubbing my face. Her eyes spoke to me as if to say, “It’s not time yet.” I woke up thinking, “What?”.
Two weeks earlier I had stopped by Travis’s office. He insisted I watch the email attachment our neighbor sent him. (Never, does he show me these things, nor do I ever take time for them.) That morning I did. The video clip attached to the email depicted a woman experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack. Her son insisted she call 911. At which point, she did. Funny side note: they told her they would be there in 10 minutes. She looked around her kitchen in its morning disarray and she asked if they would give her 15 minutes instead.
At this point, I asked Travis to google the symptoms of a heart attack. I wish you could have seen the look he gave me. However, after reading the signs of a heart attack and feeling my pulse. He announced, “We are going to the Emergency Room.” I asked him to get me an aspirin before we left.
Thankfully, upon entering the ER doors, our dear friend greeted us. She was on duty. Chest pain is not something taken lightly here. I was immediately taken back to a room. I heard Maleck crying as I left. I was taken to my cubicle (It was the same cubicle Travis had on that dreaded night. This is not my favorite place). They checked my heart rate- 240 beats a minute. It has been over 2 hours since I came home from my run. Immediately tests are ran. The tests show no damage to my heart. It is not a heart attack. But what then? Why was my heart doing this? The nurses kept asking me if I have taken anything this morning? Do I do drugs. I was slightly annoyed and told them that I do not even drink Coca Cola or any caffeinated drink.
My heart rate was still racing and needed to be brought down. The ER Doc administers me a drug designed to do just that. After two double doses, the drug was unsuccessful. At this point, they ushered Travis out the door and escort him to the waiting room. They told him they will need to sedate me and shock my heart. It was not going to be pleasant. They said it should only be about 20 minutes.
Travis and a doctor gave me a blessing. I don’t remember the words, but I remembered the feeling that I needed to be diligent (I remember thinking, I am not overly talented, beautiful or successful, but I can do diligent). Before the doctor began the procedure, I looked at him with begging eyes and say, “Please do not let anything happen to me, I have five little ones I need to take care of.” He responded with a look of shock.
The 20 minutes turned into an hour and a half. During the procedure, my heart stopped. When I came to, I was looking at the bed from above the bed. I was headed somewhere in those heart stopping moments, but thankfully diligently, I returned.
At this point, the doctors knew that nothing else could be done for me here. Further answers needed to be obtained. I was given a nice ride on the ambulance to St. George. My mother-in-law rode with me. Travis gathered the kiddos.
Another long story short- After 3 days in the hospital and the administration of several tests, Dr. Molden performed an EP study. It was determined that a ventricular ablation was needed. During this six hour surgery, he fixed my heart. Two weeks later, I returned for a check-up and I was told I could run again.
Wow! Travis and I joke around about the fact that we both have our own cardiologist. The doctors term Travis’s heart problem as a “plumbing problem.” On the other hand, they call mine an “electrical issue.” Whatever the proper name… we both have a greater understanding of “matters of the heart.”
The seven of us approach each Valentine’s with open and grateful hearts. We were all changed by these experiences. We have been touched by such generosity and care from others. Through these experiences our children have been our “mountains". They have rallied to the occasion and have loved and served each other and Travis and I. They have come to know the brevity of life. Our hearts have been carved with understanding, greater love, and deeper appreciation for the “minutes” of life we are granted to share with those we love. I treasure the moments I have to experience with our “Fab 5” and I admire the strength and compassion with which they have been blessed. We are a team of seven, led by a man who is ever courageous and forever ours. Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Thanks Amy for being so willing to share such an emotional and personal story. I am so grateful for your example of courage and perseverance. Love ya:)

Amyanne Rigby... 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Wow! What an inspiring beautiful woman! Amazing story