03455_000_006Steve learned to walk and talk three times: as a toddler, after having a brain tumor removed, and again after a stroke. He’d accomplished a lot. But there was still a rainbow he wanted to find.
Steve was born a beautiful child, perfect in every respect. His infancy was problem-free, and he was busy playing and getting into mischief. Everything was going well in his life, until one day he became very ill with an unknown disease.
It didn’t seem serious at first, but when Steve didn’t get better we learned that he had a brain tumor as big as a grapefruit and would need surgery right away. My mother and father were separated, so we were on our own. The doctors told my mother that Steve probably would not make it through the surgery, but it was decided to operate anyway. The surgery lasted 12 hours. Afterward Steve was in a deep coma and was not expected to live through the night.
That night mom had the elders give Steve a blessing, feeling that the best would happen. Steve had a really bad night, but the next morning when my mother went to see him, he was sitting up in bed for the first time since the surgery.
This was the beginning of a long recovery. Steve had to learn how to walk and talk, to do everything all over again just like a baby. With the strong will that he had, even as young as he was, he did learn how to do the everyday things in life. He was a little slow and had to attend a special education class to catch up with the kids his age, but Steve worked very hard and before long was up with the children his age.
Just when things were going well for him it came time for more surgery to relieve the fluid on his brain. The doctors didn’t think that the surgery would be very serious. We were all getting ready to leave for the hospital to see Steve when my parents received a phone call telling them to come to the hospital right away because Steve had just had a stroke and was not expected to live.
This was a real turning point in our life as a new family with my new dad. We became so close and worked together for Steve. The stroke was serious, but there was hope and the gospel in our lives. We relied on our Heavenly Father at this difficult time, and the Spirit was with us constantly. Steve recovered from his stroke but was paralyzed on his left side and could not talk, walk, or eat by himself. These were hard times for Steve. He could have given up very easily, but he didn’t. Steve had set goals for himself, one of which was to go on a mission and serve his Heavenly Father. This seemed like a goal that couldn’t possibly be reached. Steve would achieve it, however, because he never gave up.
The days after his stroke were hard. He was confined to a wheelchair and required physical therapy every day. His spirits were always high, and he never complained. He just worked hard. After his time in the hospital, he finally got to come home, but in a wheelchair. He progressed from a wheelchair to a two-handed walker, which was amazing, and finally to a one-handed walker. We thought this would be as far as he would go, but Steve fooled us all. He kept up the hard work and finally could walk without any assistance.
This wasn’t enough for Steve. He still had that big goal of a mission to accomplish, so he set about working on school and learning more about the gospel. The bishop was a little skeptical about sending Steve on a mission but supported him all the way. To see if he could handle the everyday life of missionary work, Steve was called on a two-week mission in Salt Lake City. He did so well that the next Sunday after he was home, he sent his papers in and was soon called to labor in the California Arcadia Mission. He was so excited that he had been able to accomplish the goal he had set, especially since he wasn’t even supposed to have lived.
Steve is an example to his family and everyone he comes in contact with. He has the will to accomplish goals and the will to keep on going when things don’t look good. Steve is an example to us all that we can accomplish our goals if we have faith and keep going.
I am so proud to be his sister.