On Saturday, June 25th the VanHorn family traveled to Real del Mar, Mexico (just north of Puerto Vallarta) for a peaceful beach vacation with their daughters and close friends and their families.
On Sunday, the guys enjoyed a round of golf and afterward headed to the beach to boogie board & play in the surf with the kids. Ansel was boogie boarding when a wave came down on him, causing him to crash head first into the sand.
Ansel didn’t realize exactly what had happened at first until he tried to turn himself over as he was face down in the water. Right then he realized he couldn’t move in order to turn right side up to breathe. He felt at that point the best thing to do was take one more deep breath. He thought to himself, this is where it ends. And a feeling that’s hard to describe followed. Peace. Quietness. Serenity. Nothing else but that.
Thankfully the guys noticed something wasn’t right with Ansel. They saw him floating in the ocean. He had drowned. The adults were able to pull him out of the water. They immediately began CPR and never stopped working and by the grace of God were able to revive him. But they didn’t know what else lied ahead.
Ansel was transported via ambulance to a nearby hospital in Mexico where doctors proceeded to intubate him and continue to pull the fluid from his lungs. He was conscious and it’s where they discovered he couldn’t feel anything from his neck down. A spinal specialist was called in and they began running numerous tests.
It was determined although nothing was severed , Ansel needed surgery to relieve the pressure on his spine. Late Sunday night the surgeon removed his C4 and took some bone from his hip to replace his C4 vertebrae. And they placed a plate to hold it in place attaching that with screws into his C3 and C5. Ansel came out of surgery early Monday morning.
Many people worked diligently with doctors in Mexico to coordinate with neurosurgeons at St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix and arranging for a medivac back to Arizona.
On Tuesday evening, Ansel and Sheryl landed in Arizona and were transported directly to St. Joseph/Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Praise God! Doctors at BNI confirmed a successful surgery in Mexico! Ansel spent 2 solid weeks in ICU at BNI and then moved to inpatient rehab there after. Mid September he returned home and the work has continued towards his healing.
He works everyday with a team of outpatient therapists, his incredible and devoted wife and family and large support system of friends.
His full independence is near, new milestones are hit everyday and he’s been named THE MIRACLE MAN because everyone has seen the grace of God and His power.
Faith, family, friends and grit. It’s the ingredients that is what brings new hope and progress to Ansel’s healing journey everyday. And he’s unstoppable! His goal is to regain full independence and return to work late summer as the Head of Acquisitions at the Laughton Team.