World Changer Scoreboard
Stories that Inspire a Better World
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Love didn’t come at first sight for Nelida Lozoya-Lewis. A mutual friend first introduced her to Anthony in December 2001. The couple shared a few dates, but didn’t spend much time together until Anthony’s accident. “He fell 17 feet from an air assault training course,” Nelida recounted. “He had to have surgery, and was not able to move back to the barracks.” Nelida offered him a place to stay.
As roommates, the two saw a lot of each other. “I fell in love with him little by little,” Nelida said. “We had our share of struggles, but I saw his commitment to his job. I saw him get up every morning to go to PT. He did not allow his injury to hold him back. I knew I was in love when the highlight of my day was seeing him walk through the door in his DCU’s.” Anthony agreed: “I fell for Nelida after spending so much time together and realizing that she was the Bonnie to my Clyde. She would do anything for me and I would do the same for her.” The couple married less than a year later, in October 2002.
Three months into the young marriage, Anthony was deployed [to where?]. He returned a different man. PTSD dramatically changed the mood of the marriage. Arguing became a daily occurrence. The supportive partnership turned into a daily battle between opponents. When divorce seemed to be the only option, the couple sought help through the OXYGEN Seminar.
“I expected to hear a lot of man bashing and how my PTSD has ruined everything I love,” Anthony said of his expectations for the OXYGEN Seminar. “It was totally the opposite – supportive and very informative.” The couple learned tools to help them communicate, forgive one another, and resolve conflicts without major arguments. “I learned that having a strong marriage didn’t mean you were never going to disagree or have problems,” Nelida said, “but the tools have made a difference in how we respond to issues.”
The Lewis’s later participated in a second OXYGEN Seminar to refresh their knowledge. “Our marriage has made a 180,” Anthony said. “It has brought us back together as a team.”
This teamwork would be necessary for the challenges to come. In March 2015, Anthony experienced heart failure at age 35. Nelida advocated for her husband when he was initially discharged from the hospital with a Xanax prescription. She reached out to a nonprofit organization that sponsored their flight to another hospital where they learned that Anthony’s heart was pumping out blood at severely low levels.
Tests took longer than expected, people weren’t always kind, flights got cancelled and rescheduled, and medical tests did not find the source of Anthony’s heart failure. “It was easy to find a reason to complain, and hard to find reasons to be grateful,” Nelida said.
The hardest time came when Nelida learned the severity of Anthony’s condition. “As a wife, hearing that I had to get a power of attorney, medical directive, make arrangements, and find out his wishes was the worst part.”
Despite their obstacles, the couple continues to fight–for Anthony’s health and the health of their marriage.
“Anthony refuses to give up. We both refuse to give up,” Nelida said. “Communication has been key as we maneuver the medical mystery of heart failure. We get different results in our relationship the more we learn to listen and understand each other.”
In March, 2016 Anthony’s irregular heartbeat returned. Still, the Lewises persevere.
“In life we will always have struggles and challenges. We have to be equipped with the right tools to make a marriage work. It is never going to be happy 100% of the time, but with the tools you obtain with OXYGEN, your marriage can thrive and you can be a resilient couple.”