Should the Roloffs sell their farm?
This has been the main question permeating Little People, Big World this season and it stirred up a bunch of tension between loved ones.
On Tuesday night's installment of the TLC hit, however, the in-fighting stopped for a bit because one member of this famous family faced a question not about the property's future...
... but about his own.
"I've been having a lot of pain in my back and my legs," Zach told the cameras early on, explaining what was happening:
"There's like a tightness to my thighs, there's a weakness in my knees. Something's not going right."
Yikes. That definitely does not sound right.
Considering all the activity surrounding pumpkin season on the farm - as well as playing and coaching soccer and being the father of a energetic toddler - Zach wasn't certain what could have triggered his symptoms.
One second he felt fine, the next second he was actually "paralyzed for a minute," to use his own frightening words.
Afraid mostly for his own safety, but also for what might happen if he was holding young son Jackson when such a symptom kicked in, Zach made an appointment to see a doctor.
He got an MRI there.
"It's scary, because I can't help him, and it's also like we don't know what's causing the issue," wife Tori Roloff confessed.
Unfortunately, upon getting the results back from this big test, Zach and Tori were stunned to learn that his prognosis wasn't very positive:
Zach has been diagnosed with multilevel degenerative disc disease causing spinal stenosis.
"It's a common thing with people with achondroplasia," Zach explained of the condition. "But average-sized people only get it when they're like 60."
Zach is only 29.
As a dwarf, his life expectancy is not very different from that of an average-sized individual; he just needs to face health issues such as this along the way.
(For the record, Jackson is also a dwarf and Tori recently said the odds of their second child being a dwarf is about 50/50.)
With bulging and degenerating discs in his spine pinching the nerves, Zach would need to see a spinal specialist to determine whether he would have to undergo surgery now or later.
Either way, though, it's inevitable. Something must be done to fix his spinal chord.
Discovering that he would almost certainly have to undergo major surgery, Zach admitted he was "in denial," adding:
"Two months, three months ago, I was in a soccer tournament, and now I have arthritis in my back? What's going on here?"
Tori was equally freaked out, telling the camera in a confessional:
"I am scared. That's the worst case scenario in my head for him to have surgery. I'm trying really hard not to panic."
We feel awful for Zach.
After all this debate about the farm and what to do about it, such a defelopment really puts things into perspective, doesn't it?
Yes, whether to sell the farm and move on is a big deal for Amy and Matt Roloff -- but it's nothing at all when compared to the well-being of their child.