2019 certainly went out with a bang!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well, we certainly didn’t deal with anything akin to the French Revolution, but we definitely had our trials this past year. My husband required back surgery in the summer and then in December surgery for cancer (that was discovered while prepping for back surgery) was required. He was scheduled right after final grades were due in and the day after our 35th anniversary. We had planned to spend the night in a hotel near the hospital to make our 5:15 am arrival less of a trek.
But God had other plans.
On Saturday morning, I woke up realizing something was seriously wrong.
My left hand/arm as well as my left leg/foot were just not right. And being the inquisitive person that I am, I went straight to Google. Yes, these symptoms could be a stroke, but they didn’t quite seem like a stroke. Nope, not a heart attack either. But something was just wrong. So (feeling bad to have to get him up) I woke my husband and asked him to take me to the ER. We live 4 blocks from the hospital and it was faster for him to drive me than to call an ambulance.
I had to be transferred to another hospital (cross ambulance ride off my bucket list) and my husband had to finish grading and couldn’t come. So I went off with Tom and Bill, the wonderful ambulance drivers. After many tests (I just didn’t present with typical stroke symptoms or risk factors) and 36 hours, it was determined that I did, in fact, have a stroke.
In the details of a stroke, less is more.
Here are some of the bullet points of what happened:
- it was a pontine stroke (worst part of the brain, but a relatively mild stroke)
- my left side, including speech, was affected
- I’ve been in therapy since I came home and am recovering a lot I’d lost
- I’m 3/4 of the way through the 30 Day Stroke Watch
- this is the greatest risk for another stroke
- after this, it drops down to 7x greater risk for the next 5 years
- they believe my high LDL cholesterol was the culprit, and I’m on meds
My husband’s surgery for prostate cancer went well and he is also recovering well. But we ARE a pair! 😀
Walking alone is never alone with the Lord.
Emotions and their crazies!
From the moment I walked into the first ER, I cried all the time. I am not a crier. I am very (super) even-keeled, emotionally. I don’t try to be, I just am. But all of this plunged me into almost constant tears. I wasn’t feeling sad or particularly worried (although I’m positive I was). But all I kept thinking was,
“I can’t be there for Kevin in his surgery.”
“It’s our anniversary tomorrow and this kind of stinks.”
“This is such an inconvenience to everyone.”
Not exactly the rational thoughts of a person needing to focus on taking care of her dire physical needs! But when you’ve been the #1 person doing all the care-giving for a large family, it is not so easy to let that go and leave it to the Lord. And emotions ran high! It was WORSE if anyone showed me sympathy. Oh.My.Word!! If you said, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Anniversary”, I blubbered uncontrollably. But yell, “STROKE” and I was fine. Go figure. It took a good 3 days before my emotions began to reign it in.
It’s not good or bad. It just is. We are emotional beings and allowing our emotions to express themselves in high stress times is not an indication of spiritual immaturity. It is simply realizing that we are human and this is part of our design. You can STILL walk solidly with God while blubbering like a 1 year old who can’t find their Binky!
Family and friends are a gift.
We are created for community. Children, siblings, church members… all of these wonderful people love us and want to support us. They support us
- with prayer
- with meals
- with help
- with money
- with calls/texts/videos
I realize not everyone is blessed with good relationships with children and siblings like I am. And I’m not trying to make anyone feel badly about their circumstances. Because we are still a part of the Body of Christ. I also realize not everyone is as blessed as I to be the middle of a wonderful group of giving, serving and loving saints. But please know that God’s intention was for us to love and serve one another…. and it IS a joy to give as well as to receive.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever!
I didn’t have “company” with me in the hospital, but I never saw myself as alone. I had my iPad for listening to worship music, reading scripture, and watching sermons. I got to allow the Lord to build into my soul while my body was struggling. I got to be “strengthened with power in my inner man” through my time in prayer.
While I was working through this gift from the Lord (that is how I view this stroke), a dear sister in the Lord was preparing to walk into Eternity. I was able to call and talk to her to let her know what was happening with me the day before she took ill. She had prayed for me to recover while I prayed her Home. God chose one to stay and one to return to Him. Life and death are in HIS hands alone. And I take great comfort and confidence in that.
My final takeaway:
And my admonition to you as well. As long as we have a breath in our bodies, we have a job to do. My calling is to spread the Kingdom of God and to disciple. God has restored my speech and my hand for writing/typing so that I may continue. Whether it be for 1 week or 40 years. I pray God gives me the grace to walk faithfully with Him in obedience, stepping into the good works He has prepared beforehand that I would walk in them!
My blessings and prayers be upon you, beloved, as YOU walk out your God-ordained calling on this temporary dwelling.