3 Years Ago

March 31st 2011

Three years ago today I was in the hospital having surgery that would change my life forever.  Three years ago today I had part of my brain removed!  Three years ago seems like a lifetime ago some days.  If you don’t know my medical story you should read it so you know what led up to that day three years ago.  Since that day my life has changed dramatically compared to where I was just days before, but not in the way you might think.  I has gotten better!

Just over five years ago, in November of 2005, I had a career I loved, was very active with my church, and was happy with where my life was headed.  Now, I stay at home, don’t drive, home school my son with Nevada Virtual Academy, and will likely never work again.  However, I have more joy now then before I got sick.  Even missing part of my brain!  Three years ago I had to make a decision that would alter my life in the hope that I would be seizure free some day.  Though that hasn’t happened,  I have more joy in my life because I have seen God’s goodness towards me.

How have I seen God’s goodness?  Through his promises, and the answering of them.  Daily He give me strength, despite my weakness.  Daily He gives me shelter so that the trial cannot defeat me.  Daily he surrounds me with his peace, so that I do not fear.  Daily He gives me comfort, despite my pain.  Daily He gives me a supply of grace, so that I might continue to be molded despite myself.  Daily He allows me to come to his feet, though I do not deserve that place.  Daily He defends me, at every attack of the enemy.  Every day, at each step, He is with me, even when my eyes wander from him.  Daily He answers his promises, never failing.  Each day I am privileged to experience the Lord’s work in my life, and I cannot help but to have joy in the experience.

Three years ago I had no idea what the outcome of the surgery would be.  Now, three years later, I know how good God can be, all the time.

Today is the third day I have hurt.  I can’t describe this, as it is just all over constant body pain.  I have become so accustomed to living in pain every day that it only surprises me when I don’t hurt.  Yet the constant pain I have been in the last three days has simply become overwhelming.

When I was in the midst of my 3 surgeries the pain I had was so severe it is impossible to describe to someone.  What I say to doctors is that on the pain scale of 1-10 childbirth is a 5 to me, despite the fact that most woman would call it a 10.  The worst pain most mothers have been in is nothing near what I experienced during those times.  When I was in the midst of it I was held up by God’s promise of comfort and peace.  No matter how much I hurt I knew He was my sufficiency, He fulfilled His promise to carry me through the fire.  Considering that, I must remember that He is still doing so now.  I can withstand this because He is going to carry me through it.  He will fulfill that promise to me as He does for everyone who belongs to Him.

These promises are made to all who belong to Him, and He will fulfill them if we call on Him to do so.  Regardless of why we are in constant pain, He will answer that call.  His comfort, peace, strength, shelter, and sufficient supply can always belong to us.  When we pray for those things which He has promised He will always answer those prayers, and I will once again do just that so He can carry me through.

On Monday I went to see my specialist to find out what the next step should be in my treatment.  We thought we would be able to make a decision that day, instead we walked out having made one decision but leaving us with more decisions to come in the near future.

On top of that more decisions had to be made only 24 hours later in regards to my husbands job.  Those were made easily, as we were able to put the information together and make a decision based on all the information we had and we were not left with more decisions to make later.

Yet we are now left with more decisions to make for me.  For those of you who read regularly you know, as I posted on April 21st, that I went to see my specialist in part to discuss putting in a VNS.  My specialist spent an hour with my husband and I talking about every option we have, and answering every question we had, which is why we love her so much.  We also know she spends some of her time loving well as she recently returned from Haiti after a missions trip and has two children she adopted from Haiti.

The options we were given were looking at having a second surgery, put in the VNS, continue medication therapy only, or do nothing.  I cannot realistically go on more medication then I am already on, and doing nothing is not an option either.  So therefore that leaves us with the VNS or a second surgery.  I asked her what she would do if it was her, and her response to me, in short, was that she would do what would give her the most likely chance to be seizure free, a second surgery.

For several reasons, including the fact that we do not have all the information we need to make an informed decision, I am going to have in patient video EEG monitoring.  This is the first step to determining if I am again a surgical candidate.  If I am a surgical candidate that would be the solution most likely to give me the best result.  We cannot make a fully informed decision until we know if the seizures are still coming from an area that can be surgically removed, and what the effects of removing that area would be.  Once we know that we can then decide what to do.  If I am not a surgical candidate I will have a VNS.

I do know this, though I do not relish the idea of having a second surgery, I do know that if we decide that is what we must do, God will once again answer every promise He has made to me.  I do not doubt He will be my strength shelter comfort peace and my ever present help.  I know He will become for me what I cannot be for myself because He has done it more then once already.

What We Give Up

July 24th 2009

Something struck me today while I was doing my study for Sunday school.  We are doing a study that Mike and I did about 10 years ago soon after we were married with several other couples.   My life is quite different now then it was then!  I figured that in doing the study I would see where I have come since then, and get something completely different from it than I did the first time.

One of the statements in today’s study was–Jesus called His disciples to leave what they were doing and to follow Him.  Andrew, Peter, James and John left their fishing businesses and followed Him (Matt. 4:18-22).  Matthew left  his job as a tax collector (Matt 9:9).  Describe something that would be difficult for you to leave behind or do if God asked you to.

What struck me was that I remembered what my answer had been to this question 10 years ago!!  My career.  I had answered that I would have a difficult time leaving behind my career.  Now 10 years later that has been stripped away from me.  I didn’t leave it by choice-it was literally stripped away from me.  I am now disabled, unable to work any job, most especially the career I loved and had poured my heart into.  And that was the problem- I had poured my heart into it.  I knew 10 years ago that if the Lord were to ask me then to give that up it would be difficult because I knew it was wrapped up in my identity, and that I allowed it to control my life too much.

Now I know what it is like to give things up.  Some of them were stripped away, some of them I gave up by choice, but all of them came with a choice.  That choice was to either be thankful for what came next, or to be angry,  bitter, or resentful for what was missing and what I was now without.  Every time we give up something we are always given something else to replace it.  Granted it is not always what we expect!  I certainly did not expect to give up my career for a medical battle that would last 3 years and leave me disabled.  But is that is not what I gave up my career for.

What did I get?  10 years ago I said I would have a hard time giving up my career.  I was forced to give it up.  But in its place I now understand that God is going to fulfill His promises in a real way, not just because they are written, but because He did so in my life.  I experienced His presence, comfort, courage, strength, shelter, provision, and peace.  In trial I have grown closer to my Lord, that is what replaced what I gave up-not the medical trial.  I choose to see what I gained and be thankful for that, not look back at what gave up.

Ask yourself this question-Am I looking for what God is giving me to replace what I gave up, even if it was something taken from me, or am I looking back with anger, bitterness, or resent because of what is missing?  Make the choice to look for and be thankful for what God is giving you now!