January 11, 2021, my husband and I traveled to Palo Alto, California's Stanford University Hospital for my brain surgery. One year later and I can honestly say, it's bitter-sweet, anniversary for me. I remember the daily unrelenting pain that forced me to my knees and the sweet fellowship with the Lord in those times.
The pain associated with the rare brain disease(s) I was afflicted with; Trigeminal and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia inflicted the worst pain I have ever experienced, but the presence of God was even more powerful. He was with me in the waters. They did not overcome me. He was with me in the fire and it did not consume me. Isaiah 43:2
He was there through it all. Some days I wished for death to come. Not because I wanted to die. I did not. I just wanted the suffering to stop. All the while being willing to do whatever was required of me. It was torture and had it not been for the Lord, I would've died. I learned later that an artery in my brain that is a major supplier of blood to the brain was almost completely blocked from being entangled. I also learned I had a widowmaker blockage in my heart that had to be stented. Literally the affliction of this disease was what God used to save my life.
The medical profession has named these diseases as the most painful affliction known to man. The pain is likened to being burned, stabbed and electrocuted all at the same time. Yes, it was that awful. Fully medicated with anti-seizures and I still experienced breakthrough pain up to 20 times a day. My entire world was turn-upside down, though I persisted in attempting to live my life.
Praise God, the MVD brain surgery was a success, but even still, I am not 100% symptom free, yet. I am 95% with a low dose of meds to help during the healing and recovery period which is a total of 24 months. January 11, 2022 marks 12 months! This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Like our faith, it's not an event but a series of events weaved together that become stronger the longer and deeper they connect.
These diseases are progressive and only go into remission, with treatments like the brain surgery and gamma-knife radiation treatment, I had. There is also rhizotomy and medications that are ultimately refractory. I was on enough meds for 3 grown-large men and I still suffered immensely. These diseases are never cured and the cause is largely unknown, according to the medical profession.
According to God, he knows ever hair on my head, will never leave or forsake me, was crucified for me, can heal all my diseases, and with Him All Things Are Possible. Mark 10:27 So, I am pretty sure he has the final say.
It's also fair and faithful to say, the story continues. For now, I say I have a thorn in my flesh that keeps me humble and grateful. I can say with 100% certainty that it was good for me that I was afflicted, because so much good came from it. Psalm 119:65-72
Recovery has taken longer and been harder than I expected. But hey what did I know, I never had brain surgery before! :) I'm still re-gaining the strength and endurance that was lost. Physically, it was my legs that became the weakest. I also have a lot of weight to lose that was gained as a result of the meds and inability to move normally. I am learning how to mentally focus for longer periods of time, and I becoming more and more adept at living at a moderate not break- neck speed life, as I once did. I heard it called the Pace of Grace. For me I am taking a posture of resting in the Lord, knowing his goodness and trusting him completely.
My desire to seek him, know him, be in fellowship with him, share him and be more like him are more intense than any time before. I didn't think that was possible, given all he had already done in, for and through me. It was and is a season for me of more. More of Him.
Restoration: September of 2021, I started working again, in a ministry I completely love. I can't wait to tell you that story! In October of 2021, I started public speaking again. In January of 2022, I celebrated my 50th birthday. All milestones and events not possible, without the Lord's intervention, prayer and love of friends and family.
January 22, 2022, in honor of pre-born life, created in the image and likeness of our God, I will be speaking and sharing my testimony at St. Paul's Catholic Church in New Bern, NC. Stop by if you are in town. Would love to meet you.
In closing, this recent season of suffering and intimacy has only further cemented my commitment to as long as God gives me breath, I will praise his name, declare his goodness, love others and share the good news through the testimony he has gifted to me.
What's my point? ONE GOD. JUST GOD. ONLY GOD. BECAUSE GOD.
Pray for me friends as I pray for you! He loves you and nothing you are going through is beyond his care or reach!
Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick,
the suffering and the lonely right there where you are.