Thursday, February 21, 2013
My Christmas Miracle - Dec. 12, 2012
~My Christmas Miracle~
Wherever we are and whatever we're doing, God wants to be a part of it.
When prayer enters every aspect of our lives, who knows what God might
do for His glory! ~Dennis Fisher
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God‘s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I have been on a journey that I was not even aware of. I’m not sure when it all began and I don’t fully understand why or even how I got to the point I was at in this journey. It seemed that I was just there. Looking back I can see tail-tail signs that this journey had begun at least a year ago (February 2012) and maybe even before that in 2011. I have no real recollection of it beginning as this journey was so gradual.
As this last year progressed I had good days and a few days I just did not feel myself but could not pin-point what was the matter. I was not really sick, so to speak, but just not quite myself. As the summer progressed into fall I had friends that sensed I was not myself, either. I was distant, unemotional, and could never decide where we should go to eat!! I did not realize that this was frustrating them, even making some of them mad at me and some even thought I was mad at them - when I was not. "In my mind", I saw no change in myself and thought everything was as usual.
They suggested I go to the doctor and that maybe I was just depressed. The doctor gave me a prescription for depression. This really did not make any difference. I would sometimes have a bad day and then go two weeks feeling fine. At least that’s the way I saw it in my mind. Finally my girls noticed that I sometimes had difficulty expressing myself and communicating and was just not the same “mom“ they had grown up with. Not the mom I used to be!
On Wednesday, December 5, I got up to go to work and just did not feel well - I could not tell you what was wrong but I just did not feel right. I decided to call into work and let them know that I would not be in and was not feeling well. That is what I thought I said when I called the church and got the answering machine. Later I found out that what was recorded on the answering machine was, “Pastor, this is Diana and ah and ah - I want to - to leave a mes-message”. That was not at all what I was thinking I was saying and I did not even realize that was the message I left until that was later shared with me. About 11 AM the Pastor came over to the house to check on me and see if I was alright. I told him I was staying home, I did not feel well and wondered why he did not check the answering machine!!! He said that was fine-take all the time I needed until I felt better. What I did not realize was that the Pastor had also noticed a change in me. I usually answer the phone “1st Church of the Nazarene, this is Diana” but there were several times that week that I could not think of “1st Church of the Nazarene” - I was just a blank - so I wrote it on a piece of paper and put it beside the phone. My girls stopped by to check on me that same day that I stayed home and later told me I looked like I had been run over by a semi-truck! I was really out of it. I had a headache but didn’t bother to take any Ibuprofen until Liz told me to take some. I went to work the next day and must not have looked much better because the Pastor told me to go home at noon and rest. I did not understand because I felt fine . . . at least in my mind I felt just fine. I went home and that afternoon my girls, Liz and Hannah, called the doctor and more or less forced me to go see him that same afternoon on Thursday, December 6. The girls told the doctor that I was having trouble talking and communicating. I would try to say something sometimes and then I would give up and just say “never mind”. The doctor perked up and immediately ordered a MRI for the next day. So on Friday, December 7, I had a MRI and was told to return to my Doctor and the three of us sat and waited in his office until the end of the day when he finally came in with the copy of the MRI in his hand. He said I had brain cancer. There were two malignant tumors, each the size of a tangerine embedded in my brain and I was to go directly to the hospital and check in from his office.
None of us had eaten lunch or supper so we went to Burger King on our way to the hospital. I rode with Liz and Hannah went home to get Noah, my son, and they met us at Burger King. On the way, I called my mom to tell her. I was already pretty much out of it in that I was having trouble talking and could not really carry on much of a conversation. Liz filled mom in on the details. I guess I also called my two brothers but I don’t remember even talking to them. The three kids and I discussed the situation as best as I could while we ate and then headed directly to the hospital to be admitted - that was Friday, December 7.
From that point, I hardly remember anything - just bits and pieces. The Doctors came in and explained what they were going to do. I expected to have my head shaved and go “wig shopping” but the surgeon just cut a nice little line 11 ½ inches long almost ear to ear up and over my head about an inch back from my hair line and left my incision concealed in my hair. No wig was needed!
I went into the hospital on December 7 and surgery was scheduled for December 10th. I was prepared and taken down for surgery and was in surgery for about an hour while the Doctor began “mapping” the surgery out with this “mapping machine” when the machine quit working. So I was taken back to my room and the surgery was postponed until Wednesday, December 12. (12-12-12!) I was glad that the “mapping machine” did not quit working half-way through the surgery - what would have happened then?! Looking back now, I see that was a blessing or a miracle from God! So many people came and went as I laid there in that hospital bed and there were many prayers going up for me from my family, friends, church families from nine to ten different states and I know God was listening to them all! So many things were said and had happened leading up to this surgery but in spite of all of that there was a "peace" that passeth ALL UNDERSTANDING that had settled over me and I knew this situation was entirely in God's hands.
Wednesday, December 12, came around and I was once again prepped for surgery. This time it was the real thing. Somewhere between the MRI on Friday and surgery on Wednesday another “miracle” came from God in that the MRI stated that I had a malignant tumor embedded in my brain and when the Doctor got in there - yes, there were two tumors the size of tangerines but they were not embedded in my brain but just between the lining and they were NOT malignant! Miracles do happen, don’t they?!
I came home from the hospital, December 18, just before Christmas and went to my parents to recuperate. I feel like I went into the hospital like a "Caterpillar" trapped in his cocoon but I came out of the hospital like a "Butterfly" in flight seeing the world in a whole different light! We had a very “low-key” Christmas. I had not done any shopping but the kids and everyone understood. Everyone just said me coming through this was their best Christmas present! WOW! My son wrote on Facebook that this was the best Christmas he had ever had . . . Because his mom came home from the hospital and was with him again! (This is where I started crying! LOL!) My girls kept saying, "our mom is back - she’s back”! I remember right after my surgery everyone kept saying, “she’s back again”. What I did not realize was that everyone said my whole personality was back to the “real me” again! I did not realize how big the tumors were until I went back to the Doctor. The Doctor, nurse, and the PA each told me and showed me the size of each of the tumors. Each one really was the size of a tangerine! They also said if I had not went into the hospital and got started on the massive doses of steroids (to stop the swelling) right away that most cases like this were fatal. That kind of made me think and realize how thankful I was for God’s “clock-work” - His perfect timing indeed! I just call it my very own special “Christmas Miracle”! Even through my stuttering and stammering, it was the most “heart-felt” Christmas ever! Truly “my” Christmas Miracle!
My recovery was just beginning. I was not able to talk or make much sense or even able to express what I was "thinking" most of the rest of the time in the hospital. I would think something and something entirely different would come out of my mouth . . . and some of it was absolutely hilarious! My daughter said I was quite entertaining there for a while!! I could see people trying not to laugh at the crazy things I said but some of it was so funny even I could not help but laugh. The old saying "laughter is the best medicine" is so true!! What I was thinking and trying to communicate was entirely different than what came out of my mouth! Others must have thought it was permanent because they were so serious and did not know whether to laugh or cry! Thank goodness it was not permanent! By the time I left the hospital I was starting to communicate a little bit and everyday got just a little bit better and clearer. I started Speech Therapy and they had originally told me I would probably need to continue for 6-9 months, so I started the therapy two times a week after I went home. Another miracle is that in two months I am now going to therapy just one time a week. It is very challenging and hard work but God is helping make the improvements and adjustments I need to make. Both the therapist and the surgeon are amazed at the progress I have made in just two months! I just told them that I had a lot of prayers going up for me, I have a BIG GOD, and HE really is the GREAT PHYSICIAN!! I have learned to appreciate God’s handiwork as I have learned so much about the workings of the brain and it’s different “learning centers”. Truly we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
I can now communicate fairly well, drive, and am back to work part-time working towards being back full-time again. The "communication blocks" (words that I know in my mind and am thinking and trying to say, are just blocked out of my vocabulary) are getting to be less and less of a struggle for me. It is so encouraging to know that God does hear our prayers and answers in miraculous ways beyond our comprehension . . . even when we are not in the state of mind to pray for ourselves as was my situation! All I can say is, “I have a Great-Big-Wonderful-God.”
Thank you to ALL of you that prayed and I want you to know that YOU had a huge part in “MY CHRISTMAS MIRACLE” sent straight down from God to me personally!