I opened my eyes. I tried to look around realizing that I could not move. My arms were tied up. What had happened? I thought back... What was the last thing I remembered? I knew I had been in the hospital... what had happened...? There were people around me... looking at me...
Then someone is a nursing uniform explained that I was intubated and had been in a medically induced coma so that my body could try to regulate and stabilize...
A week or so earlier I had gone to the emergency room because I was having a hard time even standing. I did not know what was going on, but I knew something was really wrong. From the emergency room, they immediately admitted me into the hospital where day after day specialists would come in and try to diagnose what was causing my body to shut down. The last thing I remember was being wheeled down to have a kidney, and bone marrow, biopsy...
When I "came to" I was in ICU. They told me I was on a ventilator so that they could regulate my breathing. I had pneumonia, systemic sepsis, and because they were giving me very strong (chemo) meds, they wanted to keep my open airway in case I threw up. They informed me that I my kidneys had shut down and I had renal failure. So I was also under going dialysis. ...All this was from an autoimmune disease called Lupus (SLE).
So I lay there completely helpless to do anything, except open my eyes. I remember--since I couldn't move, or talk--I'd try to get a the nurse's attention by frantically blinking and trying to move my eyes back and forth. I was trying to say, "PLEASE, take this tube out of my throat!!!" It was a horrible, horrible, claustrophobic feeling.
I didn't know how long I was going to be in that condition. Would I be unable to move, or talk for the rest of my life? What was going to happen? I thought about Joni Eareckson Tada, who I admire greatly for how she has overcome being a quadriplegic. She abounds in God, and serves others profoundly. She is one of my heroes. One of the most inspirational people I know of. And here I lay... What was going to be the course of my life?
So I tucked in with the LORD and I asked Him, "Are you taking me home?" I wanted to know if I was going to die. I thought about going to heaven, and finally seeing my Jesus. (Oh how I wanted to see Him). I thought about seeing the babies I had miscarried. I wanted to go to Home, but then I thought about Roger, my family, my friends, my sweet nephews... and I wanted to stay. I thought about my life--what had, and had not yet happened... What was the LORD saying?
I felt like He said, "No, you're not done yet, but you need to CHOOSE LIFE."
I thought about that verse in Deut. 30:19. All I could remember is that talked about life and death, and choosing life. Since I couldn't do anything--but think, I knew I needed to choose life in my thoughts. I knew that God is Life, so I just kept focusing on Him. Every time a thought crossed my mind like: am I going to have to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for the rest of my life? what if I can't get out of bed? what if... (some fear-based thought)? I had to re-focus on Him.
I had to take all of these thoughts captive. I tried to remember all the Bible verses I had memorized over the years. I made lists of all of God's attributes that I could remember and I began to worship. I tried to rest in Him and just stay connected. He truly was my life-line.
When they finally took the ventilator out, I was surprised to find that I couldn't talk. They told me my voice would come back--thank God it did!
My journey was long and arduous, as I was in the hospital for 28 days just trying to get my body to function well enough to go home. To go home I needed my body to produce it's own red blood cells (without transfusions and Neupogen shots), and I needed to learn how to walk again--as I had lost my ability to walk. Once that happened, I could go home and continue my out-patient recovery, where I had chemo treatments for 5 additional months.
Although surreal at times, I can say that God has been absolutely faithful during my healing journey.
Regardless of where you find yourself today, ask Him to meet you where you are. He is always good. He is our provision in every way. He is our healer--for which I am especially grateful. My doctors say that it is a miracle that I am alive (and that my kidneys work). Praise God that we have a miracle-working God!
Let us remember that He is everything, and He only has good for us.