Another anniversary is here since that fateful day when I decided to go ahead with the first of 2 surgeries to treat a rare illness. 2 years on and I am pleased to share that I am doing very well, I've been asymptomatic and my quality of life has improved tremendously :)
I was reading the journal that I kept during those difficult period and I am impressed with what I wrote in there. The conviction and faith that I had in God was astounding. I almost don't recognize that person. Truly, it was through God's grace that I was able to go through all that I had to - pre and post surgeries.
An excerpt of what I wrote:
I want to remember the feeling - being at peace, cheerful and hopeful. There are lots of things for me to worry about and I could potentially be immobilized by fear. I'm going to take a different strategy- I'd stare fear in the eye. I will deal with it with faith. It's tough but I know I can do it with God's blessing and support from all round. 18 June 07
Who is that person??
I am truly blessed because grace, courage and wisdom came to me when I needed them most. That's the only explanation I can offer as to how I was able to cope with everything. As I have shared earlier I suffered a stroke after my second op on 17 September 07. As a result I lost the ability to read, write, recall, text, tell the time, use the mobile phone and other simple functions that I took for granted. I could only write or type simple sentences and even then it took me a great deal of effort and time.
Samples of my handwriting at different stages of recovery - 5-days, 12-days and 7.5 months post-op.
It may not be the politically-correct thing to say but I am grateful that I had the chance to go through what I did. In many ways my illness has shaped and molded me into a better and more mature person. I discovered my own strength- what I am made of. Never in my life did I expect myself to be calm and cheerful in the face of trials and tribulations. Through the experience I was/am reminded that I must not take my life and health for granted. Being ill allowed me to appreciate being cared for. I had lots of people praying and rallying for me and in some ways it was a testimony to the kind of person that I am. I was validated as many people wanted only the best for me and they came in full force to tell me that. That was a great feeling - knowing that you are loved. I believe after being through a recovery process myself it will make me a better (and more credible) clinician and listener.
I am really grateful to my wonderful surgeon and his team - staff who went the extra mile to make me feel more comfortable when I felt most vulnerable. My husband who stood by me every step of the way and being my pillar of strength; my sister and mom who took great care of me; good friends who showed their kindness and generosity; acquaintances and strangers who prayed for the success of the surgeries and speedy recovery. I will always remember the kindness shown to me. Thank you!
My hope is that my story will inspire you to live your life courageously and know that you are stronger and more resilient than you think. Seemingly "bad" situations can turn out to be opportunities for growth and learning if you choose to let go. Somehow when we feel like we have reached the limits we will discover that we can still extend the limits. And grace will find us and give us the special boost to get through life. Trust the process.
Grace expands our intellect by endowing us with intuitive wisdom. Grace expands our will by giving us strength or courage we did not have before.
I'm happy to share more of my experiences so feel free to email me if you want to know more :)