Some memories don’t diminish over time. Some moments change us forever. The day of my brain surgery, Jan. 6, 2009, is one of those moments for me. I had not slept much the night before and while Glen was still lost in slumber I slipped out of bed and looked out the hotel room window.
Across the street was a Burger King, and I saw men in suits go in and come out with their small brown bags and steaming coffee. They seemed so at ease. Life was business as usual and I envied them for that. My heart felt heavy and my thoughts quickly went to my kids, who were back in Alabama with their grandparents. Would I ever see them again? Had I been a good mom? As warm tears slid down my cheeks I felt my heart would split in two.
As Glen and I drove to the hospital, not a word was said, both of us lost in our own thoughts. I had met Glen my senior year of high school and in many ways we had grown up together. As I slid my hand into his, I hoped he knew how much I loved him. I wanted to tell him I didn’t regret one moment we had spent together. I wanted to tell him a lot of things, but the words just wouldn’t come.
We checked in and way too quickly I was called back and prepped for surgery. I managed to hold it together until they told me it was time for Glen to kiss me good-bye. As he bent down to hold me and I breathed in his familiar smell, the emotions I had been holding at bay burst forth and I was no longer able to contain them. Glen, trying to comfort me, told me that he would be waiting for me and that he would see me again.
The nurse stopped me right outside the operating room where a doctor was waiting for me. As he began to hook me up to a hundred different wires, he explained that this would enable him to monitor my brain waves during the whole surgery to make sure my brain was tolerating the procedure. He spoke as if we were discussing the weather, and I wondered, “Doesn’t anybody know what I am feeling inside?” I felt so alone!
As they rolled me into the operating room, I saw the table they would be putting me on for the surgery. It looked like a special chair with a hole for my face to rest on and a place for my arms to be strapped down on both sides. As if seeing the terror on my face, the nurse reassured me that I would be under anesthesia before they moved me to that table. I began nervously looking around the room and that is when I saw the tools. What appeared to be different types of saws and knives were all laid out on a cart. I realized those tools were going to be used on ME!
Like A Soft Breeze
This is where I completely began to panic. I have never felt a stronger urge to flee than in that moment. I could rip out my IV quickly, run down the hall, and tell Glen I just couldn’t go through with it. I was getting ready to do that very thing when the Lord called my name. Like a soft breeze, His presence washed over me. He reminded me of how many prayers had brought me to this moment on this very day. I would not be alone and nothing could or would happen that God didn’t know about.
I thought about my kids and how much I loved them. God reminded me He loved them more and could provide for them no matter what the outcome. I thought about all the things I still wanted to accomplish, but God just asked me to simply trust Him.
As a battled within myself, I realized at the heart of the matter was I wanted to be in control. It’s silly really to think that somehow we can determine our life span or that by micromanaging our lives we can add one more day. God is really always in control, but sometimes He uses something like brain surgery to remind us of that. It was at this precise moment that I just gave it all to Him. My hopes for my life, my hopes for Glen and the kids—and the strangest thing happened. A peace I can’t describe came over me.
Although over three years have passed, I will never forget what transpired between the Lord and me for as long as I live. I was changed that day, not only physically, but spiritually as well. I had spoken about faith. I had heard sermons on faith. But that day I was able to practice living that faith out.
Living with Chiari and muscular dystrophy day-to-day is not easy. There are days the pain is so intense I don’t think I can bear it one more moment. I get tired of icing my head, spending hours flat on my back and missing out on activities with my family, but no matter how bad it gets, I am not alone!