GOD & HOSPITAL SHOES
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I had had dizzy/weakness spells since high school, but no doctor had ever taken them seriously. In December 2001, I held my son, Jack (who was 11 months old at the time), and I had one so strong that my entire left side went numb, and I dropped Jack on the kitchen floor.
An MRI yielded an answer: a quarter-sized “benign cystic glioma” growing in the rear, right-hand part of my brain. It was causing seizures (those dizzy-things) that were gaining in strength as it grew. Scarily enough, a Google search of "cystic glioma" revealed that I had only 18 months to live. As you can imagine, I was hysterical. I remember calling my family doctor and telling the receptionist, "This is Maggie. I have a brain tumor, and I need to talk to my doctor NOW!!!" I think that was the first and only time where I’ve ever gotten through to a doctor on the phone. Fortunately the World Wide Web was wrong (the key word missing in my search was “benign.”) But the tumor still had to come out.
So in February, I settled in at University Hospital. I required two surgeries about four days apart... TWO surgeries because the neurosurgeon didn’t get it all the first time around. Both times, as I went into the operating room, I held a photo of Jack in my hand… all the while murmuring that “A year (with my son) was not enough” and hoping that God felt the same way. I was scared to death! My husband and parents sat in the waiting room for several hours waiting to hear reports from the surgical nurses.
After I awoke from the 2nd surgery, I was in for a shock. No feeling on my left side. I couldn’t hold a pen, I couldn’t walk… my left side was useless. I was completely disoriented and apparently quite disagreeable. I don’t remember much of the first few days except for snippets here and there; I’m sure my brain was somewhat scrambled! I remember asking for my best friend, Debbie, a lot – that was the only person I wanted to see. I remember getting my arm stuck in the bars of my hospital bed and calling out for help seemingly forever. I vaguely remember begging a nurse to let me call my husband, David – even though it was 2AM – and when she finally gave me the phone, apparently, I cried and told him to come and get me, that the nurses were hurting me. At 2AM, with Jack sleeping down the hall, what was David going to do? He talked to the nurse getting her assurances that I was totally out-of-my-mind and they were not, in fact, hurting me; He planned to return to the hospital first thing in the morning.
Sometimes, in your life, you come to a point where you hit a wall: a crisis of faith. You realize that the event facing you is bigger than you… monstrous, UN-scale-able. You realize that you have absolutely NO CONTROL – and to get through it, you must turn to the One who is “big” enough to help you through this. At the moment of that frantic, wild, middle-of-the-night phone call, there was nothing David could do except pray. Pray for strength for himself. Pray for healing for me. Pray that I was not surrounded by a bunch of sadistic hospital personnel. Pray that he wouldn’t be left a single-father.
Before each of my surgeries, there was nothing I could do but pray. Pray for strength… pray for healing. Pray that the surgeons would successfully remove the tumor (although apparently I should have prayed that it only took one surgery!). Pray that God would allow me to be David’s wife and Jack’s mother a while longer. I had left letters for David and Jack… “just in case” I didn’t make it… praying fervently the whole time that they wouldn’t have cause to read them.
What do you do in this kind of situation if you don’t have faith? How do you go into surgery on your brain, no less, if you don’t believe that a higher power is watching over you… One who had your best interests at heart? How do you sit in a waiting room while your wife has part of her skull removed and her brain dissected, to remove a tumor?
David and I both released control of our lives to an entity we cannot see, hear, smell, or touch – believing in God’s love and power to help us through this. Whatever you face, whatever your wall – nothing is too big for God. Two surgeries and a few months of rehab later, I am healed. I can walk. I can move my left side. I am alive. Hospital booties are some scary shoes to wear… and the last thing you want to do is GIVE UP control of anything. But God “has your back” – and He is big enough to help you navigate even the scariest of paths.