I would believe any person who has ever had chronic health problems has adapted, changed, become somehow different because of the experience. It just goes with the territory. Life is lived at a slower, more purposeful pace. Everyone else's needs are not met first, everything does not get done on time and with enthusiasm and, for me at least, perfection is a thing of the past! Life still gets "done", things are taken care of and relationships are still maintained, but it is soooo much more about quality than quantity! I have had near-death health problems since I was 23. Each time I would return to my life and jump right back on the party train, grateful to have survived but not giving it much thought. Oh the ignorance of youth! When I was 28 I suffered my most severe bout of Pancreatitis and left the hospital a changed woman that time. I quit drinking and followed a very strict eating plan. Then about 6 months later "mystery illness" popped up and I started out on this journey. One of confusion, chaos, misunderstanding, disbelief and feeling like complete crap for "no medical reason".
While in the hospital with Pancreatitis in 2007, three years later, I was a sorrowful mess and mourned and sobbed a great deal of the time. How serious this all was, finally hit me. How much I wanted to live, smacked me upside the head. How close to dying and leaving my husband I really was, consumed me. I felt God telling me, clear as a bell (good drugs in the hospital), that if I continued living my life at the frantic and hectic pace I always have, I was not going to make it past 35. I was 30 at the time. I went home a changed woman, I really did. But over the years all my unhealthy habits and coping mechanisms snuck back up on me and I found myself having a very painful stroke that I ignored for 4 days until I had another even more painful one 3 days before my 34th birthday. It took 2 days, countless hi-tech tests and exams and a very good doctor to receive a diagnosis. I don't know if I was in more pain or fear, both rivaled for top-spot concern on my erratic, stroking brain. There were 2 verses from Psalms I said over and over to myself during this time. They met life at its most basic point and became my solace, my ability to stay calm and focused and NOT fear. They stripped away everything that was non-essential and really left it to the basic fundamental: you are alive or you are dead, and not much of this is in your control.
I clung to life and surrendered to God. I was overly unimpressed with what I had done with my life up to that point, given that I kept winding up in the hospital, and decided I was not to be trusted with it anymore. Being alive was a miracle, a gift, and I vowed to use that miracle to further God's purpose on this earth. But once again, 6 months later, life and death not nearly as crucial on my mind, it is so easy for those habits to sneak back up, so easy... So I decided to tattoo those two verses where I could read them every day. Not miss them ever, really, so as to constantly remind myself that none of this is about me, it is about God working through me. And last Saturday I did it. And I am so overwhelmingly happy.
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