{This is the Story of what happened to my life in 2016. I have arranged the posts in consecutive order for those that jumped in in the middle.}

I have struggled for several weeks and pushed off writing this post because I don’t know where to start. So much has happened in my life and I feel like a different person since my last post. Where do I even start? How do you pick up the threads of a old blog? (Lord of the Rings reference, people. Come on.)

God has molded my life in a way that I couldn’t have imagined and I hope over the next several posts to be able to share that with you. His grace has been shown to me in a new way and although it was not a way I would have chosen, (curious yet?) I have come to realize that it’s when the darkness is the worst that his love shines the brightest.

So I think I’m ready to tell the story. The2016Story. Stay tuned.


Living the Good Life

I know this series is called The2016Story, but for it really to be impactful, we need to go back a little bit further than that.

From about summer of 2015 to April of 2016, my life was awesome. I seriously loved it. I was finally getting to know people at church and getting involved there with the young adult group. I loved my job, the people I worked with, and the ministry we have. And, I was in the best shape of my life. I woke up early every single morning and worked out. I convinced several friends to join me most days and we had a blast doing it! I did tons of running (which I love) and ran my fastest times and farthest distances ever.

Life was busy with friends, work, and church. We (my housemates and I) had friends over to our house most nights for games, a movie, or just to sit around and talk.

With all of this going on, in September of 2015, I decided I wanted to finish my degree online and I started classes. I woke up every morning at 4:30am so that I could study, do devos, and exercise before work in the morning. There was no way I wanted to give up time with friends so I went to bed a little earlier but still around 10:30pm. Six hours of sleep is fine, I told myself. And I did it every day, no exceptions. Everyone told me I was insane.

Do you know what? I liked it! I actually like to get up early and I like to be busy. I finished a year of college in 4 months and I was thrilled! I didn’t feel worn out or stretched thin.

How was my relationship with the Lord, you ask? Well, you know, it was…good? Whatever that means. Kind of bland, but who cares? I was so busy and had such a strict schedule that I knew it would get better. I just needed a little more time in the day. I just needed to push a little harder. Maybe get up a little earlier so that I would have more time.

Pretty much I felt invincible.


April 10, 2016

It’s funny how a date can stick in your mind. Something happens and you never forget that date. April 10th is that day for me and actually today marks exactly 9 months since that day. Although at the time I didn’t even realize the significance of what had happened.

On that day, I woke up at 4:30am as normal and sat down at my iPad to start studying. I had been sitting there for a little while when the weirdest thing happened to me. Suddenly my whole body tensed up for just a second and then relaxed. It almost hurt but not quite. Almost like a jerk, but it was certainly not intentional. Oh well, back to studying. That’s usually what I do: ignore things like that. But then it happened again later. And before 7:30 that morning, it had happened 5 times and I was suddenly so tired that I wanted to go back to bed and sleep forever. So I was a little concerned but not enough to do anything.

So instead I went to work (which just so happened to be a longer day than normal) and got home (practically dead) and just laid on the couch. I felt terrible and tired, and I cried.

When my housemate got home, I finally told her what happened and we agreed (more like she forced me) to go to my doctor in the morning. Little did I know how many appointments would follow that first one.

Little did I know that my life had just changed completely.


The Waiting Game

I’ve learned a lot about doctor’s appointments in the last nine months. First off, did you know that many doctors (at least all the ones I saw) don’t actually check your height anymore?? They just ask how tall you are and write it down. Funny thing though, they DO still check your weight. Hmm. Like people aren’t honest or something. Secondly, doctors must not trust anybody. They send their nurse in to ask you a bazillion questions and then they come in and repeat the EXACT. SAME. QUESTIONS. Thirdly, I’m pretty sure neurologists must be the highest paid people on the planet. They basically spend 10 minutes in the room with you and BAM! there goes a few hundred dollars.

Those random thoughts aside, I’ll pick up TheStory now. We went to see my doctor the very next day. And you guys, this is just how awesome the Lord is. I didn’t actually have a family doctor until a few months before this when I decided it was time to adult and get a check-up. After doing a lot of looking I finally found one that I liked and she is wonderful. Isn’t God’s planning great? I’m so thankful that when all of this started I already had a doctor I could go to…and she has walk-in hours first thing almost every morning. 🙂

I had already guessed what she was going to tell me. You, see my brother has epilepsy, so I know the signs and symptoms of a seizure and I had a suspicion. I outright told her that’s what I thought it was that had occurred but I wanted to know WHAT IN THE WORLD AND WHY AND HOW AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. She agreed and ordered an EEG for later that week and made an appointment with a neurologist.

Have you ever had an EEG done? They make it sound very relaxing: “We are just going to hook all these wires to your head and maybe flash some lights at you and we may want you to try to take a nap.” Easy-peasy. Uh…no. They flash lights right in your eyes until you cry and your head is pounding and they make you hyperventilate to the point of almost passing out. Simply put, they are trying to induce you to have a seizure so that they can record it. Not a fun experience.

Later that week I got a call with the results from my test. They did not see any exact seizures, per se, however they did see some abnormal brain waves they would like to discuss. Ummm…can I have some more explanation, please? What exactly are “abnormal brain waves???”

Do you know what else I’ve learned about Doctors? They involve a lot of waiting. You sometimes have to wait weeks or months to even get an appointment. You have to wait to see the doctor and wait to get results. Even after you get a call with your results, you have to wait for the explanation. The receptionist was not able to give me any other information and I had to wait until my appointment with the neurologist.

Sigh. Waiting involves a lot of trust in the Lord, you know. Sometimes waiting can be the hardest part of difficult journeys. Whether it’s waiting for a job opportunity, or a prayer to be answered, or a brain issue to be explained, waiting tests our trust in God because we have no control. We have to trust that he knows best and we have to learn to be still before him. And boy, is it hard! And it’s something I had to learn.

So I waited.


(Disclaimer: Please don’t be offended if you are a doctor! I really do appreciate you all!)


Tests and More Tests

So apparently ‘abnormal brain waves’ is a fancy term for “we see something that could lead to seizures but they aren’t actual seizures.” I also found out at that appointment that they had seen my heart (they did an EKG at the same time as an EEG) doing some funny pauses.

Right away, they put me on a seizure medicine and set up some appointments for some more testing to be done. Two days after being on the med, I passed out. Now, I have never passed out before and when it happened again two days later they quickly switched meds. But the passing out didn’t stop.

Hence we enter what I call the Test phase. This is the phase where doctors run all sorts of tests on your body to rule out different things.

-The first test was an MRI. That was one of the most the scary ones because they were checking for a tumor in my brain. My housemate, Natalie, and I affectionately called the tumor a ‘watermelon’ when we prayed against it. I’m thankful that I’m not a claustrophobic person because that would have made things much worse. Nope. No watermelons in my brain.

Then they started running tests on my heart to see if my heart was actually causing the issue. I have to say, the cardiologist was my favorite doctor and I should have taken him a plate of cookies. Finally someone who sat and listened and seemed to care! BUT the heart testing was the worst.

-First came the stress test. Basically, they put you on a treadmill while they monitor your heart to see if anything happens. They stress out your heart. Now, at this point, I was having issues with the passing out and I told the nurse that. She told me that if I started to pass out, she was probably going to try to bring me back using smelling salts and continue the test. Okay, I thought, that’s fine. HAVE YOU EVER USED SMELLING SALTS????! It’s not like in the movies, people, where they wave the bottle under the person’s nose and they gracefully wake back up. Oh no. Smelling salts come in this little tube that they snap open under your nose and they smell like ammonia. For some reason, I had it in my mind that they would smell good, like flowers or chocolate or something, but they smell like ammonia and they make you choke and gasp and your eyes burn and water. UGH. Sometimes I still get the memory of that and choke a little. They used smelling salts on me twice during that test because I passed out twice. After the second time, they stopped the test.

-The second test was an ultrasound on my heart. Which was actually super awesome! I got to see my heart moving and beating. God’s design is incredible and I was able to mention that to the nurse.

-The third test was a tilt table test. For this one, they strap you to a table and lay you flat for 15 minutes or so, monitoring your blood pressure and heart rate. Then they quickly tilt the table up to see if you pass out or not. In my case, that did not cause me to pass out, so they brought out some nitroglycerin and had me put a tablet under my tongue. Do you know what nitro does to you? It increases your heart rate incredibly. Within 15 seconds of that tablet dissolving I had passed out and she laid me back down.

These tests are hard. Although I had friends go with me to the hospital, no one can be in the room with you during the actual test. And it’s hard to be alone and at the mercy of others. I came out of most tests crying, feeling like I had just left a torture chamber, instead of a doctor’s office. I can’t imagine being one of those nurses and having to do that to people all the time.

Do you know what else is hard? It’s hard to be kind to some doctors. There is such a balance between “I know my body best and what’s going on” and “You are a doctor and know way more than I do.” Natalie went with me to all of my appointments and we learned a lot about tact. How to say things with tact. For instance, (yes I have her permission to post this) at one point, a doctor was telling me something and I knew it wasn’t going to work because I had already told him that I tried it and he wasn’t listening to me. Natalie looked him right in the face and said, “No, that’s garbage!” We had to have a discussion later about how it’s not really kind to tell people what they are saying is garbage and we talked about tact.

But if I think about my own life, how often do I say things without thinking them through? How often do I give the harsh answer that stirs up strife instead of the soft answer that turns away wrath?

How about in your life?


Thoughts On Comforting Others

Through all of this I have learned there are many different kinds of people when it comes to comforting someone who is in a difficult situation. A few examples:

-There are the people who tell you to suck it up, buttercup. If I was honest, I am usually one of these people. You’ll be fine, keep going, get over it. (Actually, I usually say, “Drink more water; that cures everything.” Turns out it doesn’t. Huh, who knew?) Sometimes though, things aren’t fine.

-There are the people who toss Bible verses at you. The people who don’t really know what’s going on so they just grab verses to tell you. They mean well; they really do. But let me tell you, coming from someone who has been through something like this, it doesn’t always help. This sounds terrible so I’m trying to find the right words here. Most of the time, I already knew the truth. I knew what God’s word had to say and to have someone quote the verses to me (especially if they didn’t understand my situation) was not usually helpful.

-Then there are the people who understand. Most often, these people have also been through rough times and know how to comfort others. They know that what you really need is a long hug and that words are not always the answer. They know when it is time to talk and when you just need to sit and cry together. God has blessed me with several friends like this.

The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep but how often do we really take the time to know someone’s situation well enough to do that? I don’t want to be that top person anymore. I want to be someone who is compassionate towards others because each person I meet is going through something that I know nothing about. I have been so convicted about how judgmental and harsh I was before this. Everyone struggles with things that no one can see. I want to be slow to judge others by what I see. And I want to be quick to love. Quick to listen. Quick to share Christ.


An Expert in Passing Out

You know, of all the things I had hoped to excel at in life, passing out was at the bottom of the list. Actually it wasn’t on the list.

The second medicine I got put on is one that you have to work your way onto so it took roughly four weeks to get to the dose my doctor wanted me at. I had passed out twice on the previous med (which I was only on for about 4 days) so my neurologist switched me to a different one. I do have to say that the new one (Topamax) did a great job at controlling the seizures. But it did a terrible job at causing me to pass out.

I had a little bit of warning. I could feel it coming on like you can feel the tension in the air before a bad thunderstorm comes. Sometimes that feeling would last for an hour before and sometimes it was just a couple of minutes. Then usually about 15 seconds before I passed out I could tell for sure that it was coming. There were a couple of my friends who could look at my face and tell before I could that it was time to find a place to lay down. That was the goal- lay down BEFORE you pass out.

It got to the point where I was almost on a schedule. It would happen just about every other day. You know, it’s a very weird feeling to wake up in the morning and know that at some point, and in some place during that day, you are going to pass out. I’ve passed out in so many different places. When you don’t have much warning, you just find the most out of sight place close to you and sit or lay down. I’ve passed out in my yard, in the office, at church, so many different places around the Farm, and the list goes on. Friends have caught me from falling, have laid me down, and have held my head while waiting for me to wake back up. I was usually only out for 20 seconds-1 minute. It’s pretty sad when passing out barely ruffles your day.

I had to practically beg my doctor to take me off Topamax. She didn’t believe that the meds could be causing the issue and still thought there was something the matter with my heart. I had passed all the heart tests with flying colors and my heart had been pronounced very healthy by the cardiologist. She finally agreed to start taking me down off the medicine and guess what? It takes four weeks to come off of it too. So the passing out continued.


I passed out a total of 32 times while on Topamax. My best friend got me a cake when we hit that mark because everyone should eat some cake if they have passed out that many times. God was so gracious to me though! There were so many times that I could have fallen and hurt myself but I didn’t. He provided close friends who know me better than I know myself (apparently) to catch me and care for me. He protected me from harm and I am thankful for that.


Stolen Identity

Like I said originally, when all of this started I was leading a very busy and active life. Gradually though, I was not able to do all the things I had been doing before.

Believe it or not, one of the first things to go was my ability to sit and read. I had such bad headaches all of the time that to sit and read a book was impossible. I would wake up in the morning and open my Bible and cry because all of the words just blended together and hurt my head so bad. My housemate, Natalie, started leaving one piece of paper on the table for me each night with a verse on it. I would find it in the morning and meditate on that verse. For a while all of the papers laid out on my bedroom floor so that I would see them every day (they almost covered the whole floor) but now they are in a scrapbook.

Obviously, with the ability to read gone, school was out of the question. I called my school and put a hold on my studies. That was really hard because I had these grand plans of where I wanted to be by the end of the year and I saw them dashed to pieces.

There came the day when I could no longer work out or run. I love running. I never realized how much of a stress release it was for me until I couldn’t do it anymore. Call me crazy, but there were days when I literally sat and cried because I couldn’t go out for a run.

Although my license hasn’t actually been taken from me, Ohio law says that you have to be seizure free for six months before you can drive so I was not and I am still not able to drive and had to either walk to work or rely on others for rides (which, by the way, is very humbling.)

There were days when I felt like my job was being taken from me. When I wasn’t able to do it as well as before or I had to leave early because I felt so bad. Days when my boss sent me home to rest because I looked like death warmed over and he was concerned. Everyone was so gracious to me but I WANTED to be there and I WANTED to do my job well!

And I felt empty. Like everything I loved to do in life was taken from me and I didn’t know who I was anymore. And that’s when I realized it. That’s when I realized that instead of my identity being in who I was in Christ and what he has done, it was in all the things I did everyday. It was SO hard to admit that to myself because I desperately wanted my identity to be in Christ! And I cried my eyes out because I realized that I had been putting other things before Christ. But once I found the truth, once everything was taken away from me and Christ was the only thing I had left, it was easy for me to see what I had been doing with my life.

And, you know what? It was freeing. It was freeing to realize that all I had to do was turn to Christ and I could rest assured that forgiveness was already there for me. That his grace was ready and waiting for me and I could take refuge there. And there were days when I felt helpless and empty and didn’t even know what words to pray anymore, but he brought me through it and became the strong tower and refuge that he is described as in the Bible.

Psalm 61:1-3

“Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.”


The Fear of Seizures

You know I think a lot of people live with fear. Fear of spiders, of snakes (which is a completely rational fear), fear of burglars, etc. But there is another kind of fear that I never knew about until this year and it resides deep inside a person.

When I had my first seizures on that day in April, I told the doctor that right before they happened my body had a sense of fear. And I couldn’t explain it. It is like my body knew what was about to come and was already afraid, although my mind was clueless as to what was going on. There was this sense of fear and impending doom right before the actual seizure came and my body tensed up.

As the summer progressed, the fear got worse. I learned different things that triggered my seizures and for me, those things were sounds and vibrations. I think it would be a little easier if they were triggered by flashing lights or something like that but it is really hard to control was you hear. For instance, during the summer, some friends and I went to see Finding Dory when it came out. There was a certain part of that movie that had a sound in it and that was the first time that I found something that actually brought on a seizure. I had never been so sure of anything before- but I knew that sound had caused that seizure. And I still haven’t re-watched that movie- because I’m afraid to. Here’s another example. I do a lot of laminating in the office during the summer and I actually like to laminate. One of my favorite things to do is wait for the laminator to heat up and then lay my arms and head down on it because it’s really warm and cozy. Did you know laminators also make a buzzing noise and they vibrate? It wasn’t a good combination and instantly I had a seizure.

It was terrible to suddenly have all these everyday things becoming things to be afraid of. Things like hearing motorcycles, watching firecrackers, or having someone bounce their leg on the same bench as me. One day, I got online to read about things that could cause seizures and just reading about them triggered one in me. Even writing this post I have had to stop several times. Slowly I slipped into living in fear. Fear of all the things that were causing me or could cause me to have seizures.

If you have never had a seizure, you can’t imagine what they feel like. And mine are very mild. I could have one while talking in a group and probably no one would notice. The build up to them is terrible. It feels like you have a knife hanging over your head. A feeling of dread and impending doom. That feeling might last an hour and the seizure may never even come or it might just be a few minutes. And then the seizure itself comes and all my muscles tense up as tight as they can for a moment or two and then relax. It almost hurts. It hurts my head. Usually I am so tired afterwards that I just want to sleep forever. At one point in time, I was having 10-15 of these a day.

Can you imagine that fear? During that time (I was able to read more again), the Psalms came alive to me in a way they never have before. David was afraid a lot. And I mean a lot. And he wasn’t ashamed of it; he recorded it at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He knew where to turn to when he felt fear and he encourages us to do the same.

I’m not going to copy all of Psalm 55  here (I do encourage you to read the whole thing!) but let me pull out parts of verses for you:

“Give ear to my prayer, oh God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy…I am restless…My heart is in anguish within me…Fear and trembling come upon me…”

These verses explain how David was feeling at this point in his life and they perfectly describe how I felt also. Then you get to David’s solution:

“But I call to God, and the Lord will save me…he hears my voice…He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage…Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you…”

This Psalm was such a comfort to me! To realize that even David felt anguish and fear but he knew where to fly for comfort. He knew that his comfort came from the assurance that God held his soul in his hand and I came to know that as well.

That in the end, no matter what happens to my body, my soul is safe.


Sleepless in…Dayton (Part 1)

By the end of summer 2016, I had been to two different neurologists and on 4 different seizure medications. I still didn’t have answers. I didn’t even have an official diagnosis. The meds either didn’t work to control the seizures or the side effects were so bad (my body hates medicines) that I had to be taken off of them. I had also been to a homeopathic doctor and there was no help from the natural end of the world either.

So my doctor decided it was time to do the test I had been avoiding for 3 months: EEG monitoring. This is where you go into the hospital for 3-5 days (you don’t know how long you need to be there until they start monitoring and gathering data) and they do a continuous EEG on your brain. I had been dreading this test for a couple reasons: a) they take you off all seizure medication during it and I wasn’t looking forward to that. b) I was going to be missing my favorite week of camp back at work. c) what in the world was I supposed to do in the hospital for 3-5 days hooked up to all these machines??

My mom and sister both came up for the testing and bright and early on August 9th, my mom drove me to the hospital. We got checked in and they started hooking up all the wires to my head and chest and then they wrapped my head to prevent the wires from falling off. The nurse wrapped my head very tightly and she told me that it was because she didn’t want to have to redo it. I actually still have a mark on my forehead from where one of the electrodes was pressed into my head. During the testing you are on video, sound, and EEG record and a tech watches you 24/7. I had this brilliant idea that I was going to use this time to rest my poor body. It needed rest so badly so I planned on getting as much sleep as possible. Since we had had to wake up early to get to the hospital, once everything was hooked up, my IV was in place, and all the nurses left the room, I settled in to take a nap. I was just about asleep when the tech came in the room.

“Hey, honey. You know you can’t fall asleep, right?” Uh…nooooo. “They have you on sleep deprivation right now so we need to keep you awake for roughly 21 hours and then we’ll let you sleep for 4.”

Oh. That would have been nice to know the night before because I probably wouldn’t have stayed up late talking with my sister with this nice thought in my mind of sleeping at the hospital the next day. Suddenly I felt overwhelmingly tired and I was stuck sitting in bed… this was going to be a long day.

When my first meal arrived that day, I bowed my head to pray and said, “Lord, thank you for…” and I started to cry. It occurred to me how unthankful I had been for this opportunity. There are so many people in the world who don’t have access to medical care or the financial means to use it and I had be so ungrateful for my chance to do this testing. I had been caught up in how much I didn’t want to go and how unpleasant it was going to be that I had forgotten to thank God for giving me this chance to find answers.


Sleepless in…Dayton (Part 2)

Have you ever been really thirsty and gone to take a drink out of a water bottle only to discover that it’s really flavored water and not regular water? And it wasn’t at all what you expected?

That’s how I felt with this monitoring. I had it so set in my mind that all I was going to do was lay there and sleep and relax, maybe watch some movies, or read a book and it turned out to be something completely different.

Sleep deprivation is terrible. Let me just say that. After the second round of 21 hours awake and four hours of sleep, I was talking nonsense and I knew it. I have never been so tired. The one night they woke me up in the middle of my four hours of sleep to do a routine blood pressure check! Also, they try to induce seizures while you are under the monitor. So they bring in the strobe lights, played all sorts of different sounds, and they try to stress your heart and your brain in order to cause seizures.

Now, would you like to know the good parts?

-Friends can visit! This hospital does the monitoring in the ICU so technically you are only allowed to have 2 visitors at a time but I know at one point we had 6 people in the room. So many wonderful people came to visit me over the few days! My mom spent the days with me and Natalie spent the nights since she was working and that was the only time she could visit. Natalie had the worse end of the deal- she ended up being the one keeping me awake until 2am.

-Thank Jesus for the Olympics!!! You know, I NEVER get to watch the Olympics because I don’t have cable but because I was sitting in the hospital, I got to watch more than I ever have before!

-You get to wear pajama pants the whole time! I didn’t have to wear a hospital gown as long as I followed their standards for what you needed to wear (which, fortunately, I had read ahead of time) so I got to wear my own clothes.

-You can play with the monitor. Ok, probably shouldn’t have been doing this, but it didn’t take me long to find out that if I clenched my teeth together the EEG monitor would go crazy. I never got in trouble for it….

-I had one really awesome nurse! Actually, she was the night tech and she was amazing. That girl needs a raise. The first night she came in and found how tight my head was wrapped (it was cutting off the circulation to my ears) and she re-wrapped the whole thing. She explained things to me which no one else had taken the time to do and I am so thankful for her!


Sleepless in…Dayton (Part 3)

During my second day of testing, one the nurses asked me if Doctor so-and-so (the Epileptologist) had been in to see me yet. I told her that I wasn’t sure because so many people had been in and out. She replied, “Oh, you’ll know her. She’ll have an entourage of medical students following her around.” The nurse was right. The next morning a doctor walked in and I knew exactly who she must be because there were 6 students right at her heels.

She told me that I could go home that day. She explained what they had seen. Apparently, my brain has these abnormal high waves all the time and they aren’t sure why. They have the potential to turn into seizures but they aren’t actual seizures. They only saw a few actual seizures while I was there even though I felt like I was going crazy the whole time. Her solution: put me back on the meds until we find the right one.

I felt a little stunned. I had gone through all of this only to be right back at the same place. Still no answers really. Just more medication to control symptoms, not fix the cause.

But God was teaching me something in that hospital bed. The first night, when the nurse woke me up to check my blood pressure, I got up to use the restroom. Which is really difficult, by the way, when you have 26 wires coming off of your head and 5 off your chest. As I went to wash my hands, I fell. With no warning, a seizure came and BAM! I was suddenly sitting hard on the floor. I was so surprised that it took me a minute to get back up. You see, every seizure I had had before that one, came with a warning sign. That was the very first one that came with no warning whatsoever.

Because I always had warning, all the nurses had let me use the restroom by myself even though technically they weren’t supposed to, but now that was over. A nurse had to be with me every time. Talk about humbling.

The worst part was, as I crawled back into bed exhausted that night, I realized I had lost my last bit of control. Having that warning gave me the assurance that I could always be sitting or leave the room but that was gone now. Suddenly the world felt a little more unsafe than it had a few hours before.

As I laid in my own bed on my first night at home, my heart was in a lot of turmoil and I couldn’t fall asleep. I was talking to God about how I had wanted that control and warning and how I was afraid now that it was gone. I realized I was going to have to up my trust game. I was going to have to pray for God to give me trust in him more than ever before. Have you ever had God answer a prayer immediately? In that moment, as I prayed for God to calm my heart and give me trust in him, I felt a wave of peace come over me such as I have never felt before. I thanked him and fell asleep right away.

So no, I still had no answers. No magical potion to make everything go back to the way it was. But I do have a God with answers and as hard as it is sometimes to actually do, I knew I could trust him and rest in him.


Offering Sacrifices

So where do I go from here, right? I had just spent three days in the hospital without any real results. I had a follow-up appointment scheduled with the neurologist and I told him that the medicine wasn’t working. I was still having seizures. I asked what my options were and sat there in silence as he basically blamed me for the medications not working. He made it sound either like it was my fault or like he didn’t believe me that they didn’t work. Aaaaaannnnnd that was the last time I saw him.

I’m sure it is hard to be a doctor. So much of it is trial and error and it would kill me to watch people suffer who were under my care. I think that must be why so many doctors and nurses have developed the hard, uncaring outer shell. I certainly met some very kind people in the medical world, but they were definitely the exception, not the rule. In fact, they were so few and far between that I could easily tell you each one.

So there I was: answer-less and now doctor-less. Fortunately, I wasn’t Jesus-less! A few days after that appointment, I wrote in my journal:

“Today is the 6 month mark from the first seizure (it was Oct. 10th). Who would have thought it would last this long? Who would have known what God was about to bring me through, to teach me? Which reminds me of a verse I read today in Psalm 50, ‘The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me…’ I so want to be that thankful person! I don’t want to take things for granted. Thank you, Lord, even for the rough times.”

What do you need to be thankful for today? What have you been taking for granted that you can simply pause and thank the Lord for? What is something you have never even thought about thanking God for?

A few days after that appointment, Natalie walked into the office and announced to me that she had gotten an appointment for me at the Cleveland Clinic. And it was less than three weeks away (which is really fast in the medical world for an appointment.) I was so thankful! Thankful for Natalie who worked tirelessly to get that appointment, for the Lord working everything out to get it so quickly, and for the opportunity to visit some of the best doctors in the nation.


The Medication Game

So the appointment in Cleveland was at the end of October and it is now February. What has happened since then, you ask? I’ll tell you.

It has simply been a game of trial and error with meds. Trying to find the right medication or combination of them that will control the seizures with the least amount of side effects.

Actually, wanna hear a funny story? Oh good. So a little while back I was on these two medications and they were actually doing a fairly good job at controlling the seizures. I was beginning to be hopeful that we may have found the right ones. And although the side effects weren’t great, I had decided I could live with them. There was just one teensy-tiny issue. After I started the combination, once in a while I would have rapid heart rate problems. Like so rapid that I could see my heart beating at the front of my neck and then my breathing would increase and sometimes I would pass out from it. Being an expert in passing out, it didn’t bother me too much and since this would only happen once a week or so and I didn’t want to be taken off of these meds that finally seemed to be working, I didn’t call my doctor about it. Well, some friends convinced me in the end that rapid heart rate isn’t actually something you should brush off and so I called the doctor’s office and left a message. Are you aware that neurologists FREAK OUT anytime something with your heart goes wrong? They are calm as cucumbers until you mention something odd with your heart and then it’s you are probably dying and should go to the ER IMMEDIATELY! I’m not sure I’ve ever talked to a nurse on the phone where I felt like I needed to tell her to calm down. Needless to say, I was taken off one of the medications the next day and the heart issue went away. But the seizures came back. (Sorry; that wasn’t really a funny story, was it?)

In case you haven’t gotten the idea yet, my body hates medicine. Every time I switch to a new one or my dose changes, it feels like I’ve been tied up behind a horse cart and my body is being drug through the dirt behind it. One of the main side effects of all seizure meds is sleepiness/tiredness but some also prevent you from being able to sleep at night. How cruel is that? Have you ever been so tired that a gravel path looks inviting to lay down and take a nap on? I have. I have gotten to the point where I could lay my hurting head down anywhere and fall asleep. I fell asleep sitting up talking to my housemate just the other day. It’s bad.

And this game isn’t over yet. I actually just changed my medicine dose last week and I go back to Cleveland Clinic at the end of this month so we’ll see what happens then.

In my next post, I want to share with you something really awesome that God did with all of this mess and how he answered a prayer of mine.


Answered Prayers

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I haven’t for a long time now, but I do usually pick something in my life that I need to work on and pray for the Lord to help me in that area.

On January 1st of 2016, I asked God to make me a more compassionate person. I realized that I rated very low on the compassion scale and I wanted to be more tenderhearted and sensitive. You see, I’m usually a get-over-it, you’ll-be-fine kind of person. So I prayed and asked God to teach me how to give more compassion to others in 2016.

Did you know that God doesn’t think the way that we do? You probably did. Actually there is a verse that goes with that,For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Well, in MY mind, God was going to make me more compassionate by sending someone to me that really needed compassion and mercy and I would suddenly acquire tons of compassion and have this wonderful opportunity to show it to them. I had it all figured out. But as the verse says God’s ways are not my ways.

Instead, he made it so that I was the person who needed compassion. I needed the people around me to be sensitive and tenderhearted and compassionate. I needed people to care for me, encourage me, and show me gentleness and comfort.

And that’s when it hit me. I didn’t know what compassion was before. If God had done things my way, I wouldn’t have known what to do because I didn’t know how to comfort someone or show them compassion. I needed all those people to teach me and show me first before I could learn to show it to others. I desperately wish I could have learned another way but I know that God’s will is perfect and he is always good.

I am thankful that God placed those people in my life to be living examples of compassion. So you see, God really does answer prayer. I have learned so much about how to comfort others who are going through a difficult situation. I definitely still have a lot to learn and I still pray for compassion often but I am thankful that God didn’t do things my way. I am thankful that his thoughts are not mine and his ways are higher than mine.


Moving On

This will be the last post in the series The2016Story. Not because that Story has ended but because it is continuing. I will continue to update and write but 2016 is over and you are now caught up on it. I feel like I barely scratched the surface of everything that actually went on, but I did my best. Some things are just too difficult to write about.

It was the hardest year of my life but I actually think I am having more trouble now than all through the summer and fall of last year. I am struggling to move on. How do I adjust my life to this change? How can things ever go back to the way they were before? It reminds me of a part of one of my favorite movies (Lord of the Rings):

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on? In your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back. There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.”

Now, I believe that our God is able to heal those hurts but I don’t think my life will ever be the same again. In some aspects, that is a good thing. I don’t want to forget what God has taught me or how I’ve grown to rely on him and on others. But to be completely honest, some nights I lay and cry because I want my old life back. I want to go through a day without headaches, seizures, or pain. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and actually feel refreshed, ready to take on the day and serve Christ. I want to be able to do the things I could before and I wish that none of this had ever happened. Which reminds me of another Lord of the Rings quote:

“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

It has been a constant prayer of mine that God would be glorified in my life no matter what happens. No matter what I’m going through, I want to love others, share the gospel, and see his Name lifted high. And that is my prayer for 2017.

(You are currently reading a post in a series called The2016Story. If you have jumped in in the middle and would like to start at the beginning, click HERE.)



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