Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Do you ever stop to count anniversaries (other than your wedding)? This July 31st will be 5 years. Five years since the doctors diagnosed me with a fatal lung disease. Five long years and yet I now have the opportunity for many more. Back in April 2002 I became ill. I spent the next few months trying all kinds of meds and in hospitals running tests. Finally on July 31st we would have the answers we were waiting for only our answer was PPH a lung disease that has no cure and no answers. I was given the bad news that I only had 3-5 years left to live. Paul and I were shocked. We were young and thought we had our whole life together. For crying out loud we were still newlyweds so how could this have been happening.

The next month we experienced emotions that neither of us knew we had. I kept thinking of all the things I never got to do. Before I knew it I was telling God about my list of things that I thought I would do one day before I died. Didn’t he know it wasn’t time? The emotional journey was rough, and in the midst of it all God asked us to have a child. Paul and I were like Gideon [Judges 6:11-18, and Judges 6:36-40] asking for signs and testing the fleece. We thought we were crazy, but against all odds I was pregnant.

Long story short some miracle happened in the birth of our son Judah that doctors can’t understand. After labor I died and was brought back to life but the strangest thing was I no longer had the lung disease. No one knows where it went. I had test results showing it there before I was pregnant and then was tested again after I had Judah and no disease showed up anywhere. Paul and I believe it was our miracle. Our prayer warrior had informed us prior to Judah’s birth that she was praying for the disease to be birthed. Well I guess God answered her prayer. She also prayed that Judah and I would both live [I went into the hospital in April 2003 to die and to give up my life for my unborn son]. God had answered that prayer as well.

Even though I no longer had the lung disease it had severely damaged my heart. I spent 9 months in pulmonary rehab. During my pregnancy I had not been given the correct meds and dosage and was severely overweight from fluid retention. I had also spent 1 year in a wheelchair and had atrophy of most of my leg and arm muscles. It was hard in the beginning – I was too weak to both take care of my son and try to manage rehab. In 2004 I achieved incredible results that puzzled my doctors. I was improving when they thought that I couldn’t. The 5 years they had given me left to live became the 5 years it would take to get my life back and I was achieving it in 1.

Also in 2004 I was given the green light for another child. After getting pregnant we learned that my heart damage would not allow me to carry more children. With proper meds and a lot of prayer I did better delivering Rebekah. Back to outpatient rehab I went.

Fast forward to 2007. I have lost all of the weight from my pregnancies and almost all from the initial lung disease gain. For the first time in 5+ years I’m able to ride a bike, lift weights, vacuum my carpets (yes, I wanted to do that again), clean my house and run with my kids. Also in 2007 we paid off the final medical bill. AND TODAY July 28th I helped my husband haul 1.5 TONs of rocks to form a ditch (we have 12 more tons to go).

As this July rolled around I have experienced a different set of emotions – joy, happiness, contentment, love, and peace. Peace to know that God is in control. Prayer, well it just darn works. There are still milestones left to accomplish but I no longer fear dying. I no longer look over my shoulder wondering about my future. Yes, right now I still have a heart disease (more like damage), but if I follow my cardiologist instructions I’ll live a full life. I’ve been given a second chance. It’s been a hard 5 years but there’s a beautiful rainbow at the end of this storm and in the midst of it we learned to live 1 moment at a time.

Remember the list of things I wanted to do before I died; well, I just checked off another one this week. I got my first tattoo. Yep, a symbol of the Japanese word for prayer. It’s to remind me of these past 5 years, to remind me of prayers that were answered. Prayers from family members, prayer warrior friends, yet mostly from Paul and I. For those that walked with us thanks. As we watch our children grow we will never forget your prayers and your love. Happy 5th Anniversary!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

She's already two?!

Time, it seems, has steadily been moving forward, and our little girl is now, well, a little girl. She's not a baby anymore. Half angel / half... not - all cute! We celebrated her birthday with some family and friends, and had a great day for it. You can click HERE for some more on her little to-do.