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!


Gina Witcher / Runnermom4 said...

Wow. I think your blog outdoes mine. I am crying here at the end of your blog. All that is just too much to take in in one reading...too amazing to even comprehend that you are here.
Wow. You are amazing. God is even more amazing. We need to go out with some other bloggers one night.

Oh, a Masters National Championship is basically all the old people who cannot compete with the "big dogs" anymore. :-) Masters competitions use to be 40 year olds and up. They now have a 30-35 age group and a 35-39 age group. I will be competing in the 2000m steeplechase in the 35-39 age group.

Michelle said...

I'm sorry I have never heard your amazing story until now. I had no idea. The past 2 random times we have run into each other - I have realized what an awesome person you are - I wish we could live closer so we could hang out and get to know each other better. Wanna move to the beach????!!!!


Jeff Kapusta said...

Hey guys! It was great seeing you at the Harvest Crusade. Come down and visit us anytime!


Gina Witcher / Runnermom4 said...

Hey Angela! I will blog about my race hopefully tomorrow, but tonight I just wanted to let you know, in case you don't check your blogs... Baby Isaac passed away last night (Sunday)...

The Eckerts said...

That is an amazing story. Our God is in the miracle business! I love to hear how He is working in peoples lives.

The Atkinson 6 said...

I am just reading this and I think you are amazing! I think that Paul is amazing! Most importantly I think God is sooo good!

I think you should write a book about your life!

I thank God that you are here with us and able to write the things that you write because I learn so much from you and look forward to reading your input and advice for our group.

I also love the quote from C.S. Lewis and wondering if you would mind if I use it in my signatures on emails? It just seems so simple and so...right.

Anyway, Angela your story took my breath away. You, Jenny, FR, and Mir just really have a special place in my heart.

Love you!