Archive | November, 2012

Getting Back On My Feet

29 Nov

What a difference it makes when we go against our emotions and make our hearts follow our heads. It’s easy to get caught up in dissatisfaction and worries, questioning why this and this happened. Of course, these emotions only make us human, but refusing to go with the flow of conventional and banal living seems to me, to take a more meaningful stance towards life. A simple act of thanking God for the smallest things can really divert our attention to Him and makes for a great start to the day and to the rest of our lives!

Some of us learn hard truths the easy way, and some of us learn simple truths the hard way. “Different folks have different strokes,” a wise someone once said 😉

For me, learning the simple truth that God loves me took me through a hard and rather difficult experience. To recount this journey could be viewed as opening painful wounds, but to hide this experience would be to hide the wonderful work He did and is still continuously doing in my life. And I hope that whoever reads this will be blessed!

Joy talking joyfully to Joy in the hospital X)

Viral Encephalitis (in order to not have to explain this, please click for explanation :D); that’s what my neurologist eventually told me was the official term for what I contracted about 3 months ago. Who knew that what started as a fever would lead to a night in the ICU, 2 weeks in the hospital, memory loss, blurry vision, hallucinations, lots and lots of needles everywhere, a long bout of urinary retention, jelly calf muscles that put me in a wheelchair for 3 weeks, and a ton of tears and endless worry to all of those who cared for me. However, along with that also came an abundance of love from Papa, Mommy, and Denys who came every single day to care for me, as well as friends and family who took time to visit me in the hospital. Also extremely significant to me, were the prayers from each and every single one of you in Cornerstone, and my friends from overseas, as well as those who prayed for me who didn’t even know me. Thank you all of you for your care… your prayers meant and still mean a great deal to me. Thank you very much :’)

I don’t remember a great deal of the beginnings of this whole experience. And as many have said, it’s probably better this way. For one, and my family and those close to me will attest to this, I hate to admit it but I am one big drama queen. Yes, I hate needles and any sort of pain for that matter. In fact, before I lost my memory, I remember crying, rather dramatically, when my family doctor took a blood test to check for dengue T.T And this in itself is something I really thank God for. That I don’t remember all those needles, the lumbar punctures, the iv drips, the daily blood pricks, the headaches, and that I don’t remember the fear that I so often feel when I encounter pain. Phew.

Physio was something new to me. Not being able to stand, what more not walk, was a thought that had never crossed my mind before. To actually face the reality that at that time even standing for 3 seconds brought black stars to my vision was really overwhelming. To add to these already existing feelings of incompetence, I also couldn’t pee. Horrors of horrors.

Thank you God for letting my parents’ request to send me home on the 16th pass because I don’t think I could’ve survived another day in the hospital at that point without feeling really depressed. Now, don’t get me wrong, when my memory actually kicked in, I felt surprisingly happy. In fact, I remember people coming in with gifts and chocolates, and stuffed toys! Happy memories. Who knows if it was because they took me off steroids, or if it was the fact that I couldn’t do things that even my twin sisters could do that caused me to be discouraged, but I do know it was really His grace that I went home on the 16th.

See how happy I look! Must be all the cookies and chocolate and love 🙂

The next 2 weeks were really tough. Not for me, but especially for my family. I couldn’t walk, so I had to be carried from chair to chair to get to the bathroom and bed. Simple things like eating and showering were hard. Tensions ran high because of all the stress. As a recovering patient, I felt like I had every right to be treated like a princess, after all, it’s not like I could stand up and reach across the table to get to those cookies in the cookie jar, right? I am so grateful for my mom’s training as a nurse and more importantly her patience with me. It also meant a great deal that my dad gave up his bed for me, so I could be closer to the washroom and not have to deal with stairs. Thank you siblings for being patient with your older sister. The fact that Denys would come to the house in the mornings, was a lifesaver. Helping me with the simple things, like getting water, tissue, or pushing my chair closer to the table when my legs simply wouldn’t budge, made a huge difference! I am indebted to everyone’s patience, because I know it wasn’t easy.

Just one day after my discharge. The family at Delia’s place celebrating Pst Cam and Pst Tim’s birthdays, as well as a surprise celebration for my mom. Still in a wheelchair, but happy to be out of the hospital 🙂

Thank God He jerked me out of my selfish way of thinking. Days in the hospital were often spent reading the word, and it didn’t stop when I was discharged. The fact that I couldn’t do things that would come so easily to any normal human being really devastated me. But, this was the time when God began to dig deep into my heart, and show me that the root of all my fears lay in one simple thought: I didn’t trust that God loved me.

After all, why would He let me go through such a thing. Why would He not let me go for my mission trip to Sri Lanka? Why would He let all my efforts that I put in to go to Japan go down the drain? Why, why, why? I still remember the first time I returned to the hospital, to remove my catheter. That day, was probably one of the hardest days for me emotionally since the time I was discharged. The failure of not being able to pee, really got to me. I remember that weeks after very clearly as weeks of learning what faith actually meant. It’s not just a simple act of willing yourself to believe. But rather, it’s a divine peace that settles in your heart when you trust wholeheartedly in God. No matter the outcome, that you would trust in His love and His perfect will for your life.

As God worked this simple truth out in my life. The time drew near for me to remove the catheter for the 5th time. I thank God that He gave me the grace to realize the depth of His love for me. I couldn’t help shivering as I entered the hospital, because God knows I couldn’t bear to have it be removed and inserted for the 6th time. But, I went in knowing that no matter what happened, that He loves me and He will never let me go through something for no reason. Denys brought me to the hospital that day and he told me we would hi-5 if everything went well. I bet he regretted saying that, because I probably caused him extreme embarrassment when I came out of the room shouting “HI-5! HI-5! WOOOOOO” 🙂 Thank you God for getting me through that.

After that, things only started getting better. I gained strength in my legs, had an awesome physiologist to guide and encourage me, gained clarity in my eyesight, and started to feel less weary physically. Most importantly, I started to believe again in the truth that God has a plan for my life.

I could even wear heels for our family photoshoot! 😀

Now, 2 and a half months after my discharge, I am absolutely delighted to say that I am back on my feet and have fully recovered 🙂 I went to the hospital on the 26th of November for the final and last time (and hopefully for a very long time to come), where my neurologist said that he has no need to see me ever again! When I first was discharged, I never thought that I would be looking back at all that happened, and actually be writing all this, but I am so grateful that God’s love was like a guiding light. That amidst all the fear and pain, He reached into my place of darkness and patiently and so lovingly guided me out. Thank you so much.

No words are adequate enough to express the thankfulness and gratefulness that is in my heart as I finally close this chapter of my life. Thank you for the gems that I’ve gleaned; for family, for friends, for a very precious someone (a story probably best left for another time), for all the patience, love, and care. I can simply never be grateful enough. The lessons that I’ve learnt and have been burned into my heart are not all I want to take out from this. Truth is, I can never look at illness in the same light. Perhaps before, I was more or less indifferent. It’s hard to empathize when you don’t truly understand what it means to fall ill and feel like your life is not really in your control. But now, I pray that my life can be an encouragement to others who are in or have gone through similar situations and that God will give me many opportunities in the future to minister His love and hope to others 🙂