One verse has helped me throughout my life, Isaiah 41:10–Fear thou not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
Two week ago, I woke up, went to wash my face, and looked in the mirror as usual. The reflection looking back at me was not my usual reflection. The right side of my face was drooping. It was scary to say the least. I called the Hubs at work, and it was then that I realized that my speech was affected as well. J came right home to evaluate things. Looking back, it was a small miracle that he was free at that moment to come home. Most days I don’t see or hear from him until after 6pm. He reassured me, and lots of Advil later, I was back to usual. Saturday morning, I woke up and I was worse. Now my right hand, in addition to the right side of my face, was weak. My speech was worse as well, and my vision wasn’t normal. We headed to the ER. I was admitted to the hospital for a stroke work-up. MRI, CT, echocardiogram, bloodwork, x-rays, etc, etc, etc. All came back normal and confirmed once and for all that I do, indeed, have a brain. While the hospitalist would not rule this out as a TIA, the most likely diagnosis is Familial Hemiplegic Migraine. Just like Lemony.
Be not dismayed
tr.v. dis·mayed, dis·may·ing, dis·mays
1. To destroy the courage or resolution of by exciting dread or apprehension.
2. To cause to lose enthusiasm; disillusion.
3. To upset or alarm.
A sudden or complete loss of courage in the face of trouble or danger.
To say the least, I was dismayed. In the days after the hospital visit, things were strange. At times I could talk clearly, then not. At times I could use both hands freely, at times not. Sometimes my smile was straight, at other times it drooped or worse–pulled to one side like someone was pulling it with a string. At times I could see normally, at other times I saw double images or things were blurred. The worst night was Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I had trouble with everything. And then there was pain. That was when I really broke down. That made it worse still.
We spent Thanksgiving in Virginia with the Chaotic Quiver, grandparents and cousins. The early part of Thanksgiving Day was rough, but by that evening, I was feeling much better, and I continued to feel better after that. Ah, the healing power of giggling madly with your sisters! We drove home, spent one night, and left again for Ohio. We got back home in the wee hours yesterday. I had to do major grocery shopping, involving three stores and three kids, and pick up the dog. Normally, this would be stressful, but doable. Yesterday, however, I started having some of the symptoms return. I was feeling weak and sorry for myself, and I prayed, half-heartedly, that J would be home to help me unload the groceries. It was only a bit after 5pm, so I wasn’t hopeful. He was home! He unloaded the groceries, and I sat on the couch and felt very sorry for myself. Mostly because the Advil bottle was all the way upstairs, and I was too tired to get it. I prayed, again half-heartedly, for strength. I looked up and saw our mini-bottle of Advil on the coffee table in front of me. Inside was exactly one dose. Call it coincidence if you want, but I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe we have a big God who loves us, even at our most pitiful and whiny.
I will strengthen you…I will help you
So many things came together for my help that I cannot see them as anything but help from God. That J was able to come straight home that first day, that he was off the following day to take me to the hospital, that he was home to help with groceries, that the Advil was actually right in front of me. Seemingly inane things–random things–to someone else mean everything to me. I have to stress this point–these random things typically do not work out for me. For most of Lemony’s crises, I’ve had to handle them alone. I cried many times because J wasn’t there, wasn’t able to come home, wasn’t available to go to specialists. Was that because God was giving me the strength to handle it myself? I think so now. And when I needed help for myself, He provided it.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD.