Sunday, June 28, 2015

Life's Curveballs and What You Can Learn

The doctor stood in my ER room, looking at me with my chart in his hand and said, "I'm so sorry." Sorry is not a word you want to ever hear from a physician. That sorry meant he had little hope for my recovery; for my life. As I was being wheeled into surgery I refused to let that sorry sink in. "I'm not going to die. I'm not going to die. I will be ok". It was my mantra on repeat until the anesthesia gave way and my mind shut down as I gave my body over to the doctor who seemed to have little hope in fixing me. 

For two weeks prior to this, I had extraordinary pain in my back due, I thought, to a muscle spasm. I went to an ER and without even an X-ray, the doctor agreed and sent me on my way with muscle relaxers and a warning to take it easy. When the pain worsened over the following days, to the point where it was blinding and I couldn't breathe, I went to another hospital. After three X-Rays and a CT Scan they finally discovered the problem; my entire stomach was in my lung and was now leaking gastric fluids due to a rupture. They were baffled. I was eerily calm. 

They listed all the possible things that could go wrong with my surgery; death, colostomy bag, full removal of my stomach, a lung too damaged to operate properly. I heard all of them, but I didn't listen. "I'll pull through. I'm not going to die" 

I awoke from the procedure alone. The first thing my hands did was to go straight to my stomach. No bag. I looked down. Stomach looked normal. Lung area looked normal. New scar. I can deal with that. You did it, Kathleen. Again. Defying the odds is kind of my thing. 

I was moved from post-op recovery to the recovery floor. No ICU for me! I had drainage tubes coming from my lungs and breathing tubes down my throat, but I was alive. Everyday in that hospital when my septic body filled with fluids and my beaten and bruised heart went so crazy a team of doctors rushed in to see why my resting heart rate was 175, that voice echoed in my head, "you're going to make it." 

Every doctor told me they were astounded, some calling me a miracle. I call it faith. In myself. In my body. Faith in my Faith that prayers are answered. Faith in the Universe that all works out as it should.

Everyday friends came and sat by my side, feeding me when I couldn't feed myself. They helped me walk my laps around the floor. They bathed me; having my hair washed was always the highlight of my day. Having my son help me out of bed and step carefully around my IV pole nearly broke my heart in two. But seeing the gentle, caring young man he has grown into made me realize I've done my job well. Every person who visited me, had a profound change on me. They loved me back to health. 

The road back hasn't been easy. I'm maybe at 60%. I'm slow and tire easily. I get frustrated and irritated when I can't do what I want to do for myself. But, those same people surround me with their love and remind me everyday that I am here for a purpose. 

I want people to know that you CAN overcome. There will always be obstacles. Don't let your focus be on them. See past them, see around them, let your sights rest on your goal. 

We are all miracles