Lisa and I have known each other for many years and work together in our church’s preschool department. I had no idea she had been through anything like this until I read this! Here is her story in her own words…
The enemy has really tried to take me out. In 2001 on August 5, I was at a friends house eating dinner. I began having intense stomach pain. I did not finish dinner and thought maybe I just need to move my bowels. Nope. Pain got worse so I went home and vomited shortly after. I felt better for about 10 seconds. Then round 2 was even more painful and the vomiting more violent. Again relief for about 10 seconds. Then round 3 started which was the worst by far. Then I started having trouble breathing so I called 911. I remember being in the ER and I think I was passing out from the pain and waking up scared. I remember screaming and a nurse came in and hatefully said, “What’s wrong with you now? You were asleep 5 minutes ago!” I literally checked out! I don’t remember anything else until mid October when they weaned me off sedation. I had been in ICU since Aug. 5, 2001! My parents who were in Florida were telling me that when someone finally got ahold of them about two days later, that I was gasping for air and in restraints! They were asking my parents if they could put me on a ventilator and were giving me less than a 5% chance to live. Doctors continued telling them that I had less than a 5% chance to live and I would not make it through the night! That pretty much sounds like the end of all hope right there folks! My parents told me I had been diagnosed with pancreatitis and ketoacidosis. I had been on kidney dialysis for three weeks because my kidneys had shut down. God healed me. Then my digestive system shut down. God healed me again and again and again! One doctor told my parents if I lived I would never eat, talk or walk again! But here I am doing all these things daily! I had 7 different doctors and all but one, who is my current doctor, told my parents they should be ashamed of themselves for not turning off the life support and letting me die with dignity! What dignity is there in any death? My current doctor came to my parents and encouraged them by saying “There is still hope, keep praying.” I thought this is a doctor I need to stick with! After waking up in October 2001 I learned 9-11 happened during my medically induced coma. I was told my Aunt Patricia soon after began praying Psalm 118:17 For I will live and not die. I will live to declare the marvelous works of the Lord and Proverbs 9:11 For by me your days shall be multiplied and the years of your life shall be increased. I stayed in ICU for a bit but struggled to hold down food. I believe it was because I had not eaten in so long. Doctors did not know. I also had surgery to place a feeding tube in my stomach as well as to remove my gall bladder. It was diseased by the pancreatitis and they removed some inflammation. I have a chevron scar on my tummy from this. I also have a scar in my neck from a tracheostomy during my sedation. I also was on TPN, total protein nutrition where nutrients were provided to me intravenously in a vein in my chest. This requires different places to be switched periodically prior to the feeding tube. I’m told it is never good for anyone to be on a ventilator or TPN for extended periods of time. Disease, illness or sickness is rough but recovery is where the real journey can be such a struggle. I wanted to give up so many times! I lived at Bradley Memorial Hospital for 6 months and did not feel human. I had amazing nurses, but no one is perfect. It was hard having nurses tell me I just wasn’t trying to eat or walk. For so long one small bite just came right back up on its own with zero help from me. Just to get out of bed to go potty was an ordeal. It took the better part of an hour getting to and from despite the fact the bathroom was in my room. So many middle of the night episodes coughing up gunk from my lungs and begging them not to use the ambu bag on me. Begging for my parents and no one one wanted to bother them!!! I asked God why so many times. What kind of life was this? This isn’t abundant life. After this I had to go to a rehab hospital as all my muscles had atrophied. Ugh. That was awful. Rehab was at Standifer Place, the old Hamilton County Nursing Home. I told my dad I would not be there three weeks, I would either get better quick or die. Two weeks later they discharged me! There were roaches there and I’m by far not a princess by any stretch but when you can’t move out of the way fast, yucka! One of the nurses/volunteers made fun of me for being worried the roaches were gonna get me. Oh this ticked off my daddy! The next day I saw different nursing staff and aids. They had apartments my parents could stay in so I spent my days with them. My daddy decided to make his awesome chili and I ate half a small bowl and kept it down!!!!! This was big! That same night my feeding tube fell out as I was going to the bathroom! God definitely has a sense of humor! The surgeon who had put in my feeding tube called my dad to schedule the maintenance. When my dad told the surgeon it was not necessary because It had fallen out, the surgeon was amazed! He was not expecting this news at all! A year later my pancreas was still making insulin! They all thought I would be on a feeding tube for life! I was home for good in early March and returned to work in mid April.
I LOVE AND ADORE my scars! There is much I want to forget about this awful experience but I cannot forget God’s love, power, and miracles!
Then in late September 2013 I had spent the night with a friend in Athens. I was driving home around noon on a Sunday when someone pulled right out in front of me. I’m convinced if it had not been for God and a seat belt I might not be here! I broke my right heel bone while trying to brake. It was a clamshell break requiring open reduction internal fixation surgery to place 3 pins in my ankle and heel bone. It is fully healed praise God and the scars remind me that God saved my life AND allowed me to keep walking! I still have pain at times but pain is far better than dead!