Okay, so I can't always remember where I put the car keys, and even though it's the one I call the most, I rarely remember my husband's cell phone number (probably because I just push "Jared" on the speed-dial). But mention November 16, and I remember vividly what happened on that date three years ago.
After my third seizure that day my husband took me to the emergency room. I had a fourth seizure on the way there. We didn't know what was happening, but we knew it needed medical attention.
The ER doctor insisted that I wasn't having seizures, and after the C-T scan was negative he sent me home with the reassurance that this was just one of those weird things that will just go away, and we'll laugh about it six months later.
Neither he nor I had any idea that glioblastoma cells were busy at work, and without intervention they would have consumed my brain within six months. The doctor even said, "It's not like you have a brain tumor..."
Thanks to a perceptive dermatology resident who wasn't afraid to nag his sister over the phone ("You're having textbook seizures! Get an EEG!"), and a handy neurologist who prays a lot, we got to the right answer a few days later.
I've told this story many times before. I should explain that I hold no ill will against the ER doctor, who was probably sincere in his confidence that he was right. I'm grateful that circumstances compensated for his error so that my life could continue. I'm grateful to understand that this experience is safely in the Lord's hands.
Three years ago November 16 was preceded by a Saturday at Six Flags, and it was the last time I rode a rollercoaster. My husband's company has a private party there each November, and we go every year. We were there again this weekend with all of my family. Once again I passed up the rides that I used to love (there's this thing about avoiding g-forces when you have a hole in your brain) but it was a joyful experience, because it was another survival milestone and an opportunity to spend time with loved ones.
We left the park and headed to our church Saturday evening for another exciting experience. Since I'm not dead yet, and since I still had the capacity for it, I was asked (and able) to write and direct a roadshow for our youth group. The roadshow performances were held that evening, and it was great! I wrote ours based on "Jake the Puppy and Emma the Cat" -- a poem that I wrote as a love story for my children. We made it into a musical, and we were lucky to have a great selection of talented and enthusiastic teenagers to form our cast. And my kids loved seeing "their" poem being dramatized on stage. I was just happy to be there, savoring a day of family, friends, fun, and all that good stuff that makes life so wonderful.
The next day we heard many inspiring talks during our sacrament meeting at church. The concluding speaker told his stories of survival, and the continuing challenges facing his family. Among these are the fact that his wife is a brain tumor survivor, and his youngest daughter undergoes neurosurgery this Wednesday. In the midst of this was his message, which is not to "handcuff the Lord". We should put our faith into our righteous desires, with a willingness accept the Lord's will concerning the outcome. I understood very clearly what he meant, having learned for myself the peace that comes from knowing that the Lord is always trustworthy. I was once again reminded of the great blessings that have been accruing for the past three years.
I personally don't think it was any coincidence that he was assigned to speak to us on November 16 this year, just as I don't think it was coincidental that my brother could diagnose a seizure over the phone three years ago, and that the right neurologist could take a walk-in appointment. This whole experience has been surrounded by tender mercies, so it's not surprising to discover more.