Modern Day Miracle
2017 was such a hard year for me and I am still feeling the impacts of it today. It has been a lot to process through and think about it. I love how the Lord prepares us to walk through dark and difficult seasons.
At the beginning of 2017, He gave me the word “victory” for that year. I wondered why He gave me that word and how it would play out in the upcoming year. I was blown away by His faithfulness and love for me to give me that nugget of hope to hold onto in a difficult year that I didn’t know was coming.
In 2016, I had been struggling with some debilitating stomach issues in which kept me in bed a lot. The symptoms would flare up at night after eating dinner. It didn’t matter what I ate, I would be doubled over in pain and I would have to go to bed.
I tried everything I could to help remedy it with no luck. I also was having an extremely difficult time going to the bathroom and my stomach started getting distended which was super painful.
Start Of The Journey
My husband has Crohn’s and he encouraged me that it was time to go see his doctor to figure out the cause of all my symptoms. Reluctantly, I made an appointment. I don’t like going to the doctor especially the kind that specializes in all things booty related.
I was very scared and I didn’t want to have to go through a lot of unpleasant tests to figure out what was going on. But this problem was affecting my life and we needed to get to the bottom of it. (no pun intended, maybe a little bit. LOL)
Long story short, over the next few months I had test after unpleasant test and the result of it was that I was going to have to have surgery. I was diagnosed with rectocele which affects women especially after having a baby. Rectocele is when the rectum is stretched out, loose and it overlaps on top of itself creating a pocket and blocking the way making it difficult to go #2.
I also had megacolon which is an inflamed colon also making it very difficult for anything to pass through. I have been dealing with these issues for years but in 2016 it just got too unbearable to keep putting off.
Before I got the news, I was hoping for it to be something where I could take a medication in which everything would improve. Then, I could continue to live my life pain and symptom-free. But with the extent and severity of my issues, I realized that surgery would be the only way for me to be able to live a normal life.
The surgeon explained to me that it was a very routine surgery — one that he did several times a week and that his patients had great success with. This was a one and done kind of surgery. I knew that this was the right decision to make. I felt comfortable with the surgeon since he had done so many of this type of surgery.
Leading up to the date of the surgery, I had an uneasiness about the whole thing and I had asked my friends to pray for me. I needed some peace that only could come from the Lord.
I knew this was the right decision but I was filled with so much fear and a restlessness that I couldn’t shake. I finally with a lot of prayers decided that I would step boldly into this and trust that God has me and that He would take care of me.
Day of Surgery
On the day of surgery, everything was going like it was supposed to before surgery. I still was super uneasy and in the pre-op room, I was by myself where while I was waiting I prayed to God to give His peace to me because I needed it.
It finally was time to go back and I kissed my husband and told him how much I loved him and that I would see him on the other side of this. We have been through a lot of surgeries between the two of us and we always share our heart with each other. To say the things that we need to say in case those are the last words we speak to each other. We do this because surgery is surgery and things can happen. We never want to leave anything unsaid in case.
My husband’s last words were the only thing I remembered from the rest of that day……
The Next Day
I woke up the next day in ICU on a ventilator with my husband and close friends around me. I also heard one of my friends say that my brother was on his way from Texas to be with me. I didn’t understand what was going on and at that moment my world came crashing down. Why was everyone here? Why is my brother coming in from out of state to be with me? After all, this was a routine surgery……
When I woke up I thought it was on the same day that I had the surgery but my time and days were mixed up —a lot of my thoughts and emotions were mixed up. I didn’t know how to process any of this in which I was having a hard time understanding what was going on. My husband tried to explain softly what had happened but it was not making any sense. It also didn’t help that I couldn’t talk to figure out what had happened.
He finally said these words sternly to me that put it in full reality what had happened….”Tammy, you almost died. It is a miracle that you are alive.”
I still can’t explain how I felt at that moment. I do remember that I calmed down but I was in complete shock. How was I able to process something so heavy in which I was not prepared for? How do you handle getting that kind of news?
In that moment, my husband explained to me that I will have a long road to recovery to where I will be in the hospital or in a rehab center for at least a month. The doctors had told him that if I made it through this tragedy that it would a hard road to recover from. They also said that I would have complications from what I had endured.
I decided from that moment on, I was going to prove the doctors wrong. I was going to show them that I would recover from this much quicker. I mustered up every bit of strength that I had and started to do what I could to recover faster.
The Next Week
Over the course of the next week, I started coming out of the medication fog and learned what had happened. During the first part of the surgery, everything went as planned. Towards the end of the surgery is when all hell broke loose and the chaos began.
The surgeon noticed while he was fixing my colon that I had huge gallstones in my gallbladder. He decided to go ahead and take my gallbladder out so I wouldn’t need to have another surgery in the near future. While he was taking my gallbladder out, my hepatic (liver) artery was nicked. I started bleeding out profusely and they were having a hard time controlling the bleeding.
Long story short…..that day I had 3 surgeries back to back and the doctors and the medical team were doing everything that they could to save my life. When it was all said and done, I had 30 bags of blood given to me that day.
I was on a ventilator because when patients experience this extent of trauma, they need help breathing. This was also to help my body rest from all that had happened. The doctors had to also put in a temporary colostomy because they were too concerned that I would have complications from my colon.
Honestly, when I found out I had a colostomy I was so angry. It was one of my fears going into surgery. I wasn’t a little angry, I was furious! I had a little pity party and a tantrum as much as I could have with being hooked up to so many machines and wires. Thankfully, it was reversed with another surgery in August 2017.
Word spread through the hospital of how good I was doing. Some of the medical staff who had worked on me that day would come to my room to visit me. They had to see with their own eyes on my progress. They couldn’t believe it! They were calling me “Wonder Woman” & “Miracle Woman.”
I am so thankful for the medical team that day and all that they did to help save my life. They worked hard long hours on me and I am so grateful for what they did for me. It still brings me to tears.
It also brings me to tears to think about what my church family did for us during this horrible time. When people started to hear about what was happening, that I was fighting for my life in the OR, they showed up in groups to the waiting room to sit with my husband. They prayed hard for me that God would save my life.
Prayer Is Powerful
They held prayer meetings at their houses when they couldn’t make it to the hospital. They got on their knees and prayed their hearts out for me asking for a miracle. Thinking about their kindness brings me to tears every.single.time. That people would care that much about my life that they would stop what they are doing and get on their knees to pray. It blows my mind.
One of my friends later was telling me that in the waiting room, my husband was on his knees praying to God pouring out everything he had to the Lord. He was pleading on my behalf for a miracle. I am completely in awe of my husband and the love that he has for me. I am so thankful for him praying those hard, honest prayers for me on that day. I am one lucky woman to have a man pray for me that way.
Not only was my church family praying, but I later found out that the news of what I was going through was being shared with others even from different states. They were praying for me as well. It is so humbling and I am so thankful for each person who prayed and went to the Lord on my behalf. I truly believe that I am still alive because of each prayer that was prayed for me.
I am also so thankful for God and that He chose to save my life. We serve a God that is alive and He is still doing miracles in this modern day. He is still in the business of doing miracles!
Miracles Still Happen
Miracles are not something that you read about in the Bible, they still happen today. I am a testament to that. When God does such a mighty work it shows His power. All the doctors and medical team didn’t think I would make it.
Most people who go through similar situations don’t make it out alive or if they do they have a lot of complications. They were all blown away that I made it through AND that I recovered so quickly without any more complications. God showed up that day.
To put this in context on how fast I recovered….I went from knocking on death’s door to being released from ICU in 1 week! Seriously, super fast! I went from not being able to talk or even write to communicate to being able to get up and walk slowly. Thinking about it now, I am still in awe of God’s miraculous power in healing me!
I give God ALL the glory and I pray that through my story that you will see His love and faithfulness for us. God loves us immensely and the truth is….we don’t have to do another thing for Him to love us any more than what He already does.
The comforting thing for me is that even when I was unconscious and couldn’t do anything, He was still working on my behalf for my good and fighting for me. He didn’t have to save my life that day but HE did!
I know I have a second chance at life and I am not going to waste it. This past year and a half have been a long hard journey so far and I am still trying to recover emotionally from all that has happened. This event has affected me so profoundly and it has changed my perspective on so many things in this life.
Although I do feel scarred from the shock and the trauma that I have experienced. I am so thankful that the Lord brought me through this tragedy so I could tell you about His great work in me.
Now I see why He gave me the word “victory” for 2017 and I am in awe of Him. During all the hard moments of 2017, I have clung to the word “victory” and it has helped pull me from the pit of despair.
Victory In Jesus
On the nights when I was so scared to go asleep because I was so afraid that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning, I remembered “victory.” When I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore and that it was too hard to keep showing up every day to do what I needed to do to recover, I remembered “victory.”
When I felt the wave of anxiety washing over me which resulted in panic attacks, I remembered “victory.” This word was my hope (& still is) and it pushed me to take that next step no matter how difficult it was.
This is a short summary of what I went through in 2017 and it has been the hardest for me to write about. I have had this post inside of me for so long and I am thankful that I am finally able to write about it. I am currently working on writing a book about this because so much happened during this time. I want everyone to be able to read the full experience.
It has been a difficult project to work on because its hard to put into words what I have experienced and felt. I sometimes feel that there are no words to describe the full extent of it and that words don’t even do it justice.
But I am pushing through all the barriers and doing my best to describe it in a way that brings it justice. This is only the start and it is a labor of love. My story is one that deserves to be told and may God get all the glory!
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4