I came home from hospital weighing eighty-seven pounds, recuperated over the summer, and entered high school in the fall to catch up on the classes I had missed the previous year due to hospitalizations. I graduated with honors three years later, squeezing four years of high school into five.
The surgery had been successful to a great degree. I was not cured of MG; there is no known cure for MG to this day. But I was alive and functioning once again, not on the level of someone without MG, but doing amazingly well, for me. I had a new lease on life.
After graduating high school I went away to college. This must have been a big step of faith for my parents who wouldn’t be there to help me if things went wrong, and they sometimes did go wrong. I have had a few life-threatening myasthenic crises, precipitated by a cold or flu, in which I became so weak I couldn’t talk, swallow or breathe. This is not good! These crises usually meant hospitalization and life support, meaning a tube down my nose or throat so I could breathe with a machine’s help.
In spite of these things I continued with life. I loved life! I went to a Bible college in Florida and there met the man who would become my husband. We were married two years later while in college and we started our family. In the next few years I gave birth to two healthy sons and together my husband and I raised them.
Miracles to us, miracles all. That I could marry, bear children and raise a family with my health condition is miraculous to us. There were, indeed, times when I could barely function: hands too weak to pin a diaper, arms too weak to lift my baby, eyes too weak to safely drive because of double vision. Randy, my husband, took over much of the care of our two boys when they were toddlers. He bathed and dressed the boys, cleaned house, cooked and bought us a dishwasher (back in the days when these were not household staples!). He took the boys out on his day off once a week so I could have a break and rest, and they had great times together doing dad and son stuff.
Fast forward forty-two years from the time of my MG diagnosis at fifteen years of age. I am now sitting in the office of the surgeon who had done my biopsy and just had the wind knocked out of me because he just told me I had breast cancer. All the lessons I’d learned over the years I now pulled forward as I was hit hard with this unwanted, frightening news of breast cancer; cancer that could kill me.
It is out of these and other life experiences I write. This path is not the way I would have chosen. But since it has been my life, I want to share with you what I have been learning about going through suffering—thriving through it, taking the broken pieces of my life and making something beautiful from them.
But I didn’t do it all by myself. And that’s what I want to share with you.