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photo: Martha G. Brady

As I have thought back on scars, I have remembered scars, both physical and emotional, from my own life. Some I hadn’t thought of for awhile. Then I looked in the mirror and went, “Oh yes. Now I remember.” I remember the lessons I learned from that hard period. It was a long four year period of my life.

I wish I had known it would only last four years! Of course, at first, it would have been disheartening to think it would last that long. I had no idea it would be four long years! But toward the end, I feared this was going to be the rest of my life!

I have alluded to this a few times, but I have been epileptic since I was 20. I’m not a subtle epileptic. When I have a seizure, I have a full blown grand mal seizure. From what I hear, it is not a pretty sight. From my end, it always results in a bit tongue. In fact, that is how I know I have had one. I wake from a fog, and have a very sore tongue. Often, in the background, Ron is telling me I have had a seizure. On occasion, I have been in the ER, but that is rare. Unless I have been injured, it is a waste of time.

The year I turned 50, I started having trouble. It settled down, but flared much worse a few years later.

The year I turned 50, I became allergic to the medication I was taking for 30 years for my seizures. The medication was switched and I did okay for a few years. Then, it seemed as if all hell broke loose. I had been used to having a seizure every 7-10 years. When I had one, it would be within the first 1/2 hour of the day. If I had to have epilepsy, it wasn’t a bad deal. I could hardly complain.

But in my middle 50’s that all changed. It seemed that, for no apparent reason, I started having seizures every month, then as often as weekly. They could happen any time of the day. The doctor changed my medications to the maximum doses. Nothing helped. He sent me from Tyler, TX to Dallas to a seizure specialist. My first question was, “Could it be due to my hormones? Either the ones I’m taking or the fluctuating ones I must have at my age.” His reply: “Oh no, I’m sure it couldn’t be your hormones.”

Medications continued to changed around. Testing continued to be done with no helpful results. I had more allergic reactions to some drugs added to the mix. Misery described my life. I was often living a lot like a zombie. Frequently, I was in a daze! Of course, I was unable to drive. I was dependent on others to help me get around. There seemed to be no answers as to why I was the pattern of my seizures had changed.

Finally, my doctor recommended an implant he thought would help. It was called a vagus nerve stimulator. He described the down sides as well as the potential benefits. The benefits are that 1/3 of the people won’t need any medication, 1/3 will need medication, but will be able to have seizure control with the combination of medication and VNS and 1/3 of the people will have no benefit at all. I’m an optimist. I was certain I would have some benefit!

So we agreed to the VNS implant.

So we had the implant put in. The result was 2 small scars. It would take a year before we would know if it was going to work. The year came and went. I was down to monthly seizures. Not only that, but they were every 28 days. When my doctor saw that, he said, “Oh, you are on estrogen. Estrogen is to seizures as gasoline is to a fire. You need progesterone. Your body is probably not producing progesterone anymore. Get your doctor to prescribe progesterone for you and the seizures will stop.”

If there was ever a time I wanted to strangle my doctor, that was it!

I wanted to strangle him! Truly! But I went home and got the order from my doctor. Started on progesterone and went 4 months without a seizure! The dose was upped a bit and I went 6 years before my next seizure.

It was at this point, that I realized GOD had taught me a lot over the past 4 years that I never would have learned any other way. He sovereignly taught me things I needed to learn even though I could have avoided it if my doctor would have paid closer attention when I asked him about my hormones.

It was at this point, that I realized GOD had taught me a lot over the past 4 years that I never would have learned any other way. He sovereignly taught me things I needed to learn. Click To Tweet

What did I learn?

I learned that I was proud and arrogant. People offered to help drive me places and I often didn’t want to acknowledge their kind offers because I was afraid of their driving, didn’t want to ask for help at the specific time, and you can name a long list of excuses…they added up to someone who was dazed, yes, but also stubborn and proud!

I learned that GOD had been in control of the past four years. While it was true that my doctor hadn’t heard me when I asked about hormones, GOD had been working out His purposes in me on many other levels. Because of all the brain fog from medication changes and seizures, I was dazed most of the time. This really wasn’t me. I was used to being aware of what was happening most of the time. It was all I could do to remember what I was trying to ask by the end of my sentence. My short term memory was shot!  I felt like someone who had had a stroke in terms of the way my brain was working…or not working. Despite all this, GOD was caring for me in ways I wasn’t always aware of.

I learned that GOD was protecting me…often. One time, I was putting up wallpaper and decided to get off the ladder to rest for a few minutes. Shortly after I got down, I had a seizure. If I had been up on the ladder, I would have hurt myself much worse than simply having a bit tongue. This kind of thing happened more than once over those years.

I learned, at a gut level, that GOD is sovereign over all the events of my life. I can give information to a doctor and try my best to follow through on information to my doctors, but GOD has different purposes for my life than I do. He will fulfill His purposes for me and they won’t always be the most efficient in terms of time.

Call to Action: Think of your survival scar. It may be a physical one or an emotional one. Have you thought about what you learned from it? (positives and negatives) What did you learn about GOD in the middle of that wound and resulting scar? How has what you learned helped you in your present life and walk of faith?