…for better or for worse…

I was so excited to get back into my routine of weekly blogs… but sometimes I forget that I have a brain injury.  Now that’s kinda funny!  When other things come up in life… I forget that the way my brain handles stuff is often a sort of prehistoric method. So one insult to injury… becomes two and two become four…  

Bottom line… it is really tricky for me to hold onto my weekly goal of sending out a blog. Frustrating as that may be, a dear friend reminded me, “You aren’t writing for a cooking show that needs a weekly recipe… this is a blog for injured people… they all get it, right? TBI in the works!”

So… I try to write ahead, get things edited in advance, and schedule the website posts weeks ahead… as if I didn’t have a brain injury. However, I do forget to allow a brain-injury-cushion when life just happens! And in my case, this time, I just had a double eye surgery and thought for sure I had enough posts ready… but yeah… you guessed it… I couldn’t even see well enough to hit ‘post’! So, as my vision slowly comes and goes over the next couple of months, I need to set my sights on the famous words of Mr. Incredible as he responds to his impatient children, “We’ll get there when we get there!”

Fellow TBI friends… remember we are all in this together. I keep thinking this is new territory, but many of you have pioneered this way of life before me and can either totally relate… or are getting a good giggle at my crazy expectations for my post-injury life.

“Love is patient and kind…” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Thanks for your patience and kindness with me! I appreciate your comments and likes (my husband and dear editing friend can read… so I have seen some of your notes but am waiting to respond until I can see well enough to do so). BUT, the BEST part about hearing from you is knowing that I am not alone! Remember that you are not alone either, in your invisible illness or injury!

 

P.S. The eye surgery (corneal cross-linking) that I had done has nothing to do with my TBI… to my former colleagues who thought I was overdoing it using colored paper, Sharpies and colored pens… remember this is why! 🙂 However, this eye surgery is a new development in a procedure to help people with a rare eye disease called keratoconus. Here is a video that you should pass along if you know someone with this eye disease…

new FDA approved keratoconus procedure

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake -assisted by M. K. © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

…rare opportunities…

One thing that transpired during my hiatus from this blog, was a rare opportunity to publicly share my summary of this whole ‘concussion adventure’ with my church family. It was a relief to be able to explain myself to those who have watched me go through this… yet maybe not really understand what was happening as I slowly drifted away from church services, Bible classes, social gatherings, volunteering opportunities, etc.  Hey!  I didn’t really know what was happening either… so how could they know?!

In addition, it was a privilege to be able to share God’s goodness in the midst of one of life’s trials. Below, you can read the testimony I gave or watch it read on YouTube….

 

6 ½ years ago, pretty much everything about my core being changed, except my Salvation in Christ.  

On our tiny, local, ski hill …one wrong turn, no helmet, and my own lack of good vision – found me in the ER with a subdural hematoma, otherwise known as concussion or  TBI or traumatic brain injury. If it weren’t for that gift of salvation being the rock in which I stand on and the fortress which shelters me from the storm… this story may have been very faith-less and much shorter. But I stand before the Lord today and proclaim this journey, as a continuous walk of faith…

Many of you knew me before I survived this concussion. Many of you knew me as a very different person pre-February 2011… I did too. This injury has taken me on a 180 degree turn in my life as I knew it for 44 years prior. At first, and often still, I don’t really know how to act as the ‘new-me.’  In fact, I am constantly reverting to the person I was before… but God has had other plans. The most prevalent thread I have noticed along this journey… is His call to be still and know that HE is GOD.”

Psalm 46:10 arrived in my life shortly after the accident …since then it has been proving to me over and over again, just how faithful God is. This stillness stared me in the face as I walked into this injury a very typical woman of our era…

The old-me wanted to excel at my career and possibly invent the next, best reading intervention to save kids from illiteracy. As deacon-at-large, I wanted to help our church be the best in any area I was called to. I wanted to be a mom that didn’t have to go through the terrible twos or the terror of the teen years… because she had it all prayed thru and all figured out. I wanted to be the wife who didn’t grow old, or weathered with injuries or broken down with sadness. I wanted to be the adult daughter who never needed her parents… but they instead would need me.

The new-me… hasn’t invented anything; has served our church just like anyone else; has been a mom who already has scars from both the twos and the teen years and we are only at ages 19 and 15. The new me has been the wife who NEEDS her husband more than He needs her- has more often lost her beauty and has aged twice as fast as normal (a typical TBI symptom); and … I have been the adult daughter who has needed her parents more than ever before.

As caring friends and family have watched this enormous transition in my life… they will kindly say to me:

~I am praying for your healing.

~We trust in the Lord’s healing for you.

~I still believe that you can be healed from this crazy concussion.

Since about year two into this injury… I began to think…

…what if I am healed… but I just don’t recognize it?

…what if His answer …to what healing looks like ….is very different than mine?

…what if I am healed & instead of waiting for the blessing… I am missing it?

Now, please know that I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior, my Redeemer and my Healer.    He CAN DO the impossible…               …but what if… just what if…  my current condition is a healing from my old condition…         the regular old-me??

What if the Lord could see all…?  🙂   and know all…? 🙂 and He could see that my way of life as an injured, concussed-brain person; disabled employee; a more sedentary wife; a calmer mom; a quieter daughter; a backseat volunteer…     were all a better option for HIS GLORY than the old, un-injured me?

What if one day… when I’m in Heaven… He sits me down and says:  “Lisa, Your traumatic brain injury was a gift. I tried to help you see the blessings that could surround it… yet you spent so much time trying to get rid of it… that you missed my blessings within it.”  

“THIS IS the DAY that the LORD has made… let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Doesn’t Psalm 118 say that HE MADE TODAY….???  NO MATTER what it looks like… HE MADE it!  He even made it with ME in mind …and content in it!!  So before the sun rose, on this very day … He knew about this injury and all the struggles that have come with it… And… me, as a sinner in this world who is saved ….by GRACE ALONE…. He knew that If I were to keep my eyes on HIM & lean not on my own understanding… He would make my paths straight… and then this day… today6 years post-concussion today… would get the ‘okay’ stamp of approval from HIM … for ME ….for today!

WOW!  So if I wallow in my condition & suffer all its losses… I just might miss His gift  for me today.

1 Corinthians 7:17 is constantly reminding me… “only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.”

What if… just what if… He has called the new-me, brain injury to boot… to no longer do the things that for 44 years before the injury… were me?

  • What if He doesn’t want me to be ambitious about teaching kids & their teachers how to grow in literacy skills?
  • What if He doesn’t want me to attend my daughter’s volleyball games….? Maybe He is opening up a door for my husband to be the primary attendee?
  • What if He prefers our family’s lifestyle working around my husband’s career rather than mine… and that’s why the doctors forced me to quit my job?
  • What if He wants me to need my aging parents … rather than them needing me, as I would prefer?
  • What if He wants me to have time to invest in friendships that had been going un-nourished due to being too busy with my career?
  • What if He wants me to be home and be present for my family rather than working 50+ hours a week; or giving and volunteering elsewhere?

Now… as I list this out… you… just like me.. might be thinking… but those all seem like fairly positive things. In fact, all those ways are ways I want to be and I worked hard to be and I felt blessed to be….

Maybe this new-me…. is a new season in life and the time for that old-me is not what is needed right now? It doesn’t mean that those things were horrible or that they were strictly self-gratifying. Many of the old-me ways did glorify Him.

But what if… the Lord saw… planned… created a NEW way for me to live?  Hey… mid-40’s… most people go thru some sort of mid-life crisis and for sure a career change.  So maybe this is the Lord’s plan for my next ‘career’… being a ‘new-me’… trying to live life 180 degrees in the opposite direction from the old-me?!?!?

Now… just because I have  GREAT hope in how the Lord is healing me… doesn’t mean that tomorrow won’t find me in bed… with nausea, sadness & the walls spinning.  By no means have I escaped an injury that prevents me from being overwhelmed by echoing noises, multiple conversations, bright lights or repetitive motions…. hiding behind sunglasses, a hat and ear plugs… or just plain avoidance therapy by staying home!?!?   Neither does this HOPE in healing mean that my life is my own and that I can joyfully attend a work gathering or a wedding by my husband’s side. Nor does it mean that I will like it when my daughter comes home upset – needing to talk & I am doing everything I can to compassionately listen to her all the while my brain is in “ping-pong” mode. Nor does it mean I will be able to be there for a friend or my parents as they attend a funeral of a lost loved one.

And this HOPE in HIS answer to my healing… doesn’t even mean I will be grateful for it all the time!

However, I do have FAITH that God knows the plans he has for me – “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope.”  I have FAITH that He has created me… and allowed me to be ‘in this Traumatic Brain Injury condition’ in hopes of glorifying Him.

One of my favorite verses comes from Philippians 4… Paul reminds us  “do not be anxious about today… rather with prayer and supplication and ….with THANKSGIVING let Him know my requests.”    I firmly believe this verse is reminding ME to pour out my heart to HIM… not wondering IF HE will heal my brain injury… rather praying in FAITH … in fact with so much FAITH …that I can already start giving THANKS to Him for HEALING my brain injury… before I can even comprehend HIS ANSWER!

So, I move forward in FAITH that God will bless me, my family, and others BECAUSE of this injury/healing.  And I THANK HIM for all He has done and will do with this injury to glorify Him.

I move forward in FAITH that I am healed just the way HE wants me to be healed for now… because He says:  “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made PERFECT in weakness.”

If all of my words were a blur… please just listen to this song… Be Still. Take in its words and enjoy my journey of faith… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWN9xIogFPI

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part X… clueless

The blessing of not selling our home to go bigger and better, was 6 years from being fully realized. As I look back on many phases and decisions in my life, I am frequently reminded of blessings that, at the time, seemed like regular old occurrences. When the Lord tells us, “…He will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6) He truly means it. His ability to patiently bless us beyond our present vision… frankly… astounds me.

By the end of March, I ‘passed’ a follow-up MRI with flying colors. So, per the doctor’s orders, all systems were set on “go” to continue my life as it was, pre-injury.

Lucie’s 13th birthday party welcomed in April. We successfully surprised her and let her and her friends stay up ALL night (a persistent request of hers since age 9). It was a great party with nonsense and noise and even a dance party in our garage with me instigating new and crazy moves to the increasingly louder music.

That was Thursday of Easter weekend. By the time Monday rolled around, I found myself unusually tired and having periods of 3-4 hours/day of blurred vision. Very strange.

Shortly after that, it began to occur to me that attending our church services nearly made me pass out. When I sang I got light-headed. Weird. I wondered why and quit singing.

The next Sunday, halfway through the service, it dawned on me that I had just about no idea what our pastor had been preaching about. Instead of concentrating on the teaching from the pulpit (something I looked forward to every week), my eyes wandered all over the place, taking my brain with them. Zero focus. Just random thoughts about whatever and whomever my eyes landed on:

  • “When did the church get ceiling fans? It’s not hot today. Why are they on and why are they spinning so fast?
  • “Oh, there’s Colleen, I need to ask her about getting the kids together on Saturday.
  • “Is that Lani? Is Rich with her? I have to remember to ask them if they can sub for us next week and lead our Bible study.
  • “Why don’t they turn Pastor Fred’s mic down. It’s so loud.
  • “Sara’s got a new haircut. Very cute. What did I need to tell her? Oh, that’s right. I can’t bring Gabe to AWANA Wednesday night, can she?
  • “When did we get all of these ceiling fans!?
  • “There are the Pedersons. Shoot! … I was supposed to bring our girls’ outgrown snowpants for their kids”.

When church ended and I’d talked to the people I remembered to talk to after the service, I would find myself in a surreal sort of daze, wandering to the car. After arriving back home, I went straight to bed for the rest of the day due to sudden and extreme fatigue and nausea, clueless as to the cause.

  • At school (my workplace), I found myself making odd new requests of my students: “Kids, while I read this story, could you do your best to sit super still?”
    • “Why, Mrs. Drake?”
  • “Well, today I feel a little bit like I’m on a boat all the time, and when you move, it’s like the water moves.”
    • “Oh, we understand that, Mrs. Drake! One time when I was fishing…”
    • “My mom and dad said they felt like that on a plane one time…”
    • “My grandpa took me canoeing when it was windy once and…”
    • Etc…. 

(One of the things I love most about children is their willingness to accept you as you are when you are open and honest with them. It’s like one, big, compassionate and endless hug. I miss those hugs).

It was while I was at work, busy writing reports, emails and other notes for the adult literacy coaching portion of my day, that I discovered that I’d begun to frequently leave off the last letters of the words I was writing. Often entire words were missing. Also very weird.

In early May, after an all-school assembly, I found myself feeling like I was floating. A week later at another assembly, I could feel a wave of nausea slowly creep from my stomach to my head, followed by a feeling of guilt for having to ask my colleague, Sue, to take over my class of 28 kids in addition to her 29 while I rushed out the nearest exit to throw-up. Both occasions left me feeling dizzy, unable to function, in need of a driver to get me home, and in need of 24 hours in bed to recover… with me still clueless as to why.

I found myself in a variety of similarly bizarre situations throughout the remainder of the year. As the 2010-11 school year came to a close I was exhausted and perplexed and looking forward to the relief of summer break more than I ever had before. And thanks to the combined efforts of my mom and my hubby, it was actually going to be a summer off, with none of the usual teacher training seminars and tutoring that I typically filled my “time off” with.

My only summer commitment was a no-pressure, fun commitment. Lucie, Lydia and I all tried out for parts at the local community college’s production of Annie.  And to one degree or another (little Lydia was a stage hand) we all got parts!  Lucie had a growing interest in acting and I thought it might be a great stress reliever for me, so why not? What better way to keep my body and brain active and be a kid alongside my girls?

Funny though, with a cast of about 25, it soon became obvious that I was the one getting yelled at most often by the director… even more than the 15 rambunctious kids playing the parts of the naughty New York orphans! Why? What did he have against me?

One day at practice, Lucie figured it out and came gently to my rescue. It seemed that I was not following the script. I knew my lines but I did not know when and where to deliver them … which was odd, because all my life I have been blessed with a deadbolt lock on my ability to hold things into memory and retrieve them as needed. Now, (this increasingly unrecognizable NOW) though my memory seemed fairly normal, the retrieval process was becoming an obvious mess.

Lucie, Lydia and I proceeded to make four maps and posted them at my four different stage entry points. Each map had explicit instructions – for me alone – as to when, where and what I was responsible for. The director’s voice no longer rang in my ears.

At the end of July the play was over. I felt that the past months’ experiences had left me refreshed and recharged and ready for the 2011-12 school year. On August 1st the lights turned green and my school year began. As usual, it was 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds – engine screaming and tires smoking.

I felt good. I felt in control again. All went so well at the beginning that I felt like the old me was back! I was confident and moving forward fast as a 50% classroom literacy teacher and 50% literacy coach for teachers. The strange symptoms that came with singing or shouting or talking and laughing with friends; the symptoms that came with listening to the wonderful sounds of a classroom; all of those stormy, seasick symptoms… they all seemed to subside. Whatever all those weird reactions to normal, everyday things were, they must have all been just ‘in my head’.

I was ready to roll…

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part IX… selling our home

Saturday morning, about 4 weeks post-injury, we were finally ready to get the house on the market. Ironically, I woke up with thoughts contrary to that well prepped plan. I said to Eddie, “I need to tell you something. You probably won’t want to hear it… but the Lord has been pressing it on my heart all week and I cannot move forward with the realtor’s pictures today until I get this burden off my mind.”

Blessing #5… a burning bush.

Ed had already been awake and had begun straightening up the house for the website photos that were going to be taken in 4 hours. He came back to bed. “What?” Normally when I deter him from a project it comes with a huff, a sigh and an attitude of frustration that I am interrupting his diligent task. But this time, he was very patient. Very peaceful. Hmmm…

ourhome“Ed, I know what I am about to say is going to be polar opposite of all that we have been working towards and dreaming of for the past 10 years, but I don’t think we should sell the house right now. In fact, I think we shouldn’t sell at all. Possibly ever.”

He just stared at me and said, “Oh my goodness, I had the same thought this week! It’s not that I’m afraid to sell… heck, I’ve moved dozens of times in my life. In fact, we’ve never really even liked this house’s style, layout, size, etc… it was just an easy flip… so we really should stick with the plan to sell this and buy our last home, our dream home. But I feel so strongly about what the Lord has laid on my heart… well… it’s so bizarre… I almost feel as if I have seen a burning bush?!”

“Eddie, it must be of the Lord! This was not even on the menu of options for either of us… tell me more about what He has shown you this past week.”

“Well… I’m not really sure why we shouldn’t sell. In fact, I cannot even justify it in my head. But the Lord has laid it so heavily on my heart that I cannot move forward to sell this house. All morning when I have been prepping, I have felt completely wrong about it. This is amazing!  He has been talking to us both separately… but the same. What has the Lord shown you?”

As he looked at me, I knew there was one more remnant from the Lord’s pressing that I had yet to share with him. “Well…” This next part had me a bit scared as it was an old topic that had been tabled years ago… with the last conversation not being a very pleasant one. “For the first couple days this week, when I felt His leading, I had no words for ‘why’ He doesn’t want us to sell. Then as I continued to pray and chat with Him… I heard Him say… ‘don’t sell the house – pare down your expenses so that you can afford to homeschool the girls.’  I know this is a closed topic that we gave up on years ago… but because your job is now flexible and my job isn’t but it provides other family needs… what if you worked part-time – homeschooled the girls until noon-ish – they could do follow-up work on their own – and then you could go to work in the afternoon? That’s not set in stone… but if we remain in this house… we could afford for you to go part-time. And we could, most likely, afford the costs of home schooling?”

He looked shocked. “That’s a lot of information all at once, Lisa! Where did you come up with all that in a week?”

“Honestly, it all came out of left-field. And I am sorry to tell you all that… all at once… today… hours before we sign papers… but I feel so strongly convicted about it that it would be a mistake to not share it with you.”

“Okay… let’s pray… now.”

Remember the ‘thanksgiving’ emphasis I shared in part VII?  “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   (Philippians 4:6)  Thankfully, right then and there, God stopped the sale of our little, affordable home… so that He was able to provide Bible-based schooling for our girls; quality time between father and daughters; more concentrated family time through rough waters ahead; and 5 years later… He was able to continue to provide a roof over our heads when I had to give up my career due to the lasting effects of my TBI… a financial hit that a larger, ‘better’ home would not have sustained.

Blessing #6… we didn’t sell the house.

So, very slowly, I am learning to pray through a situation with thanksgiving for the coming blessings that the Lord will provide through whatever difficulty I am currently facing.

When I pray only for Him to lessen my anxiety, my focus tends to be on me and how I am handling the situation.

When I pray with thanksgiving, my focus is most definitely on how God will be handling the situation. Then thanking Him, often in advance, for caring for and solving my crisis in His wayin His timing… with His answer… leads me to more faithfully following His sovereign and divine plan.

Blessing #7… we are able to home school the girls.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

 

part VIII… home and whole

As the days passed, I spent more time sleeping and not moving than I had since I was about 5 years old and had pneumonia. It didn’t yet bother me that I couldn’t move crossBESTILL.jpg without the walls moving with me. I was more than grateful to no longer be vomiting or worrying about the escalating danger. All had been resolved, to my knowledge.  And, I had yet to be frustrated by all that I couldn’t do or say. I was just too strangely exhausted to even know the losses that were coming.

Blessing #3… Family and friends came and went with food, flowers and house cleaning (wish I could have booked that for a lifetime!). It’s funny… when you cannot see an illness, no one (including yourself) believes it is truly there. So, I gradually felt like anything that seemed ‘off’ about my day, was just a figment of my imagination. When people came and went, I felt a bit awkward telling them my story… as I didn’t look too different.

After about a week of obedient ‘resting’, I figured it was time to get back in the game. Although, I still couldn’t function normally – couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk a straight line, couldn’t hold a long conversation, etc. – my fear was that these stagnant behaviors would be my ruin. So, in an effort to CONQUER these weird new post-concussion actions of mine… I kept going… harder.

Yup… just as I had dreamed of in the ER… I purchased my first Sudoku book and tracked my progress in learning for my own proof that I was not losing my cognitive abilities. The girls and I tried out for a play through our local community theater – believing that should cover my summer respite (normally my job required me to be in training or training others all of June and August… but my mom and hubby put the kabosh on that). We continued prepping the house to get it on the market. We returned to our busy family schedule of sports, activities and church life. Planning for Lucie’s 13th surprise birthday party went from my hospital bed head to emails and action. Week two, I went back to work part-time. Week three, I went back to work full-time. Week four, back to work full-time-plus.

Blessing #4… Did I need a severe concussion to find my true identity even though I thought my heart was in the right place? The miracle was… I began to see His heart desires for my life.

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—”  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?”  That’s a good question, God! I died to the world’s way the minute I submitted my sins to Your forgiveness and my path thereafter to Your will. So why do I want a better house? Why do I need to work more than is required of me? Why do I desire to fit into the merry-go-round of American expectations? “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” So, Lisa, why do you think you always have to do more?  You need to make enough money to have all that our family needs and wants. You need to be involved in volunteering, donating, church activities, etc. You need to be a good mom, wife, daughter, friend… but why?  (Bible verses –Colossians 2:20-23)

Am I living life for what I need and want, creating a self-made religion? Or am I truly living life for what God has planned for me? Are my actions too self-driven from pride or are my actions a result of waiting upon the Lord’s design and being filled with a sincere passion for Him?

Who am I?

Deep down… truly… who am I?

 

**When I list blessings… I know that there were, and still are, many that I have taken for granted, and as a result, have gone unnoticed. My God is too great for me to be able to list all of His provisions and blessings that have decorated my life so abundantly!  As I cite them, I feel negligent in not capturing them all… but then again, I feel blessed. The fact that He would continue to bless me, in spite of my ingratitudes or ignorance, reminds me that He loves me more than I can even imagine.

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis that they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part VII… the blessings begin

On the afternoon of February 28th, I found myself in the local hospital. At the foot of my ER bed, spun a tornado of incoherent conversations between the doctors, nurses and my husband – decisions – options – “the helicopter is ready” – “who do we call first?” – another CAT scan to check the bleeding – more vomit…

phiaSADat13bday …there sat my little Lucie. It was, to me, the only thing I was able to understand, at least partially. I wondered, why is she so sad? Why does she look so pale? Why is she on her phone when she knows it is for emergencies only? Why isn’t her dad paying any attention to her? She looks like she needs a hug. Is she crying?  Ed… quit talking to all these strangers and go to Lucie… I can’t get to her…. something is holding me down.  Would you please hold her? She needs you!

To this day I have never fully been able to crack the shell that Lucie created around herself in those hours in that emergency room. Her 12-year-old heart was breaking. Her mind was whirling with fears and anxieties about her mama that no child should ever have to face. She had to somehow survive it.

She was so brave (she’s always so very brave). She was fighting this battle for me. My little baby was fighting for me. She texted every person in her life… asking them to pray for me.  A gazillion aunts, uncles, cousins, friends… she recruited to be our prayer warriors… she reached out to them all.

Blessing #1… the internal bleeding in my head – suddenly stopped (6:00p).

No more vomiting. No more brain surgery. No helicopter ride to Minneapolis. No more pending death. Eddie’s ‘mad face’ melted and he smiled at me. My condition was finally stable. Gradually, I was wheeled from the ER room to a room in the hospital. Lucie’s texting and phone calls shifted from pleas for prayers to shouts of praises! … her cheeks grew pink papakissingphiaonhead.jpgagain… as they wheeled me down the hall to my new room. My heart smiled while watching her beautiful red hair bouncing as she skipped along and led our little parade of doctors, nurses, and loved ones.

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”   Philippians 4:6

“WITH THANKSGIVING” … Those two words in the above verse have humbled me for years. Getting thrust into a stressful situation and praying to ‘not be anxious’ is one thing. I get that. But going into a stressful situation, (let alone a near death one), with thanksgiving  and trust for what God is already doing according to His plan – in this very situation – well that is an entirely different perspective for me – a perspective that I could barely fathom at the time. Little did I know, that in the coming years, amidst all of the many anxieties that this concussion would bring to all aspects of my family’s lives, it has also, somehow, brought even more praise and thanksgiving for the amazing things God has done for us through it all.

Tender care and prayers from our pastor, our families, friends and co-workers… carried us through the quick hospital days and transitioned us back into our home life. The doctor sent me home on day two and assured us of the phenomenal turnaround in my condition. Her only prescription was: “Take it easy for a couple weeks. Come back if there are any changes in mood or behaviors. Go home and rest.”

Blessing #2… we are all four home and whole, together.

 

Before you leave this page, if you know of someone or you, yourself, have experienced a concussion… mild, moderate or severe… Please do go to the links below from our website. They are a collection of symptoms, resources and post-concussion care tips. It has taken me 6+ years to sift through, find, and collect the valuable resources below. Had I been made aware of them at the time of my injury, I may have healed differently (possibly completely) from this TBI. The minute your brain is altered through an injury (or any traumatic event), it miraculously starts rewiring to accommodate the alteration. As the hours, the days, the months and the years ticked by for me… rewiring occurred. But it occurred incorrectly. Please take action immediately.

post-concussion symptoms & resources

post-concussion CARE tips & tools

U R NOT alone!

 (please also click on the U R NOT alone! TAB to reveal personal stories from many survivors)

 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*

part II… FROM the TOP

FROM the TOP I begin… only because when you get to know the injured me, it won’t make sense if you aren’t introduced to the pre-injured me!    🙂  

I was raised in a family of four… in North Dakota for 9 years, then Minnesota for another 9 – mostly during the ‘70s and ‘80s.  As I mentioned in ‘part I’… our family’s main dysfunctions stemmed from the disease of alcoholism.  Because of this, there were times of great strife and tension as well as periods of much uncertainty. Despite our flaws, looking back, it could have been so much worse.  I am very grateful for the experience of growing up in my family. My parents loved and still love my brother and me. Throughout our upbringing, we lived in both abundance and need. But we were always a family. Always.

Many privileges decorated my childhood, teen, and young adult years. I ran freely in the woods (literally); I owned and trained every girl’s dream, a horse (Thunder. Oh how I loved Thunder!); I danced both on ice and on gym floors – performing competitively and just for the fun of it; I had a playhouse with young girl secrets hidden within; I floated on lakes and rode fast boats with crazy, fun friends. Gratefully, in addition to all those privileges, my parents also afforded me the opportunity to attend college both locally and overseas. They worked diligently at their careers to make sure I ate well, had a roof over my head, was always loved, knew where home was, and graduated with 2 degrees, 2 teaching licenses and a Masters in Education… ready for the world.

Church was important as we grew up.  Both of my parents taught us to have a healthy respect for God and the church.  We prayed both before bed and at mealtimes; we often talked about God’s viewpoint of right and wrong; we were baptized, confirmed, and raised in a religious setting. This religious setting changed for me at the age of 9, when we left one denomination and began to attend the services of another. And for me, it changed again when I began attending another kind of church in my late teens. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I became confused about the concept of religion.  

As I grew into adulthood, I toggled back and forth searching for ‘the right’ religion for me. I was determined to figure out the right way to worship the God I was raised to believe in. I knew He was real. I believed in His Son. I prayed to Him and was pretty certain that my life would be quite dismal without Him. When I look back, I can now see that Jesus had always been chasing me – wooing me. He had placed people in my life who slowly drew me away from my intense focus on religious requirements, and turned my heart toward a personal relationship with Christ:

~My mom and my grandma taught me to pray – both in good times and in bad.

~I watched several friends become believers in Christ.

~I witnessed great healing in my dad’s life as he laid down his burden of alcohol and surrendered his life to Christ.

~My future husband explained the Bible’s message about the difference between religious works and God’s greatest gift… Jesus.

“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”   Romans 11:6

In September 1992, I finally met Jesus, personally. For real. I finally saw HIS splendor and magnificence clearly instead of through the eyes of religion. I fell in love with Him, and as a result I let go of my quest for a perfect religion… I no longer needed it. I realized what I really needed (all I ever needed) was simply a relationship with the perfect Savior.

The simple Gospel message got me past all of the grey, hazy, religious thinking, and brought me to where I needed to be, and to what I needed to understand: that Jesus died for me, and that I needed to accept that immeasurable gift of His forgiveness so that my life could begin again with a personal knowledge of, and a relationship with, my wonderful creator. What a blessed and eternal freedom I found… and still live by to this day! He is my rock.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”   Psalm 40:2

In December of 1991, I met my husband. In Florida! Up North girl meets Minneapolis boy down south in The Sunshine State at our mutually best friend’s wedding. A year and a half later I married the boy… a new part of my life began…

listeninglinkzzzz   listening link ~ part II … FROM THE TOP  …click here to listen to the above article… 

*This document is the sole property of L. Marie Drake © 2017.  Permission granted for printing copies of this page on the basis they are not used for personal profit or any financial gain. Thank you.*