I got my official notification from the Department of Motor Vehicles yesterday. My driving privileges have been suspended, because my medical information was negative. It’s not that I hadn’t expected it, but I guess I had also expected an end date, like, we will review this on July 1st, or something like that. But it didn’t say that. It just said you can no longer drive.
This, of course, is due to my episode of syncope, passing out, loss of consciousness, which occurred at the end of March. After spending almost 24 hours in the emergency room afterwards, the doctor there was happy to provide a diagnosis, which was that it was the result of a seizure. I was ready to accept that diagnosis. I’ve had a partial complex seizure disorder for forty or more years. It was mostly controlled, and at its worst it manifested as a short period of confusion, with no loss of consciousness or motor skills. I could, for example, drive while having one. But I’d had a seizure a couple of months ago that had involved a feeling that I was on the verge of passing out, so yes, I could accept that.
On the other hand, as my neurologist suggested, I was being overmedicated for high blood pressure. The paramedics who responded when I passed out noted that it was only 90/50 at the time. Afterwards, there were a number of times I found myself feeling just kind of light headed and when I checked my own blood pressure, it would hover around 90-100/60. My doctor took me off some blood pressure medication and it has normalized since then and I feel much better. I am also taking new anti-seizure meds, which make it unlikely I will have another seizure if that is the cause. Nevertheless, even though I informed them of all these things and sent my medical information, the DMV is not convinced.
Even though it was not unexpected, receiving the letter shook me up. It made me feel helpless, and frustrated, and a little angry. But sure enough, given a little bit of time, my thoughts immediately switched gears, and I asked, so what does this mean? What is it that God wants of me? What am I being given the opportunity to do, by virtue of being prevented from doing something else.
And this is the important thing, at least as far as this blog goes. This is what I always say when something happens. What does this mean? What does God want from me? Even when it looks like something is being taken from me, what opportunities am I actually being given?
This is all kind of background to a blog I will write soon, inspired by a book I read recently. I guess I’m just kind of including it her to show that I do believe that “everything happens for a reason,” because the title of the book that inspired me is Everything Happens for a Reason, and other lies I’ve loved.
For those of you who have followed my story for awhile, you know that I have been through a long and financially debilitating health journey already. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016. In January 2017, my diagnosis was upped to Stage 3C, metastatic lobular carcinoma, which had already spread to all eleven lymph nodes tested. I underwent aggressive treatment, which I anticipated, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the delay after delay that I encountered. It took eight weeks after mastectomy before I could start chemotherapy, because my surgical drains would just not stop draining. I then expected to hop from chemo to radiation to reconstruction, and then to hop back to life (i.e., job hunting). But it turned out there were months of recovery in between all these treatments. I had to heal from chemo to start radiation. I had to heal from radiation in order to have surgery. Then, and I’m laughing here, it turned out that my “final” surgery was not final after all, and I’d have to have more, but once again I had to wait three months to heal from the surgery to have more surgery! In the meantime, I had the episode with loss of consciousness, which delayed the surgery for a month while I adjusted to new anti-seizure meds, and then also delayed my unencumbered return to “real life” by having my driving privileges taken away.
So once again, I say, if not that, then what am I to do? It’s not that I am dying to go out and get a job. I would honestly rather spend the rest of my life writing blogs from my bed. I would like to be here to take care of my puppies, of my grown up children when they are in need, of my grandchildren. That’s been my choice in life forever anyway, being the caretaker, the nurturer. And my career choice since I first held a pencil has been to be a writer. So here, God seems to be affirming to me that this is indeed the path I am to follow right now.
I’m just not sure I’m doing it right. But I’m being given a chance to work on that, I guess.
In every setback there is a chance to see a side road you overlooked before, and to travel down it.
Life is not purposeless. Yes, I do believe there is a reason for everything. Those reasons are not always for us, at least at first glance. Sometimes they are for the purpose of helping someone else along on their path. Sometimes those people might be our children; sometimes they might be strangers we never even know about.
Nevertheless, the path can still be difficult. So help me, God, to walk it. I have a number of Bibles, but one in particular always seems to open automatically to a couple of pages that contains Psalms 23 through 30. The pages are highlighted in many colors from many readings on many days. These verses contain the heart of my prayers, including the one thing I begin and end all my prayers with:
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
I’m not going to sugarcoat things. I have been having a hard time lately. My daughter said to me yesterday that she sees me withdrawing. And maybe I have been. I am plodding on, but maybe the path is wandering along the edge of a crumbling cliff. “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” (Psalm 27:13), but I am afraid of missing it by not holding up my end of the bargain. It’s not that God can’t just shower undeserved and unearned blessings down on our heads, but generally we are required to put some effort into it, I think. I am afraid that I will be sleeping when I should be doing something else.
Anyway, your prayers are appreciated.
And remember, love always. Real love. Not self serving, self seeking, but giving all yourself always out of love. If you do that, you are doing well.