Thursday, July 31, 2014

One Year Ago, Part Two

I have a vague recollection of waking up in the surgical ICU after my emergency surgery. I was a bit surprised that I was alive, as my body felt beaten down and horribly sick. My parents and a family friend were by my side. As my mom recalls, "It just looked like you were in a coma."

My dad recalls watching my body as it inhaled and exhaled on the ventilator, and believing at certain times that it would be my last breath.  My pulse was high, and with every breath, my body rattled violently. I recall my mom describing the surgery. I had a colostomy and an open wound from just below my breast to my belly button, which was and still is a half inch left of where it was formerly located. I had nurses and doctors checking all kinds of stuff, surrounding me as they worked to make sure I was out of sepsis. It was all so much to absorb. I lost myself in the drugs and bad dreams that filled my head.

The next time I remember, the surgeon was next to me. He said that they had accidentally nicked the bowel during the first surgery, which sent me into septic shock. They had to remove 9 inches of my colon, thus the colostomy. I would have it for six months. I wasn't conscious enough to realize how devastating that news was. I had the open wound because of the septic tissue that had been removed. It was all so much to absorb. How would I ever recover?

The timing of this memory is unknown, but it happened as sure as I had surgery. I remember a pair of medical interns trying to start an IV in my wrist. The pain was overwhelming, so I did what I always do when I'm in pain, and that is pulling myself up and away from the pain. I crawled up to the ceiling, just to wait for the torture to stop.

As I hovered, I recall a white light enveloping me. There was peace in my heart. It was as real as I am writing this today. My son, my Nana and my Uncle Rusty were there, among other angels. My pain was so real and horrific, I wasn't sure I wanted to live. I remember almost pleading with them to let me die. I didn't want to live like this, in pain, anymore. I was discouraged and told that my time here on Earth wasn't finished, and that I had more to achieve in life. It was hard to choose the physical pain over eternal peace.

It was my moment of clarity; my choice of worlds, and I chose the harder one.  And what makes the experience most amazing is that it doesn’t matter that no one saw my light but me, because it was MY miracle! For as horrible as the entire experience was, it was the defining experience of my life. There were plenty of times after being released from the SICU, and then the hospital, and then the private rehabilitation hospital (I was too sick to go home), when I could have given up on hope, and almost did. 

But I didn't. THAT is my miracle. If, as I believe, something good can come from something horrible, my miracle came from the horrible outcome of the first surgery. It's not something I want to repeat, but it something I celebrate!

Miracles are the wishing on a star moments in life. The times when we are so downtrodden that we need our fairy godmothers to wave their magic wands, and it actually works. And what makes them so awesome is that they transform us, either on the inside or outside, and nobody knows why. They don’t see the stardust glistening in our bodies, minds and souls. It’s about transformation in times of great turmoil and need. Miracles allow us to start anew.

I glow with my miracles. Since my conversation with my angels in the light I remember so clearly, I have been transformed.  I have people tell me that they see the true Jessica again. There isn’t the haze of escape that used to cloud my eyes. This is not to say that my miracle was, nor is, easy. The road since then has been uphill. I could very easily drown in the haze again. But here’s another thing about miracles. When your prayers or wishes or pleas (however you chose to label them) are granted, you can’t turn them down. When you get another shot at life, on whatever level, you must be grateful and move forward. You must fight the good fight, because it may not come again.