{SIGH} When Trauma Returns, Choose Hope


Back on the Rollercoaster...

My lungs are bleeding again.  We had to cancel plans again.  We are headed to the hospital.  Again.The timing is just odd.  I feel great.  The best I have felt in over a year.  And yet, those crummy blood vessels are leaking again.  They demand our attention.  And they've got it.I was writing a little gift for you all when it started.  I finished it (mostly) this weekend between bleeds.  I will do my best to polish it off completely as my Christmas gift to you.  It's a 3-day Devotional on Psalm 46.  I'm so excited to share it with you because God nudged me, and pushed me, and didn't give me any rest until I wrote it.  So, I'm trusting that He's going to bless you through it.  I know it blessed me to write it.In the meantime, I wrote this blog as a note to myself.  To cheer myself on as I head into these next uncertain days.  If it helps anyone else, Glory be to God!

Adapt to Trauma Like a Pro

This time around, we are better prepared.  We know what's ahead, or at least, we have an idea.  We know what to expect in recovery, mostly.  We know how to flex and adapt to the changes that are about to come.  We have experience in our tool belt now and that brings a measure of comfort.

First Things First: If we learned only one thing from our last crisis it is this: cancel anything and everything that you can in the short-term.  So, right away, Chris canceled a work trip and notified his boss of possible days off in the near future.

Gather Your Community: As soon as we realized this may be more than a random bleed, I started a new text thread with my closest friends.  I brought them up to speed and then told them our best guess for what's coming.  AND, I told them what I would ask of them if surgery was coming.  Or if I bled again while away from Chris.  Or all the other scenarios.  I also gave them my medical stats and emergency contact info.  Everyone's on the same page.  And having it all in one text thread means I only have to send one text to get everyone rolling at the same time.Gathering my community also includes my children's teachers.  Looping them in on what's happening and what may happen soon helps them prepare to support my kids over the next few days/weeks.  It is not kind to not include them.  They are going to be pivotal to our recovery as a family and they deserve the warning of what's coming.

Make Back-up Plans: Of course, we cannot predict every possible scenario, but we can make some really good guesses.  I can guess that I might not be able to drive carpool or teach my classes.  So, I made a back-up plan for each day this week, including an entire lesson plan for a substitute teacher if I should need one for my Music and Bible classes on Tuesday.  I packed a basket full of everything needed.  I hope it won't come to that, but if it does, now I know I have not burdened my husband or my teacher friends.  The basket and the lesson are plug-and-play, ready to go.

Personal Care: This may seem odd, but I'm giving it to you from experience...  now is the time to clip your nails, shave your legs, do your laundry so you have clean underwear, etc.  Imagine this scenario: Some time, in the next 48 hours, you are going to get locked in a room without a shower or mirror but you will also have visitors.  What panicky thought just came into your mind?  Name it and do it.  Now.

Look for Exits:  Maybe this is morbid.  Maybe not.  I'm not sure.  But, I get no warning when a bleed is about to start.  It just starts.  And it's not something I can discreetly hide.  So, I've been looking for exits.  Sitting near the back.  Carrying a disposable bag.  I just don't want to traumatize anyone if a bleed comes when I'm out in public.  It's so discouraging but looking for exits gives me a measure of control.  I'll take it.

And finally, intentionally choose HOPE:  It is so easy, so incredibly easy, to let my mind skip a dozen steps from, "I'm bleeding again," to "This is it.  This is the end."  But the reality is that I don't know when my last day will be.  Neither do the doctors.  I've lived through so many possible last days that I've lost count.  Instead, I intentionally choose to live each day as a gift.  And to live it fully.  I am not fearless, that is for sure!   But I choose to acknowledge my fear, speak it out-loud to Jesus, and then move on.  As long as I'm here and not in a hospital bed, I will make dinner, read to my children, and plan to get up again tomorrow.  It is a choice, and I choose it in faith.  There is no way I could do this in my own strength.  It is only by admitting my fear and weakness and trusting Jesus to be my refuge and my strength that I can live each day boldly.  That is the choice I am making.  That is the Jesus that I know.

A Hope and a Prayer

Friends, my trauma is big and scary.  Your trauma my be quiet or hidden.  But you can still do things to help make it through more easily.  Maybe less painfully.  I hope these little lessons I've learned can help you in your unique circumstances.  I pray that they do.Jesus, may you be all-powerful in my friends' lives.  Hear their fears and remind them of your sovereign control.  Be near them as they choose to live boldly.  May they feel your strong presence and lean into it as child leans into his daddy.  Be their comfort.  Their healer.  Their hope.  Amen.