I’m 32 years old, and I’ve just been told that I recently suffered a stroke. Your shock is my shock. This was the last thing I expected to be told about the results of my MRI. Now, in hindsight, I see that it does explain my symptoms. But nobody would have suggested that before my brain scan. It wasn’t even on our radar. After the shock has worn off, I’m just a little overwhelmed. I love my family more than my next breath, and I hate the thought that my heath would threaten to take me away from them. In these moments as I consider what really matters, I know that God is able to do what my heart most desires: He is able to turn my children’s hearts towards him that they might know him and love him all the days of their lives. In short, nothing else matters. Whether I am here or not, I know that God is able to do that. I cannot even begin to crack open the door on the grief-filled thought that my children would grow up without a mother, my husband without a wife. It’s more than I can contemplate. But I can trust Jesus.

Right now I have more questions about this than answers. I don’t know for sure what caused the stroke (high blood pressure during my first pregnancy, blood clots after either birth, birth control pills, high cholesterol, heart arrhythmia, to name a few frightening possibilities), or when it happened. I don’t know if I’m likely to have another one. I don’t know if my lack of balance and coordination, my dizziness, are here to stay or if they will abate, why they waited this long to show up. (I’m told that the imaging showed that my stroke was older, within the past several years, not the past several weeks when my symptoms spiked.) I do know that I will see a neurologist, soon, we hope, and get some more clarity and answers. And I do know that my Father was not far off whenever this occurred. He was there in that moment, and he is here with me in this one.

And I’m also incredibly thankful. This event was obviously so minor that I didn’t even realize what was happening. I have no permanent paralysis. I’m alive. I can hear (mostly). I can see. I can speak. I can care for my children, my husband. I’m thankful. I’m adjusting to the care that I need to take when I’m moving — carry less, make more trips; step carefully; keep my eyes on what I’m doing. I’ll spill more, but if you know me, you know that’s always been an issue. Andrew has a term for this. He says I’ve “pulled a Catherine” when anyone drops anything. I’ll be pulling more “Catherines” to be sure. But that’s ok. Because I’m still here.

And I still know that my God is faithful. I still know that I always have hope in him. He has chosen this race marked out for me, every step, every day, including the finish line. And I believe in his goodness. In processing this stroke, this future, with my husband, I told him that God doesn’t promise us a life without pain. But he does offer us hope and promises to walk with us through it all. I know that he will be with my family each step of the way. I trust that his plan is bigger and better than mine.


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3 Responses to Afterward

  1. Meg

    Wow! What an unexpected result! I love you, my friend, and I’ll continue to pray for you and yours.

  2. Marianne York

    Praying for your future & believing that God is making this awareness in your life to keep you alive while you are needed by your family. More tests are sure to come to determine what caused your stroke. But these will also give you what you need to prevent any future problems like this. Hang in there as the answers unfold. God is blessing you even now in this shocking result. He loves you. He cares for you. He is making you stronger through this new ordeal. God bless & keep you Catherine.

  3. Mom

    After reading this last night, with something of a heavy heart, I turned to my reading for the night. It was this: I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. . . The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever. — Psalm 121. Comfort for me, and I hope, comfort for you. Love you.