My name is Jeanette Elliott, and I am 69 years old. I am a widowed mother of five (5) - two (2) boys and (3) girls. I have one son who has Cerebral Palsy. There were many difficult days trying to care for him, but I made it with the help of the God. He is now 41 years old, and all the praise goes to God.
I've had numerous surgeries, and the first was in my late 20's, or early 30's. I had to have a tonsillectomy, and my eldest son had to have the same procedure a few weeks later. Prayers went up, and we came through that, again with the help of God. In my 40's, I was diagnosed as being a diabetic, of which I still take insulin shots today. I had to really pray about this...taking shots, because I was very afraid thinking I may give myself too much. After praying and talking to the Lord about how I was feeling about taking the shots, He calmed my fears.
A few years later in December, 2007, I had to have a Heart Catheter after having chest pains. Many of my church family thought I had suffered a heart attack because of the death of my mother who had passed the previous month (November). Tests revealed that many veins were closed, and some others were almost closed at certain degrees. This information concerning some of the other veins being closed to certain degree levels was not given to me until later. The doctor told me I had to have triple bypass surgery. It was successful, and I was released from the hospital a few days later. After being home a couple of days, I began to feel weak. This weakness would cause me to become unsteady on my feet, and almost fall at different times. With this new symptom, I had to return to the hospital for more tests.
I was then told the other veins that were partially closed, had closed completely and more stents had to be put in. At this time I was shown a diagram of my heart. I was told what the doctors had seen with the other veins before I had the triple bypass. When the triple bypass and heart catheter was performed, my family members were with me and that was a blessing for me. Before going into surgery, one of my sisters asked the doctor if we had time to pray, and he said yes, and remained standing by the bed until we were finished. I was told later by the doctor that when he began to open my chest wall, he nixed my heart and I began to bleed profusely. When they couldn't stop the bleeding and thinking I was going to die, the doctor went out to tell the family to call other family members and let them know what was happening.
All family members began to pray, and the bleeding stopped. Praise the Lord, because this enabled the doctor to do what was needed to be done in my chest. My life was spared because of prayer, and because of mercy and grace God extended to me. When I was discharged from the hospital, the doctors didn't think I had long to live, and thought I should prepare my family members. I did prepare a list of my wishes, and handed them out to the family members. That was in 2007, and I am still living. Hallelujah!
Two - three years later on June 12, after 6 p.m., I began having symptoms of the beginning of a stroke, even though I didn't know that at the time, but was told this later. I waited until 9 pm before asking my daughter to call 911. I arrived at the hospital about 10 pm, but was told I had waited too late to come because there is a four (4) hour period to get the medication to stop the progression of a stroke. Since it was passed the time limit, I was not given the medication. The next morning on June 13, I had a major stroke on the right side of my brain, which made the left side of my body very weak.
How do you go from taking care of yourself, going where you want to go, feeding yourself - to not being able to move the left side of your body at will? How do you feel when you can't formulate your words in the way you have always done? How do you feel when you have to depend on others to help you with everything? I tell you the truth, it was hard for me going from being independent - to being co-dependent on others for my very existence...especially after having lived through major heart surgery from a heart attack. There were days after the stroke, I didn't know I could keep going on. I questioned my ability, I questioned whether my faith was what it needed to be to have kept this from happening, and some time wondered - why me? I have tried to do right, live righteous, treat others the way I wanted to be treated, and now this. There were days I didn't feel like participating in therapy. I just wanted to be alone, and maybe feel sorry for myself. Many family members, and other people would encourage me, but I didn't get it in my spirit what I needed to do, until a deacon visited me and spoke words that reached my heart and spirit. Maybe, this had been the time ordained for me to get this. Also, I knew I needed to hear from God through scriptures or however he wanted to communicate truth to me, because He is my savior and healer.
Praying to the Lord with a renewed determination, I started feeling that my life was worth living. I yet had a mind to think, and since I was right handed, I could use my right hand to help me in areas. Thank God. As time went on, God gave me the strength to take the focus off me, along with the "woe is me spirit," and began to be thankful for life and so much more. When the doctors delivered the death message of me not living long, I started believing their report instead of the report of the Lord. As I began to encourage myself, I started seeing life differently through the eyes of God and not through my feelings, emotions, and self pity. This temporary affliction afforded me more time to pray, and read the Word of God.
Don't misunderstand me, there were many days I was frustrated, wanted to be left alone, upset with myself for not eating the proper foods to help me become healthy, but the Holy Spirit would bring comfort tor me to realize I can't change the pass, but I can have a great future in the Lord. Today, I can feed and bathe myself, cook my food, wash clothes, my speech is understandable, and I can do other things around the house. I had to realize that I had a major stroke, and just like a baby, I had to re-learn everything. I had to learn how to talk, sit up without falling over, to walk, put on my own clothes, how to swallow my drink without it coming out of the weak side of your mouth. With God's help, I have learned all these things, and continue to work on a few more.
I learned and accepted that everything does not come back all at once. Therapy is a very essential part of the process. The different type of exercises given to you, will jumpstart your recovery, or without them, it could possible take years for your nerves to heal. Exercising, along with God's help, will not take as long to recover. Since having the triple bypass and stroke, I have learned to trust and depend upon the Lord. In time past, I used to be so busy all the time. I didn't take time to get quiet so I could hear clearly about my life. Now, I know the importance in knowing I need to trust and depend on God. What the enemy desired for evil to me, God took it, turned it around, and made it good for me.
This testimony is not only for me, it is for anyone needing help - to believe and trust in God. I have had about twelve surgeries, but through it all, I learned to trust in Jesus and I learned to trust God. Through it all, He never left me, nor forsaken me. Hallelujah, in Jesus name. Amen.