The Brain Tumor That Led To Joy
From the LYWB Team: Yesterday Heidi shared about the day she discovered she had a brain tumor. In the face of such news, she experienced peace. Here's the rest of her story.
The next few weeks were a whirlwind. I found out the next day that the tumor was blocking the flow of fluid in my brain, producing the headaches and nausea. The neurosurgeon I was referred to "just happened to be" one of the only doctors in the state who could perform the kind of surgery I needed to remove the tumor. The plan was to shave off half my hair, make a three-inch incision in the back of my head, and weave his way to the center of my brain to remove the tumor. Because of its location, he assumed it was benign and I wouldn't need radiation, but there was a small chance it was cancerous.
Surgery was scheduled for just two weeks after the phone call diagnosis. In those two weeks, there were certainly moments of anxiousness and fear. I always wanted someone around me. But honestly, there was mostly peace—with a lot of joy and some miracles mixed in too.
The joy came in many forms. We had the constant support of our parents, grandparents, siblings, and other family and friends. I received cards, notes, and phone calls from family, new coworkers, far-away friends, people from our new church home—even people we didn't know.
I also found joy in my classroom. The week I found out about my tumor, I had my first ever parent-teacher conferences. So I had to give student information and explain my plight twenty-five times. At one unforgettable conference as I tried to transition from my shocking news to information about the student, the child's mother stopped me and said, "I'm sorry. But I know if my husband doesn't pray for you right this minute, he's going to explode." They both instantly grabbed my hands, and he prayed an unbelievable, shake-the-rafters prayer for me right there in the middle of my public school classroom.
Then came the miracles. Not just being sent to exactly the right doctor, but more. With our newly activated insurance from Dan's job, we found out that the only thing we would have to pay, for everything, was our co-pay at the time—$5. Seriously, I had $5 brain surgery! The substitute teacher hired to take over my classroom while I recovered was a graduate from my same Christian college. We became official members of our new church forty-eight hours before my surgery, ushering in hundreds of new prayer warriors. I was getting the chance to share my journey with others and that my hope was resting in Christ through it. I realized how carefully the Lord had planned this tumor, and I actually felt humbled that He had entrusted it to me.
Surgery day arrived. My ten-hour surgery was a success—the tumor was out and although it had to be checked, it appeared benign. So recovery began. Dan instantly became my primary caregiver—helping to feed me (I had serious double vision and kept missing my mouth!), keeping me comfortable, and understanding the information I couldn't at the time. The nurses repeatedly told me how dumbfounded they were with Dan. That I had such a young, but completely dedicated, serving, and loving husband—wasn't I lucky? I wasn't lucky, but completely blessed with a godly husband.
Nearly every medical professional that walked into my room those next six days would make a comment about the severity of my situation and my age. And every time I would describe my dependence on God and thankfulness that He was allowing me to see Him work so powerfully in my life. At twenty-three I got to see the power of praying people, to have an intimate time of minute-by-minute dependence on God, and for Dan and I—so early in our marriage—to go through something that cemented our relationship with one another and with God.
We were changed. I was changed. And the effects of those changes continued to ripple through our lives in the coming days, months, and years.
Read the final installment of Heidi's story tomorrow. But we know Heidi's not the only one to experience a miracle. Leave us a comment, and tell us when you've seen God do something BIG in your own life.
About the Author: Heidi Jo Fulk is passionate about encouraging woman and girls to love and live God's Word. She is wife to her high school sweetheart, Dan, and mom to their four young children—Emma Jo, Gretchen, Tucker, and Brock. Heidi leads a women's Bible study and teaches third grade girls at her church.