When I used to think about loss, really only 2 things came to mind....losing things, like your keys (or your mind : ) or death. When I started living with a chronic illness, I learned about a whole new kind of loss. Or rather, how MANY things can be lost that aren't "things" at all...
My ability to be independent. Ouch. That was a killer for me. As I started gaining strength, I was assuming my life would be going back to normal. Uh, not so much. Doug could obviously see this, but all I could think of was getting back to work. Doug was like, um, honey, I don't think so. We even talked to our pastor at the time because we would argue so much over it. Doug was right of course. (See, I can easily say that because he never reads my blog!) But really, he was. I loved my job SO mcuh. Probably a little TOO much. I loved the pressure, the stress, and to be completely frank, the power and money. I was good at my job, really good, and it felt awesome to have other people recognize me and reward me for that. But it became my focus. I was on call 24/7. Cell phone, beeper, tethered. Losing my job (even though it was voluntary) was one of the hardest things I even went through.
Along with the loss of independence is the social aspect of life. I'm one of the most outgoing people you'd meet. I LOVE people. I love being around people. If I could do anything in the world at any time I would have everyone I love around me all the time. I love going out and hanging out with my friends. Going to movies. Going dancing. Going out for lunch whenever and with whomever. Now I can't. Now I have to wait for a good day. I have to be careful of public places and too many germs because of my suppressed immune systems. This loss hurt me deeply, and hurts me still.
My ability to sing. This was (and still is) THE hardest thing. It can bring me to tears even to this day, and it's been almost 9 years. I used to sing. At weddings. I sang in a quartet in college, and I loved it more than anything I had ever done. I would sing everywhere...in the car, in the shower...I always had music on and I was always singing. After I had the trach put in initially, I had NO VOICE at all for four months. If you know me personally, you can only imagine the torture that was for me.
I remember going to the ENT one time and he suggested an operation that may help me get rid of the trach, something called a vocal cordotomy. They would cut a notch out of one of my vocal cords and hopefully it would fold back and open my airway so I could breathe better. I asked if it would affect my voice, and he said yes. I asked if I would ever sing again, and he said no. I just broke down. This couldn't be happening! How could God take away the ONE THING I loved about me and even more so, my ability to praise Him with my voice? What if I ever had a child? How could I sing him to sleep? The pain this caused was more than I could bear. Or so I thought.
I was thankful that my vocal cords were paralyzed in the closed position, so at least I had a voice, after all the swelling went down and stuff. If they had been paralyzed open, I would have run the risk of aspirating everything into my lungs, and could have very easily gotten pneumonia and died. My voice is certainly nothing like it used to be, but I can sing a little bit. Instead of a range of a couple of octaves, I have a range of a couple of notes! But it's better than nothing, which I had for a looooong time.
I read a book which ministered to me greatly. It is called the Blessing of Brokenness by Charles Stanley. It's not terribly long, and it's worth every word to read....Wow. Life changing. Really. God loves us too much to leave us where we are, and He will DO or USE anything that may happen in our lives to bring us closer to Him.
I've said this before, and I suppose I question it on my really, really bad days, but if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change what happened. I am a much better person now. I don't have nearly as many bad habits...(EVERYONE has something!) : ) I'm much closer to God and to my family. I appreciate EVERY good day. I appreciate all the amazing gifts and abilities my terrific husband has, and how much he loves me, and how much I love him. He is truly God's gift to me. My son means more to me than anything because of what it took to have him! Oswald Chambers said, "A thing is worth just what it costs." Well, Jacob almost cost me my life, and he is the most precious thing in the world to me.
If you are where I WAS....wondering why this could happen to you....wondering why this DID happen to you....please know you are not alone. God LOVES you. He loves you so much that He will put you over that open flame to purify you....but in the process, He NEVER takes His eyes off you. Not even for a second. He leaves you there JUST long enough, and not a second more. But not a second less, either.