Today I went to my neuropsychologist’s office to get the results of my recent cognitive testing. I’ve worked so hard to recover and rightfully expected great improvement in many areas. Just as I expected, there were many highs in the report. Areas that were significantly impacted before, have improved significantly. All my hard work has paid off and there are real reasons to celebrate. Still, there were some painful realities I faced today that have filled my heart once again with sadness. There is no need to go through point by point. The bottom line is my journey is not yet over. The old Nancy, who I really liked, isn’t totally here anymore and the adjustment to this new Nancy continues to be a struggle at times for me.
The lowest area in my recovery is my right hand. When my fine motor skills were tested months ago both hands were in the 1%. That is pretty bad — I don’t think they rank in the 0% – so I was at the very bottom. As the months have flown by, so many other areas of concern have taken precedent over my hands. I however was aware that my left hands dexterity was improving much more quickly than my right. During the testing last week as I fought hard to get pegs in a peg board with my right hand and breezed through the same task with my left, I knew things weren’t right. Today that was confirmed. My left hand has improved from the 1% to the 70 something %. My right hand has stayed in the 1%.
Now for most, lower fine motor skills in one hand wouldn’t be such a horrible thing. In daily tasks it really isn’t that horrible for me either. I can use my left hand well and have found getting through the day rather easy in spite of my right hand’s fine motor skills not being so good. For me though, this is a very difficult loss. For months now I have ached for to sit at my piano and play until all the stress in my heart has finally melted away. For most of my life sitting at my piano has been one of my greatest joys. On my wedding day I played a song I wrote for Phillip to express my love, both Faith and James have lullabies that I composed on my piano just for them and through my deepest sorrows, I have pounded the keys time and time again until my heart has been quieted. This however, is nearly impossible now due to my painful ears and right hand. The loss of playing music — even listening to music — has been difficult for me.
Another thing I came to understand today was the dream of returning to a classroom everyday is likely gone. My doctor talked about me volunteering or finding a job where I am self-employed. The classroom – school environment and even office work seems beyond me. I must admit, this is probably the most difficult loss for me. For the past year I have held onto the hope that next year (2012/2013) I would return to my school in time to be part of my now seventh graders graduating. It has been a dream I held close to my heart. As I listened to my doctor’s suggestions I realized he doesn’t see that as part of my future. He encouraged me to grab hold of new dreams (ipads for success is certainly a good one) and to begin to settle more into who I am today instead of who I was a year ago.
Let there be no mistake. I know there are miracles — I believe in miracles — and if the Lord in Heaven sees fit to grant me His strength, in my weakness, to return to the classroom I will do so with great joy! I also know however, there are times when the miracles we hope for don’t come. It is during those very times, when our dreams are met with realities we don’t want, that we can either trust God and His word or we can throw it all away because things didn’t go the way we would choose.
If I have learned anything this past year it is trusting God, even when I don’t like my reality is safest and most peaceful place to be. This is not a time to throw it all away. This is a time to stay steady, remember God’s faithfulness and finally a time to grab hold of the promises found in Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. 2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. 3 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! 4 A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. 5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. 6 The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! 7 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. 8 Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world. 9He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire.10“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”11 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
Yes, tonight is a night to be still in the midst of the disappointment and know that He is God. It is that “knowing” that will serve as my own personal lullaby that will sooth my aching heart and bring me His peaceful sleep.
Morning has come and I slept peacefully because of God’s amazing grace and enduring love. The sun is rising the the east, the kids are quietly getting ready for school, Phillip is at work and I am looking forward to this beautiful day that the Lord has made. Peace has once again filled my heart…not because of me…but rather because I know the one who brings peace — even when things aren’t they way I dreamed they would be.
Jesus brings hope to the hopeless, joy where there is sorrow and peace in life’s storms. Knowing Him, trusting Him, and resting in His promises brings grace beyond my own understanding. He is amazing.