Overcoming Difficult Trials

Cheryl Zelenka’s Brain Surgery Testimony Will Inspire You!

Ps 30 Wailing 2 Dancing TL

Dear One,

I wanted to share my testimony. Of course my life did not begin in July of 2011, so this is only PART of my story. However, living through and recovering from brain surgery is what let me to write my blog http://facingtrials.com and author my book, Facing Trials: Thoughts for Meditation.

In early 2014, my Bible study Divine Interruptions: Opportunities for Spiritual Growth will be available on West Bow Press, so I will keep you informed. This Bible study has ten chapters with five days per chapter. I share a bit of my recovery journey and the lessons I learned on Day One of each chapter. The book of Job has many wonderful scriptures, and a wealth of wisdom can be gained by the lessons Job learned. Humility being one of them!

God does not send us anything we can’t bear with His love and grace. If you are experiencing a trial right now, I hope my story encourages you to take that next step into a new day, new week, and new year. God was not finished using me, and He is not finished using you either!

God bless! Cheryl



Life Interruptions are often Divine Interruptions. I am amazed at how my life has changed since July 23, 2011.  Let me start at the beginning.

I am a retired teacher and single mom. I adopted one of my fourth grade students and have known God all of my life. I have served Him in several ministries including as a
member of the worship team, prayer groups, and counseling women with sexual abuse issues. My life was full and I was happy in my small southern Oregon town…. Until I
had a break down.

I became clinically depressed. I had to take a leave of absence three times from my teaching position. Every time I returned to work I failed to finish the school year.  Eventually, I went on disability and quit my teaching job.  Humiliation and hopelessness were my constant companions.

For over six years I struggled with guilt. Christians have so much to be thankful for and yet, my behavior and emotional state kept spiraling downward. I went to my medical provider many times and the real problem was never identified. I was told that the stress of my teaching job, a family history of depression, perimenopause, and bad genes were the cause of all my trouble. It took the love of my parents and a bold step on their part to get to the bottom of my health issues.

On one of the many occasions in which I visited my medical provider, I recounted the following strange event. I was in a parking lot when suddenly my walking turned into running. I could not stop my jog, so I intentionally crashed into a parked car and fell to the ground. Getting myself back up on my own was impossible. It took two strong men to place me on my feet again. My brain was functioning enough at this time to realize something was amiss. You will not believe the response my Nurse Practitioner had to this story. Her comment will send shivers down your spine. “Well,” she said, “If it happens again let me know.”

She made no mention of a test or MRI. She did not ask me if I was having balance issues or any other strange symptoms. She sent me off more concern about my low Vitamin D levels! When my parents heard this story it confirmed the fear in their hearts. They had been praying for me over the past two years, not knowing how to help. They both recognized I was not myself and were very concerned, so they decided to drive out and get me.

Understand this: I moved to my beloved adopted state of Oregon in an attempt to forge out my own life. I felt like a pioneer woman of old when I moved. My decision to take this leap of faith was confirmed by God in so many ways. The puzzle pieces just kept fitting together. I did not know a soul in the state and I didn’t have a job lined up either. However, I knew my obedience to leave behind a successful and secure life in Arizona would be rewarded. Indeed, God blessed me with twelve wonderful years in my small town community. 

When my parents told me they were selling my house and taking me to their doctor in Arizona, I put up as good a fight as I could. I was happy where I was planted (aside from the clinical depression). I had finally bought my dream house and I had friends who were as close to me as sisters. I was a respected educator and my son had roots in the only state he had ever lived.

I was sick for nearly a decade, but in the six months before my folks came to get me, my behavior changed significantly. I later found out that my behavior change was due to the frontal lobe location of my brain tumor. This area of the brain affects emotions and behavior. I became very anti-social and even more depressed. I was wetting the bed and wearing diapers. My ability to think and reason was greatly impaired and I gave little thought to returning to my medical provider in order to up-date her on my condition. I was falling a lot and had no energy. My daily routine was as follows: wake up in the late morning, eat, drink, and sit in my recliner all day watching tv. I had no strength to clean and at one point I had used every dish in the house.  The kitchen was a mess with dirty dishes everywhere.


My son was off at college, so I let things go. When my parents arrived to fetch me they were shocked at the condition of my home. Someone once told me that my house was like a picture out of Better Homes and Gardens. This comment was no longer valid. There was trash and dirt everywhere. Every level space and counter was littered with cups, dishes, and clutter.

I was unable to open and read my mail, so bills were not getting paid. On two occassions I had to drive down to pay my water bill before it was shut off. This was not me. I was not living. I was the walking dead.

When my parents arrived they ….

To read the rest of this post please go to http://facingtrials.com

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