Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Brain Tumor”

God Prunes-And Not Just In The Spring!


“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” 15:2

I view my past illness, a brain tumor that caused nearly a decade of clinical depression and near death, as an answered prayer. In days gone by, I often petitioned God to remove me from the public school system. But my prayers were never prayers of true faith. No, they were prayers of desperation and hopelessness. I never quit my job to pursue a different career because finances were always priority. I didn’t believe God would provide for my family in the same manner I was able to provide as a teacher. Relying on myself was easier than trusting God, especially when it came down to future finances. This is where my thinking fell short. Scripture says God will provide for our NEEDS…. Not for every want and desire, comfort or luxury.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Accustomed to a certain life style, I had no desire to pursue another profession that offered less pay. After 25 years of saving, I had finally purchased my dream home. The thought of selling it in order to pursue a different career was not part of my reality. I wanted out of teaching, but only on my terms. I was not willing to make adjustments or sacrifices. Money was an idol of false security.

My wrestling match with God was long and intense. It lasted more than a night and it didn’t leave me with a dislocated hip. Instead, I end up with a non-malignant brain tumor. When I refer to this tumor as a blessing sent from God I am sincere. For you see, this illness changed my life. It became the catalyst that reignited my spiritual walk.

Thankfully, God knew the best way to answer my prayer. I believe He led me into teaching and I believe it was also God who placed a desire in my heart to leave teaching. He didn’t let my attachment to worldly possessions interfere with His plan for my life. He designed me with a purpose and there was a “next step” for me in this life. It could only happen by stepping out of the classroom.

And although sin was ruling my heart with fear and covetousness, He graciously pruned away those dead branches for they were hindering my spiritual growth. By cutting out the dead wood, I was able to recognize these sin areas that required further refinement. Every year God must prune these sin areas in my life for they are aggressive in their attempt to grow back, yet never do they bear any fruit.

So, who can understand the mind of God? His ways are so much higher than our own ways. His thoughts are just not our thoughts! Bu sending a serious illness my way, or merely allowing the tumor to grow for ten miserable years, God answered my prayer to move past elementary teaching. It was a part of His sovereign plan for my life, before He knit me together in my mother’s womb.

God was not surprised by my illness but I surely was, for It brought about a lot of change I didn’t expect or desire. Not only did I loose my dream home, but I also left a community I felt comfortable with and never wanted to leave. God was pruning and stretching my faith throughout my journey. He provided the means for a new beginning and moved me to the place He wanted me to grow.

God’s sovereign will is always fulfilled. How He answers our prayers can truly be very surprising and unexpected. And when He decides to prune His children with challenging storms of adversity, we will do well to remember that the pruning of the Lord is an act of love. For God will instruct/discipline those He loves.

Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, a father the son he delights in.”    Proverbs 3:12 (NIV)

James 1:2-4 reminds us that we are to count trials as pure joy, not that the circumstances are the joy, but the outcome they produce is the source of our rejoicing.

God teaches us not only through His Word. He also teaches us through trials that refine us into the image of His son. These times of trouble mature the fruit of the spirit within us so that goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, love, joy, patience, faithfulness and self-control are more evident in our life. The pruning of the Lord is painful but the fruit it bears is profitable to God, others, and us.

Suffering is a part of the process by which the children of God are made holy. They are chastened to wean them from the world, and make them partakers of God’s holiness. The Captain of their salvation was made “perfect through suffering,” and so are they (Hebrews 2:1012:10). There never was a great saint who had not experienced either great hardships, or great persecutions.

 Let us try to settle this in our hearts also. The children of God all have a cross to bear. A suffering Savior generally has suffering disciples. The Bridegroom was a man of sorrows. Therefore, the Bride must not be a woman of pleasures and unacquainted with grief. Blessed are they that mourn! Let us not murmur at the cross. This also is a sign of sonship.”    ~ J.C. Ryle


_Dec 2014

Prayer: Brain Tumor Ashes To New Growth


Those of you who know my story, and if you do not…. well, a brain tumor nearly took me in 2011. My life appeared to be ashes at my feet when I woke up in ICU. No home, no job, away from friends, uncertain financial issues, etc. But GOD IS FAITHFUL! (Read my testimony… on right under My Story)

Even though my future IS STILL pretty much in the dark… I am alive, healthy, working, and serving God. This is a prayer I wrote today. I hope it blesses you and makes you think….

“Lord, I praise YOU for YOUR love and stand in awe of YOUR might. I see now how there is growth coming forth from my ashes. YOUR living Word is such an encouragement to me. Help me to persevere in the new direction YOU have set before me. I know that YOU are the perfect guide and will help to move me forward on my path. Joy and gladness have already filled my heart, for I have all I need…. YOU and YOU alone.”

** Remember there is ALWAYS HOPE! God loves you and has never left your side. Keep praying and trust He has the very best for you!

” For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” Is. 51:3 (NKJV)

*6 Days aver brain surgery/ July 2014 visiting my dog Bubba.

**Me and Bubba



Book Review for Divine Interruptions: A Bible Study Through The Book Of Job

Please sign up for my giveaway on GoodReads!!

Book Review
Greg rated it 5 of 5 stars
Divine Interruptions is a well written Bible study based on the book of Job. Suitable for single study as well as in a group Bible study or small group setting.

The book of Job deals with adversity and Cheryl is no stranger to this herself. Each chapter begins with a personal glimpse into Cheryl’s own painful trial having dealt with a brain tumor. Cheryl skillfully leads us through Job’s trials using key verses from Job and other related books of the Bible, as well as presenting thought evoking questions.

Key take-away: We can see through this study in the book of Job and Cheryl’s own personal trial and subsequent victory over it the way through. No matter the trial or problem we face or the depth of our pain, we need to trust in God realizing that His grace is enough. Both Job and Cheryl faced serious issues and through the grace of God both came through whole once again.    ~Greg Holt Publisher The Olive Branch Report(less)


*Divine Interuptions take 2


Scott Hamilton Has An Amazing Testimony

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Co. 12:9-11 (NKJV)

Being a brain tumor and cancer survivor myself, I was greatly encouraged by Scott Hamilton testimony. I pray it blesses you too!



Depression Isn’t A Sign Of Weakness

I suffered from clinical depression for ten years. I know that black pit and I want to lift up any who are suffering from depression right now. You are not alone and God will help you. 

My brain tumor was on my frontal lobe for 10 years. It caused my depression. When the tumor was removed my darkness lifted. I wish it was so easy for all of you… cutting out some growth and then your depression is gone.

I want to say, hang in there. God sees your struggle. You’ll find your way out of the pit, but only with God’s help. He will lead you to the right doctors. God gave some of His children scientific minds. These talented and gifted minds have the knowledge to design medicines. God WILL heal you, but sometimes He works through others to accomplish the healing.

Don’t forget to ask your elders to lay hands on you and to pray over you. Prayer is powerful.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:14-15 (NKJV)

Cheryl Zelenka Shares Brain Tumor Testimony on KLTT Radio

Purple Top

This Wednesday I was interviewed by Angie Austin on KLTT radio. Thanks to all the readers who prayed for me! I shared a bit of my testimony recovering from a brain tumor, and was able to promote my book FACING TRIALS: THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION. I talk in the second half of the show so fast forward to the 36 minute mark.
Here is the podcast.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”  1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

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

Encourage By Singing Songs Of The Heart

Friend Sings Song of My

(For My Mom)

Luke 6:31 (NIV)    “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Dear One,

Recently, I underwent six hours of testing to determine the affects brain surgery had on my memory and ability to think. I have yet to receive the “official” results, but I know my memory has been damaged by the surgery that actually saved my life.  My intelligence seems to be unaffected, but who knows?  I am content with the mind I have, so long as God can use it to encourage and help others!! 

We do not realize how precious things are to us, until they are gone or injured.  If you are able to walk to your mailbox, be thankful for your legs and the ability you have to move without a support of some kind.  Observing the snow on the beautiful mountains of Colorado gives me great joy, so I try to appreciate my vision every day.  Life in itself is a gift so use it to love others and please God daily.

If you are able to think clearly and not forget what happened thirty minutes ago, you are blessed.  My memory is not as it once was, and I am counting on my friends and loved ones to, “Sing the songs of my heart” when it fails me all together.” 

Sadly, my mother’s memory is worse than mine.  It causes her great frustration and yet, my dad lovingly sings the songs of her heart to her many times during the day.  Their love is from God and such a witness to those who know them. 

When you are in the middle of a trial, you may forget the love and joy you have experienced in life.  The troubles you presently face may be all that you can see.   You may even question God’s love for you and descend into a pit of depression. 

When your memory starts to fail or injury befalls you, I pray your family and friends come to your rescue and sing the songs of your heart aloud.  This spiritual melody will remind you that you did experience seasons of plenty.   It will serve to encourage you and stop the whispered lies of the enemy. Do not forget that the devil is a thief and eagerly looks for ways to steal your hope.  There is ALWAYS hope. 

God will not leave you in a valley forever.  If you are in your twilight years, those who love you will want to spend as much time with you as possible.  Let them shower you with love. I know it is a humbling thing to let others serve and help you, but do it for their sake.  Set aside you pride and love them enough to permit their efforts of encouragement, help, and comfort.

You may think you are a burden and a bother, but you are not.  Love longs and desires to comfort and help.  It is a joyful thing to feel needed and to have opportunities to actually help ease someone’s suffering.

My mom often feels like she is a burden. It is hard for her to allow me, and those in my family to serve her.  She served us all of her life, and it is with joy that I serve her in even the smallest ways.  I love and cherish her.  I pray she hears the songs of HER heart, as I spend time reminding her of the early days we spent together in love and harmony.  Can you see Jesus smiling?

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.              ~G.K. Chesterton

A Tease: My Bible Study Contents and Part of My First Chapter


TITLE OF SOON TO BE PUBLISHED EBOOK:                                                                                           Divine Interruptions:  Opportunities for Spiritual Growth


Opportunities for

Spiritual Growth


Chapter #1     The Trial

Chapter #2     Treasures, Trust, And Tests

Chapter #3     Sister-Friends

Chapter #4     Laughter, Joy, And Praise

Chapter #5     God’s Power And Control

Chapter #6     Vindication And Prayer

Chapter #7     Waiting On The Lord

Chapter #8     Don’t Look Back: Second Chances 

Chapter #9     Who Can Understand the Mind ofGod? 

Chapter #10   My Great Defender Who Delivers and Restores


(Chapter 1)

DAY #1

LIFE lessons can be challenging.  God does not promise us an easy life, but it is not all darkness and suffering either. We have a choice to see things with a positive mind set. To recognize negativity in our thinking is the beginning of our perspective transformation; a first step.

I did not ask for a near death experience.  However, God knew what it would take to get my attention and move me out of my place of comfort.  I was spiritually stagnant and God wanted to use me.  He was not finished with me, although death did knock on my door. 

A slow growing brain tumor had changed my behavior, emotions, and energy level.  My loving parents could tell by our weekly phone conversations that I was not “myself.”  For two years they had been praying for me and decided they were going to take me to their doctor.  Near the end I was in no condition to argue with them, although leaving my comfort zone in Oregon was difficult.

Their doctor was able to recognize a neurological problem just by watching me walk.  He told my parents to go to St. Joseph’s Hospital as they had the best neurological department in the nation.

At this point I had lost all memory.  I do not remember the MRI or my brain surgeon telling me I had a brain tumor.  I do not remember going into surgery, only waking up in ICU.

Death was the thing I wished for during my time in ICU.  I was overwhelmed by the journey I would have to endure to recover from such a radical surgery.  I reasoned I had the perfect death scenario.  I had felt little pain, aside from the migraines during my last two weeks prior to the surgery.  I had no memory or fear of going into surgery.  I could have been in the place where there were no more tears and sorrow.  I could have been with my Savior. 

Wanting the “easy way out” is a human and fleshly way to live life.  My death would have been relatively painless for me but a great loss for my son, parents, and sister.  Later on, I was able to acknowledged that my attitude was selfish since my parents had already lost and buried a son who had died mountain climbing.

For a week I saw a new face looking back at me in the mirror.  It was horrifying. Vanity is an ugly thing.  The swelling caused me to look different every day.  There was a lot of drainage that needed to take place.  The bruising, swelling, and numbness in my face depressed me.

Being very independent, I was humbled when I needed help to walk, bathe, and use the bathroom.  I did not want to be a burden to my family. 

My walnut sized tumor had been slow growing.  In fact, my surgeon told me it could have been growing for over ten years.  It was on my frontal lobe.  Thankfully, it was not cancerous and my surgeon was able to get all of it.  But because my brain was swollen and the large tumor had been causing a lot of pressure,  my vision was impaired.  For over two weeks I could not read. 

I worried that my independent life was over.  I did not think I would ever read again.  Writing was nearly impossible.  Driving was out of the question.  I could not see the numbers on my insulin vial, or prescription bottles.  My dad had to prepare all the meds for me.  I wondered if I would ever work again.  I did not want to live on disability.

While in the hospital, I had physical and speech therapy.  One exercise was to test and practice my logic and mental reasoning.  The doctors were concerned about a possible loss of long term and short term memory.  The worksheet was like those I had given my third graders when I was still a teacher in Oregon.  My humiliation and shame over the challenge such a simple exercise required, brought on a multitude of tears full of self-pity.  I could relate to Job.  I knew my road to recovery was not going to be easy.  It would be an upward path.  I would have to climb a mega mountain if I ever hoped to enjoy a mountain top experience ever again.

Of course I asked God, “Why?”  I was angry with my Creator.  Unlike Job, I did not praise Him while staying in the hospital.  It took time before I could look at my experience with a positive eye.  I wanted to feel sorry for myself and wallow in grief.

Because I was too ill to take care of myself, I allowed my father to have Power of Attorney.  He felt I needed to move closer to family and decided it would be best to put my house up for sale.  My parents also rented rooms for me in a retirement/assisted living facility, which did not allow large dogs.  I had to surrender my beloved dog Bubba.  Thankfully, a good friend agreed to adopt him.  Knowing he had a good life made the sacrifice easier.

Once again, I became depressed as I counted the losses in my life:  A dream home, good friends, a church family I loved, a dear dog, my independence, and a comfortable life in a state I loved.

Because I was moving, my parents sold many of my possessions in a yard sale.  Unlike Job, my response was not to praise Him but rather to complain about loosing my treasures.

Matt. 6:19Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

DAY #2

Chapter #1 Bible Study Questions

1)    Read Job Chapter #1

A hurricane blew into Job’s life.  Job lost wealth, children and health.

*Write down your personal experiences that might mirror Job’s losses.


2)    Read Job 1:1       * List the personality traits attributed to Job. ___________________________________________________________________

*What did he practice? ___________________________________________________________________

3)    Look up “fear” in your concordance. Write down Verse 1:1 and then rewrite this verse using the correct context meaning of fear.  __________________________________________________________________

*In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job.  This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

*In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job.  This man was blameless and upright; he respected God with awe and reverence.  He shunned evil.

4)    Using your bible concordance, look up and write down several scriptures where fear means “profound reverence and awe toward God.”

*Example  Prv. 14:2  He whose walk is upright fears the Lord…….


DAY #3

1)    What do you gain by fearing the Lord?  Read the following verses first.

  • Ps. 19:9, Ps. 111:10, Ps. 128:1, Prv. 10:27, Prv. 14:26, Prv. 14:27, Prv. 15;33

*Ps. 19:9_________, Ps.111:10  ___________, Ps. 128:1____________

Prv. 10:27_____________, Prv. 14:26____________), Prv. 14:27 ________________ Prv. 15:33 ______________________

2)    In Isaiah 33:6 it states:   The fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure                                 *What is the treasure the Word speaks of?




3)  Below are two scripture verses where the Word commands us to fear the Lord.  Write them down and then try to find some on your own.

Ps 2:11______________________________________________________________


Your Own ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Your Own ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4)  Write down the ways your “fear” (reverence and awe) God.




 PSALM 30:11-12 (NIV)         You turned my wailing into dancing;
 You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing Your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Dear Readers,

I am asking that you humor me as i post this very long testimony.  I have entered it as a possible job that will give me a lot of publicity. It is my hope that many more folk will find this blog and be encouraged by the word our Savior places on my heart. 

I want to encourage you all by saying that even though you see your world falling apart before your very eyes, God will rebuild it into a thing of beauty.  He is doing it for me right now.  He has no favorites so He will do it for you too.  Trust Him and see what wonders are held in store for just you.

Lovingly,                                                                                                                                  Cheryl

Life Interruptions are often Divine Interruptions.  I am amazed at how my life has changed in just a year and a half.  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 and all the times I returned,  failed to finish the year.  I eventually had to go on disability and quit my job.  Humiliation and hopelessness were my constant companions.

For over 6 years I was struggleing 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.  They said it was the stress of the job, a family history of depression, perimenopause, genes.  It took the love of my parents and a bold step on their part to get to the bottom of my health issues. 

I told them about being in a parking lot and not being able to stop.  My walking turned into running.  I intentionally crashed into a parked car to stop myself and fell onto the ground.  I could not get myself back up on my own, so two strong men kindly helped me up.  I decided something was really wrong with me and made an appointment with my Nurse Practictioner.  Her comment will send shivers down your spine.  “Well,” she said, “If it happens again let me know.”

There was no mention of a test or MRI.  She sent me off with more concern over my low Vitamin D levels!  When my parents heard this story it confirmed the fear in there hearts.  They had been praying for me over the past two years.  Knowing that I was not myself had them very concerned.  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.  Although very close to my parents and sister, I wanted to build my own family.  I was single and looking for a mature and Godly man.  My faith was strong and  I was hoping to find a relationship where we would be a team and equally yoked.  I tend to be fearful by nature but my decision to move 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 did not have a job lined up either.  It was by faith, obedience, and trust that I left behind a successful and secure life to find a new one in Oregon, which held for me even greater blessings.

So 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 had grown progressively sick very quickly.  In the six months before my folks came to get me, my behavior changed significantly.  I later found out that the behavior change was because of the location of my brain tumor.  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 affected and I gave little thought to returning to my medical provider to give her up-dates on my condition.  I was falling a lot and had no energy.  I would wake up in the 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 they were shocked at the condition of my home.  Someone once told me that my house was like a picture out of House and Gardens.  Not now!  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.  Twice I had to  drive down to pay my water bill as it had been shut off.  This was not me.  I was not living.  I was the walking dead.

When my parents arrived they told me they had Power of Attorney.  I don’t remember singning any papers as by this time my memory was leaving me.  They told me that they knew what was best for me and they wanted me closer to them. They are snowbirds and think very highly of the physicians and medical facilities in Phoenix, Arizona.  They also have a home in Colorado which is where I later moved and started a new life.

The process of cleaning up my house and getting it ready to sell was  a huge undertaking.  My parents are 77 years old.  My mom and dad hired someone to clean up my once pristine garden and yard.  They held a yard sale, and packed me up with little help from me.  I was sleeping a lot and had no strength to say no to them, or refuse their requests to get checked by their doctor.

Even harder than leaving friends and a dream house behind was giving up my beloved lab mix, Bubba.  He was the only thing that made me laugh during the years prior to my diagnosis.  However, because my parents had (unbeknowst to me) rented an apartment in a retirement/assisted living facility that would not allow dogs over 15 pounds, I had to leave Bubba behind. 

This was the last straw for me.  With all my strength I told my parents I would not go with them without Bubba.  My dad then had to take a very firm yet loving step.  He told me that I was going with them even if he had to carry me kicking and screaming.  He told me that he would put Bubba in a kennel or take him to the Humane Society if I could not find a friend to take him.  I was crushed.  I was at a loss as to what to do.  Then God sent me Nancy.

Nancy and I worked together at an elementary school.  She was very helpful in assisting with my adoption of Steve.  She had become a good friend and was sensing in her heart that something was wrong with me.  She decided to stop by my house to check on me.  She told me it was a whim at the time, but later informed me she felt the Lord pressing on her heart to visit.  Thank goodness she obeyed the quiet voice of God!  It was she who offered to provide a temporary  home for Bubba.  She understood that I was very ill and that mom and dad were taking me to their doctor to get to the bottom of things.  She knew I would probably not be back.  She knew I was at risk of death. 

So now with Bubba safe I could leave my home.  I remember very little of the next two weeks.  We drove to Phoenix in about three days.  Dad gave Dr. Metelits all of my medical records and like the exceptional man that he is, he poured over them for hours in his free time.  He told my dad he could tell I had a neurological problem by just watching me walk and that I should go to St. Joseph’s Hospital for an MRI.  By now I was falling even more, throwing-up, suffering from migranes, and had absolutly no memory.  I do not remember the MRI, being told I had a tumor, or of going into surgery.  I remember waking up in ICU.  What a shock it was indeed!!

I must say the care I got was exceptional.  St. Joseph’s really does live up to it’s reputation of having the best neurological department in the nantion.  My pain levels were well monitored and the therapy they provided was all very helpful in my recovery.

For over a year I was unable to cry.  What a paradox!  I was clinically depressed but unable to shed a single tear.  No release.  Well, the dam broke in ICU.  The full realization of what had just happened to me and the overwhelming job it would require to get back on my feet sent me into a long and loud period of sobbing.  I am sure every person on the hospital floor heard my cries and to their credit, they left me alone.  They let my tears bring the release I needed to face the future ahead of me.

My dad, or Pop as I call him, was my knight in shining armor.  He took care of all my insurance issues, medical paper work, mortgage and realtor needs, and me!  I made him promise to NEVER put me through such an invasive and horrific surgery again.  I told him that if the tumor came back I would not go through the agony of surgery again.  He really hesitated in promising me this, but he did.  Now that I am well, I told him that I could go through it again if I had to, with God’s strength and his love. 

When they took me home from the hospital, I stayed with my parents for nearly a month.  Insomnia was a big issue and one night my mom came into my bedroom and talked with me.   She saw that I was greatly worried about my dog Bubba and that I needed to make a decision about his welfare.  With a pained heart I concluded that I would ask Nancy and her husband Sherm Hoppet to adopt my dear companion.  They graciously agreed and I knew he would have a wonderful life with them.  This decision was a relief and a deep wound all rolled into one.  My love for Bubba had to come first.  I did not know my future and it was not fair to him or the Hoppets to say I would take him back in a year.  For one thing, I had no idea where I would be in a year and I also did not know how complete my recovery would be.

My vision was affected by the surgery.  I was unable to read and could not take my meds without my dad’s assistance.  Writing was a challenge too. I wrote and spoke slower than before the removal of the tumor. 

I worried about being a burden to my parents and wondered if I would ever drive again and live independently.  My son needed care and my attention but thankfully my parents helped out with his needs so that  I could concentrate on my own healing.

I have parents that don’t believe in letting the bad things in life defeat you.  They have known their share of sorrow, including the death of my brother in a mountain climbing accident.  I was feeling like I deserved to wear my pajamas all day and rest.  They let me have two days of pajamas and then, a week after brain surgery I was dressed and going for a daily walk.  There was no time to sit and mope.  They were loving and supportive but firm.  Life goes on.

This is when the hand of God touched me.  Within two weeks I was walking a mile and a half without my walker.  My balance was getting better and I was able to drive after my vision returned to normal.  My quick recovery was a testimoney of God’s grace.

After a month, and seeing that I was on my way to a full recovery, my parents took my son to their Colorado home while I healed in the assisted living facility.  I was lonely but God provided an old friend.  Dora is the wonderful woman who led me to God.  We had lost touch but I knew she lived in Phoenix, so I reached out to her. 

What a blessing Dora was and still is to me.  She took me to her church where we joined a woman’s bible study.  Linda Dillow’s book Calm My Anxious Heart met me exactly where I was and convicted me of all my worry.  I started to believe that there was a reason for my trial, a purpose. 

Determined to make my tragedy a thing of praise and an encouragement for others, I asked God to help me write a book.  The answer came in a five day wrting session.  It turns out that a ten-chapter bible study referencing the book of Job was something God wanted me to share with other believers.  The study is called DIVINE INTERRUPTIONS:  OPPORTUNITIES FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH.  Still a work in action, the revision is taking far longer than the initial body of work, I hope to get it published this year. 

I had never read a blog in my life.  However, I felt God pressing me to set up a personal blog and to write encouraging words for people going through difficult times.  I am a bit fearful of technology and hesitated until the pressing got to be too much.  Once again God led me to an old friend I had just recently reconnected with on Facebook, another thing I had no interest in and had never visited.  She has a job in social networking.  Thanks to her advise and coaxing, I set up an account on WordPress called WEEPING INTO DANCING.  http://weepingintodancing.com/

Oh, how God will bless us when we are obedient to His leading and call!!  In less than four months I have had 10,000 hits and over 180 people who follow my blog daily.  God provides an endless supply of encouragements to write about and I am feeling so blessed.  He is using me to encourage and help others. 

Never in all time would I have imagined a new career in writing.  I thought I would go back to teaching but that door has been closed tight.  Writing on the other hand has been a big open door.  On a whim, I decided to join a freelance writing site.  Within four days I was hired by a Christian Evangelist to write some articles for him.  He even suggested I write a blog for his new Christian Magazine.  What a surprise!  Within two weeks I got another freelance assignment writing Letters From God. 

Where God is leading me is still uncertain but I know the path will be wonderful.  I can now say that I am thankful for a brain tumor that nearly killed me and has changed my entire life.  I am excited to see how God uses me in the future.  If my role model, Corrie ten Boom, was used in her fifties and beyond, why can’t I be used at the half-century mark as well?  Maybe it took fifty years of trials to prepare me for what lies ahead. 

To God be the glory forever and ever.  This is the end of my story….. for now.  I know I will have many more chapters to add in the future.

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