Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me???

Today is my 41st birthday.

And my husband is in the hospital. He had a stroke on Wednesday, January 5. I've been meaning to blog about our experience, but it's been a little bit crazy around here, as you might expect.

Suffice it to say for now that my husband's stroke affected minor blood vessels in his brain, it was a "dry" stroke (a blockage, not a bleed), and it has caused lack of mobility on his left side. He still has some sensation, but as he describes, it feels like his arm and leg are always asleep. Once the stroke was complete (the first thing I learned about stroke was that a stroke isn't necessarily an instantaneous event, but it can progress over 3-5 days - in Al's case, it progressed over 1-2 days), he began the long, grueling work of rehab. The prognosis now is that he should regain enough of his normal functioning to return home in about 4 weeks. As of today, he still cannot stand or walk unassisted, so he has his work cut out for him.

Last night, after visiting my husband in the hospital and learning that he still had 4 weeks to go before coming home (as opposed to the originally projected 2-3 weeks), I couldn't hold back the tears. I went home and cried to my mom (who is here to help me and offer moral support), "Tomorrow is going to be my worst birthday ever!"

However, I believe that God was determined to prove me wrong. Today was a day filled with much grace and joy, despite the less-than-favorable circumstances. I chose to let the kids - and myself - sleep in and get up to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before rushing off to school. My mom made waffles. And I took a very nice bubble bath. I went in to work at around 10:30, and was treated to many birthday greetings throughout the day, including a table of kindergarteners, and 2 classes who sang "Happy Birthday" to me. My co-worker gave me a nice gift complete with dark chocolate and a Coke Zero, my perfect little pick-me-ups. My mom made pizza and birthday cake for me. We took some pizza and ice cream and went to visit my tired hubby in the hospital - the hours of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy take a lot out of him.

I can't explain it, but it wasn't just the niceties of the day that made me happy - I had a true sense of peace and joy that I'm fairly convinced was God's birthday gift to me.

(PS: I will write in more detail about Al's stroke and all that God is doing in our life. . . .hopefully very soon!)


  1. I wanted to do something for you today but this has been a busy day for me - T.R.I.P. order completion, shopping for baby shower, Meghan's class did a heart dissection then a monster headache to try to get rid of. More time w/mom here wrapping the baby gift, phone calls, picking up Chelsea, and Chiropractor. Dinner wasn't until seven. Trying to finish up some baby shower details now and hanging with the kids. I'm glad there were people to take care of you and make your day special. Love, Teri

  2. Jen I saw your posts on FB and just didn't know what to say - you've been in my thoughts all week. Al has his work cut out for him, as you do, but it sounds like God is looking over your shoulder helping you along. Happy Birthday! I bet you never expected it to be like this :) God bless you both.

  3. Hi Jen , I too suffer from depression but it's under control these days since I stopped self - medicating and gave it all to Jesus.I have good days and bad but many more good one's.From age 25 to 50 I was an alcoholic.The Lord cured me literally overnite of that affliction.I think sometimes He stopped short of a total lifting of the depression to keep me dependant on Him and to prevent me from returning to my former ways.You know He knows us much better than we (think we) do and loves us more than we can imagine.I love life now and love living here in Stephenson. Take care. Let's pray for one another Dwight

  4. Hey Jen...Happy Birthday! I'm so sorry to hear about your hubby! I just prayed for you all and will continue to. It's good to see that you can see God's hand at work and some blessings eventhough it's tough right now.


  5. SO SORRY about the stroke. I can't even imagine. Happy Birthday and good for you for looking on the bright side despite the immense stress you are going through. God will never leave you or forsake you.

  6. Oh, Jen - I couldn't imagine what had happened, or understand those "hospital" references in the FB posts. I'm so sorry, but glad Al seems to be doing well!

    I'll keep you all in my prayers!


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