Through the years I have written about a very unusual birth defect, and how it could have caused my death as a young woman. I am no longer young, and God has been so faithful – how can He NOT be? He is True and Loving and Faithful, and He never changes.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
In 1974 I went to my doctor for a check up. After looking in my left ear, he told me that he saw a red mass and asked if I was in pain. I told him that I had no pain in that ear. He put me on two courses of antibiotics, but told me that the “mass” was still there. He sent me to an ENT.
The ENT also tried strong antibiotics, but seeing no change, he decided that he needed to do an exploratory surgery. Remember – this was 1974, before technology gave us CT Scans and MRI’s.
When I awoke after the surgery, this doctor told me only a part of what had transpired during that operation. He said that I was born without a bone in my middle ear, and that he had placed teflon sheeting to replace the missing bone. That was all he said. But he kept sending me to have x-rays done of the left side of my neck. He never explained why he needed those.
1983- Pain in the left ear Incapacitated me
Years later, I had excruciating pain in my left ear. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. When I would lay down, the pain lessened. But when I would sit or stand up, this horrific pain would cause me to vomit. I had been saved just months before. I remember crying out to God to please take me because I could not stand the pain any longer.
My GP got me admitted to a hospital. They did a spinal tap which came back normal. Elders from my church came to lay hands on me and to pray. I remember that during the night, I awoke several times and I heard a voice say “Go back to sleep – I am here.” This happened all night. It was probably a dream, but I believe that the Lord Jesus was comforting me throughout that night.
In the morning when I awoke, I was able to stand – I still had pain, but not incapacitating. I went home. I knew that the Lord was in total control, and that was the most comforting thought. I can’t prove this, but I believe with all of my heart that I had an aneurysm, and again God saved my life.
The pain that remained was mostly behind my left ear. My GP said I should see an ENT, so I found one and went to him. This ENT told me that I had a tumor in my left eardrum which had to be operated on. I told him the story of my exploratory surgery in 1974. This doctor wanted to see the operative report. But he also wanted me to have an arteriogram. During that procedure, he saw that what appeared to be a tumor, was actually my carotid artery in the wrong place. He told me that he might have killed me if he had proceeded with the surgery.
He also told me that the artery had a kink and a stenosis (thinned area) which could impact the blood flow to my brain.
He stressed to me the importance of having the operative report from 1974. He wanted to see what had happened in that operating room.
The Operative Report
I called the first doctor’s office to ask for the operative report and the receptionist came back and said that they didn’t have those records anymore. My new doctor told me to tell them that my attorney would be the next one to call. When I called back and used the term “attorney” -all of a sudden they had the report!
In this report of what transpired in the operating room, the doctor wrote that he saw a large vessel which he thought might be the jugular bulb but that it was in the wrong place. He said that it was attached to a bone, so he dissected it from the bone and it bled profusely. He then said that he applied pressure to stop the bleeding, and then covered the wound with gel foam and teflon sheeting. This doctor had never mentioned any of this to me after that surgery.
When the doctor read the operative report, these are the words he said to me: “You are a walking miracle because that doctor punctured your carotid artery. You should have had a major stroke or died.”
Fast forward to 1990’s – early 2000’s
I had stayed home with my children when they were young. In the 1990’s I got my first job since before the children were born. I felt a bit overwhelmed at the job. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to continue that job. I gave them notice.
I went through quite a few jobs and began to feel so bad about myself. I felt stupid and it was embarrassing to me. I noticed as time went on that learning new things at jobs was becoming harder and harder for me. I kept feeling that there might be something wrong with me, but then I just thought that I was not smart enough to hold down these jobs.
In 2006 I got a job with a computer company. I wore many hats at this company and for the first time I felt good and comfortable. The boss seemed appreciative of me and told me that I had a job there as long as I wanted it. But then I was doing so many different things including marketing and the books, I once again started to feel overwhelmed.
My boss became frustrated with me. I was not retaining what I was learning. It had gotten really bad. Then this boss let me go. I was devastated. I went into a deep depression.
My husband and I decided that it was time to look for a possible physiological reason for my problems. My neurologist ordered an MRI. The results showed an area of my brain where the cells had died. This area was exactly where the affected artery sent blood into my brain. The kink and stenosis was restricting the blood flow to my brain. It was getting through but not as fast as the doctor thought that it should.
After that, I had a team of doctors monitoring the artery. They felt that the first doctor who had done the exploratory had caused the “kink” when he attempted to patch up the vessel. It was at this time that I started to have small seizures. The doctors also felt that the seizures were from this damaged artery and the lack of oxygen to my brain.
If I had never gone for that checkup, I may have never known about the aberrant carotid artery. It was a birth defect and would have remained silent. But that first exploratory surgery was in 1974. I was born again in 1983. I knew that everything that had happened, the Lord allowed. I also knew that He miraculously saved my life more than once.
Writing articles for the Lord
Almost 4 years ago I began writing articles. As I would write, the words would just seem to flow. I would ask the Lord what I should write about, and usually within hours I would feel in my spirit what I was to write.
But recently I have been struggling. The part of my brain which is affected by restricted blood flow, controls speech/language, vision and short term memory. Finding words is becoming increasingly difficult. One day about a month ago, my vision began to blur and the tinnitus which I always have had in my left ear became so much louder. I was also having trouble with balance. My doctor told me to go to the ER.
After every test known to man, including CT scans and an MRI, I was told that the area in my brain affected by my artery was widening – there was more cell death. There was a team of neurologists seeing me. They told me what I already knew; that it would be terribly dangerous to attempt to straighten out the “kink” in this artery. They told me to make sure I take aspirin every day to thin my blood.
May I ask the readers to please pray for me? The doctors have made it clear that I am at high risk for stroke. I know that God is in control, but I also know that Jesus spoke so much about prayer, and He was always in prayer to His Father.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
What a glorious thought!
Much love in Yeshua