Counting the Blessings In The Journey of Illness

blessingsCan there really be blessings to count in our illness journey? Laura shares some of her recent ones.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I thought, prayed, and worried for seven weeks about the decision and action I was about to undertake. And then in 90 minutes it was over. I awoke with a BIOTRONIK Evia pacemaker in my 49-year-old body, 300-miles from home.

From the moment my cardiologist suggested we do the surgery until the actual date, I prepared myself. I met with my parish priest, attended a healing mass, spoke to a couple close confidants, prayed, researched the pacemaker, and talked to my primary care doctor.

The surgery was a frightening and exciting proposition. It was frightening to think someone would be inserting leads into the ventricles of my heart and a silver-dollar-sized machine would help it beat. It was exciting because this technological device would respond to both my heart rate and blood pressure– giving me an optimum chance for improved functioning.

As we enter the holiday season I can’t help but pause and give thanks for the medical care I have received. I have a top-notch specialist who is kind, smart, skilled, and funny. He has provided me with hope that my life can be a bit more fulfilling.

I have a loving family and dear friends. My chronic illness has allowed me the opportunity to savor the blessings in my life. I have met new friends and have had opportunities afforded me through my illness.

Three years ago when my autonomic nervous system essentially failed I would never have imagined the life I have today. Sure, there have been losses, but there have been many joys. And this holiday season and everyday as I awake I am reminded of these blessings, which I thank God for daily.

It starts each day with a beautiful, steady heartbeat and gets better as the day progresses.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for putting my cardiologist in my life and providing him with the knowledge to manage my dysautonomia. Thank You for allowing me to truly appreciate the amazing feeling that a steady heartbeat can provide. Help those with illnesses see the blessings You provide despite the struggles. Amen.

About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three children. She is a retired elementary school counselor who discovered her love of writing about 35 years ago. Laura is the disability/chronic illness advocate for her church and also enjoys running a HopeKeepers group. She is writing a book about her illness, dysautonomia: the deregulation of the autonomic nervous system. She had a pacemaker implanted on 10/9/13 as a result of dysautonomia slowing her heart rate.

What blessings have you noticed despite your illness?

Come let us adore Him. . . for He alone is worthy. O yes! Take a few minutes to worship the Lord along with Natalie Cole and CeCe Winans, Kurt Franklin on piano, and even Smokey Robinson joins CeCe and Natalie. Adore Him. Worship Him. Even if you have times you wonder where your blessings are, try to grasp the fact that Jesus’ life, our eternal life, outshines any material or physical blessings in our body we could ever wish for. -Lisa