Dear 2018

SavannahLessons Learned, New Experiences Leave a Comment

Dear 2018,

It’s been a year. Not a good year, not a bad year, just a year. 2018, you were life-changing to say the least. I graduated from home school and high school at my school and my church. I went to Guatemala for the second time. I started freshman year of college. I began working as a preschool teacher. I got my license. I got super into musical theatre and Broadway and all things overly dramatic. And oh yeah, my most favorite event of all, I got my wisdom teeth taken out which resulted in not one, not two, but three oral infections, 37 days of antibiotics (20 of those in a row), 4 surgeries (3 of which were emergency), and the best part a mostly soft foods and liquid diet for well over two months. She says sarcastically.

But, with all the good and bad this year I learned one main thing time and time again. God is the grand orchestrator of life. I like to look at life as big puzzle that has to be solved, but I often need the reminder that God, Who is not only the Maker of the puzzle, but the One putting the puzzle together, has the picture on the lid to look at and I do not. Only He can fit the puzzle pieces together in the correct order.

There are so many ways that I learned this and without wanting to sound like a broken record I want to use the example of all post-surgical issues this summer. I waited to get my wisdom teeth until I pretty much finished everything I was going to do for the summer. This summer I babysat and/or worked at preschool most days. I only took one trip and that was to Guatemala. So, I was done with working at preschool until the school year started and I was not going to be traveling any more. I’ve had an unusually large amount of dental procedures done and I’d already one surgery so I wasn’t too nervous to get my wisdom teeth taken out. I wasn’t excited, but I wasn’t really nervous either, especially since I was going to be asleep for the procedure. If you can survive your first surgery, a dental surgery, being completely awake and only on painkillers, you can survive a surgery where you’ll be asleep.

The surgery went well and I was done well before they expected me to be. And all I cared about was that I couldn’t remember the wheelchair ride and that everybody was holding on to me to walk me to the car and I distinctly remember saying, “I’m an independent woman who don’t need no man to walk her to the car,” to my father. Yeah, not one of my finer moments.

Recovery went slower than I was expecting, but within about 48 hours, I was completely off the prescription pain meds and I was only using regular Tylenol and ibuprofen for pain relief. I had a follow up appointment scheduled for a week or so after which was when they found the first infection. When I tell you this emergency surgery was the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my entire life, I want you understand that I mean absolutely every word. Imagine that three out of four surgical sites got infected and you had to lay in a chair completely still in excruciating pain three times. I’ve always considered myself to be tough, but I laid in that chair sobbing and praying the entire time.

When I was waiting in the room by myself with the numbing gel on, I lost it completely. There were audible sobs and I was terrified out of my mind. I prayed and told God how I could not do this on my own, that He was going to have to carry me through and help calm my anxious heart. Right then, they played Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” on the radio station and I started laughing and said “God, that’s not exactly what I meant, but it’ll do.” I don’t think I will ever forget that day and the way that I cried in front of strangers and I didn’t even care. The surgeon was really nice and told me that I was the strongest patient he had ever had. I don’t know if that’s the truth or not, but I greatly appreciated the effort at the time.

Two infections and a lot more tears and antibiotics later, we still never found out what caused the infections and the most peculiar case the surgeon had ever seen. He had never had a case like mine and was determined to get to the bottom. It didn’t happen, but as long as I don’t have any more issues, I’m okay with being the “unsolvable case.”

I learned all the nurses names. It got to the point where I didn’t even have to sign in when I got there because the receptionists all knew who I was. In total, I had ten visits from July to October.

This story shows God’s hand because I was struggling with self doubt about my future. Throughout this amount of time I still managed to babysit and work at preschool when the new school year started. I began my freshman year of college and didn’t fall behind in any of my classes despite many reasons to do so. God showed me His strength and that He gave me more strength than I realized I had. I learned to lean on God in times of trouble, when my independent side likes to come out and take charge. This was helpful during exams weeks when I was trying to study, go to work and class, and write what felt like 40,000 papers. I ended up passing all of my classes with A’s which still shocks me greatly. I got my license and learned to drive by myself with a swollen face and chipmunk cheeks. I have only had one accident. It was with a sign. That’s a miracle considering I barely passed the driving test. I have driven myself to work and school for the most of the semester and I learned just how horrible driving in Charlotte and parking on college campuses really is. But, I’m learning, that doesn’t mean I even remotely enjoy it, but I’m learning to survive and accept that there is never not traffic in Charlotte. NEVER!

So, to 2019, my message is simple. Don’t be as bad as 2018 was for the family (I was not the only one with medical/health issues) (also we went from North Carolina to Pensacola, Florida trapped in cars with our entire family and a newly licensed driver driving in Atlanta so honestly it’s miracle we all survived). I hope I learn and grow more in my faith, in God’s Word, and in my knowledge. I want to read more books and write more blog posts. I want to take more pictures and hang out more with friends. I want to have new, good experiences and I want to listen to more Broadway musicals. After all, life is short, so make it sweet.

Love, Sav

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