Neurological conditions are not an unfamiliarity within our family. There is a common shining thread that unites some of us within our family similarly, you see. I feel that we are connected on a much stronger platform than DNA. On an even stronger stage than family bonds. Intertwined with the love of family, I feel the overwhelming presence of God surrounding. However, first allow me to tell you a bit about one family member in specific. My grandmother Janet Hines.
My grandmother was and will forever be an astoundingly beautiful woman. So full of life, smart, compassionate, loving, devoted to The Lord and family. As sweet and generous to life as she was, life wasn’t always the same in return to her. She was born with a hemangioma on her face. Medical care was not as advanced as it is today. Doctors at that time, thought it best to place pure radiation packs upon the hemangioma that rested upon her face with the hopes of ridding the tumor. In ridding the tumor doctors had unfortunately caused my grandmother to develop breast cancer, brain cancer and multiple massive strokes.
From her first step until she reached the finish line my grandmother was such a fighter through it all. I was a young girl then, watching unaware at the time of what to make of what was happening. Looking back now, I have an incredible understanding of her journey. She was a SuperHero in my book. She forever will be.
You see, my grandmother and I share a common link: Angioma
My grandmother’s hemangioma rested upon her face and would later result in a multitude of health problems and strokes. I have a venous angioma resting within my brain that is most assuredly the direct result of my epilepsy. A venous angioma that will most certainly be with me for the entirety of my life. However, I do believe in miracles! I will not give up hope.
When my grandmother was faced with her multitude of health concerns, cancers, strokes, trials and tribulations, I was blessed to watch as she continued to embrace life with smiles upon her face, faith in her heart, joy in her spirit as she sought after all the things she loved. One of those things, my grandmother was a seamstress and business owner! Designing wedding gowns and bridesmaids gowns.
She made her conditions take a backseat to all the joys in her life. I admired that like a flower needs the sunshine. In reflecting on it, I still admire that all the time. She solidified the definition “I may have ____________ but _____________ doesn’t have me.” in everything she ever said and did. Her physical, emotional, and spiritual strength was astounding to all who saw her. Many couldn’t believe the fight she continued to produce regardless of the progression of the condition and the strokes. It had one heck of a fight if it was going to take down my grandmother.
It was so painful to watch my grandfather’s heart breaking through it all. That is a wonderful love story for another day. He gave everything, he gave it all to ease her pain, to do whatever it took to lessen her suffering. It was simply more than they could handle. The day had finally arrived in the middle of the night, as we slept, my grandmother ascended to Heaven. After her hemangioma, an estimated 7-8 massive strokes, robbed of her ability to speak, breast cancer, mastectomy, her days of struggling along her journey had come to an end. She had reached the finish line where Jesus stood waiting with open arms to say “Welcome Home”. And though we all crumbled upon our knees tears flowing down our faces, wailing with heartache, missing our beloved Janet, we too felt so relieved to know she would no longer have to suffer anymore pain. Her journey was complete. Though a painful struggle of a journey, what a beautiful journey it was to watch all the same. What an inspiration she was. What a motivation she was.
Little did I know…. She was preparing me, for my journey to come just a few short years later. A venous angioma that lie silent within me my entire life unbeknownst to me until the age of 16. My journey wouldn’t begin to take flight until 2008 at age 22 when epilepsy came back full force. If anyone were to ask me, who my inspiration is…. First and foremost God. Next in line from that, is my grandmother Janet. If she could be here now. The moment I became diagnosed with epilepsy, I became inspired by her. To overcome like her. To rise above like her. To go on and live life like her. To embrace life regardless of a medical condition like her. To laugh and to smile, to love and to sing, to seek after God, to trust Him and pray to Him no matter what. To fill myself and others like me with knowledge about the condition I live with just as she had herself. I vowed to follow in her footsteps. To become empowered. Not powerless.
I don’t know how Heaven works. I can’t say with certainty if my grandmother can or cannot see me from where she is. I hope that she can! I wonder what she would think.
Grandma, if Heaven had visiting hours I’d love to visit you to tell you thank you for everything you’ve done for me. How inspirational you’ve been in my life. I’d love to tell you how amazing of a woman I think you are. How astounding of a journey I believe you’ve had. How thankful to God I am that you no longer have to feel an ounce of pain and how happy I am that you are reunited with the love of your life.
You pave the way for which I should go along my own journey. Thank you Janet, my grandma.
“She is now in Heaven healthy and whole, safe in the arms of Jesus”
I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!