Jan 10, 2011

I am Jill Strasburg and "I'm Not my Body"

My sister-in-law Nic, shared an very touching story with me today. If you get Utah Valley magazine, you will be able to read about Stephanie Nielson. (If you click on her name you will get to watch her story)
As I watched her video, I related to many things she was saying. Now please don't think I am comparing myself to her in any way, shape, or form. My trials are so small compared to what she has gone through, but I relate to many of her experiences.

In the video she talks about waking up from her coma and being in pain, and having her husband by her side. She talks about the daily tasks she has to perform, and how they cause pain and are so difficult. The 2 main things that she said that touched me so deeply were:
1. I am not my body
2. I woke up and fought for my husband (Mr. Nielson)

I went to lunch with some dear friends of mine today after another doctor's appointment that I had. I told them about an experience I had that I have not shared with many people, but I feel like people who know me should hear.
I went in for emergency surgery one morning at about 3am. My stomach had tripled in size and I had an abscess from a previous surgery I had, had 2 days prior. Dave and I were all alone in my hospital room when we called the nurse to check me out. Doctor McKinlay (who is my current doctor) walked into my room to look at me after the nurse had called in a panic. Dr. McKinlay was not my doctor at the time, he just happened to be on call that weekend. Dave and I had about 5 minutes to say goodbye to one another before they wheeled me off to do surgery. I remember this surgery more then any other one because of how terrifying it was. Dave and I both remember feeling like this was the last time we were going to see each other. We had a horrible feeling and thought I was going to die. I remember as we kissed one another goodbye, we were both crying. I was trying to be strong for my husband, but I was scared to death. I remember looking him the eye and telling him I loved him, and then they wheeled me away.The surgery took about 3 hours. They took me into the recovery room, and I was in serious condition. I had a fever over 100 degrees, I was unconscious, shaking, and in screaming pain. Although I was unconscious I was able to hear all the nurses working on me, the doctor's, and was I able to feel everything. I couldn't speak or scream, but they told me later that tears were streaming down my face.
After what felt like a lifetime had passed, I remember really getting bad. As I laid there with the nurses scrambling, I was given a very amazing experience from my Heavenly Father. The decision he gave me was as clear as day. I had a clear voice inside my head that said, "It's up to you Jill. You can give up and come home, or you can fight through this and live." It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I was in so much excruciating pain, and I wanted to give up so badly, and I knew I could. I knew at that moment that God was letting me decide if I lived to see another day.
As soon as this thought came I felt peace. I felt an overwhelming feeling of comfort and love from my Savior and Heavenly Father. Right after that thought had hit me, I had the clearest image of Dave in my mind. Instantly I knew that I was choosing to live so I could spend another day with Dave. Even if it was painful, and scary, and hard, I wanted to be with my husband more than anything. I wanted to hold his hand, smell his skin, kiss his lips, and tell him that I loved him one more time.

As quickly as I had made the decision to live I was snapped back to reality. I opened my eyes and screamed out in pain. I felt like every inch of my body was being stabbed. I kept coming in and out of consciousness because the pain was so excruciating. After an hour or so, they finally got my temp. down. They had gotten me stable. I was going to live.

They took me back to my hospital room after a few hours and had monitors all over me. I had drains coming out of every place in my body, and I was in so much pain I can't even describe. But as I was wheeled back into my room my sweet Dave was standing there waiting for me. He looked like he had been hit by a truck and was hardly keeping it together. He looked as bad as I felt.
The moment I saw my sweetheart I knew I had made the right decision. I would fight until God forced me to leave this world, as long as I got to do it with my love. I knew at that moment, that I would never take another second that I got with my Dave, for granted again. I chose to live for him, and I will continue to do that until God makes me come home.

Hearing Stephanie's story was inspirational and so touching. I am in pain every day, and most likely will be for the rest of my life. I know she would understand what that is like. I know she understands how hard it is to have to go to doctor's appointments constantly, to have to take medication all the time, to wish you could sleep just because you hurt so bad, but she does it. I will do that too.
I'm so thankful for my life. I know it will be hard, and I know I will have many more trials, but I will fight forever as long as I get my sweetheart by my side. I'm so thankful for each and every day that I wake up. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me the choice he did, and for letting me know that I made the right decision. I know he would have been okay with whatever choice I chose, but he has let me know that he is happy with the choice I did make.

I'm Jill Strasburg and I am not my body. I may have scars all over my stomach, I may be in pain 24/7, I may have a difficult time eating, I may get weak all the time and get dizzy every time I stand up, I may hurt when I stretch, breathe in, or play the piano, but I will never give up. Everything I have gone through has made me who I am today, and I am very proud of the woman I have become. I wouldn't change even 1 part of my life, because I have the life I love because of it. I may be self conscious of what I look like, I may get embarrassed because I cancel on my friends dinner dates so much because I can't eat or am too weak, but I am not my body.

I am an amazing, dynamic, strong, determined, smart, loving, spiritual, kind, and compassionate person. I am the greatest wife, sister, daughter, friend, and Aunt, anyone has ever met! (Just ask my niece Madison.) My body is just here to let me live an amazing life, but I am the soul that lies within me. I am a divine daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me. I'm so thankful I chose to live.