Don’t Go Through Life Alone
We can’t do this life alone. We need community. Friends. Family. Mentors. A network of support to lean on when things start to fall apart.
But it’s not always that easy. So many of us feel desperately isolated. Like there is no one in the world who could ever understand what we are going through.
Here is a moment of truth. That’s exactly how I felt for a very long time. Utterly alone.
My story begins at eleven years old when I suffered a stroke due to a lesion in my brain. I went through two excruciatingly painful radiation treatments, lost the entire use of my right side, and wasn’t expected to live past the age of thirty.
Friends were hard to come by. And a boyfriend? Forget it! So I began seeking out mentors. People who would guide me and help me navigate the “Why me?” and the “What if’s?”
Where there is no guidance, a people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety – Proverbs 11:14. I found this to be especially true.
I was particularly drawn to older women who could impart their wisdom. Women who ultimately convinced me that my life was still worth living, even though I knew that I wouldn’t be living very long.
They helped me to recognize that my life would indeed become what I made it. Exciting. Adventurous. Dedicated to making a difference through hospice care. And in my twenties, I did fall in love. I married the man of my dreams. A man who saw past my disability and my limited life expectancy. A man who saw my worth, even though I couldn’t always see it myself.
Then, at the age of twenty-five, they thought my time had come. A second stroke left me in a coma for eight days. Most believed my life’s journey was drawing to an end. My eulogy was even written.
But God clearly had other plans. “O Lord my God, I sent up my cry to you, and you have made me well. Psalm 30:2 (BBE).
He had heard my prayers and the lord almighty performed a miraculous healing where the inoperable lesion was removed. Today, I have a normal life expectancy. Amen! Amen. Praise God on most high!
Just released, is an inspirational memoir about my experiences called, “All We Have is Today: A Story of Discovering Purpose.” http://www.amazon.com/ALL-WE-HAVE-IS-TODAY/dp/1499106866/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1408213747&sr=8-1 I am alive because I have a purpose. And if you’re reading this, you do too.
After waking up from my coma, you would think I could exhale a sigh of relief, right? Not so much. Here’s the reality. While I rejoiced in the fact that I was alive, it would have been easier if I had gone to heaven. The recovery process was extremely difficult and I had to relearn all the activities of living. Walking. Taking. Eating. Going to the bathroom. But I knew I had to continue living out God’s plan for my life.
Kathi Koll – My Mentor – A Woman Who Chose to Live Despite Less Than Peaceful Circumstances
And in living out my purpose, I met a woman named Kathi Koll. A woman who cared for her husband, Don, for nearly seven years after suffering a debilitating stroke that paralyzed him from the neck down. He was much like Christopher Reeves. On a ventilator, completely dependent upon others to care for him. He was extremely frail, and although she didn’t know if he would survive one day to the next, Kathi made it her goal to give Don the best quality of life possible.
Together, they danced, even though he was in a wheelchair. They went to the movies and on boat rides. And ultimately, they chose to love. They chose to live. - Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV).
All of these, Kathi and Don Koll exemplified.
In learning their incredible story, I soon realized that God had brought a new mentor into my life. Our meeting was no coincidence. And as our relationship developed, Kathi and I understood that perhaps we could help others by sharing our stories from both sides of the hospital bed; from the patient and the caregiver’s perspective. So we began a motivational speaking series called “Live Life After Stroke” www.liveliveafterstroke.org where we offer encouragement and hope to people, no matter what they are facing.
I believe that we all have a story that is worth sharing.
Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. - Psalm 119:24 (ESV).
All of our trials, no matter how painful, can always be used for the greater good. Please know that there will be brighter days ahead. Find a mentor, create a friend. For in the words of C.S. Lewis, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”
About Michelle: With the heart of a servant-leader, Michelle Wulfestieg has worked in the field of hospice for over ten years, where she assists terminally ill patients daily. As a two-time stroke survivor who was featured in our “I’m a Believer” campaign, she understands just how precious life is and believes that as long as you are here, you have a purpose. You can read all about her journey in her new book, ALL WE HAVE IS TODAY: A STORY OF DISCOVERING PURPOSE. http://www.amazon.com/ALL-HAVE-TODAY-Michelle-Wulfestieg/dp/1499106866/ref=la_B00MR87TZC_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408235941&sr=1-1
You can learn more about Michelle by visiting the links below.
You can learn more about Live Life After Stroke by visiting the links below.