Wow, power outages, high winds, a lot clearing in a lot of different ways. Mine was surrendering to God’s plan for me. Mine was the busting of a tiny blood clot in my brain.
For weeks, I’d been experiencing weird hand and eye phenomena. Screwing lids on containers was becoming hard to do. Unlocking my car door. Sometimes, no problem. Other times, I couldn’t get the key into the lock. There was a week of blurriness in my eyes as if a liquid lens was over each eyeball. Typing became an issue as my fingers were not hitting the keys directly and I was making lots of typos. Some part of me kept wondering “is this a sign of a stroke”? Friends thought it might just be an aging thing or allergies or that I should have the car lock checked. Somehow, I always managed to talk myself out of checking out physical things with a doctor until my body would force me to do so.
On October 12 my left arm and hand became numb, formed a fist and I couldn’t open my fingers. I was having a cardioembolic stroke (a stroke that occurs when a small “clot” or thrombus developed in my heart and shot off to my brain). This is a consequence of atrial fibrillation/flutter that I’d had for ten years.
I knew I needed help. It was 6 am in the morning. I called my neighbors who called 911 and I was taken to the hospital. A CT scan was performed, and a tiny swelling was detected in the region of my brain affecting my hand.
Fortunately, I arrived at the hospital in time to receive a very strong medicine called TPA (aka a clot buster) that prevented any permanent loss of function. This was followed by admission to the ICU and neurological tests that took place every hour on the hour for 24 hours. I was conscious and alert and passed each one successfully. However, I didn’t get any sustained sleep. On day 2, I graduated ICU and was moved to a regular floor for stroke patients. On this floor I had to demonstrate that I could follow orders and not leave my bed without assistance. If I did, alarms and lights would go off and there was no way to turn them off until assistance arrived. A final assessment and discharge took place on day 3. To prevent another stroke like this from ever happening again, I was advised to start a blood thinning medicine called Eliquis (Apixaban), immediately. I opted to begin the medication and I also asked for the first dose of a Covid vaccine. I thought the hospital would be a good place to receive it.
When the nurse arrived with the medication and vaccine, I asked to hold the syringe a bit before it was administered. She asked me why, and I told her I wanted to say a prayer, bless it, and welcome it into my body. I did the same with the medication. The nurse gave me quite a bit of time to do so. A young friend had shared with me how she had prayed for the vaccine before receiving it and I had been very inspired to do the same. As I take the medication daily, I’m saying “welcome”.
I was discharged to home and told that a home health agency would be in touch with me to provide nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy if I wanted it.
In recent years I have often referred to myself as “resisting medication”. When I was first diagnosed with an “irregular heartbeat” and a pacemaker was implanted in 2011, I followed doctors’ orders for many years. My cardiologist prescribed baby aspirin and a medication to control the rate of the heartbeat. Simultaneously, I intuitively got a new level of self-care was in order and began working with a naturopath and other complementary practitioners to reduce my weight, keep my BP and cholesterol in healthy levels, and to reduce stress. I brought some of my ministerial projects to completion and passed others on to new leaders. For the next eight years I had no cardiovascular events beyond intermittent atrial fibrillation/flutter which was described to me as very mild. I was told by the pacemaker representative that my heart was not dependent on the device.
When my cardiologist retired, I wanted to keep doing the medication that had been working for me. However, that was not supported. My doctor’s practice had been bought out by a big cardiovascular managed care company that expected me to take a NOAC (novel oral anticoagulants) a new class of anticoagulant drug used in the prevention of stroke for people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation/flutter. I remember one PA in particular informing me I was at higher risk of a stroke because of my age and that each year I’d become more at risk according to statistics. She told me if I experienced symptoms of a stroke to immediately call 911 as there would only be a four-hour window in which I could receive medication that would bust the clot.
In 2019, I wrote to others ministers I knew who had similar conditions, about their experience with taking blood thinning medication. Most all responded that they hadn’t experienced side effects. It occurred to me to view such drugs as part of God’s creation. To look for the good in them. One of my alternative providers told me such medication would make me an invalid. That I would not be able to continue eating the leafy green veggies I grow and love or taking the supplements that had been supporting my health and well-being. I bought into that thought form and began developing a position about “not being into heavy drugs”. I observed myself thinking that supplements and herbs that had “blood thinning properties” would be enough to protect me from having a stroke. Looking back, I see I had gotten stuck in refusing the novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs), and that limited me from checking out warning experiences that led to the stroke. My refusing these drugs for four years and my choice in attempting to handle things naturally, also led me to choose to wait on getting the vaccine.
I went into the Pandemic celebrating my relatively good health in living with atrial fibrillation/flutter and hoping for the best. My lifestyle was very simple. I had no interest in travel, big public events or eating out. I liked staying home. I learned to use Zoom and all my ministerial projects and social connections became virtual.
I had no exposure to anyone with Covid 19. When the vaccine became available, I opted to wait and research it. Most all of my friends and family got the vaccine right away and seemed to do ok with it. It felt odd to not be doing the same. I worried about what others would think of me. My friends assured me that I’d know in time when it was right for me to get it.
I was reading quite a bit of alternative medicine views on the virus and vaccines that arrived daily to my email box. Those views were addictive and often as sensational as mainstream news. I was aware of becoming convinced that big pharma, drugs, and vaccines were bad and that I had to stay away from them. This was a pandemic of fear. As I had long been choosing natural treatments for physical conditions and often experiencing good results, I was vulnerable to the views of some writers who had been trusted sources to me. In time, I realized reading their views on the virus and vaccines were influencing me to continue in not getting the vaccine.
John Morton was a ray of light in his Blessings Each Day with Leigh. He questioned those who were refraining from the vaccine, such as myself, to intellectually question whatever I was labeling as “bad”. When John played the J-R excerpt from his “Practicing Intellectual Honesty” seminar (available on “That Which Is”), over and over again where J-R spoke about exploring both sides of a situation, I eventually realized I needed to get a higher view and spiritual assistance.
In my work with the Doctorate of Spiritual Science (DSS), I’d become aware of God’s infinite love for us just as we are. That loving is for all human conditions. The vaccine makers, big pharma, the CDC, etc.
My participation in the iHop Harmonic Self class and the views expressed by some of the weekend speakers, particularly Neil Theise, M.D., as well listening to SAT’s while I did my daily stretches gave me perspective. I saw the opportunity to love the part of me that was resisting medication and the vaccine. I forgave myself for judging that resistance as bad or wrong. I realized it was part of my humanity and that I was being called to a new orientation with my body. I saw the resistance as being on purpose for this new learning. I experienced more moments of neutrality and peace regarding medical issues. A series of dreams led me to deep clearing and a place of inner surrender. I was unclear how or when to act on it until October 12. Then the next step was abundantly clear.
Looking at what I experienced, what I learned, and what I could share with others that might be of assistance to them, I would encourage people to ask inside, and keep asking until you get an answer you can work with. For me, that was my willingness to ask Spirit for guidance. It meant doing a lot of spiritual exercises. Going for that higher perspective brought me to a place of loving my humanity as is, as God does, and this led me to let go, to surrender to God’s perfect care of me. If my body needed new medication or the vaccine, I saw myself accepting and welcoming this new orientation and I knew I would be all right.
I am very grateful for the Light, the grace, and the blessings of this learning experience that continues. I am grateful for all the nurses, doctors, healthcare workers who took care of me in the hospital. I’m grateful for the openness I’m experiencing in cooperatively working with my doctors and listening to points of view that are different from my own. I am grateful for my family, my neighbors, and my spiritual family and their support. I am grateful for those individuals coming to my home to share prayer communion with me and for the sweetness of our communion. I’m grateful for my health and well-beingness and the Light support in living with atrial fibrillation/flutter.
Much Loving & Peace,
Note from the editorial staff:
It has been brought to our attention that several people in MSIA have recently experienced heart attacks or strokes. In reading Joan Shea’s article, “October 12, 2021 Surrender”, we realized it may be useful to share the following information from the American Heart Association about symptoms and warning signs of heart attacks and strokes – as a way to better educate and take care of ourselves and those we love.
Info from American Heart Association:
Heart Attack Symptoms
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
DISCOMFORT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE UPPER BODY
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
SHORTNESS OF BREATH
with or without chest discomfort.
may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
When in doubt, call 911 and get it checked out!
Spot a stroke F.A.S.T.
Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
TIME TO CALL 911
If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
Other Stroke Symptoms
Watch for Sudden:
- NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes
- TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause
If you or someone near you is experiencing stroke symptoms, act F.A.S.T. and call 911 to seek treatment immediately.
The above, plus additional information is available from the American Heart Association at: