Last year at this time I was lying on my couch hopped up on a variety of drugs.

My esophagus closed at that point where it meets my stomach and I wasn’t able to eat or drink for awhile. I had a few temporary dilations, but that did not work for long. This is a diagram of what my esophagus and stomach look like now.

Early on the morning of Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Rachel and I make our way to OHSU for my 5:30 a.m. check in. We leave Stayton super early getting to the hospital on time only to get stuck in the very first elevator we get in. It’s in the parking garage. It was unreal. All we could do was laugh. I was excited to actually get to use the phone. Only it was more of an intercom. I didn’t get to pick up a red emergency phone.

I, of course, had to model the hot hospital gown I was sporting. It’s so lovely that it’s so nice & airy. Isn’t it hot?

This is my last memory before heading into surgery. I was joyfully waving at Rachel. Little did I know that they had already drugged me. Oh, actually, I remember being put into an elevator & watching the doors close. I also remember thinking, “Wow, this is like a movie.” What I meant was that it was closing the curtain and that scene closing.

My first memory before upon waking up is feeling several hands on me holding me down and hearing someone say, “On a scale from 1 to 10 what is your pain level?” I’m moaning and telling them I don’t know. The pain didn’t actually register to me. I kept saying, “Do I have a catheter in??? I have to pee! REEEAAAALLLLYYY BAD!!! I do have a catheter, right?” They assured me that I had. They kept asking me about my pain level and I’m moaning, groaning, and thrashing around. Then I hear someone say, “Give her morphine, she’s still in pain.” I tried to tell them, “No, no, I’m fine” because I didn’t want morphine.

The next thing I remember is waking up to Rachel taking lovely photos of me! Isn’t that so sweet of her???

Hospital life was pretty good. I was pampered and my doctors were so very nice. They noticed that I had my Bible and talked about Jesus. They told me that they’re Christians, too. That was nice.

My first meal came and I was so very excited!!! It was dreamy!!!! Go ahead. Laugh, but I hadn’t eaten anything for a LONG time. Just liquids.

I continued to live off of juice for the next several weeks. I miss having a juicer now.

My life changed that day. I know it was just a little surgery, but the process was so incredible. The figuring out what was wrong, the recovery, all of it. It drew me closer to God, that’s for sure. In the year following this surgery I have learned of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and God’s abounding love toward me. It is a hard thing for me to accept, but I am beginning to see it more.

Only 2 days after coming home from the hospital I went to the memorial of  a woman I’ve never met, but I know her children. That group of people in that room honoring her inspired me. Her story of falling in love with her husband and the loving of her children is amazing. I see her smile in her daughter that I love dearly. I remember looking at all the yummy food that I couldn’t eat and sitting at a table full of laughter while I was in physical pain and thinking, “I want to be like this woman, Ginger” and feeling robbed of something because I didn’t ever know her.

I wonder what my life will be like a year from now?