If There is a Will, There is a Way
Our vacation was finally here! Bags were packed and we were on our way to the airport. It has been almost 2 years since I was first diagnosed with leukemia and we were so excited to go on vacation. First stop - London. We were to spend two nights in London, take a plane to Bodrum, Turkey, hop on a gulet and sail around Dodecanese Islands in Greece. My dream vacation. Everything was going well and I was feeling good. I was tired because of the jet lag but overall everything was going smoothly. It was our first time in London and we packed in as much site seeing as we could in one day. It was love at first site, what an amazing city. That night we went out to dinner and my stomach was hurting but I didn't think much of it. A taxi was scheduled to pick us up at 4:00 a.m. to take us to the airport in the morning. Until...
God decided he had a different plan for me. Nicole and I shared a room and Bob and Luke were next door. I was not able to sleep that night, I was overtired and my body was completely exhausted. I got up at 3:00 a.m. to use the bathroom and noticed I was really dizzy, instead of sitting back down I decided I could make it to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and the next thing I knew I was on the floor. I fainted, banged my head on the marble tub and the hit to the floor woke me up. I yelled for my daughter to get my husband in the next room because I could not pick myself up. Bob came in to help me up, I got sick and Bob helped me back to the bed. At this point is was 3:40 and we had to meet our friends in the lobby to take the taxi. I packed up and we took the elevator down to the lobby. I knew I was in trouble when I walked out of the elevator and immediately sat down on the couch five steps away from me. I was either going to get sick again or faint. My family was standing around me saying, get it together, we are going to Turkey. I responded and said, I can't do it. My friend Maggie came over, took one look at me and said, You are not going anywhere, I am checking the four of you back into the hotel. There is a flight tomorrow that I can get you on. Maggie is also our travel agent. We went back to our rooms and all I wanted to do was sleep which is what I did. I woke up two hours later and asked Bob to walk me to the bathroom. I fainted again. We both decided that I needed to go to the hospital.
We went to the emergency room at University College London Hospital. When it comes to emergency rooms I know the drill. They did the usual, blood work. EKG, blood pressure etc. My blood pressure was really low so they wanted to give me fluids and do more tests. The doctors believe that my fainting and low blood pressure could have something to do with weaning off the prednisone that I was on for a bad sinus infection. It was decided to keep me for the night and I was wheeled to a large room with about ten beds. Was this really happening? A night in the hospital on my vacation. I was eerily calm (shock) and tried to have faith in Jesus's plan for me. Bob took the kids out to do more site seeing and a nice dinner. I could hear Jesus say to me, your going to go to Greece. The next morning at around 7 a.m. I wanted out! Where are the doctors? I want to go to Greece! The plane was leaving at 2 p.m. so I would need to leave the hospital by 11 a.m. The nurse came over and said, Oh, we don't know when they will be around. They start upstairs around 9. Again, trying to stay in the moment and have faith, I kept calm. Around 10 a.m. still no doctors. Bob came in the morning with a was terrified look on his face. I said, I think I can go if I can get out of here. Bob thought it wasn't a good idea, he was worried for me. Can you blame him? We have been dragged through the mud so many times. I texted Maggie and told her I wanted to go. Again, I get the, stay in London and take care of yourself. I couldn't push anyone forward and decisions had to be made. Maggie said, send the kids, we will take care of them. Bob told me the kids wanted to go and I said, send them. The doctors finally arrived around 2 p.m. and told me what I had already known. They put me back on a higher dose of prednisone because my body was not producing cortisol on its own. The doctor wrote a prescription and said, I don't see why you can't go to Greece. Well, that sounds great but your about five hours late! The old Lori would have lost her lid but I stayed calm. I walked out of the hospital with my bag of prednisone and took taxi back to an empty hotel room. My kids were on a plane, by themselves, to Turkey and Bob was on his way back from the airport. Bob and I were not going to Greece. My heart broke into a million little pieces. The pain in my heart was excruciating. I could not see straight. That is when I turned my back on Jesus. I was so hurt, I couldn't look at him.
Bob walked into the room after dropping the kids at the airport and we cried together. I wanted to get angry at him for not helping me get out of the hospital in time but knew taking it out on him was not going to relieve my pain. I was screaming in my head to Jesus, Why would you let me come all the way to London and drop me on my head?! My family could have gone without me. I was at peace with that decision! Jesus, yelled back, Lori, you would have kept on fainting and your blood pressure was too low. You would have died and I saved you. I still wasn't buying it. I was so mad at Jesus that I shut him out of my life. Bob and I went out to dinner that night and we decided to make the most of it. We will pick up the kids in a week from the airport and this will give us time together. We could take the train to Paris or Amsterdam for a couple of days. The next day we got up and went to Greenwich, Convent Gardens and a boat ride on the Thames River. We made the most of it but our hearts were still aching. I wanted us to be on that boat as a family. That night we went to bed and I woke up at 2 in the morning crying. I still could not look at Jesus but wanted to find a way back to him. My favorite saint is St. Anthony. For some reason he was the only one I could talk to. I asked him what I should do. He said start by being grateful. That is what I did. I said I was grateful for the water next to my bed, I am grateful my family is safe and most importantly I am grateful to be alive. It's only a vacation and I have the luxury of planning another vacation. At that moment I saw black smoke rising above me. Not just black but a shiny black. The blackest black that I have ever seen in the shape of a feather with black smoke lingering behind. I looked to see if the curtain was casting a shadow, but it was not coming from the curtain. I kept staring at this black smoke and all of a sudden it hit me. This is negative energy trying to makes it move as I had turned my back towards Jesus. The devil works fast. For some reason I was not scared because it did not have power over me. That is when I asked Jesus for forgiveness. He said, I was always here and I will always love you. Of course you are forgiven.
Laying there, the wheels in mind started turning. Ok! wait a minute. Paris is a two hour train ride, Amsterdam is a five hour train ride, why aren't we going to Greece? I looked up our boat itinerary and thought if we can get to Kos maybe we could catch up to the boat. I looked up to see if there was a flight and sure enough a flight was leaving next day at noon. I texted Maggie and asked her if this was a possibility. Everything had to be in alignment. First, the boat needed to be in that area, the winds needed to be right, and there was another family that we did not know who needed to be ok with all of this. I did not hear back from her for a couple of hours but I finally got a response. Maggie said she checked with captain of the boat and that will work. Book your flight. Jesus was right! We were going to Greece. Bob and I flew to Kos the next day. Spent a night in a lovely hotel on the beach and took a ferry to meet the gulet in Lipsi. Crazy!
Luke, Nicole, Maggie and Semi came to the dock on the zodiac to pick us up. As you can imagine, I was screaming and crying like a maniac. I have never been so happy and grateful to see my kids. I think this picture says it all. So much love. It was a miracle. I do not know why my vacation turned out the way that it did but I do know my faith was tested. I believe I passed :)
The picture below is our last night on the boat. Here are the most loving people I had the honor of vacationing with. I want to thank them for their ability to trust the process and change course to make our vacation a reality. Thank you Maggie, Murat, Sean, Liz, Bob, Madeline, Cassie, Ellie, Luke and Nicole. Where are we going next?
Here is a shout out to a remarkable women... Maggie. She had my back and took care of me and my family. I don't know how she did it but she is the true hero of this story.
Take a look at her website. It's pretty cool.