September 25, 2015

Day 25: Strength for the Journey

Day 25: Glean Strength from Those Surrounding You

From Judy Bode, co-founder of MHYH, childhood cancer survivor, heart recipient, kindred friend:

“I have been reflecting on my two year anniversary of my heart transplant. Actually, it was two years ago yesterday that I was discharged from the hospital following my 17 day admission.

Most vivid is the utter weakness that I remember following surgery. I was beyond any known description of weak– barely able to shift my mouth into a smile at the glimpse of my family leaning over my bed.

Strength returned only in whispers. Never noticeable. Only recognized days later when reflecting on sneaky, small improvements.

Strength for this journey was never of me. I was blessed with a host of encouragers who remained hopeful with me and occasionally for me during 31/2 years awaiting the gift of a new heart, through a high risk heart transplant surgery, and now through two years of recovery.

Stephanie was one of my encouragers. Though we were separated by hundreds of miles, together we shared in this journey. Stephanie knew all too well the heartache of relinquishing all life activities that you were once able to accomplish with ease. She had already faced the fear of approaching the end of your life, in the prime of your life; and had just a couple years prior said goodbye to her heart from birth and graciously accepted a new God Given heart.

Stephanie is a gift, a treasure in my life. She walked alongside me and my family. She prayed and she yearned. Stephanie’s friendship was that pillar of strength for me while I awaited a new beginning. Stephanie gave me hope as I witnessed her resurgence into an active, joy filled, and purpose full life.

Hope buoys Strength. Strength enables Hope.”

I, Stephanie, must tell you all that inasmuch as I came alongside Judy as she awaited a new heart, she, too, came alongside me as I recovered over a quite extended period of time.

Walking alongside of someone who sharpens you every step of the way is an incredible gift.

Allow yourself to draw encouragement, strength, and hope from those surrounding you, especially on those days when you just can’t seem to find strength to carry on.



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