Hi Everyone. This is Jodi. Please allow me to share someone with you that is very special to me. Here is a little of her story:
In November of 2007, Jodi Carlson gave birth to her third child, and her first daughter. Just a few weeks later, this mother of three was in the hospital, clinging to life after she experienced a stroke. At least twice she "blue lined" and died on the table. Through a series of pure miracles from God, she survived, but life is not the same anymore. The stroke left Jodi partially blind, partially deaf, paralyzed in half of her face, and without many of the physical abilities we all take for granted.
Jodi Carlson is a good friend of mine. We worked together for a few years, but more importantly, we became friends with similar situations and values. Jodi's stroke and her subsequent medical challenges have been on my mind DAILY since the moment I heard of her situation. Jodi is a fighter, and it is a good thing, because her battle has been, and continues to be very big. She has endured more in her short 30 years than many people experience in a lifetime. Her life is still hard. After 15 months of being bed or wheelchair bound, she is walking again (hooray!), slowly but surely, with her walker. She is swallowing and eating again (a huge accomplishment that allows her to enjoy life and food again!!) and little by little is relearning all the things that were once so easy and natural. Her mind is 100% there, but her speech is slowed by her damaged nerves and facial paralysis. On the inside, she is totally Jodi Burton Carlson, but people who see her physical body see one that is less functional than it was a few years ago. Jodi lives with her mom during the week, but is now able to go home to Robert and her 3 children on the weekends. This is a wonderful blessing, but there are still challenges as she struggles to do basic things to care for her family.
Yesterday, Jodi and her mom, Connie Burton, came by to visit me. I have been wanting to talk to Jodi for quite some time. I knew that she would have a perspective on my challenges that no one else could have. We spent a couple of hours in my living room, sharing stories, experiences and feelings that no one else can really understand. Mostly, we cried together as we talked about life and its unexpected trials.
Jodi Carlson is one of my heros. She will be the first to tell you she is not perfect, but she tries so hard everyday. I love her, respect her, and admire her more than words can say. And now, more than ever, I am looking to her as an example of how to face my own challenges.
Thank you, Jodi and Connie, for the words of advice, care and love, and for the tears we shared together. Thank you for teaching me about endurance, patience and love. I still have much to learn from both of you.
Please pray for Jodi Carlson, too. She is a living miracle, but all of us could use a few more miracles, and Jodi is perhaps the most deserving of all.
For more on Jodi, visit her blog at: jodicarlson.blogspot.com