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Letting God Take Us to the Edge: Bravely Living with an Incurable Disease

By Lori Ann Wood

God's Brave Women - Lori Ann's Story

Barely a month had passed since my cardiac device was installed as a last-ditch effort to avoid a heart transplant.

Feigning normalcy, my husband was consuming himself in yardwork. His to-do list that sunny Saturday included planting three small trees near the wooded edge of the property, so they would provide a screen from neighbors as they grew. I could see him and our dog digging in the unfamiliar part of our yard, far past the area that we mow.

I continued watching from the kitchen window for several minutes, but then hoping to be helpful, I slipped on my sandals and headed slowly out to join my tiny gardening crew. From a safe distance, I instructed him to rotate a tree so the best side was facing the house. Not satisfied, I took a step toward him.

Suddenly, I felt needles going through my feet. I looked down to see that I had stepped into a hornet’s nest. They were relentless, stinging me on both feet, on my arm, and my neck as I walked (as quickly as my post-surgery-self could) toward the house.

Once inside the house, my blood pressure dropped to 58/30 and I lost consciousness. My husband called 911, the ambulance arrived, and I was on my way to the ER (again). A new addition was made to my ever-expanding medical record: anaphylactic reaction to hornet venom; must carry epi-pen. I’d gone all my life not knowing I could have died from a hornet sting.

When it was all over, I told my husband I should have stayed inside; I should have just trusted his judgment on the tree placement. (He loved that.) I could have avoided a trip to the ER. The entire ordeal was something I would rather not have experienced.

But in reality, it was a blessing to find out about this deadly allergy while someone was with me, rather than when I was alone and rendered helpless. Since my sudden, unexpected heart failure diagnosis, I have come to appreciate this realization in many areas of life: