“Rekindling Hope for My Future,” Ensign, February 2020
I knew something was wrong when my balance and vision were off. This made it difficult for me to play semipro baseball. An MRI revealed a small, benign tumor at the base of my neck. A week before the surgery, I was assured everything would go smoothly and I’d soon be back to my normal baseball routine.
After five hours of surgery, I woke up in the ICU. A few minutes later, the doctor informed me that something had gone wrong. As a result of complications, I had lost the ability to walk, and it was most likely permanent. In that moment, my life turned upside down. There go my baseball dreams, I thought. I lost all hope for any kind of normal life.
Back then, I wasn’t one you’d call religious. I had been less active for years, but still I cried to Heavenly Father, “Why me?” It felt so unfair. I didn’t deserve this!
One day, though surrounded by doctors and loved ones in my hospital room, I felt totally alone and hopeless. Amid my despair, I remembered a quote from Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “In the strength of the Lord we can do and endure and overcome all things.”1 I can’t tell you why this quote came to my mind, but my loneliness vanished. It was replaced with comfort and love. I thought of my situation and said to myself, This could destroy me, or I could make the best of it!
For weeks I strived to walk again. I continued my recovery at my parents’ home in Washington, USA. I progressed to where I could walk, drive, and live in an apartment on my own.
I also went back to church. With my bishop’s help, I learned to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It took a while, but I finally discovered peace and joy in my life. I became fully active, served in my ward, received the Melchizedek Priesthood, and received my temple endowment. This brought confidence and hope for my future.
When I think back to my brain surgery, I remember lying hopeless in my hospital bed, unable to walk. It was difficult to even smile. Today, I am hopeful and nothing but smiles! As my favorite scripture states, “I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; … and I do put my trust in [God], and he will still deliver me” (Alma 36:27).