“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” —Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Life rarely turns out the way we pictured it would, and we all face challenges along the way.
I was a healthy, active 29-year-old who had just transitioned her career from corporate sales in the airline industry to Office Manager of her church to pursue motherhood. God had other plans, however, because, in an instant, my whole life changed.
In January 2003, I suffered a massive stroke called an intracerebral hemorrhagic caused by an undetected malformation of blood vessels on the right side of my brain. I was not feeling well throughout the morning, and my arm felt funny; I had a headache and felt sick. These were all classic signs of a stroke, but because of my age, I ignored the warnings. It wasn’t until my left leg went numb that I knew something was wrong, and my co-worker called 911. I was unconscious by the time they loaded me into the ambulance.
I underwent a five-hour brain surgery that night to stop the bleeding and woke up 17 days later from a drug-induced coma and life support, paralyzed on the left side. In an instant, our lives changed! I had a second ten-hour brain surgery to remove the malformation and was hospitalized for two months.
During that time in the hospital, I relearned how to swallow, sit up, stay balanced, and eventually stand and walk with assistance.
My days consisted of multiple physical, occupational, and pool therapy sessions. I left the hospital in a wheelchair, and we went to live with my parents.
Two months after my hospital discharge, my husband, Dainis, lost his job as an aircraft mechanic due to the slowdown in the aviation industry from the September 11 terrorist attacks. Through a God moment at a grocery store encounter with a stranger, Dainis learned one of his old airline managers had started an aviation maintenance repair facility in Goodyear, Arizona. By July, my parents and I had sold two houses in Minnesota, bought two in Arizona, and started a new life.
During the next seven years, I spent six to eight hours daily in rehab to regain my function and independence. Not only did I survive, but I thrived.
Beating the odds, my husband and I adopted three siblings from Colombia, South America, eight years post-stroke.
In 2021 God spoke to me: “I saved you from this stroke and gave you a story to share. Now it’s time to help others.” In obedience, I published my first book, Choices.
Shortly after a routine visit to my doctor uncovered a cyst— possible ovarian cancer. Thankfully, following surgery, my cyst was benign. However, because of this experience, God divinely opened a door for me to volunteer at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. It gives me great joy to support patients on their cancer journey by teaching a weekly writing class. God has shown me I have a purpose in every challenge I face. Every challenge you face is a story of hope and encouragement, which, in God’s hands, can change someone’s life for eternity.
About Lori Vober
Lori Vober’s first book: Choices: When You Are Faced with a Challenge, What Choice Will You Make? shares her journey as a stroke survivor. Lori and her husband, Dainis, have been happily married for 24 years and reside in Goodyear, Arizona. She is now writing a 31-day devotional to minister to stroke survivors. Find out more about Lori, her book, and resources for stroke survivors at LoriVober.com.