Patient story

Suzy Tarver

Facing My Giant

Have you seen any giants lately? You know, the ones that seem impossible to slay. The kind that snarl and spit and take great pride in robbing Christians of their joy. They are nasty and call out threats and insults straight from Satan himself. Their size is huge in comparison with our own. Sound familiar? I know one personally. Let me introduce you to mine.

He came into my life on a beautiful, clear, May morning. In the timeframe that it took a doctor to deliver a diagnosis, my life was forever changed. The giant loomed before me and his name was Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. My giant is defined by words such as: rare, progressive, incurable, and mostly—fatal.

The giant that I face everyday is a disorder of the lungs that also greatly affects my heart. In the beginning, the giant hurled threats that my prognosis gave me only a 20% chance of surviving 2-3 years. Insults spewed from his mouth that my family would be devastated and torn apart. He laughed cruelly and bellowed that I would not have the pleasure of growing old with the man that I consider a gift straight from the heart God. He taunted that my children would grow up “motherless” and what they remembered of me would be my illness and death. I would not live to see my three boys grown and married. My arms would never know the joy of holding grandchildren. He mocked that the one thing that I never wanted to be to my parents was exactly what I had become, a source of grief. That day the giant tried to rob me of my future.

Even as the giant postured and strutted and shouted, another voice began to speak to my heart. Not a loud, brash voice, but one of calm, loving, peaceful assurance. In an instant, I recognized the comforting voice of my Heavenly Father. He whispered gently to my heart to trust Him. I answered, “I will.” He asked me if I was willing to place my husband and my children in the same sacred place where He held my trust. He gently reminded me that my parents were his, too. He told me that I was bought for a price that His own Son had willingly paid. I told him that this burden was too much for me to carry. I also told Him I trusted Him to carry it for me. He assured me that the battle with this giant was not mine, but His. I begged Him to allow me to see my children graduate from high school. He calmed my quivering heart and told me to focus on Him.

That was EIGHT years ago. Since then, I have mostly stayed hidden in the cleft of the Rock. My ministry increased from part-time to full-time about four years ago. Two of my three sons have graduated and now attend college. My family has remained very close and we have all learned that every day is a blessing.

As for the giant? Well, he still hangs around from time to time. I see him about every four weeks when I visit my doctor. She still fears the giant and I suppose that is her job. She has given me her armor of medications. But I know where the true strength lies. It is in the stones of faith that I carry in my pocket. I pull them out every so often to remember what God is doing in my life. Only recently has my doctor been able to say that my case is quite unusual.

No longer does the giant loom in front of me blocking the light of my future. Now, he follows tentatively behind whimpering his venom. In moments of weakness, I pause to listen to what he says and that is when I hear the unmistakable voice of my Sustainer gently say, “Keep walking. I AM…”


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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.