Updated: Oct 6, 2021
In September of 2020, senior exercise science major Sarah Johnston underwent a miraculous operation at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind.
“It didn’t seem real,” Johnston said after hearing of her initial diagnosis of the “golf ball-sized” vestibular schwannoma, a benign tumor located on the right side of her brain in July of 2020. “It’s so easy to think that it’ll never happen to me, that those things only happen in the movies, but as soon as it does happen to you, it’s hard to know where to go and who to turn to.” A situation dire and fearsome for most, Johnston remained confident in God’s faithfulness.
Sept. 3 of 2020 was the day that changed Johnston’s life. “I was terrified going into the surgery, but I still felt the utmost of peace overall,” Johnston said.
Although side-effects are possible with any surgery, Johnston’s chances of these consequences were fairly high. These side-effects included: right side facial paralysis, hearing loss of her right ear and the chance of not retrieving all of the tumor. Knowing these realities, Johnston continued to remain hopeful and reliant on God.
After a seven-hour procedure, Johnston woke up with a miraculous operation now behind her. “I actually wasn’t in any pain,” Johnston said. “The first movement was to see if I could still flare my nostrils.”
Although humorous, this small motion proved only a small amount of God’s goodness and miraculous hand in Johnston’s procedure. Instead of having facial paralysis, she was able to still move all of her facial features. Instead of the planned 12-hour surgery, it only took seven. Instead of the high chance of only removing part of the tumor, the surgeon was able to safely remove all of it.“The only side-effect that lasted was the loss of hearing in my right ear,” Johnston said.
Although recovery was difficult and is still on-going at times, this experience truly changed Johnston’s perspective for the better. Johnston stated that this trial in her life brought those near to her and far from her closer to God. Johnston emphasized that we are to “live everyday like it’s our last, because even if we are faced with what might seem impossible, we still have a God that performs miracles every single day.”