Norfolk grandmother Sue has a second chance at life
Mulbarton grandmother, Sue Oxbury, loves to spend time with her family and enjoys the simple pleasures of life. But the active, young-at-heart pensioner believes that the everyday joys she once took for granted could have easily been snatched away when her life was hanging by a thread. Sandie Shirley reports.
Today Sue is full of gratitude, believing that miraculous intervention has given her a second taste of life after the main artery in her neck was blocked, requiring a high-risk operation in a bid to save her life.
“I was taken from the brink of death to life during eight hours of dangerous surgery when I could have died within eight seconds if my artery was severed,” recalls Sue. “But the skill of the surgeon along with the hand of God, truly saved me that day and restored me to wholeness to see my daughter marry and to love and see my precious grandchildren grow, all of which are priceless to me.
“Now each day is a new blessing that has made me so much more aware of the gift of life and the joy to be had through simple things like walking, the beauty of creation and the warmth of the sun.”
Sue does not dwell on what happened, although there is a risk with the main artery on the other side of her neck. Instead she lives life to the full, sharing her creative skills with others and investing in her health. “God has invested in me and I have a duty to look after myself so I have lost weight and keep active with swimming and walking.”
In 2011, Sue was in constant pain for months and was plagued with visual disturbances that even resulted in the temporary loss of her eyesight one afternoon that, she explains, could have resulted in a stroke.
Despite various visits to see her doctor and hospital consultant there was no diagnosis or cure until a hospital scan. “I was told that I needed to go for walks, take regular aspirin and prepare for a major operation since there was a blockage in one of the main arteries in my neck from my heart to my brain, a rare condition for my age.”
From the onset of those dark times of persistent difficulties and terrible headaches, Sue was determined to maintain a normal life with her family while working, praying and attending church.
The Swardeston church member found courage and hope through her faith that had grown during various life challenges. “There were moments of fear and loneliness but I was not paralysed with fear because I knew Jesus was with me and that allowed me to carry on.”
Eventually Sue underwent complex surgery but the night before her hospital admission she feared for her life when her fingers, mouth and nose went numb. “But when I was wheeled down to the operating theatre for the anaesthetic I felt calm as I drifted off to sleep, knowing God’s hand was holding me tight. (“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13.)
“After the surgery trauma, I was placed on the high dependency ward, since there was a risk of a stroke but that evening I was seen as the healthiest patient there and moved to another ward.”
Says Sue: “My faith is important – Christ is my rock and I knew I was bonded in him and he in me. God is not just about history and what has happened in the Bible - he lives among us now walking beside us through the good and bad times offering us hope and strength for whatever life brings.”
Sue is an avid gardener, growing flowers and vegetables from seed. And as a keen crafter and needle woman her labour of love three years ago was her daughter’s satin and lace beaded wedding dress. She also makes hand-crafted gifts to sell at church events while passing on techniques to others to enhance their skills which proves therapeutic for depression sufferers too.
She takes an active part in church services and enjoys making church banners and is ready to begin a new design with the Bible verse: “Be still and know that I am God!”
Pictured above, Sue Oxbury is an avid gardener.