When Sis. Hannah Lievens was 13 years old, she experienced something that would forever change her life.
One night, Hannah headed upstairs to grab some board games for her family. While reaching down, she began to experience sharp pains in her chest.
After several minutes, she mustered up enough strength to walk back down the stairs and explain what happened to her mom. They agreed that they would wait until the morning to see if her symptoms improved.
“I didn’t sleep all night,” she says. “And in the morning, the pain was even worse.”
At that point, they both decided that they should consult with her primary care physician, who ran multiple tests and discovered a hole in Hannah’s lung, (which was also partially collapsed).
“You need to go to emergency right away,” her physician exclaimed. “I don’t know how you made it through the night.”
Hospital doctors placed a temporary port in her chest and sent her home with many restrictions. But after a couple of days, the pain not only increased—it traveled.
“I started noticing that the pain would start in my lung and shoot to other parts of my body. I just thought to myself, ‘this can’t be right’”.
So the Lievens’ family found themselves in the hospital once again—only, this time, it would be a much longer stay.
Initially, doctors removed the temporary port and replaced them with several tubes that covered Hannah’s body and helped collect the air that escaped from the blebs on her lung. But it didn’t take long for everyone to see that the tubes weren’t working. She would need surgery.
“They warned me that it would be more painful than heart surgery,” she says.
Surgeons entered her chest cavity, removed part of the damaged lung and used a sandpaper method to roughen up her chest wall. This way, her lungs would adhere directly to the wall, preventing any small air pockets from traveling throughout her body.
After two weeks and a successful surgery, doctors sent her home with a warning: though they had been successful, this would be a lifelong battle. She would need to be careful with any sort of strenuous activity, from blowing up a balloon to playing sports or even singing. Hannah was crushed… but God had other plans!
Nine years later, Sis. Hannah hasn’t had any complications. And thanks to the prayers and support of her friends and family, she hasn’t had much pain, either.
Sis. Hannah has not only survived, she’s thrived—from playing sports in school to faithfully praise singing every Sunday and leading worship every Wednesday night here at Calvary Apostolic: something no one was sure she’d ever be able to do.
It was a hard road to walk, but Hannah doesn’t regret it. At the end of the day, it’s given her a motto she can’t help but speak everywhere she goes: