Struck a Chord

I opened my eyes with cautious optimism in hopes that my headache would have disappeared. I slowly walked to the bathroom, lifted my shirt and inspected my lower back. The bulge — a collection of spinal fluid by my fresh incision– remained its same concerning size. It was Saturday, Jan. 18, 11 days after my back surgery was performed, and I continued to suffer from a constant daily headache that got worse when I stood up. My surgeon suggested we wait until that following Monday to see if my symptoms would improve. With the non-stop pounding of my head and the way my back looked, I had a ‘gut’ feeling that I was going to need another surgery.

With the aide of my walker, I made my way to the recliner in my parents’ living room and started my morning routine of taking and chronicling my medicine, blood pressure and temperature. That afternoon, my mother-in-law, Pam, arrived with plans to do bowenwork (holistic bodywork) and massage on me in hopes to alleviate some of my pain. My brother-in-law, Kerm, stopped by to say hi and drop off an eating tray for me to use. I was resting in the recliner as my dad, Pam and Kerm went downstairs for a few minutes. When Kerm saw my dad’s guitar downstairs, he picked it up and strummed a few chords. When I heard that sound from upstairs, it put a huge smile on my face and I yelled down to them, “Please tell Kerm to come upstairs and play me a song.”

Kerm playing guitar

Little did I know what a treat that would be! To set the stage: I was laying on the recliner, Pam was sitting on the couch to my right, dad was kneeling beside me, and Kerm was on the couch directly across from me. He began to play the guitar and sing. The first two songs were by Oasis, which took me back to my high school days. Before Kerm was finished the first song, I felt this wave of emotion come over me. My eyes welled up with tears, as I was thankful to have Noah’s mom and brother there with me because I felt closer to my husband, Noah, since he is in California. Note by note, I felt hope and inspiration wrap its arms around me. Word by word that Kerm sang, my mind was on a roller coaster ride of thoughts and how very much I wanted my body to be ok and to heal. Before I knew it, tears streamed down my cheeks. I looked over at dad and said, “I just want to get better.” The next time I glanced at dad, he too was moved by the music and we had a ‘moment.’ One that could have only been shared between me and dad, and sentiments were exchanged that I will treasure for all time.

My dear brother-in-law, Kerm, kept playing for the next hour. During that time, I felt the best since surgery. My mind was clear, my heart was full of love; I was grateful and determined to get better. In a few short seconds, I was deeply moved and my mind and body transcended to a happy and calm place of being. It was an unexpected surprise that struck a chord, released beautiful sentiments, was therapeutic and just the medicine dad and I needed.

Whether you are the patient or the caregiver, when enduring health trials it is so important to find an outlet and an escape. Such as meditating, watching a movie, listening to live music, or reading a book. Something that will help calm you, set your mind at ease, release bottled up emotions and thoughts of worry.

HealthInspiration collage

Dad and I gave each other a huge smile when Kerm sang, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy.’ For we have learned that, “Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”

My ‘gut’ was correct, as I did need a second surgery that took place this past Tuesday. They found a CSF, cerebrospinal fluid leak, which they stitched and glued. I am still in the hospital and remain on bed rest in hopes that my body will heal well. Thank you for your continued support, prayers and well wishes.

Day of - before 2nd surgery




What helps calm you when you’re enduring health trials?




  1. Amy Dixon

    Amen. You are wise beyond your years.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Amy,
      Thank you my dear friend! 🙂 Hugs!

  2. Marsha Byers Etnier

    Valen, what a precious story! you come to my thoughts so very often and know that I carry you in my thoughts and prayers. I found it amazing as to how you got your peace back. 🙂 What I have done/do, is this. I keep an old hymnal right beside my chair (with my devotional) and I’ll pick it up and just go through it and sing every song that I know and try (;-)) to sing the ones that I don’t know!!! And sometimes I will pick up the phone and call a friend that I haven’t seen in a while just to let them know how thankful I am for their friendship or write a few notes to friends that are far away. Your stories are so heart felt and such an encouragement to me. I love them and am looking forward to the day when you tell us that your pain in minimal and no headache and feeling stronger!! Love you and think you are wise beyond your years and sooooo strong. By the way, I also keep your parents and Noah and his family in my prayers. 🙂 Sending a bucket of love, hugs, prayers and blessings to all of you today!!

    • Valen Keefer

      Dearest Marsha,
      Thank you for sharing your advice with all of us and for your sincere support for not only me, but my entire family. You are a dear woman and special friend. Big hugs!

  3. Cathy

    Dear Valen,

    Your inspiring blogs convince me you will get better! You believe it and so do I. You remain in my thoughts and prayers….And know that I am cheering for you every step of your healing journey.
    Love & gentle hugs from your friend you haven’t met in person but is with you in spirit,

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Cathy,
      Thank you for brightening my day with this beautiful message. Also, thank you for believing in me. It means so much to know that I have such wonderful friends and an amazing support system out there that I have not even met. Hugs!

  4. Mary

    You truly are an inspiration to many. Sending prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.
    God bless,

    • Valen Keefer

      Thank you very much for your prayers and well wishes!


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