Purpose in my pain
These past three weeks! I could stop right there and several of you would know that I need not say anymore, but many of you aren't aware. John doesn’t have social media, I don’t share a lot of personal life on the media I do have, and honestly I’ve just asked that some things not be told. Well, God’s given me yet another testimony that needs to be shared, so I pray this finds its way in front of the right eyes! So, what do I mean by “these past three weeks?” On the morning of Wednesday, November 20th, John and I arrived at the hospital prepared for what we knew would be a tough surgery and recovery. In this one surgery, I was to have 3 procedures involving 2 surgeons. Each procedure went well, and after about a 3 hour surgery and 2 hours in post-op recovery, they moved me to a hospital room where I’d spend the next 3 days and 2 nights. During that stay, we had a few minor things come up but all was ok. Family, friends and our amazing church knew of the surgery and were supportive with their prayers and so much more, but I was pretty adamant that details of what was going on didn’t need to be publicized. After 3 days, we got to go home. I knew I had an amazing husband, but my goodness he transformed into a super hero when it came to handling the house, kiddos, keeping up with my medicines, helping me move around, and keeping all the animals alive. During those first few days of being back home, there was the obvious & expected pain, but something we hadn’t expected was ten pounds of swelling. Now, obviously swelling around the incision areas seemed normal to us, but swelling from my mid back through my toes not so much. We’re no medical professionals though. I was sleeping in oversized pjs because mine were too snug, and I had one pair of public worthy pants that would make do in case anyone were to stop by. Even still, John and I chalked it up to the fact I’d just had surgery, been pumped with fluids and maybe my body was taking longer to readjust. Thanksgiving came and went and by that following Sunday, the swelling in my back and legs seemed to have completely gone away. I was so thankful because for the first time in a week and a half I was able to stand for longer than 10 minutes without my legs feeling as if they’d blow up like balloons and pop. Monday and Tuesday of a new week passed by with more of the healing process taking place. Wednesday morning began like the previous few, slow and steady and getting kids ready for school. As the morning went on, I was catching myself holding tight to my chest as it pained to get deep breaths. My pain level from the surgery was also a little more intense that morning, so I took medicine and all seemed to calm down. As I waited on the kids to get home from school that afternoon, the pain in my chest came back really catching my attention this time. I gave it some time to see if it’d go away on its own, but it didn’t. I called John to get his thoughts, and we remembered the doctor's warning, “If you have any chest pains, call us or go to the ER immediately.” So, I called my doctor’s nurse who said I needed to get to the ER and asked if there was anyone with me at that moment who could drive me. I had a 10, 8, and 3 year old, 1 dog and 10 chickens who were at the house with me none of who could drive me to the hospital. I called John, who was working 3 hours away, to let him know they wanted me in the ER right away. For anyone with children, you know getting anywhere “right away” is basically impossible. Anyway, he made the proper arrangements while I got everyone ready to get where we needed to be. Once at the ER, the typical began. I was bombarded with questions, jabbed with needles for blood work, and given the “Now, if this and that come back elevated or positive, then we’ll have to do such and such next.” In all honesty, I didn’t expect anything to come back that would show the reason for the pain. After a little while, the nurse came in to report one of the blood tests came back positive and another elevated so they were moving on to the next test. My sweet friend and I looked at each other as if to say “huh?” while we tried to remember the medical jargon just given so we could relay the message properly. Thankfully, John made it to us by the time results were coming in from the next test. Then, there was a knock on the door and in walked the Physician’s Assistant and the nurse who was carrying a dreadful looking needle. The PA sat in front of us shaking her head repeating, “I’m so sorry!” while we sat there wondering why in the world she was sorry. The nurse sat on the edge of my bed getting ready to jar me with that daunting needle. My friend, John and I all sat there for what seemed like ages waiting to hear why these people were so sorry. “You have blood clots in both lungs and the right one is a little worse. He’s going to give you some blood thinner medicine in your stomach, and we’ll be sending you upstairs.” We sat there in shock not knowing what to say or do. John needed clarification on the pleural “clots” part, and the PA confirmed, “Yes, several and in the bottoms of both lungs.” After the PA and nurse left the room, the look on John’s face is one I’ll never forget. He was standing to my right, holding my hand. As I looked up at him, he hung his head low, shaking it back and forth, with tears in his eyes, but no words were spoken or needed to be in that moment. A few hours later, we were meeting our night nurse on the PCU unit where we began the longest roller coaster ride ever, and it wasn't the fun kind in amusement parks. After the one we rode during that 3 day hospital stay, we may never ride another again. During one of the visits by my doctor, he worded it this way, “I call those bullets because they can take you out.” He said a few funny things to give us a giggle here and there then came back with, “If you hadn’t have come in when you did and started on the blood thinners, it could’ve been over.” Wow! That roller coaster came to a screeching hault. Fast forward...
Since being home from the hospital and starting down this new healing journey, my mind and heart have been flooded with so many thoughts and feelings. I’m thankful of course for my amazing family, friends and church who came to our rescue with help and fervent prayers. I’m thankful too for the chest pain that prompted me to seek help. Yes, you read that right. I’m thankful for the pain! If it weren’t for the pain I experienced that day, things may have gone a different way. We received answers because of that pain. I saw a love in my husband’s eyes like never before because of that pain. I heard God speak to me new words because of that pain. There was a purpose is that pain!
For days my mindset was that no one needed to see the truth and know any details of what was going on. My thinking was that John and I would be able to handle this. We would take things a day at a time, meet the new doctors, take the new medicine, and carefully walk out this unexpected yet very evident reality of what the next few months would look like for us. In just the past couple of days, I’ve had a shift in that mindset. It hit me that by not sharing what we were going through, I was robbing people and our family of so many things. I was robbing people who love to serve and prepare meals the joy they get by helping in that way. I was robbing people who love to pray by not letting them know we needed prayer. I was robbing people who needed their faith to grow by not sharing that prayers were already being answered. I was robbing people who love to fellowship by not wanting them to sit with me at home and see me in pain. I was robbing people of their God given gifts and myself and family of all that God was wanting to bless us with and didn’t even realize it. I was focusing on the future journey and things ahead of us rather than enjoying the beautiful sights of our current location.
These past three weeks have been a season of scary, painful, uncertain, frustrating moments, and we know there’s a road ahead of us that is one we’ve never traveled. But we also know that God has every step ordained, and our job in the meantime and in this situation is to be still and wait upon the Lord. I’m not sure how long this season will last but I’m enjoying the many things He’s showing, teaching and speaking to me. I'm thankful for this new testimony. My prayer is that His will be done and in His timing not mine!