Exactly one week ago, was the big surgery day. For a while, I’ve thought the surgery was long overdue, but now I can see that God planned it to be this way all along. I want my family, friends, readers, writers, church, and even very kind strangers; to know that last week God showed up… He heard all your prayers, answered many of them, and more answers are on the way!
I already know Jesus is the Great Physician, and I know He is a Miracle Maker. I’ve witnessed miraculous recoveries among my own family members. So I know God is good… and I know He shows up. But I needed your prayers, and I want you to know that prayer is powerful! I want the people in my life to know that there is great power in being anointed by your pastor, and your spouse, and any Christian who comes faithfully asking for your healing in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because we do the serving, but God is The One showing up. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas. 5:14 New International Version).
I first hurt my back in 8th grade. My best friend and I were choreographing a dance, and as I moved to bend over at the waist, I was shocked to find myself stuck. I couldn’t straighten up into a standing position, so I lay frozen, awkwardly flat on my back, on her bed for a half an hour. I was terrified. She was worried about me, so she said she was getting her dad. I was afraid of her dad, so I managed to stand, while wobbling and leaning against her, and she walked me home. There was no attention given to my injury, and no doctor appointment. I just remember gradually getting better over the next several days, and hoping that this scary event would not happen to me again.
God must have had mercy on me, because it didn’t seem to be big deal to anyone but me and my best friend, and she couldn’t help me. God gracefully healed me, so that I remained active in gymnastics, volleyball, and cheerleading. I had more problems with asthma, and my bad knees, than with my back. But over the years, my back would give out, and I’d be out of commission for about three days. I got used to it. It was just a familiar part of my life. I finished college, got a job teaching, got married to my husband, and finally became pregnant with twin boys.
The double pregnancy was in itself, its own trial, forcing me to continuously keep my eyes focused on the silver lining that lay up ahead. It felt like death was at my door; I vomited for five months straight, 30 times a day, losing weight fast. Though my precious boys were very tiny at 2 lbs. 15 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz., my back was never the same after that difficult pregnancy, which at 29 weeks, brought forth immense joy… I was blessed with the most beautiful premature baby boys I’d ever seen!
I began to exercise in order to get back my trim figure. I’d always been skinny, but I was just looking to get back to the size I’d been before my pregnancy. When I threw out my back again, the doctor told me to stop doing the exercises where I had to lie on my back. Unfortunately, this meant most of the ones from my routine, which was actually beginning to flatten my belly. I became discouraged and stopped exercising altogether. I couldn’t go walking either, not until my husband got home from work, and by then we were both exhausted from caring for two babies who continued to fight for their lives. To go anywhere, we had to lug a heart and lung machine monitor for each one, and an oxygen tank for one of them. It was just too much. Even with staggered help and support, our new, little family was so very tired. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28).
When my boys were two years old, I threw my back out and ended up stooped over, unable to stand straight. People around my small town knew me by my young, stooped figure. Physical therapy got me standing agaian, but it also began years of constant MRI’s and X-rays, physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management, steroids and epidural injections. One office told me they weren’t giving up on me, but they just didn’t know how to help me find pain relief from my herniated disk. A trial run of burning the nerves in my back, showed the right spot had been found, but since the practice run gave only short-term relief, the official procedure wasn’t considered long-term treatment for me. I was so discouraged, because as the lidocaine ran through my body, I was exhilarated to be able to bend over and touch my toes with no pain whatsoever for an entire hour. It was short-lived.
I headed “over the mountain,” towards the city, where most people from my small town tended to find higher quality care, when facing more serious medical issues. I found a great doctor; one I really liked, who was compassionate, honest, and thorough. He was also truly dedicated, and determined to find alternate procedures in an effort to prevent the inevitable… surgery. I was diagnosed with lumbosacrial and cervical spondylitis; a painful condition resulting from degeneration of intervertebral disks in the neck and lumbar areas, myofascial pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and more. There were steroid and epidermal injections, trigger point injections for muscle spasms, and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy to treat facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain caused by my degenerative disk disease. My doctor performed a discogram, and the extreme pain confirmed that my damaged L-5 disk was indeed the culprit, along with the S-I joint. He even injected methylene blue, which surprisingly brought about 30 percent relief, for just a couple months, but overflowed and spilled out, because there was so little room in the shrunken disk.
After the procedure, my body got chilled, and I had to lie under warm blankets for an hour. I shook, and my teeth chattered. I don’t know if it was shock, or the effects of the procedure, but I knew I didn’t want to ever have a discogram again, or go through anything like it. There were other possible procedures which we decided against. My doctor didn’t feel confident enough that they would work, and didn’t want to waste my money. I was sent to one of his colleagues for Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, where so many vials of blood were taken to use my platelets, I lost count. Neither procedure took; in fact one damaged the ligaments in my coccyx area, and three doctors verified it was because mistakes had been made. I had another extremely painful procedure to try and repair the damage. I was basically bedridden for three weeks afterward. I was tired of hurting. All. The. Time.
Right after my precious daughter was born (thankfully I had survived another bout of unrelenting nausea, which left me bed-ridden for four months) my son became extremely, chronically ill with Eosinophilic Esophagitis; a debilitatating disease with no cure. He was my main focus, and I put my own health on hold, as any mother does who earnestly prays and diligently searches for relief for her beloved children. Our new baby girl brought us joy in the storm, a beautiful distraction from the sadness and pain of the sickness. Three years later, God chose to miraculously heal my son, when I was out of state caring for my father who had cancer. It was emotionally and financially draining to be away from my family for three flights out of state that summer. My surgery and our addition would have to wait; for God had something else in mind.
I was away for a sum total of two months, but God is faithful. He healed not only my son, while I was away, but my father too. Both had been anointed and both had approximately 500 people praying for them. God showed me the healing power of forgiveness that summer, and He showed me that my children are in the best hands always… His hands! I went home exhausted, and in chronic pain, but with love in my heart, and no regret. I went back to teaching Sunday School, but finally had to take a break. I’d become very, very sick; unable to do anything at all. I knew I had picked up something serious from being at the ICU at the hospital, and from being sole caretaker for weeks at a time, around so much sickness and suffering. I was right; the diagnosis finally came: a staph infection in my sinuses. I was truly running only on Holy Spirit fumes.
My back surgery had already been put on hold several times. I was still dealing with plantar fasciitis, which caused severe pain in my feet when I walked. I also continued to battle pain from the degeneration of the two disks in my neck. I also had emergency shoulder surgery, because of rotater cuff syndrome, along with a bone spur and arthritis in my shoulder, which prevented me from lifting my arm above shoulder level. The shoulder surgery was successful, though it required prolotherapy treatment to fully heal. During all this time, I continued to homeschool my children, run to even more doctors appointments for all of us, and teach Sunday School. It seemed there was no relief in sight. I began to wonder if I was supposed to sacrifice my life until I dropped. If Jesus did it, maybe I was supposed to just keep going, even though I felt like my body was breaking to pieces. But how would that be good for my family who needed me?
God told me it was time to rest. He let me know that Jesus already sacrificed his life for me, and I was not meant to run on empty. My husband supported me, and said it was time to take care of myself. I realized I’d put things off, because I’d been taught to feel guilty for doing nice things for myself. It was so ingrained, I even felt guilty doing the very things I needed to do to save my own life. There’s never a perfect time, yet the time was perfect. I’d already met with several surgeons over the past few years. I met with two more, and chose the surgeon my doctor had highly recommended I talk to, before making my final decision about going through with the surgery. He correctly insisted I needed an expert, someone highly proficient and skilled, experienced and specialized in complicated back surgeries. I was grateful to both of those last two surgeons on my list, who had confirmed a completely collapsed disk, validation that there was nothing there to support the bones which rubbed against each other every time I moved. The rubbing irritating nerves, and my spine’s instability was indeed causing excruciating pain.
So here I lie, writing while recovering, grateful for the love and care being shown to me in the midst of this trial. I want those who have been praying for me to know God has heard your prayers, and is already giving answers (good ones, because it is the only kind He gives!). My surgeon said the surgery went “perfectly!” Well, Jesus was there, after all, so perfect is a great word choice! My surgeon said I will now be taller, because I was missing a disk before; and adding space has given me more height. How cool is that? My daughter is tall, and I love that I can tell her that I’m now taller too!
I’m doing well, in spite of being tired and dealing with pain. I’ve had a cage inserted into my spine with screws to hold it together. The cage is made of bone grafting material, which will grow into my own bone. I’m very, very sore! The site of the injection hurts like crazy, and I can’t twist, bend, or lift more than five pounds. It’s going to take a while to feel like myself again, but… Praise The Lord! He brought me through it all! He even took away my anxiety, which is HUGE considering my past major struggle with the spirit of Fear! “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14).
I’m appreciating all the prayers, along with both the big things and the little things; because little things to me, are big treasures! May God bless everyone who has been here for me; near and far, who has taken time to offer up a prayer for me, and my family, in the name of Jesus. I’m taking you on this journey, not for attention or pity or popularity; or whatever other silly reasons are out there, but because I want God to be glorified in all of this! I don’t even know the end of the story, but I’ve chosen to JUST TRUST HIM!
I originally wrote this the day after my surgery but did not complete and edit it until one week afterward. I now realize that God has wanted me to rest, while enjoying the love, support, and encouragement from family and friends. He has given me this time to prepare to write words centered around a theme of “healing” during the rest of Lent, and to provide others with hope in the midst of trial and storm. God has even led me to explore and share some wonderful writings from other gifted and talented writers, and I’m excited to see what He is putting together! He continues to provide confirmation via wonderful feedback from brothers and sisters in Christ. What joy it gives me, to be reminded that God is always in control; using every seed we plant to bless and minister to others, and grow His Mighty Kingdom. During this time of trial, God has been showing me the silver lining; connecting me to special people, giving me more ideas for the future of The Silver Lining, and letting me peacefully soak up the joy of how much He has already healed me, how He is healing me now, and the healing He is going to do in my future! It’s been a long time coming, but in God’s timing, everything is, well… just perfect! “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ ” (Mark 5:34).
Pursue Jesus! Trust him to heal you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually according to his good and perfect will. Give God your body, heart, mind, and soul. Don’t miss your divine appointment; The Great Physician always shows up on time!
Your healing can only begin through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else is temporary, and short-lived. That’s because a good physician finds the root of the problem, and starts there. Jesus knows the answer to all our illnesses and ailments. In addition, he is a Miracle-Maker; someone no doctor on earth can truthfully claim to be. For more, join The Silver Lining Facebook page, where encourage them, truth, and wisdom are posted every day! Also, visit my website. It is there as a gift to you! When you visit The Silver Lining homepage, click on the topic: Healing. Subscribe or follow, so you don’t miss truth-related blog posts that could lead you in God’s direction, which could actually help to save your life; both eternally, and here on earth!
Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:
The Family that Prays Together…
The Unexpected Joy of Rest
Healing is a Journey
It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice!
The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie