The end of this year marks a significant milestone for me. Two years ago I would have told you I live a charmed life. (And I would still tell you that today, but I don’t take nearly as much for granted today as I did then.) Everything was going along swimmingly. I had a new house, a new baby, love, health, and happiness.
Then one night in March of 2006 the rug was yanked out from under me when I found myself in a medical crisis that ended with a trip to the hospital in the back of an ambulance.
After a repeat performance five days later and a round of doctor visits that created more questions than answers, all was quiet for about nine months. I thought I was in the clear. We chalked it up to a virus and moved on.
But then in December I was caught off-guard with another identical episode. At this point we knew we needed to reopen our investigation and this time with more vigor. After talking to several doctors, the word “carcoinoid” kept cropping up. That’s when I made the mistake of performing a little Google search. We all know better, but it’s like telling a moth to fly away from that flame.
I remember that as a very dark and scary time. And yet it was also a time of spiritual growth as I drew close to my heavenly Father. I remember nights rocking my baby girl, holding her close, and pleading with God for restoration of my health but most of all for my peace and acceptance of whatever lay ahead of me.
There is a series of posts that chronicle the entire journey, but I won’t inundate you with links. Everything is filed neatly under “Health and Wellness” in the Categories list on my sidebar, although I’m sure you have better things to do than relive this saga with me.
Long story short, the doctors were able to rule out carcinoid (praise God!) as well as a slew of other undesirable alternatives. What they diagnosed was IBS, GERD, and gastritis — which I like to call my gastrointestinal trifecta. Good times.
We never got what I consider to be a satisfactory answer to why I had those strange episodes, although the GI doctor called them “a very unusual manifestation of IBS”. Which is great in the sense that it is not life threatening or physically debilitating, but it’s not so great in that there is nothing we can to do prevent the symptoms or to predict when they will occur.
All I could do was hope that by eating healthier and managing the other diagnoses with meds, I would avoid future episodes or at the very least minimize them. The tummy troubles caused by the GERD and gastritis became my focus throughout the spring and summer, and the IBS episodes subsided once again. If that’s even what they were; I may never know for sure.
There still isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about those episodes and wonder when or if they will strike again, and going out still brings on mild anxiety symptoms from time to time. (Oh the joys of having an obsessive personality!) But my worries have significantly lessened over time, and I am immensely thankful that I am not dealing with anything serious or life threatening.
I mentioned a milestone. That would be Christmas With The Inlaws 2007. You see, Christmas With The Inlaws 2006 was one of the most miserable days of my life. My third and last major episode was only days before, and I was awaiting the carcinoid test results. I was sick at my stomach, mildly dizzy, and worried senseless the entire day.
In recent weeks as Christmas 2007 approached, I realized that I had gone almost a year without an episode. I began waiting expectantly for that “anniversary” to roll around. I felt like if I could make it one whole year without a major episode, maybe, just MAYBE I could let go of the lingering fear and expectation of another one.
Christmas With the Inlaws 2007 was a delightfully ordinary day. But it didn’t pass by unnoticed. At least not by me. I cherished every moment and marveled at how well I felt and at how much different this year was from the last. And when the day passed without incident, I breathed a deep sigh of relief.
I want to think that it’s possible those episodes are behind me forever, never to be seen or heard from again, but to be honest I feel like I am jinxing myself even by posting this.
And yet I know that fear and superstition have no place in the Christian life. After all, isn’t that just a roundabout way of telling God I don’t trust Him to care for me? We are never promised a life free of sickness and hurt, but we are promised I will never leave you or forsake you.
Even though I don’t know what 2008 holds, I know I can I can rely on my heavenly Father to see me through it. After all, the hope we have in Him supersedes all earthly trials. In fact, when I was in the midst of the worst of this trial is when I felt closest to Him. I guess sometimes we need a reminder to put our trust in Him and not in ourselves.
So it is with pleasure and even a hint of glee that I bid the year 2007 farewell. Let’s toast to a healthy and happy 2008! And yet no matter what the future holds, may God receive all the glory.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)