There is no shadow like that of God’s wings. We cannot lean on our own understanding; it will lead us into a bog. We cannot trust our bodily strength; the most brawny arm will utterly fail. There is nothing outside of us that we might trust, either. Our God is a safe place on which to lean.”
~ Thomas Lye (? – 1684)
My last blog post was a week and a half ago. The post where I shared about my upcoming surgeries and our dogs’ illnesses. I can’t believe all that has happened since that post.
I have been experiencing neck, shoulder, and upper back pain for a long time — probably at least a couple of years. I thought it was stress. I mean, the last couple of years have been really tough. It made sense.
But three days after that last blog update, I suddenly began having really intense pain. That was on a Friday. There were times over that weekend when I could barely breathe because the pain was so terrible.
That following Monday, I was diagnosed with badly subluxated C 3, 4, and 5 veterbrae in my neck. It appears to have happened a long time ago, and to have been caused by some injury, but we have no idea what or when. It’s pretty bad and damage has already advanced pretty far, but it’s still believed that we have caught it in time to prevent a major surgery if I work through all of my treatments, follow instructions carefully, and apply some TLC to my neck. I will have to undergo 24 treatments over a 12-week period, follow a home therapy program, and then be re-evaluated at the end of that 12-week period. We will try to continue as much as possible through my upcoming surgeries and recoveries so as not to interrupt progress that is already being made.
I was bitterly disappointed to learn that I have yet another health issue. This is so unusual for me. Scott and I have both always been so healthy. But I began treatment sessions right away, and I was so relieved to notice improvement in the pain after only two visits.
But then a new challenge arose.
This past Thursday, Kathryn met with her neurologist to have the settings on her VNS increased again. Unfortunately, the increase this time triggered seizures for her (as we were driving home from that appointment), and things went from bad to worse.
We ended up in Children’s emergency room at about 10pm that night. By that time, Kathryn had been seizing for almost 6 hours with only one short 30 minute break. We had administered two doses of rescue medications with no result.
Once we arrived at the hospital, Kathryn was taken straight to a trauma bay, and once again, her seizing stopped. She was given more medication through an IV, and we were moved to a floor. It finally seemed to be over, and she even drank a little juice and talked to us a bit. But after about three hours, everything started over again.
More rescue meds were given through her IV, and finally, by about 3am Friday morning, everything really did stop. Right around 3am, Kathryn’s crying stopped abruptly, she opened her eyes like she was waking up, she looked straight into my face, and she said in a weak, but matter-of-fact voice, “I’m really very tired, actually.” Our poor baby. I almost laughed out loud through my tears. Her little grown-up words coming from her sweet baby face. We love this girl so much.
I can’t even describe how horrific it was to stand over her all those hours, unable to help ease her torment at all. She couldn’t bear to be touched, and she didn’t even seem to know who we were much of the time. It really was almost unbearable, and I felt such despair. Prayers for help seemed to go unheard, and I reached places of feeling abandoned by God.
I posted the following on my FB page during that agonizing ordeal:
I get frustrated at how quickly I revert to that fist-shaking version of myself during very hard times as I rail against the God who holds us.
The beautiful thing, though, about being a child of this God who loves and forgives so deeply and completely is that even when I can’t keep my eye “steadily fixed on the rainbow of promise,” He still faithfully continues to love me so, so much and teach me how to “Seek that the end of all His dispensations with [me] may be to make [me] more trusting and confiding.” He is molding me into a better version of myself even when I’m shoving his hands away and begging him to stop. He knows my heart. He knows that deep inside I long to know him better and follow him more peacefully. He knows that I really do believe, underneath all of my pain and railing, that there is no other way to find peace in the midst of such sorrow and sadness and fear and hurt as living in this world continually brings across our paths.
I am so broken. We all are. But he is the lover and healer of broken people, and I can just cuddle into his arms in all my brokenness and take deep breaths in the certainty that I am safely loved and cared for — even when I scream accusations of abandonment and lack of caring into his face. His gaze remains steadily and peacefully fixed on me, filled with love, understanding, and steadfastness, Isn’t that amazing?
Once Kathryn’s seizing finally stopped, peace filled the room, and I stayed awake the rest of the night, just watching her breathe normally and sleep peacefully.
They let her come home Friday evening, and in spite of being very tired, and although her speech and coordination are still affected, she is doing well. We will follow up with her neurologist soon about where we go from here.
Unfortunately, I missed an important treatment session during all of that, and all of my pain has returned with a fury. I’m very uncomfortable. But I’m headed back for more treatment today, and I hope to regain any lost ground quickly if we can just move forward from here without anymore interruptions.
Thanks for all of the prayers. We need them so much. This is such a long, hard season God has us in. There doesn’t seem to be any end. In the midst of all of the medical drama, we are also in very hard places financially. God is sustaining us a drop at a time, but we are praying for a significant rescue that will carry us through the rest of the year and allow us to catch our breath. Would you join us in asking for these same things?
But we want to be able to pray resolutely that, if that not be his will for us — if his good and perfect plan is to continue to sustain us one drop at a time — we will accept that. That we will even embrace that plan with joy in spite of our fatigue and pain (physical and emotional) and our heart weariness. Please pray that we will remember that our only safe place is in the shadow of God’s wings, regardless of what awaits us there.
The dogs continue to struggle. Godfrey’s UTI is still not responding even after weeks of antibiotics, and Saxon now has another serious ear infection on top of his other problems. Thanks for all of the kind words about this season of grief as we walk beside our sweet dogs and try to make some hard decisions.
Now . . . off to experience some more of this: