Weakness is something that I have been thinking about so much the last several months. It has taken on a whole new depth of meaning in my life during the past week. There is something incredibly humbling about admitting I am one percent weak without Christ.
Being the oldest daughter in a large family, my "role" has been that of the rock for my siblings since I was very young. Being strong wasn't an option in my mind; it was necessity. Who am I kidding: in my mind it still IS a necessity. Being weak in front of my younger siblings rips me apart. I was born with a stubborn, independent personality; this is not especially helpful when learning weakness and humility before God. Praise Him for patience and mercy and that He loves me enough to use fiery trials to teach me what I need to learn.
My amazing cousin posted this blog post yesterday. I don't feel like anything I write can hold a candle to what she worded so perfectly. You know someone is a best friend when they describe yourself better than you can. Please go read it.
So much love <3
Wednesday late afternoon I posted a Facebook status desperately requesting prayer. My pain levels had taken an agonizing turn for the worse and I was beside myself writhing in pain and nausea. The pain...I don't even know how to put it into words. I have never wanted to escape my own body so badly. I have never been so close to wanting to give up and die. My doctor tried to comfort me by telling me it was worse than having a baby...that if I could do this I could for sure have a baby naturally...that I was, in fact, having a "barium baby." The difference is that when you have a baby you get breaks between contractions; not so when having a barium baby apparently! (Another small difference is you don't actually get the reward of a baby but that's beside the point!) This went on for seven hours. I posted the special request for prayer about five hours into the anguish; within a couple hours things had settled down so much it was unbelievable. Yes, there were pain meds given; yes, I forced myself to get up and walk and walk to try to make the necessary progress. But I don't for a second believe that's what did the majority of the work in those two hours.
Before I go on, I should clarify a few things: for whoever reads this and for myself when I look back on this time and want to remember what happened and what God did. The Barium that I had to drink for the test I had on Friday is clinging to my intestines, causing major swelling and even more inflammation than my "normal" Crohn's swelling, inflammation, & constriction. My doctor said it is very rare for one's body to react so violently to it. Basically, it is "stuck" in my system and can turn to cement if it doesn't get out. The only to get it out, is walking, walking, walking and drinking, drinking, drinking and no eating. After a week with no meals except for a few on Tuesday/Wednesday (which caused major issues), I don't think I'll ever take being able to eat for granted again! They also tried a couple other things to get it out of my system (which is part of what caused the excruciating pain on Wednesday) but the bottom line is this: nothing can dissolve it. We just need to wait and pray and I need to drink and walk.
Walking is incredibly challenging not only because the gut pain skyrockets, but because my knee and ankle on my left leg have issues from previous injuries. The laying around and being shot up with all kinds of drugs and steroids has caused the inflammation, swelling, pain, pressure, etc. to become the worst it's been in months (years?). The pain in those joints has been a huge part of what's kept me up the past couple nights because the pain meds for my gut do not touch my leg. I am very thankful for ice and pillows, even if the relief they bring is very little. I called my doctor with a few questions this morning and this issue was one of them. He called in a topical cream to my pharmacy so I'm praying that'll help.
Back to Wednesday....after the pain subsided a little after 7:00, things became a little more calm. The pain levels went from a fifteen down to a five. The relief was overwhelming. The joy of seeing God answer prayer was priceless. I was finally able to fall asleep for a half hour around midnight. The rest of the night I slept in bits and pieces, getting up every hour or so. Thursday morning my doctor came in and said he would let me go HOME. I wasn't really completely ready, but he wanted me in an environment where I can sleep better and not be exposed to all the viruses in the hospital as my immune system is so weak. I was so happy to hear I could leave.
After arriving home around 4:00pm yesterday I was seriously questioning the wisdom of leaving the hospital. The stress of getting up, the drive home, etc. was almost more than I could physically handle. I tried to go to bed around 7:00 but my body wouldn't let me sleep. I finally got up for a few hours and then went back to bed a little before midnight. After a lot more tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep at some point and got at least five hours straight. PRAISE GOD!! It felt like five days compared to the rest of the week...
Today has been a challenge for sure but I am so very thankful to be home. My youngest brother & sister are such good caregivers!!! I am so humbled by their love. The other three siblings are all gone and Mom is still really struggling with her wrist injury/surgery so Josiah and Susanna are really stepping up the plate. It is an awesome thing to see them grow and mature. Okay, it's a little sad too...when did our babies become ten and almost thirteen years old?!
If I take the pain meds every five hours I can survive. I have NEVER been dependent on pain meds before and I hate it. Little miss "I have a pain tolerance the height of the sky" is learning to admit I can't do everything on my own. Oh God, I'm a slow learner...thank You for being so patient with me. For making me weak so that I can see You be strong! Thank You that You are always FOR me!
Even after the Barium is out of my system, there are still huge concerns. The fact that my body responded so violently is proof of just how bad things are in there. I am going to see a specialist in Madison later this month. My family doctor is AMAZING and has been through this whole week especially; but this is out of his league. A few weeks ago he was thinking that he could be the one to help me combine nutrition and medicine to get the Crohn's under control; after this week we know that is no longer the case. Hearing him say that if we don't get this under control I could be on IV nutrition the rest of my life? That kind of scares me. So much to trust God for right now... I'm so thankful He's given us doctors when we need them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to each and everyone who has prayed once or a hundred times. Each one means more to me than I could ever express. God is using you mightily to show me His strength and love.