On Friday, Jordan drove me 200 miles to Kansas City for two specialist appointments. We met with an Oncologist (for my Mast Cell issues) in the morning, and we sped over to the cardiologist in the afternoon. After the grueling back and forth trip, totaling about seven hours of driving, we inhaled dinner and hosted a worship night at Renew.
At this point in my medical journey, I can’t think of many events that I dread more than doctors’ appointments and hospital visits. As soon as we set foot in the sterile environment of a medical building, my entire system recoils as the smell of alcohol and antiseptic assaults my system. In fact, I immediately get sick to my stomach and nearly burst in tears every time I hit the waiting room of a doctor’s office. I wish that I were isolated in my medical trauma, but unfortunately, I am not at all alone.
In the hours before sunrise this morning, after managing my five-year-old’s asthma attack, I scrolled through facebook to find a thread in one of my chronic illness groups where hundreds of members shared their medical PTSD from horrific ER experiences with one another. Many of us would rather risk our lives than even consider going through the doors of our local emergency room, even when we know that what we are experiencing is a medical emergency.
In spite of my wariness surrounding doctors and hospitals, I continue to require continued medical support. The doctors that I have recently connected with in Kansas City have been phenomenal. While many doctors here in Wichita have been unwilling to take my case because of my medical complexity, these doctors have taken me on and have committed to doing as much as they possibly can to help me sustain a higher quality of life.
In the early (and more naive) stages of my illnesses, I maintained a strong conviction that we absolutely had to dig and dig until we could get to the root of my symptoms. Surely, we could figure out exactly what is causing me to be sick, and we can fix it. Or accept it and grieve. But that was four years ago. Today, my outlook has shifted. We gained a few answers along the way, but we also gained infinitely more questions. Rather than pounding down doors and staging sit-ins until someone would give us answers and a cure, I have come to see that there might not be clear answers, and there might not be a “simple cure.”
I desperately wish it were simple, that someone could figure out the perfect test that would pinpoint the one source of all my pain and suffering. All we have are a collection of symptoms, some really crazy looking EKGs, Autonomic functioning tests, outrageous levels of cortisol, and a handful of deficiencies.
There are many more tests that we could have performed, but they tend to be costly and would not in fact change our treatment plan at this point. We continue to throw treatments and medications at my heart and malfunctioning body, and we weigh out the cost-benefit ratio of the meds. Are the side effects worse than the symptom improvement? If they are, we go back to the drawing board. Treatment is not either-or in regard to Western medicine and homeopathic approaches. Tomorrow, we will drive an hour to meet with a lady who approaches health holistically and uses natural remedies in the context of prayer and leadership of the Holy Spirit. I have encountered a handful of individuals who have found her treatments, though quite unorthodox, to be incredibly helpful. Hey, Jesus mixed spit and clay to heal a blind man (John 9), so I’m willing to try more natural remedies. I am hopeful that I can find some healing (maybe complete healing) through the methods and treatments that Connie has to offer.
Here’s the thing about being sick for a really, really long time: You become desperate, broken, and humbled. When we are desperate, broken, and humbled, we realize that we are not above even the most bizarre remedies. When I consider those individuals in the gospels who sought healing, they were flat-out-I-don’t-care-how-I-look-I-just-want-to-be-well desperate for healing. All dignity aside, I need relief and hope.
On Friday evening, after a day of conversations about powerful medications, pacemakers, biopsies, and hopeless prognosis, we rolled back into Wichita just in time to engage in our church’s monthly Friday night prayer and praise gathering. With head throbbing, heart aching, and my body entirely spent, I fell to my knees half-way through our worship night and baptized the floor with my flood of desperate tears.
A friend came up to me after the service and said that I am positioned for a miracle: Out of options, sick of being sick, and beyond desperate for relief.
I am inclined to agree with her. The stage is set. I have poured out my heart over and over again at the foot of the Healer, and I am flat out of options. I joked with her and said that the stage has been set for several years.
But, really, now something is different.
The air is heavy with expectancy, like Christmas eve in the eyes of a child. My fingers are outstretched, just millimeters from the robe of the Savior. If…….I…..could….just……stretch a bit further. I look expectantly into His eyes, and He nods, knowingly.
Come on, just say it……”Your faith has healed you.”
The faith is there. The prayers are in place. The longing is deep and agonizing. The stage is set.
Now we reach. We stretch. We keep anointing the carpet with tears. And we trust for the miracle. The perfect miracle.
I know the heart of my Healer. I know that He loves me beyond my understanding, and I know that I love Him with a love that He has placed in me.
I will trust Him because I know Him.
Here’s the thing about the perfect miracle: This is a win-win situation. Whatever form the miracle takes, I win. If the miracle does not look like my human heart envisions, I will believe that it is even better than the one I am hoping for. Because my God wants the absolute best for me, and for the lives that my life touches. I trust that He knows better than I do.
And that one day, I will understand.