Earlier this week I wrote about a health scare I've had recently. And I've learned a lesson with that post...I shoulda...like, really...told my family BEFORE posting! Oops. I just about gave my dear ones a panic attack and for that, I am so sad. The truth is, I thought I'd make phone calls that morning, but the day got away from me. I goofed, so let that be a lesson to you, bloggy friends! Call first. Write later.
The issue has been walking. Sigh. My poor mother. With her severe rheumatoid arthritis, she would have been able to relate too well to this. I am forever grateful she never had to know I would experience a taste of what she endured for years. On more days than I'll admit it has been hard to get out of bed, even to comfort a crying wee one.
It started last March with a 10K race in Charleston. An injury I never recovered from. Alarms sounding in my head with each month that something was amiss. But with a three and one year old, who has time to slow down?
It wasn't until the past few months that I couldn't ignore the pain, go for walks, or wear shoes that could be considered a smidge fashionable. The pain spread from my feet to my hips and hands. Doctor's visits, steroid shots, x-rays, a brace...nothing seemed to fix me.
A month ago a rheumatologist met with me and said I showed signs of lupus...and rheumatoid arthritis, which is believed, in some cases, to be inherited. And despite my best God's Girl prayers?
No, not fear for myself. For my husband. Because I know the personal courage, dedication and sacrifice my stepfather Jim gave in devoting himself to the "for worse" part of his marriage. God love Him. Seven children, about a bazillion jobs, working toward his doctorate, a thriving practice...and did I mention the SEVEN children??? Always with a smile and optimism. But you know, it had to be tough.
Fear. For my baby girls. Because I want desperately to be a well mother for them. To be able to go to plays. Graduations. Weddings. Paris. I mean, listen, we are already well aware we will be the OLD parents in the bleachers...but I'd still like to be up and about, you know? Traveling the world. Seeing the day when stroppy teens become human again. Best friends.
Fear. Because if you never had the gift of meeting my mother then you don't know: she did "sick" ...well. With dignity. Even on her worst days? She conducted herself with grace. Would I be able to do the same under duress? Could I show kindness and true compassion for others while my body rebelled against itself? I wondered silently, tormented...how God? What if I fail? How can I even begin to live a life that lends itself to a testimony resembling hers?
My words trickled to a stop. Numb. They just wouldn't come, despite deadlines for guest posts, writing teams and critique groups. I began to question whether God had really called me to write? Did I have something to say? Was my faith so small that I only wanted Him to take the best parts of me?
Lately....lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking. And stretching. You see, the stretching is good for my muscles that ache so much at the end of the day. When I begin, there is a tautness. It hurts to stretch as I get rid of the day's tension and stress.
But as I continue? Relief. I am quiet. Centered. Peace filled. Pain free, even.
My message today? Lean in. Lean in, friend.
When life hurts.
When it is full of uncertainty.
Lean in, because God has something to say to each of our hearts. It may be scary and painful to take that first step...but if we listen intently...quietly...intentionally, then He can bless us. And while we are listening? Let Him. Let Him use all the best and worst parts of us.
In the end? It's not confirmed, but based on bloodwork, I believe I have osteoarthritis. It is degenerative but I am relieved that it will not attack my immune system and organs. I meet with the doctor this Friday and would love your prayers as I learn what I can do to manage the pain.
In the meantime, may God bless your family this day. If there is a prayer I can pray for you, please leave a request in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org
In His Name,