Several folks have been asking me where did you go? I haven’t seen you write in a while. Well…. I got sick. It happens. I didn’t want to glorify it by telling everyone I was ill. I do however, want to take a moment to Glory God in all His glory!!! Here’s what happened in short….
A bit over two years ago, my legs started giving out on me. I would be walking and one of my legs would literally just go limp. I fell just about everywhere I would go. I’m not one to easily embarrass, but it was getting to that level. This went on for several months. After a couple weeks, my chest started hurting and I was very short of breathe – to add to the leg issue. The doctor sent me for blood tests and said I don’t know. Blood test came back fine, so she had me wear a heart monitor. That reading was fine; just a heart murmur was found. No big deal.
This was the beginning of test after tests. I had so many blood tests that I became friend with the local vampire in the imaging department. We would laugh and joke and she would say, “Why are you back…again?” I would laugh back and she would jab my arm and take my blood.
The doctor still couldn’t figure anything out, and I had new symptoms. I began to have a pain under my last left rib. That pain was very very hard to handle. It was sharp. cramping, and relentless. They sent me for an ultra sound. The ultra sound revealed a cyst on my right adrenal gland/kidney area. I got a bit nervy and them decided I didn’t care about that cyst; I just wanted the pain to go away under my left rib.
After the rests were read by radiology, (10 days) I was sent for an MRI to see if the cyst was benign. At this point, I’m like, “Hello!! I have a pain under my left rib that is unbearable… Can anyone hear me?” But doctors were only concerned about the cyst. After the MRI, it took another 10 days for the report to be read by the radiologist. We were told the cyst is safely benign. They were very proud of themself. but I was still screaming, “Hey, you guys!!!!!! I gots a big ole pain on my left side and it HURTS!”
So next the Doctor says, maybe you need to poop. ???? What? for 6 months? You think I haven’t pooped in 6 months? For real? Then he said, I am sending you for a colonoscopy. I’m like okay. So that was scheduled….. 3 months out. I’m in horrible pain at this point and they have offered no relief. Maybe because I didn’t ask for anything for the pain? I don’t know. But anyway, the saga continues: I met the coolest GI doctor in the world (in my opinion). We did the colonoscopy and he gave me a fist bump when I woke up. He said nothing there. He suggested an endoscopy. Another 3 months to get that scheduled. (Insurance had to approve each visit and each procedure before they could be completed.)
After the endoscopy, the coolest GI doctor ever didn’t give me a fist bump. He had concern on his face. He said that my esophagus was not closing like it should. In fact, it wasn’t closing at all. She the acid reflux and all that was causing part of my discomfort. I had significant erosion in my throat due to the acid and because my esophagus was w-i-d-e open, my free-loading stomach decided to move into it (rent free) and become a squatter. My stomach had been living in my esophagus so long, it was going to be hard to evict! The coolest GI doc ever decided that was probably my sever pain. He also couldn’t believe the family doctors hadn’t given me anything for pain. He was even more shocked that I was walking around all willie nillie with all that pain.
So, he referred me to a surgeon. More wait time for the appointment and approval from insurance. I finally meet this fine gentlemen who would do the surgery. He said I was a text book case. I was like, “Cool, you know how to fix the pain!” He said yep! But first insurance required a couple of test before they would approve the surgery. I had to go eat radioactive oatmeal and lay on a table for an hour & half while my stomach cramped and hurt. Then they gave me a shot that made the pain horrendous. Next we waited for Radiology to give the report. (10 more days).
They decided I have gastroparesis. Ahhhh! Another muscle that isn’t flexing as it should. I saw a pattern. The Doctors. not so much. Anyway, the next test was the marshmellow-bagel test. This test was annoying. They had me drink radioactive barium and then made me eat a marshmellow. They then laid the table flat, the then tilted it so I was standing on my head. Next, they brought me upright and made me eat several pieces of bagel. Then they laid me flat and then stood me on my head. I had to stay in that position for a minute or longer. After the test, they shook my hand and said the radiologist would ready the results and get them to the doctor (in 10 days).
At this point, so much time had passed. I felt like it would never go away. I was worried that this was it’ I was dying and they were too caught up in red tape of processes and procedures to help me. But, that’s enough of the true self-pity I went through. The next step was getting back with the surgeon. He scheduled surgery to do a nissan fundoplication. In layman terms: he was to pull my stomach out of my esophagus, then wrap my stomach around my esophagus and stich it together. They told me the recovery portion would be much worse than the procedure itself. I asked if it would eliminate the pain under my ribs on the left side. They said most likely, yes. So, I said DO IT.
We had to wait about 3 months to get the surgery scheduled. There would be 2 surgeons to work around schedules plus the hospital to have the surgical room. I had the surgery November 11, 2022. The recovery part was a beast, but then I began to feel amazing!!! I proclaimed the goodness of God to everyone. I wanted to whole world to know how great I felt. But in late February 2023, the pain came back.
There were many complications associated with the surgery. But I truly believed it was all worth it because the pain had subsided. Now that the pain is back, I am in an awkward place. Adventures were very few and far between over the last 2 1/2 years. But I haven’t lost faith. The Lord gave me a revelation in 2 Corinthians chapter 12:7-10.
This is the scripture where Paul the Apostle is speaking about the “Thorn” in his side. It doesn’t matter what you believe the “thorn” is. What matters is that it was there…in his side… he said it was a torment and he begged God 3 times to remove it. Read it here in the Passion translation: 7 The extraordinary level of the revelations I’ve received is no reason for anyone to exalt me. For this is why a thorn in my flesh was given to me, the Adversary’s messenger sent to harass me, keeping me from becoming arrogant. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to relieve me of this. 9 But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” ….and this is where most people stop when they quote or refer to this scripture. It isn’t finished here though!! Here is the rest of verse 8: So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.
Wait, what? He asked for that thorn to be gone and the Lord said no, so Paul says he will “Celebrate” his thorn or weakness!! Yay! Celebrate good times, come on!! So instead of pretending that he was “okay” and not complaining with this torturous thorn in his side – he chose to celebrate it daily!!!! CELEBRATE.
Okay, just to be certain, let’s look at another translation.. Here is the New King James Version: 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Praise God!! In this translation he is boasting in his weakness or illness. I don’t know about you, but when I BOAST, I tell EVERYONE I meet. I BRAG, I am PROUD. I am HAPPY.
Okay. one last translation. Let’s see what the ESV says about it: 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So, I still have this enormous pain on my left side under my ribs. It came back and it’s pretty rough some days. But I will not hide it because I am in full time ministry now. I will BOAST about it. I will celebrate that I am soooo special to God, that he chose me to endure this for His Glory.
So that’s where I’ve been in this reality and in my headspace. Soon I’ll share the adventure of North Florida with you. It’s a good one. Stay tuned.