June 22, 2011

Acknowledging the Miracle

I lay on the table, looking over at the IV needle ready to carry a course of dye through my abdomen.

How did I get here?

It all started with a simple bug bite on my calf, or so I thought.  The "bite" became an angry rash that would ease for a few days only to return with a vengeance. I tried lotions and creams, everything I could think of to avoid going to the doctor.

Six weeks later came other, seemingly unrelated, symptoms. I went to see my family doctor, suspecting a nuisance infection that antibiotics should have cleared up in a few days. The symptoms didn't subside. Knots formed in the lymph nodes at the top of my left thigh. Just rising from a chair sent waves of pain through my body. I went to see the doctor who delivered CJ and has seen me through numerous surgeries since. She was immediately concerned. The infection from my leg had apparently traveled through my bloodstream. She ordered a battery of tests.

I spent the remainder of the day being poked and prodded, giving blood and drinking some sweet syrup concoction to help the radiologist see my insides. And see them, he did. He asked my doctor if I'd had a trauma of some kind, because my blood vessels were so swollen. The infection was mounting a serious assault against my body.

Three antibiotics later, the infection was gone but the symptoms remained. Every day for 3 months, I'd been suffering from these miserable symptoms and was not getting any better. My attitude, my family, and my life were all seriously impacted by my health. Frustrated, I went to see yet another doctor for one last round of testing. He could find nothing, and suggested a shot of prednisone might give some temporary relief. I refused, feeling that residual internal swelling might be causing the symptoms. He agreed that waiting another six weeks might be wise.

After the appointment, I thought about a blog post I'd read, Eating to Heal the Body. I went back to Kelly's account of her healing after a kidney transplant.  I've been concentrating on eating real food for the past year, but I hadn't done any research on eating for healing.Convinced I was right in my diagnosis, I began incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods in my diet. Within two days, my symptoms began to subside.

That was two weeks ago. I still have symptoms, but they are not as frequent or as intense. I have had many days with no symptoms at all. After three long, excruciating and frustrating months, I am finally feeling better. I am slowly finding my way back to my life.

If I hadn't ignored the rash and hoped it would simply go away, I would have saved myself a lot of pain, frustration, and money. I truly needed medical attention and avoiding it was not wise. However, avoiding a steroid injection was. There are times when perhaps we know our bodies better than the doctors. Before agreeing to a treatment we're not comfortable with, we should consider if there are suitable natural alternatives available.

I am thankful for the doctors, lab technicians, and radiology technicians who worked together to diagnose my infection. I am thankful for the antibiotics that defended my body. I am thankful for pain relievers that helped me make it through some rough days.

More than that, I'm grateful for the Lord's healing. He also could have healed me immediately, yet in His sovereignty He chose not to. When the doctors didn't know what to do, He prompted me to seek other avenues. Certainly, he could have healed me with modern medicine. It would have been no less a miracle.

Why do we look for God only in the miraculous? Why do we associate God's activity in our lives with a spectacular disappearance of a medically documented tumor but are not as ready to acknowledge the same in its reduction over time through radiation or surgery? Is God not as much the healer when a wound recovers gradually through various human means as when he miraculously intervenes? ~ Michael Horton, A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering (p. 91)


Carrie said...

Oh my goodness! That's a rather frightening journey - and yes, a miracle in the recovery.

Yowee. That's all I can think to say. That and I'm very glad that you are alright!

The Tidy Brown Wren said...

I'm so glad you are on the road to healing and feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa,

God bless you, sister! God promises to acknowledge us when we acknowledge Him!

I really liked that part you quoted from Horton's book, too. He's so grounded in reality, and his take widened my thinking about Providence and how God uses everything. No magical thinking there...I believe God wants us to employ common sense by healthy & wise eating, making informed decisions medically speaking, and to pay attention to the red flags when we don't like the "sound" of a certain drug or therapy regime. He is Lord over all, including the medical profession.

Diana Lovegrove said...

Oh Melissa, I had NO idea you were going through such a tough time. So glad you are feeling so much better now. Thank you for repeating that section from Horton's book. It is so true, I often overlook God's working through the "ordinary", I need to hear this reminder to look for His work in the normal, everyday ways that He looks after us.

Bless you, Melissa, I thank God with you that He has healed you.

Trisha said...

What a trial, Melissa! I pray you'll know increasing strength each day and love Him more and more for the many mercies He's poured out on you. Hugs!

Nikole Hahn said...

I loved that quote at the end. It's so true. We attribute the most thanksgiving for the quicker healing without realizing what God may have in mind by a slower healing. I'm glad you are feeling better!

Leah in Iowa said...

I had no idea, girl! Glad you're on the other side of it now. Wow - the lessons just keep on coming, don't they?

Hugs to you!