I’ve always been a worrier. As a child, most family outings started with me having a nervous stomach ache. It was just a fact of life. I worried about everything. In the winter, when we’d have a fire in the family room fireplace, I would sneak back downstairs after everyone went to bed so I could keep watch to make sure our house wasn’t going to burn down. I worried about not being prepared for school on Monday mornings so I had a stomach ache every Sunday evening. You get the picture. Little Miss Worry-wart.
Those were the regular worries. I had a pretty good handle on all of those. Then in 2004, I was diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera. It’s a blood cancer that causes my red blood cells to be abnormally shaped and way too plentiful. Thus, blood that’s the consistency of a Slurpee. Sorry if that was TMI. The way this disease is treated is to have a regular phlebotomy schedule (think blood donation plus a little more) and many medications. The side effects from this disease are scary to think about, so I don’t. I do my best to follow directions and take care of myself so that those other problems don’t need to become a reality. My doctor is a knowledgeable, caring, brilliant man. He had hoped for a “long, boring illness”. It was just that for about 5 years and then I got a blood clot, in my pointer finger. No big deal to me but apparently, a huge deal for my doctor. I was hospitalized and put on another batch of pills. Problem averted but now my doctor was worried that my illness could be moving out of the boring category. He felt that I should go see a more renowned specialist for some monitoring. I had a bone marrow biopsy and went to see this medical genius with my hopes high. She was certainly brilliant. There was no doubt in my mind that she knew everything about this disease and any blood related event you could think of. She knew every standard problem that someone with this disease faces. All those smarts however must have crowded out the part of her brain and heart that hold the caring bedside manner. She had none and that’s putting it mildly. She blankly told me every negative thing that would happen to me. Not the things that Could happen but in her explanation, it Would all happen. She even gave me a timeline of when to expect to hit rock bottom. She was not polite or caring or hopeful. She was downright deadly.
Now I’m not one to hide from the truth and believe me, I had already Googled every possible angle of this disease and knew all the dire possibilities she was speaking over me. I knew them and with my doctor at home, we would be prepared if the need arose. This expert did not want to answer questions. She did not want to offer any hope. She wanted to lay it on me and go on to the next patient. After that appointment, I cried the entire 2-hour drive home. Her words left me feeling that there wasn’t going to be much of a future for me. Her words. This momentous visit brought on the first panic attacks I’d ever experienced. I was terrified of every twinge, every muscle ache, every headache, every everything. I was afraid to live.
My God does not want me to live that way. He wants me to live. Truly live. I am trying. I had to come to a point where I decided who was going to speak the truth over my life. That doctor who didn’t know me and my faith, or my God, the great healer. I would like to report that I let it all go, all the worry, all the fear about my illness, but the truth is that it’s a work in progress. I’m learning how to do that and focus on what’s going right in my life. I have dug deep into my faith and I’ve gotten excellent counseling and my doctor is more resolved than ever that my disease will be long and boring.
My point in writing this is that the enemy will take any avenue possible to derail us and to turn our lives to fear and pain. I know he thrives on that. When something comes into your life that speaks despair and hopelessness over you, don’t give in. See it for what it truly is. Know the facts, but more importantly, know your Faith. Our God is Bigger!
Psalm 30:2 Oh Lord, my God, I cried out to You for help and You healed me.