Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Pain in The Neck, Fear, and Being Hemmed In

I awakened one recent morning in pain, a familiar pain between my shoulder blade and spinal column. I thought, with my vast storehouse of medical wisdom, that I just needed some muscle relaxers and it would go away. It's worked before; it will work again, right?


I graduated to what I call "The Nightmarish Night of Vicodin". I would take one, fall into an uncomfortable sleep for a couple of hours, then awaken to pain that seemed to be increasing. At 6 a.m., after spending most of the night on the couch trying not to wake John (who was recovering from knee surgery), I collapsed on him in a sobbing heap of frustration because I just couldn't escape the increasingly unbearable pain. (We are quite the fun couple these days!) 

That prompted my sweet doctor to prescribe a med for nerve pain (that worked and is still working, thankfully), a steroid  (that didn't help, but made me very happy and chatty), and an MRI. The results of the MRI led me to a neurosurgeon and will soon lead to surgery because my neck is a mess! Actually, one of the biggest concerns is that the tricep on my left side is not working properly and the fingers on my left hand have lost sensitivity--some of them can't feel pinpricks anymore. Weird, huh? Evidently, if you don't get that fixed you could suffer permanent loss of function.

When I saw the neurosurgeon the first time, he naturally went over the results of the first MRI with us. In addition to the bulging discs and intervertebral foraminal stenosis, I also had a mysterious white spot in my spinal cord. He ordered another MRI, this time with contrast dye to rule out a tumor and he was also concerned I might have multiple sclerosis. I was under the impression that those were the only two options, that "everything is fine" was not anything I would ever hear. He had his nurse set up an MRI and an office visit on his next day in the office...five days away.

Can I just say: that was brutal! It felt like an awful sort of Sophie's Choice. Did I want a tumor that may need to be removed from within my spinal cord, possibly leaving me paralyzed for life, or did I want a chronic condition with unexpected twists and turns? 

As we waited for the day of the MRI to arrive, the verses that kept coming to my mind were from Psalm 139. As a mom to kids with special needs, these are familiar verses to me: 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. Psalm 139:14-16 

Those are always the verses applied to kids born with things like Down syndrome, and appropriately so, I believe.

The verses of that Psalm that I particularly thought of, however, were 5-6a: 

You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me...

I picture God, my Heavenly Father, surrounding me. Of course, He is always there, isn't He? Still, at certain moments it is wonderful to think of Him as more vividly present, in front of us, around us, behind us, letting nothing into our lives that isn't in accordance with His will for us. It is wonderful to know that for my good and His glory, He brought me to a place where I truly thought my health would be permanently affected and I could be placed into deep dependence on those around me...on Him. 

Yet through those days my greatest comfort came from verse five as I heard God speaking to my frightened heart over and over: 

Jill...I've got your back.

And so He does. The spot turned out to be nothing, but even had it been something I would still know He hems me in, behind and before, because nothing could tear God, our beautifully protective Father, away from us. 

He's got your back, too. 

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

I'm glad to hear everything turned out OK. Hope your neck is feeling better. He really does hold us in His hand.