Worst Best Days

So, I haven’t shared much about my current health issues, but the other day when someone I knew had to do a double take when they saw me in Wal-Mart I figured it was time. hah. 

I haven’t shared much because… 

1-I’m pretty much an introvert and don’t want to solicit a pity party or plea for help. This is not that. I try to keep it between me & the Lord, leaning on Him (because He gets me and my messy hair bun and yoga pants.) But lately I have definitely needed more help and prayer, and so I have been asked for updates, which I appreciate. To those that have prayed for me, and to those who have helped with our kids or our work, you know who you are, thank you!

2. I also haven’t shared because I have a really complicated health issue dealing with my pancreas & ducts, a body part not many people are familiar with, unless they have diabetes. Nope, it can’t just be taken out: I asked them that back in 2013, when I had my 1st bout of pancreatitis. The symptoms are not easy to explain: it can be intermittent, it can be constant, it causes less than glorious GI issues, the pain level can’t be described without a cuss word, the nausea is morning sickness x10, and my problems can’t even be treated by local docs because “it’s complicated”. So it can be disheartening to even chat about & I dont want to burden anyone. And that is the story of my life: if I can put on a smile I will, so no one else has to worry. 

3. I also haven’t shared because I have been a crappy friend. You can take that literally or however you see fit. I just havent been in touch or involved in things because any ounce, and it has only come in ounces these days, of energy I have had I have given to my kids and husband. I hope that can be understood. Plus, I am sorry I just can’t do small talk about 1st world problems when in pain & nauseous right now. Your pedicure looks great, I just don’t care a flying flip. See crappy friend. 

4. Now. This is where it goes from you reading “just a blog post about a pancreas” to “hello!”.  I also haven’t shared, and this is mostly why, because at some point a scarlett letter was placed on me by a friend, intentionally or not, that said I was damaged goods.  Here comes a really long run on sentence (I am sorry, Mrs. Boggart)…. I was told, in not so many words, probably well intentioned but still not appropriate, that my life circumstances/ personal relational issues that I was dealing with several months ago were the reason I was sick and with that, came their spiritual critique that I didn’t have enough faith or forgiveness or the right emotions to be healed. All of a sudden my scarlett letter and cranky panky (pancreas) became a reminder that my healing was dependant on how perfect my faith was or was not. The devil is a liar. But when you are weak (sick) you can begin to believe the lies and it really weighed heavy on me. Don’t get me wrong, there is a spiritual component to any illness, mine included, and there is a very real spirit of infirmity, and we are all in a battle not against just flesh and blood. But you either stand with me and fight with your sword drawn beside me or you can grab your holier than thou crown & walk away. It took distancing myself, and time in the word, to realize that I don’t need anyone on a pseodopower trip to tell me when/why/or how I will be healed. I believe the Lord is my physician-the author and perfector of my faith. I believe “by His stripes I am healed.” There are no conditions in that promise. 

And this, not my health, is what drove me to write this post in the first place…

Whatever storm you are in, whatever the reason may be that keeps you from sharing it with others, just know that…

We get sick. We get down. We get broke. We get lost. We get lonely. We get rejected. We get emotional. We get hurt.

And that is ok. That is life. It’s not just you. And it does not define you.  You don’t have to wear it like bad mom jeans. You don’t have to accept any label. 

And all those things? They STILL have to bow to our Lord. Still, they have no power over us. Even when the diagnoses is bad, even when we are in the red, even when we no longer get the invitations, and even when we feel we have had enough. Still, His grace is enough. Still He is our healer. Still He is our provider. Still He is our source, our comfortor, our protector. 

So that was my intro to the original question “how are you feeling?” that I keep getting asked. Hah. Truth is, I feel amazing. I feel fearfully and wonderfully made. I feel ready to fight this. Because when I am weak, He is strong. 

A little background. I have had health issues for what seems like all my life. But I was healed by the Lord of autoimmune issues back in 2015. Just recently, starting last May, I had some fainting, dizzy spells. I was deficient in vitamin D & B, and my blood sugars were a little off, but I managed. Then in September I started having pain that sent me to the hospital with acute pancreatitis. I can’t explain pancreatitis so I put a link below so if you are interested you can learn more! This is required reading for my bff. 

http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/digestive-disorders/pancreatitis/acute-pancreatitis

Just when I felt mostly recovered, I had acute pancreatitis again in early December. I have had 5 cat scans, 2 ultrasounds, 2 endoscopic ultrasounds, 2 ERCPs, 1 X-ray and 1 MRI (mrcp) since September. Pretty sure I glow in the dark. And I know I am funding several doctor’s cruise vacations. All that and my doctors still couldn’t easily figure out why my pancreas is “digesting” itself & why my liver enzymes are extremely elevated. My pancreas is acting like it’s in a 70 year old badly dressed alcoholic, which I am not. LOL. They had to go in to take a peek, and when they did, they decided to cut my pancreatic ducts to relieve the pressure they are under & to put stents in place to hopefully help. Thankfully there were no tumors or signs of autoimmune pancreatitis. 

I had another procedure in San Antonio on Monday.  I’m home now. Yes, that was a quick hospital visit, thankfully not a longer stay like last time. My doctor, who is wonderful & is a pancreas expert, actually decided to do very little at this time because the stent & surgery they did on my pancreas/ducts last time didn’t go as we had hoped. It caused several issues, but most concerning was it led to me having pancreatitis and pain for the last 6 weeks that has left me barely able to function. It’s hard to explain that while, yes, I am often in excruciating pain, I cannot take medications by mouth because it triggers worse pancreatic pain. I also can’t eat without pain so have been on a mostly liquid diet. I have been pretty miserable with 24/7 pain & nausea, and all that goes with it, to the point I can’t even drive. This week my doctor didn’t want to make it worse at the moment. So on Monday the stent was removed, we talked about home healthcare, & discussed what procedure we could try next time (in 6-8 weeks). For now my doctor said I could watch & wait at home, with my local doctors, to see how I feel. We need to see if this procedure aggravated pancreatitis again, but he agreed that if that happens I could at least be admitted to a local hospital closer to home. We watch & wait, And that’s my update. 

So here I am … unfiltered, with no make up on, looking more like a patient than a hot mama, to say that sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we face trials. Sometimes it’s not pretty. Sometimes we don’t share because of all-the-reasons. But we have this promise that our God is in control. With that, we can know that on our best days He is here for us, and on our worst best days He is still here for us. 

I’m not sure what type of suffering this verse intended to cover, but I like to think it includes my cranky pancreas and what you may be going through too. 

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 in NIV version) 

He is there when we sit & wonder, there when we ask how people can hurt us, there when we doubt, there when we ask how can these bills get paid, there when we try it on our own, there when we question how can we rebuild our dreams, there when we ask for healing, there when we ask how can it be. He has not forgotten us, He is there. He scoops us up each day with mercies new every morning. His grace is sufficient. It’s enough on the Best Days & it’s enough on the Worst Best Days. 

I love this quote: “God is stronger than any struggle you will ever face. Call on the Savior and let your weakness display his power!”-women of joy. What faith & confidence like a child we can choose daily. Through our struggle His power will be on display. And that’s what I hope you get from my story…. that you will walk through your storm knowing that through the process He is building our confidence, character and hope. Whatever we are going through, we are going through it.  

Lord, My prayer is that on our worst best days that we will use this test and turn it into a testimony. Thank you for these opportunities to display Your power through our weakness. May we feel the peaceful, blessed assurance that You have not forgotten us. Show us how to be brave, leaning on Your promises on our worst best days. And give us hope to see the better best days are coming soon.  Remind us that sometimes it’s the worst best days today that truly draw us closer to you, so that we can share our best days with others. Thank you for blessing us & using us more than we ever could have imagined. And most importantly, may we never forget on our Best Day, that we still need You just as desperately as we did on our Worst Best Day. Amen.

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