“Sometimes these things get worse before they get better.”
He really meant for his words to be reassuring.
I freaked out this weekend, when four weeks into my second stress fracture this year, my pain was actually increasing. I begged my doctor to see me right away, convinced I was having another one of those horrific and practically unheard-of complications that – in his office, anyway — I’m famous for. Would I need another bone graft, another surgery?
But after a bunch of tests, he thought he was giving me good news — no new complications, no surgery.
“This isn’t the same fracture you had before,” he explained. “It’s much bigger, much deeper, much worse. That’s why it’s not healing the way the other one did.”
Many times my doctor has had to say, “You’re the only patient I’ve ever seen who…” or “No one else I’ve ever treated has…” So I know he totally meant it as an encouragement when he explained it’s not unusual for this type of fracture to take a while to heal:
“One of my other patients was on crutches for – what was it — eight, nine months? It might just take that long.”
Oddly enough I didn’t find that encouraging.
Let’s see: August to September, September to October, November, December… MAY 2015???
I’ve been sitting with this thought all week. Kind of numb.
Honestly, I don’t know how to respond. I don’t know what to post on social media or here on my blog.
Of course it might not take that long. But even if it does, I’m not crushed or devastated. My faith in God isn’t destroyed. In the grand scheme of things, a broken bone – no matter how painful or slow healing – isn’t THAT big of a deal.
But I’m also not feeling very cheerful and hopeful and “victorious in Jesus.” I don’t have any happy thoughts — about anything, really.
I look at what’s ahead for me for the next four or five or six or eight months – just the added frustrations and complications of everyday life on crutches — and I kind of want to throw up.
And maybe throw a tantrum or two.
I’m all about “keeping it real” – being honest about where I am, not putting on a show, even out of an earnest desire to set a good example. But I don’t really want to whine and complain either. It won’t bless or encourage anyone else and it won’t help me.
See what I mean? What, then, can I say?
Well, how if I practice something I preach in What Women Should Know About Facing Fear?
In Chapter 7, I talk about keeping things in perspective. About remembering how much others suffer and asking, “Why NOT me?”
Yes, I live with a lot of chronic pain and illness, but nothing terminal. None of my physical injuries / disabilities have been permanent.
A lot of the issues I have, getting around on crutches, are in a very real sense “first-world problems.”
Because in third-world countries, thousands of people with broken or damaged limbs don’t have crutches, don’t have walkers or wheelchairs. They have to drag themselves on their fists and elbows through the dirt, or beg neighbors to carry them. In some cultures, people with disabilities are seen as cursed. An unwanted burden on society. Some have families who desperately want to help them but can’t. Others are abandoned and alone.
Right this moment, when I look at my fancy crutches (and I’ve acquired quite a few — in a variety of colors and patterns) I’m choosing to remind myself how blessed I am to have them, and how blessed I am to have friends and family who care for me and help me and pray for me and encourage me.
How blessed I am to know that I know that I serve LaHai Roi – “the God Who Sees Me.” (Genesis 16:13) He sees my hurt and my pain and my frustration. He has not forgotten me.
I know that any suffering I experience is not evidence I’ve been cursed or rejected or abandoned by Him – but an opportunity to draw closer to Him and experience His power in a newer, richer, deeper way.
“For my determined purpose is that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection… and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness…” (Philippians 3:10 AMP)
That’s going to be my “happy thought” for now. I think it’ll get me to a better place, eventually.