Tuesday, March 8, 2011
If you know me, you've probably heard the story by now. Or at least pieces of it.
If you don't "know" me, you probably have no idea. And as many times as I've relived this story, it never stops getting to me. So, to kinda explain my most recent absence from blogland, I'm reliving it again. But mainly to tell you about the healing power of a magnificent God.
I recently lost almost 90 pounds. Pretty big accomplishment, and I'm pretty stinkin' happy about it. However, what no one tells you (or rather, what I didn't want to hear) is that rapid weight loss can cause gallbladder issues. So, off and on for the last six months or so, any time I would eat a greasier meal than usual, I would have stomach and back pain. I'm a quasi-nurse kind of mom, and I've known enough to diagnose myself with gallstones.
I had no idea they were going to wreak the havoc they ended up wreaking.
On Valentine's Day, we went for wings as a family, as we do every single Monday night. I went home, and my stomach was hurting mildly. I finally went to sleep and woke up at 4:00 am with pain that was becoming more and more uncomfortable. When it was time to get Abi up for school, I couldn't move. Rod got her dressed, took her to school, and came back to find my condition deteriorating rapidly. (I'm not being overly dramatic... it really was bad.) All day, I lay in bed, pain intensifying, nausea building, and so my sweet husband comes home with the ingredients to begin a gallbladder flush for me. The first step was eating boiled potatoes. I did.
Then it ALL fell apart.
I am going to spare you the not-so-lovely details of what happened next. But, suffice it to say, it was ugly and it involved a toilet and a girl on her knees. Yall, I was wishing for childbirth. Labor. A house to fall on my head. ANY pain but this pain.
At 4:00 pm, Rodrick brings Abi home. I am weeping in the fetal position in bed. My calm-as-can-be husband takes one look at me and says, "Get dressed. We're going to the hospital. Now." I will also spare you the details of the next few minutes, which involved many tears and pleading.
So, there I was. Always healthy, rarely even sick with a cold, NEVER been a patient in an emergency room in my life- sitting in triage. Then on a ER cot, IV line in place. Ultrasounds. CT scans. Endless amounts of bloodwork. The diagnosis- pancreatitis and a gallbladder four times the size it should have been. Liver enzymes and pancreatic enzymes through the roof. White blood cells elevated. Not going home for 4-5 days.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
I pouted. I cried. I bargained. I begged.
But I wasn't leaving, and that was certain.
See, this wouldn't have been as big of a deal, but most of you know, I'm on pastoral staff at our church. A week later, we were having our biggest, most anticipated event of the year- a three day ministers' conference, where men and women literally come from all over the world to attend. I would have a house FULL of people for the week, and I was scheduled to lead worship for our band (which is an awesome rock band... not the typical church band, I promise. We're tattooed, pierced, gauged ears, etc.). This was the absolute WORST time to have a health crisis. Seriously. The worst.
All week, I was in that hospital. You name the test and I had it done. They starved me for a few days, as my pancreas had to rest to heal. Then came the great news (sarcasm) that I would not be leaving unless my gallbladder was removed, and it had to be done within the next two days. (More tears and fit pitching ensued). So, Friday, February 18, my gallbladder was removed, full of stones and severely inflamed.
I got home on Saturday. On Sunday, my family talked to a family friend who is an ICU nurse, and she couldn't believe how incredibly close I was to developing sepsis with the enzymes out of control like they were. In fact, she couldn't believe I was not admitted into ICU upon my arrival.
This knowledge hit me like a ton of bricks.
Here's the deal. Every day, we are a day closer to eternity. Every breath a breath we won't retrieve. But to actually know you were possibly headed for Heaven? Well, it's sobering to say the least.
I've had alot of time to ponder in the last few weeks. I got the flu while I was healing (not recommended), and spent much time in my recliner, coughing and thinking, thinking and coughing. And I've settled on three things that I know for sure.
1. Nothing matters to me as much as my family. NOTHING. Those guys pulled me through the scariest days of my life.
2. Very few things really, really matter.
3. God is able to undo great damage, even damage caused by our own hard headedness and stupidity.
I'd like to say I grew a new gallbladder and walked out with all my organs intact. I didn't. But I walked out. And I cannot praise God enough for medical science. For doctors and nurses and technicians who were Jesus with skin on to me while I was injured and frail. Healing is healing, regardless how it comes- and anyone who tells you otherwise has never been sick enough to see this truth.
Oh, and that conference? I led worship the whole time, had 7 people in my house, and crashed like a beast after it was over. That week, I was proof the grace of God is real.
Who needs their gallbladder anyway? Geesh!