Friday, November 6, 2015

Why we should journal

I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more I realize how important it is for me to journal about God's faithfulness and answered prayers. Otherwise, I end up very much like the Israelites - experiencing God's blessings one day and then forgetting them the next when things get tough.

Some people know about the pain I've been experiencing for the past year and others don't. It's a long story and kind of complicated, but I'll boil it down to sciatic / SI joint / piriformis spasming and pain. It keeps me from sitting (normally) for more than an hour at a time and gets progressively worse throughout the day. I'm at my best first thing in the morning after my body has had a night to relax and the muscles have calmed down.

Needless to say, not being able to sit comfortably for more than an hour at a time leads to some challenges and restrictions. I've found that lounging can be tolerable for awhile, and laying down for at least an hour in the middle of the day is absolutely necessary to get through the afternoon.

Throughout the past year as the pain has increased, I've seen numerous doctors and physical therapists. Each one has had something different to say (muscle spasms, hamstring insertion inflammation, loosey-goosey joints that lead to instability, hip over-rotated forward, piriformis syndrome, and many others). I've brainstormed for hours how to describe the pain. I've had my share of injuries, but this time around, it's been practically impossible to come up with the right adjectives for the type(s) of pain.

Days are sometimes long. Weeks longer. I have pretty tough "skin" when it comes to pain, and can push through a lot of things, but there are days when I get down and wonder if it will ever get better. If God hears my prayers.

And then, ever so patiently and sweetly, He responds.

Earlier this year, I was referred to a doctor in Dallas who specializes in this type of pain. If you Google it, his name and papers pop up. Long story short, I called the office to make an appointment, and I could not get in until November - he only takes two of my cases per month. To be honest, I cried on the phone when the receptionist told me the news.

But...November is finally here, and I had my first appointment today. This appointment was with the PA, and then I will see the doctor in December. To begin, he told me that he is from the small town in KS where our house is located (Olathe). Small world!

We got off on the right foot because he listened to me. Not like the 5 minutes a lot of doctors spend with you. Actually, the whole appointment was about an hour and a half. After the initial verbal run-down of issues, he looked at me calmly and said he wanted to affirm the pain because he's heard it before...rarely, but he's heard it.

(Finally, a physician who understands/believes me.)

Next was the physical evaluation. He did a lot of manipulation of my leg/hip and pushing on my nerve in different spots (ouch!), asking me questions about the level and type of pain <insert any number of adjectives to try to describe said pain>.

After he wrapped up the evaluation, it was time to talk through next steps. During the conversation, he asked me if I go to church. I told him yes, that I grew up at Hunter's Glen, had most recently been going to Stonebriar, but that my husband and I were looking for a church together and that we had settled on Watermark. He looked at me with a smile and said that he and his family go to Watermark (wow!). He said he was going to research some ministries that might be a good support for me while we try to figure out this whole pain thing.

After showing me some (more) stretches to do and talking through the next few months, he paused and said "I don't get to do this very often, but based on the circumstances and our conversation, may I pray for you?"

Stunned. Just stunned. And humbled.

Tears filled my eyes as he prayed for me, for my pain, for me and Jacob. What a special moment to experience a sweet gift from God at a time when I've been feeling isolated and anxious about the future.

So, here I am, journaling about His faithfulness and remind myself in those moments when the isolation and anxiety creep back in.

Praise God.

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