There are some things in life you just can’t change. Sometimes the weight of the world falls straight on your shoulders, & there is nothing you can do to relieve the heaviness. When facing deep challenges like this, I don’t know about you, but I immediately try to figure out a way to make it better. I work tirelessly in my head & heart to FORCE the pain away, or at minimum, develop a solution that will once again bring some peace.
But there are some things that just don’t go away, aren’t there?
Spina-bifida is a degenerative condition. It doesn’t get better with time, it actually gets worse. My spine is split in two, & I have no tail-bone. With that issue alone, everything below the injury is total chaos. My central nervous system is a mess, my bladder / bowl functions are so weak they require daily meds to keep healthy & these skinny chicken legs are FREEZING COLD even on the hottest days in Texas.
When I think about all of the hardships I face every minute I’m alive … Sometimes, I flip out. Just a little. 😉 What I am being pressed to do in this season, however, is to re-focus my attention on the cure, rather than the disease. By cure I don’t mean pain medications, water therapy & knee braces … I mean the only thing that truly satisfies my hurting soul & eager heart … Remembering Who God is & what He has done.
I know without a doubt there are some countries that do not offer medical expertise. They do not work with the disabled, helping them to grow in their situation & providing the opportunity to even do so. I understand I was born in a country that believes the practice of medicine is worth it, so we can try and help one another.
I know what I have & I am grateful for it.
But even though I have so much, I still (embarrassingly) want more. Sometimes I just WANT a simple answer to my complex problems. But God is reminding me that many times He won’t remove the thorn from my life, & I have to be “alright” with that. I have to FIGHT for that joy I always mention. If I don’t, I will lead a truly miserable existence.
My husband took me to Maui for our anniversary last October. One of the gifts I gave him was a snorkeling tour, off this tiny little island where the water was so clear – you could see straight to the bottom. Because my situation was sensitive, the instructors advised Edward & I to stay back while the rest of the group got in the water. I think they wanted to assist Edward in getting me in & help navigate the current.
We waited a while, but I of course became impatient & took a wrong step that would change our entire trip. I didn’t see the step, so my right knee slipped out of place, body went flying to the concrete floor & my phone LITERALLY almost fell in the ocean. It was a miracle that it hit the rail just right & bounced back to the boat… a freaking miracle.
So there I was … in this magical, perfect, only in my wildest dreams kind of moment … ruined by the limitations & hardships of my condition. And I was completely injured the remainder of the trip.
We wrapped my knee in a bandage every day, & I kept my leg straight as a board when I walked, because it was too painful to bend. As soon as we returned home, I went in to see my Orthopedist… PRAYING there would be a simple answer to this … but knowing deep in my heart, there probably wasn’t.
Dr. Ballinger examined the injury & advised my knee cap was hanging on by soft tissue only. He took his fingers, pulling the patella straight up & moving it around the area of my knee. I started to feel like a freak of nature & politely requested he get to the point. He advised he could perform a surgery to correct the issue, however, it would require detaching my tibia, straightening my leg completely & THEN correcting the patella.
We both sat there in shock. Honestly, I assumed I would be able to have the same surgery my sisters & mother had … but the doctor said it wasn’t that simple for me. It would basically require reconstructing my leg, to fix this one little problem.
That was the first time I ever saw my husband cry at an appointment. He was used to seeing my tears build up, but that day – he couldn’t hold it any longer. I think we both just felt … defeated. We were also scared to have me undergo such a major surgery to fix this & decided not to do it.
Dr. Ballinger was clearly apprehensive about the surgery stating, “you may lose more than you will gain here, Holly.” That statement alone struck concern in our hearts & we set up an appointment for a knee brace consult.
I now have my not-so-stylish knee brace & where it every single day … and … I hate it.
That is the life of disability, I’m afraid. Doing things we don’t want to do, wearing things we don’t want to wear & living this complicated existence we could ((quite frankly)) live without.
In my #fightsong there is this simple line that inspires me to see the hardships in my life, but BE okay with them.
“Prove I’m alright.”
My favorite verse in scripture is Habakuk 3:17-19 … If you have a minute, read it. I plan to write about this very scripture at the end of my #fightsong journey, but for today – I just ask you to read it.
My life isn’t perfect … sometimes it is unbearably difficult … but I have received some insane blessings along this journey, & I must thank God for those too. Ok, so I cannot have that simple knee surgery, but at least there’s a brace that will keep me aligned so I can walk. And fine, I will never know what it is to live pain-free, but at least there are doctors, medications & treatments to help me feel some relief … And you’re right, it doesn’t feel fair that I’ve been called to this suffering, but I’m starting to feel like the lucky one to know what it is to truly depend on the living God, for every single move I make.
I’m starting to see that this suffering is in fact, a gift. And I’m alright.