Today is the 4th anniversary of a new beginning for me. The beginning of God showing His faithfulness to me and that He still works miracles in ordinary people. I have Crohn's Disease, was diagnosed 11 years ago. After the birth of our twins in 2004, my body had been through a lot and my health started to decline. By 2006 I was so sick that the doctors at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville told me I would need to have a bowel resection. If I didn't have this done, and soon, I would die of malnutrition because I hadn't been able to eat solid food for a few months and was on a liquid diet, not successfully I might add.
I hadn't had surgery before except for my emergency c-section and the thought of it scared me. There was another issue. The surgeon told me there was a possibility that I would have to have a colostomy. I didn't know what a colostomy was and when the ostomy nurse came to my hospital room the day before surgery and asked if I had any questions about what would happen if I did have a colostomy I sent her away and told her that it wasn't going to be an issue with me and I wouldn't need her services. I just knew that God was going to heal me, pull out some big miracle and the doctors would all be amazed. Well, it didn't work that way. When I awoke from surgery, I found that there was this mysterious thing on my abdomen that I knew nothing about. This terrified me. I was angry, sad, any bad emotion you could have, I had it. Plus, I was away from my 20 month old twins, whom I hadn't been separated from before. The surgeon came in and told me that there was another problem. I had a bone infection in my sacrum (that's the area around the tail bone) and they needed to biopsy it to figure out how to treat it. In the coming days I saw doctors from all disciplines...infectious disease, gastro, orthopedic, neurosurgery, they came and went talking about possible treatments, but first they'd need to find out what kind of infection it was. I was in and out of tests from different types of biopsies to MRI's with and without contrast...you name it, they did it. The problem was, they couldn't get anything to grow in their cultures. The only thing they could tell me was that this infection had been there for quite some time and was very involved. I had been in excruciating back pain for a few years, but my doctors always blamed it on the Crohn's and said I would have to live with it. Now there was talk of IV antibiotics from home that would last several hours a day. I remember feeling like I had gotten pulled under the water at the beach and couldn't find the top. I was drowning and out of control, and I didn't know what to do. I tried to pray, but I felt like my prayers were on deaf ears. Where was God when I needed Him? My dear husband never left my side throughout this entire process. He was my sanity, my voice, my strength.
I thought things would get better once I was discharged from the hospital and could be with my family, hold my babies. I had been in the hospital for 2 weeks! I found that coming home allowed me to rest, but it didn't take the worry away. I felt guilty that I couldn't pick up the babies, home health came in and I wanted no part in learning how to deal with this new horrible thing protruding from my body, I sank into a deep depression. Sure, I tried to put on a happy face for those around me. I tried to pretend that everything was OK, but the truth was, I was angry. How could God let this happen to me? I had been a Christian as long as I could remember, I was faithful, I prayed regularly, I was active in church, I had people praying for me! I would not pray, refused to talk to the God that had left me. My husband would try to encourage me to pray, encourage me that he was glad the doctors had saved my life. I didn't see it that way so he would take my hand and pray aloud for the both of us. My heart wasn't in it and I just felt so bitter. There were several times when I woke up in the middle of the night only to find my dear hubby kneeling by my side of the bed, praying over me. He never gave up.
In time, I began to adjust to my new life, it no longer seemed like a prison sentence. I gained strength and was able to be more active in doing things with the babies. I returned to Mayo for an MRI and one last attempt at a biopsy, probably 6 weeks after surgery. The infectious disease doctor said that it appeared that my bone was healing itself. The inflammation had drastically reduced and they didn't want to do anything for now, except watch it. This meant no more plan of IV antibiotics for hours a day, no more unsuccessful biopsies, just MRI's to watch and see. A month later I returned to Mayo for another MRI. Again, the doctor said that she was amazed at the results. The infection was almost totally resolved and she had never seen a bone heal itself like this. She leaned in and quietly said, "I don't know what you believe in, but only by the grace of God was this possible." I had renewed hope, maybe God knew what He was doing after all. There were other doctors who tried to give some scientific explanation as to why this infection could resolve without treatment, the neurosurgeon even tried to say that perhaps there never was an infection. I know though, that my God is big and although I don't know the plan, He has it all in control. God performed a miracle in my body. He healed me just as Jesus touched people and healed them in the Bible. In the appointments and tests that followed, I always pictured Jesus there with me, putting his hand on me to comfort me.
I learned to live with the colostomy and decided that it wasn't the worst thing in the world to have happened to me. It was through this that I learned that I am stronger than I ever thought. I also learned that God is always faithful to His people. We just don't always understand it at the time. In 2008 I had a series of surgeries to have the colostomy reversed and was reconnected, good as new. I still have Crohn's, that will not change as there is no cure. But I know that God walks with me every day and He helps me through the difficult times.
Thank you God for showing me that you have a plan for me even in the hard times. Thank you for helping to me endure these hard times and to see that on the other side of things, I wouldn't have learned those important lessons of your mercy and faithfulness. Thank you for teaching me that healing comes in many forms and for healing my body and my soul!