Friday, October 19, 2007

Count it all joy...

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 1James 1:2-4 ESV

I’m struggling with “counting it all joy” these days, if I’m honest. I have once again been hospitalized for three days, weekend before last. It was the usual scenario where my family and I struggled to get the staff to realize something is truly wrong. I was in the kind of terrible pain I'd only experienced before when my ureter (the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder) was obstructed from endometriosis. And, belief me, it's a pain you never forget; the same as a kidney stone! The ER docs were kind, but a Turkish "hospitalist" came in to admit me to the hospital and his first words were, "There is no reason for your pain. In fact you should not be on any narcotics at all. I will take you off all of them and put you on Toradol (a drug similar in action to Advil, an anti-inflammatory given IV)”. Some of the medications he spoke of discontinuing were ones I’d been on for ten years because of severe chronic pain over my right kidney!

I very quickly told him I did not want him as my doctor. I told him despite multiple abnormalities which had been seen on two CT scans, he had come into my room already having decided there was nothing wrong with me. Mother went into "mother-mode" and said to this doctor, "Look, we've been dealing with Debbie's pain for twenty years now and almost every single time she’s come into the hospital you doctors disbelieve in her symptoms. Over and over we've gone through this and every single time Debbie has been shown to be seriously ill, usually with recurring endometriosis. We trust in what Debbie is saying." I was so touched by her fighting for me like that; it made me very proud to have her as my mom.

Thankfully, the pain resolved to a bearable level within about 48 hours. I was able to go home by late afternoon on Monday. Not before, however, a Doctor of Osteopath (whose bedside manner is blatantly spelled out in his name, which begins with Rud (pronounced rude)) had decided this earth-shattering pain I'd been suffering through was nothing more than a "spasm in my psoas muscle". Amazingly enough, this DO made the “psoas spasm” diagnosis despite two CT scans, an MRI and an Ultrasound showing the left kidney was hydronephrotic (which means it was bigger than it should be, as though something had been keeping the urine from empting from the kidney into the bladder. It also showed a narrowing of the ureter with dilatation above the narrowing, which would happen if there had been something pinching off the flow of the ureter, at least temporarily. Since this was exactly what had happened when my left ureter was obstructed by endometriosis ten and a half years ago, I wasn't surprised the pain was similar! They also found a mass on my right kidney. This they were concerned about and I was told to follow up with a specialist in a week or two.

I am praying hard, especially for peace about this, and doing my best to give these many worries over to my Loving Heavenly Father. I know all of this is in His tender care, but I find it hard to not be scared sometimes. When the pain starts heating up again and I’m trying hard not cry and praying hard for help to get through the worst of it, I can’t seem to stop this cycle of worries. I worry that local doctors won’t have the expertise to treat this (if it is endometriosis) because there are only ten cases of endometriosis of the kidney found world-wide in medical journals. Also, I hate the idea of having more surgery after having approximately twelve surgeries in the last twenty years. Please understand me; I don’t think I’m being faithless. I believe God deeply and intimately loves me and has only good in store for me. It’s just I’m so tired of having this awful pain day in and day out, and when the really agonizing pain occurs, I can hardly bear it.

All I can do is hold steadfast to the Truth of scripture exemplified by this verse, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” 1James 1:12 ESV Holding onto the Truth is never a bad thing.

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