What a week. What a series of weeks.
Today I feel better. This is probably the best that I have felt in 6 weeks
(disclosure: if you saw me over the holidays, you knew that I was not feeling well, however I still loved seeing you, I cherished our time together).
Last Thursday, January 15th, was a huge turning point day for me. I have wanted to write about it but have honestly been too sick to write.
At that time (last Thursday) I had been in horrific, ongoing bone pain for close to 36 hours. Nothing was helping. Leukemia causes bone pain because all of the abnormal cells have to go somewhere so they start spreading your bones apart to create space–youch!
At some point between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, I had managed to fall asleep. Thursday, out of routine, my husband woke me up at my normal waking time, 5:50. Bam! Like fingernails on a chalkboard, the bone pain screeched it’s presence. My body was shaking and feverish, every part of me hurt so badly. I stood up, walked out to our kitchen and then went back to bed.
I stayed in bed for about 3 minutes and decided to get back out of bed because the bone pain was no better lying down than standing up. I knew that I would call the doctor at 8:00. It was just after 6:00 so I only had to occupy 2 hours until his office opened.
One of my childhood friends had invited me to join their church in an online series called 21 days of prayer. It is basically a prayer service at the church that is being held for 21 days to help people get their new year started with a routine of praying in the morning. As with everything else these days, you can “attend” online by connecting onto their website. I have been “attending” and it has been a good practice for me. It starts at 7:00 my time.
So last Thursday, it was slightly past 6:00, I knew that if I could make it to 7:00 the prayer service would help me pass the time to 8:00 when the oncologist’s office would open.
From 6:00-7:00 I focused on cleaning our kitchen. I was sobbing and praying and begging God for help the entire time.
There comes a point with pain where you just stop being prideful, where ugly crying does not even matter; when you are so desperate for relief that you just pray and rock and cry and repeatedly beg for help. I actually know that from my professional days as a speech pathologist on a brain injury unit, back in my 20’s. There are nonverbal pain rating scales that healthcare professionals use based on patient behaviors. In case you have not guessed: the rocking/crying/praying/begging for help behaviors rate a person’s pain level pretty high up there. And it was, and it had been for too long.
At 7:00 I logged onto the church’s website to “attend” the prayer service online. The prayer service is not a healing service; as I wrote above, it is intended to help you get into the routine of scheduling prayer time in the morning. Each day a different speaker has given a brief devotional, using scripture and a short message. Following the devotional, the ministers set aside ~30 minutes for everyone to do their own prayer time. At the end, the leader and worship team gather for last thoughts and a final worship song. The devotionals have been relevant, inspiring and encouraging. Last Thursday the speaker was talking about faith. Again, this is not a healing series, however she used Mark 5: 25-34 as her reference scripture to demonstrate how much faith is sometimes required of us.
“And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
Oh my goodness.
Last Thursday was The Perfect morning for me to hear That passage. It was one of those moments in life when I knew that God had me where I was supposed to be; He had me in a position to hear His voice reminding me that He does remember I exist.
Needless to say, I spent my 30 minutes of prayer time, tears streaming down my face thanking God for remembering me while asking Him why I am at this verse again, after a decade of illness, after persevering Him in faith through illness. Why are we at this verse again?
I do not understand how this amazing God who reigns over so many things that matter so much more than my little life is able to do such personal things, but He does and He did.
That morning, God met me. Not only did He meet me, He knocked my socks off with His brilliance.
We have had so many people praying for us; that day, it felt like God swooped my pain-filled body up into His strong and mighty arms while He seemed to collectively answer prayers. Glorious and Brilliant God, way beyond any coincidence or experience that I can describe.
The service ended and it was 8:00 which meant that I could call the oncologist. I left a voicemail and the nurse called me back rather quickly, which does not often happen. The events of the day unfolded fast after that. The nurse had a very nice demeanor (which I desperately needed). He called me a couple of times while relaying questions and messages between the oncologist and me.
The oncologist said that the reason I was shaking so hard was because of my pain level. He changed my chemotherapy that day. My father was already scheduled to go into the city, so it worked out that he was able to go to the cancer clinic and get the things that I needed.
And my treatment changed. And while I still felt awful, rescue came, and with it, came hope. And with hope, courage came back into my spirit. Last Thursday was my turning point day.
One of my sorority sisters and lifelong friends saw my facebook post about the Bible verse that I had heard during the prayer service and she sent the most marvelous song by Sam Cooke & The Soul Stirrers to me.
The song was the icing on the cake of my turning point day. I felt like God sent me a peppy, happy tune and I was so grateful to her for not only praying for me but for sharing something fun and happy, as my family has needed peppy, fun, and happy for quite a while.
Here is the song. It is great…if you are not having a feel good day today, I hope that this song will lift your spirit, and possibly put a smile on your face.