I stared in the mirror, tears pouring down my face as I dug around the cabinet looking for a pair of scissors. The hospital bands dug into my flesh as the pain from the gastrointestinal procedure radiated through my body.
The outpatient, simple procedure, to treat the gastroparesis (GP) disease I had suffered with for years, had not gone smoothly. Mid-procedure, the physicians had to intubate me and fully sedate me, when apparently, my body went into crisis. Now home and standing in front of the mirror, doubts bombarded my mind as to the procedure’s success as despair rolled in.
GP makes every day, every meal, every bite of food a challenge. GP is defined as a paralysis of the stomach and intestines where the person’s digestion no longer functions properly. Eating is often difficult. Pain can be a constant companion. Energy is a challenge too, due to lack of proper digestion and absorption.
But now there’s a cutting-edge, new treatment called G-POEM for patients like me. For many, G-POEM restores motility and function to enable GP patients to have a better quality of life. The outpatient procedure I had had was a forerunner, a “test drive”, to see if I am a candidate for the G-POEM surgery.
I stared in the mirror questions rolling through my mind. After 7 longs years of battling GP, would I ever get lasting relief? Would this latest procedure work? Would I qualify for the G-POEM? Did I want to face yet another surgery? Could I ever eat normal foods again? Would I ever get off the unending medications? Why did I have so much trouble with the simple outpatient procedure? The endless questions bombarded my mind as depression set in. I twisted the bands on my wrist around, especially noting the “risk of falling” band…
And I realized I was “falling” already though I was standing upright.
Would I let the pain, fear, and expectations darken my hope and faith? Would I let this current set of circumstances defeat me regardless of the outcome?
As I fought through the despair, I realized I was looking at my circumstances all wrong. Instead of placing my confidence in a particular procedure, surgery, doctors or medications, I had to get my focus back on God. I had to recall all His goodness and not focus on the suffering or doubts that wanted to cloud my mind. I quickly texted a few close friends for prayer. I knew I was not just in a physical battle, but one for my heart…
Did I believe God loved me even in the midst of my suffering? Did I believe God was a good Father—no matter what? This was the real battle…
I pulled at the bands, grabbed the scissors, and clipped them off. “Caution, risk of falling,” I read the yellow band’s words again. As I tossed the bands into the trash I thought: “No! Caution, risk of rising…” I needed my faith, hope, and trust in God to rise up. No matter what the long-term outcome was or whether or not I could have the G-POEM surgery or whether it would be successful, I needed to return to quiet trust and faith in God.
Back to bed I went to rest. This time, praise music was filling my mind and heart. Yes, I was no longer falling but rising up! Rising up with hope and confidence in God.
“Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise. Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.” (Micah 7:8)