I don’t enjoy the majority of sports. They just seem silly to me. People chasing a ball around or pummeling each other seems barbaric to me. Don’t get me started on NASCAR. While I love that my own parents get such enjoyment out of it, I still hold to the sarcastic definition of NASCAR: non-athletic sport centered around red-necks. Sorry guys, but I love you so. Basketball is the one sport that I tolerate/kind of like and that’s only because my brother played it in high school and I volunteered as our team’s official water girl (or “high quality H2O deliverer!”). Wrestling and boxing seem sadistic to me; why would you risk your life and endanger the lives of someone else’s for money? And how disturbing is it that people actually pay money to watch this game of cat and mouse? No thank you, I’ll read a book.
I just don’t get the whole point of wrestling, which is ironic considering I’m in a match myself. My opponent: Lucifer. We’ve been going round and round for twenty-seven years now. Every time in the past I’ve come out victorious thanks be to God; sure, maybe some scratches and bruises……. A trach, a ventilator…. Big things, but things I could always bounce back from. Nothing could steal my joy. I had actually grown rather prideful in this aspect. “I can handle anything he throws at me”, I’d tell myself, and I believed it too. I didn’t realize that God had carried me through every trial. On my own I am capable of nothing.
I have been having serious stomach problems for quite a while – about two years if I’m being honest. Over the past six months it’s gotten increasingly worse. Tomorrow will be two weeks I’ve been an inpatient at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I’ve had two surgeries to try to repair an open hole in my stomach which causes unimaginable pain both inside and on the surface. The last surgery I had was supposed to completely seal the hole to keep stomach contents from pouring out of me. I haven’t been able to keep food/drink or any other forms of nutrition down for weeks now. Once admitted, they discovered I was showing signs of starvation. This past Wednesday I had a central line (aka a Hickman line) successfully placed. A Hickman line can be described as a semi long-term intravenous catheter placed in the chest that can be used for IV medication administration and nutrition administration. I had a new groundbreaking surgery done last week where surgeons sewed the skin, stomach lining, and stomach muscles together to close the hole and keep stomach contents from leaking out. Though this surgery had only been done on six people before me, five had been successful and so I was hopeful. Two days after the surgery, my stomach started leaking: the surgery failed. And my world was unraveling. Nothing was working. The pain wasn’t easing. I officially felt hopeless. This pain is excruciating, and the pain medicine has made my GI tract stop working which is a whole other problem in itself. It has not helped that my regular medications are all messed up, making me highly emotional.
Normally when Satan shouts lies to me I can easily ignore them, but I’ve been through so much the past two weeks that I’m very weak in every way imaginable. My jaw’s been sore from endoscopies, I literally look like I’ve been in the ring with a champion what with all the bruises covering my body. Moving is very painful. And so when the enemy says things like “they’re missing something” or “you won’t make it through this one”, with my heart unarmed I began to believe him. Day after day, complication after complication, I was beginning to loose myself. I was crying all the time. I was loosing my joy. I was loosing my will to fight this round. And that was a very dangerous place for me to be in my position, because mental stability can make or break you when your mind is the only thing you can control.
I was in one of the darkest places I’ve ever been in, and I was scared. I tried to find blessings around me because I knew I was headed down a very slippery slope. Ultimately it wasn’t hard to find them: the floor clerk who’s a Christian (and absolutely hilarious!) stopped by to cheer me up. Then my new friend and floor custodian stopped by to make me an animal out of towels like he does every day. Then I got flowers from a dear friend. I am loved. I have a purpose. I will fight and I will win. I am stronger than I think I am because God is within me. I will make it through this.
Life is hard. It is not fair – God never said it would be. He did say He would be with us every step of the way, though. It can’t always be sunshiney outside, we need rain. It’s cold and dreary, sure, but without rain there would be no flowers, and flowers bring beauty to life. These one-on-one battles with Satan do the same thing to our lives.
I am still in the hospital. I still can’t eat. I’m still in pain. But today I got up in a wheelchair and rode around my floor. I will Lord willing go home very soon. And I will come out victorious. If you’re going through something harder than anything you’ve ever imagined, you can win too. Just don’t give up.
Much love. Please keep me in your prayers.