“Hey baby. I was just calling to let you know I am saying prayers for you for tomorrow. I love you. You’ve been on my mind a lot, and everything is going to be just fine, I just hate that you have to go through this. But anyhow I love you and call me if you have time, if not, I totally understand. You know I’m with you. Bye baby.” This was the message I received Monday night after my shift. It was my Aunt Donna touching base with me before my 9am surgery on Tuesday. I hadn’t given the procedure much thought. I had acknowledged it with my co-workers through casual routine conversation of when we each worked again. Nurses frequently ask, “When are you back?” It’s nice to know if you’ll be working with the same team, especially if our days are scheduled in a row. You get in a groove with those you work with frequently, which can help make things go smooth. But apart from a few mentions of being absent a couple of weeks, I hadn’t really discussed this surgery.
Is it because I consider it confidential or feel it exposes my privacy? Not at all. I didn’t call and tell anyone, or make a post, because it feels, after this many surgeries, it’s just not a big deal. I assume people probably get sick of hearing about it. I’ve got oodles of scar tissue, tightness and constriction, and sometimes it seems never ending. Same song. Five hundredth verse. [Not really, but too numerous to count.] I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I have a pity party. Sometimes I get so sick of this. No matter how many years go by, one surgery takes me back to the thoughts I had as a kid. Detesting the fact I was hunched over, barely walking, feeling like an old woman. As active and mobile as I normally am, one surgery takes me back. I try to minimize the dread. I try to focus on the perks of surgery, the nap and those warm blankets. And after reminding myself about some of the health issues people are facing, these surgeries seem like a breeze.
Nevertheless, I was reminded Tuesday how blessed I am with so many people who care. By way of my Mom’s Facebook post came numerous messages, calls and texts, even a pie, cupcake and flowers from my sweet neighbor. It got me thinking… how often do we cut ourselves short of love? By keeping quiet I was cutting short the care and concern people I love wanted to show.
While there are some things I hold personally quiet, most of life I feel blessed to share. After all, life is about living, and living encompasses the people we’ve been given to share this life with, so why put up barriers? Disconnection happens when we guard ourselves and it can fade into the dangerous effects of isolation. What an opportunity for the enemy to convince someone that no one cares.
We told the kids a few days before about my surgery. We discussed the plans for the time I’d be down. Mom having surgery can be scary for kids, but they handle it well when they know there’s a plan. And I was surprised when my daughter asked if she could go with me. I had never given it any thought that she had no idea the processes involved in going in for an operation. So Brandon and I told her if it was okay with her teachers and her schoolwork, then absolutely she could go.
This time was very different for me. It’s what I would even consider special. Mothers always want to be the caretakers, the comforters, the one in control. The tables were turned for me Tuesday. My precious girl walked through the doors with me when they called my name. She sat near when the nurse started my IV, something Brooklyn had never seen before. She watched as Dr. Kirk came in to make his surgical markings. She prayed with her Dad and me before I headed out of the pre-op area. She waited those three hours of my operation and listened intently as Dr. Kirk drew explanations of the procedure. Brooklyn helped me get dressed and put my shoes on for me. She escorted me to and helped me in the car. As humbling as it was, I am grateful for the opportunity to have seen my daughter as I did the other day.
In the realities of this injury, stood the miracle of it. While twenty-six years ago my family was focusing on when it would be “over,” the reality was never. My life will never be what it would have been. Life will never be the same, but life is still good. In some ways, I think it is even better. When faced with never walking again, being able to is treasured. When weighing the chances of a fulfilling relationship, having one is gold. When accepting minimal possibility of pregnancy, children are everything. While most people don’t set their minds on mobility, marriage or children until the topics present themselves, I thought on them from the delicate age of seven. I feared I had lost everything, before I had the chance to live it. Therefore, today, it’s hard to focus on that which was lost when there’s so much that’s been given.
The focus isn’t on the scars or the pain, the repetitive surgeries or the inconvenience of recovering. For me, the gift isn’t merely about living and having survived the injury. My focus is on what I thought I’d have to live without. And both were represented and very present with me on Tuesday, the hope of a family, my husband and my child.
It is a big deal. Surgeries can be complicated. None are without risks. But what’s a bigger deal? Having the strength to face them. Having the love of my family and my friends. It’s a big deal to my heart having others concerned for me. I am filled with joy for what I’ve been given, overwhelming joy.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light.
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