Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas, Dear Ones!

I am sitting here in my messy house, alone because the kids and Mike went to Carlsbad for 4 days, and battling the ants that are packing their nests up to move inside with the daily drenching we're experiencing with the Pineapple Express.   Instead of getting busy cleaning I am going through the cards and notes I received from you all almost two years ago when I went through my bone marrow transplant.   What a blessing to remember how much I am loved and I'm once again drawing from the encouragement as I face life with disability.

As you might have heard, I was told last week that the excruciating pain which I described as feeling like my ankles are breaking, was not an ankle sprain or fracture, but a "bone infarct" -- you have heard of myocardial infarction?  It's like that but it's in the bone -- the blood supply was cut off in the bone marrow and it died, making the bones very fragile.  It's not usually in that area (ankles or at the bottom of the leg) and is suspected to be in my hips, knees and possibly shoulder.  I have to get an MRI this week and see an orthopedic surgeon, but the news is that I cannot run or jump and that dead bone does not regenerate new bone if it's pretty far gone.  In early stages of osteonecrosis, i.e. dead bone, there would be no symptoms, and they can try to remove plugs from the bone marrow to stimulate new growth.  Ouch.  I was told by my UCLA doctor that this condition is not uncommon in his patients and is usually due to the prednisone which is why they try to get you off of it as quickly as possible.  I only wish I'd known that I should have learned to live with side effects of GVHD that deal with the skin and fatigue rather than the side effects of prednisone which are so much worse!  They never give you the details until you "need to know!"  This doctor also told me to live with the pain as long as possible before getting any joint replacements (hip, knee, etc.) because at my age I'd have to get them replaced in the future since they don't last forever.  I'll also probably be on some kind of medication to prevent more bone loss.

I had to grieve for a few days because it was the first time I had to swallow the reality that I would never run again, never return to my old self, back to the glory days of those 2 years in remission where I experienced the best health of my life.  I remember the feeling of that so well thinking then that it was like a taste of the unhindered life we'll experience in Heaven someday.  I felt completely free and energetic and alive!  Well, that must have been just a wonderful gift from God to enjoy for a season, making me crave Heaven even more because that is what it will be like.  Through the few days I was grieving, I clung to the truth of Philippians 4:6-7 which says:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I knew he'd bring me through it and restore that peace in my heart, and I told myself that even as I cried through the pain.  Sure enough within three to four days I was not only at peace about it, but over the next week the calling on my life to share the hope I have in Christ has been renewed.  He has allowed me to share in the sufferings of Christ and I want it to be used by God to bring others to His glory through it.

Now, I turn back to these wonderful cards, and would like to share some of the encouragement I received...

A friend writes that she prays the power of our God and His name will encourage me:
El Elyon - "The God Most High" He is the Sovereign God
Elohim - "The All-Powerful One, Creator"
El Roi - "The God Who Sees Me" God sees us in all our circumstances
El Shaddai - "The All-Sufficient One"
Jehovah Rapha - "The Lord Who Heals" He heals physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Jehovah Shammah - "The Lord is My Companion"
El Olam - "The Everlasting God"
Jehovah Rohi - "The Lord is My Shepherd" - God takes care of us.
Jehovah - Jireh - "The Lord will Provide"
Jehovah or YHWH - "I Am" - He never changes; His promises never fail

Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everalsting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength...those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

May God answer all the prayers that have been said for you by giving you new strength, health, and all His blessings.

Have a Merry Christmas!

No comments: