12.05.2014

It Is Well

About three weeks ago, I got a phone call from a new rheumatologist I'd seen. The phone call consisted of so.many.feelings. but initially started with some fantastic news: my autoimmune arthritis is in REMISSION! (!!!!!!!) For those who have followed my blog for any extended length of time, you know this huge, huge news!

About 9 months ago, I wrote a post titled Look Out Autoimmune Arthritis which depicted some of the things racing through my mind as I started a new self-injectable medication called Enbrel in hopes of finally reaching remission. That post was (and is) arguably the most pivotal point in my journey to remission because it's the day that I decided I COULD do it with the help of an awesome Savior. It's the day that I recognized I was already doing it.

In the same phone call, however, (and what felt like the same breath to me) my rheumatologist informed me that the MRI we'd done a week prior revealed some not-so-celebratory findings. While all my inflammation levels seemed to be at a normal level, there was an area of abnormal soft tissue growth in my right ankle. Images of my right hip joint also revealed a torn labrum and an angry socket causing the severity of pain/swelling I've been experiencing the past two months.

I left school for three days, saw the specialists I needed to, sat through more scans, and discovered that the abnormal soft tissue growth in my ankle was also present in my hip. Because the masses of tissue are tucked in the back corner of my joints, they must be surgically removed and biopsied to get a better idea of what exactly the masses are and why they are present. The labrum in my hip needs to be surgically repaired, my growth plates need to be readjusted, and the bone that fits into my hip socket has to be shaved down to stop inflammation and the pinching of the muscle. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, another chronic condition that causes widespread muscle pain in the nerve endings throughout the body.

Over Thanksgiving break, I got cortisone injections into both of the joints affected to confirm that the pain was coming directly from the joints and alleviate some of the pain/swelling I've been dealing with. (i.e. not being able to wear socks or jeans) The procedures were uncomfortable, scary, and the side effects following them left me feeling pretty crap-tastic for the remainder of my time off. And you know, if I'm being brutally honest, that pissed me off.


I could not even begin to count how many times I've laid awake at night wrestling with anger and confusion and anxiety over the pain I've felt the past five years. I don't understand why or how chronic illness is real. Oh, how real it is. I don't know why God chose others. I don't know why God chose me. Some days, I'm really just in awe that I'm still here.

As I was talking to my roommate about all of this the other night, I remembered back to a time when I was 10. My family had just lost our home in a house fire and as I was laying in a bunk bed in my aunt and uncle's basement. I distinctly remember thinking, "Well, at least that's out of the way!" as if God only handed out one trial per person/per life or something. I know it sounds foolish, but I've gone through so much of my life with that mentality. Every time I've encountered a life altering obstacle since that night, "SURELY this is it!" has crossed my mind more times than I'd like to admit. Over and over and yet over again. After sharing this with my roommate, she said to me: 
"Well you have seen it for yourself, Kenz. There are people who just keep going through stuff. You have to take time to process it because it's a big deal. Until we are in Heaven, stuff on this Earth WILL keep happening...and if it's not happening to us, it will be happening to others. That's why we are so blessed that we believe in a God who is more than all the pain and suffering in this world combined..."
She said a lot more after that. Important words - wise, wise words...but I was so stuck on and blown away by what she had just said that I had to press the pause button and just sit in the presence of that truth for a moment...
"That's why we are so blessed that we believe in a God who is more than all the pain and suffering in this world combined."
And that's precisely it...that's the point I've been missing for so long. You see, it will not just be well when I am perfectly healthy and it will not just be well when I've endured my share of struggles here on earth. It will be well LONG before either of those things ever even BEGIN to happen because God is infinitely more powerful than it all.

Once I sat with that truth and just kind of let those words slap me in the face a bit, I literally FELT the animosity and resentment I've had towards my failing health for the past five years begin to fall away. And even though I'm facing some daunting things right now, I feel ready to endure them. Not because I am unafraid, have a handle on the pain/exhaustion that comes along with chronic pain, or even because I'm going to have a solid 3 weeks on bed rest to binge watch my favorite TV shows...but because {in the perfect world} whether I would've chosen this part of the journey or not, it's here and it's happening according to God's plan no matter how I decide to embrace it.

The truth is this: God didn't leave Rahab in her sin and He didn't leave Jeremiah in his depression. He didn't leave Sarah in her impatience and He didn't leave Noah in his drunkenness. He didn't leave Abraham in his faithlessness and He didn't leave Jesus on the cross. He's not about to leave us, either.


God has proven time and time again that He is there in the midst of it all...and so? Through it all, no matter what that looks like or just how terrifying that might be...it is WELL with me.

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11 comments:

Amanda aka Manda said...

Oh boy did I NEED this, this morning! You always remind me of Him and His unfailing love just when I need it! I hate that you are going through all this, but remember you are not alone! I'll be praying for you through it all! Love you sweet friend!

Rachel Ginger said...

I love this post so much! I have rheumatoid arthritis and take Enbrel as well. It took a long time for someone to tell me what was wrong, and after about a year and a half with no medication or idea of what I had going on, I was diagnosed and given Enbrel. Im so sorry about the sad news you received, but am so happy and excited that your arthritis is in remission!!! You are so strong and I will definitely be praying for you!

Thank you for writing this. It's easy to forget just how much power autoimmune diseases have over your body (unfortunately), and a reminder is always good. But I also know that God can heal and the hope in that far outweighs anything else!

You go, girl!

- Rachel Ginger
www.happilyeverginger.com

The Grits Blog said...

You have no idea how much this post touched me. Lately it seems like every victory comes with a loss- putting that in a faith perspective is so true -and gives so much peace. Sending you many prayers girl.

Rebecca Jo said...

How wise you are sweet one.
In this world, we will have troubles... it's never ending... we all need that insight to know God is with us all, giving us strength to tackle it all.

Kate Mitchell said...

You are so incredible! I feel such a mix of emotions for you right now. I'm THRILLED that you're in remission - and to be completely honest, this has kindled the small spark of hope that remission might happen to me one day, too. My doctors have tiptoed around remission because if it does happen it will be very far away. But if you can go through all this and still reach remission, I can too.

I'm also sad that even though you're in remission you have some other joint/tissue problems and that you have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed with it in August 2011 (1 year after my arthritis diagnosis) and I know how you probably felt receiving that diagnosis and how it feels to deal with it every day.

But Jesus and God love us so much and He will not leave us in this, as you said. My great-grandmother embroidered this that hangs in our house: "Let nothing disturb you. All things are passing. God never changes."

Sarah @ Seriously, Sarah? said...

Congratulations! I love this post. I've been stuck at home in my recliner all week, due to pain this week. Thank you for this uplifting post!

Kayla MKOY said...

First of all yay about the remission! That huge!!!!! Second, I'm so sorry to hear the news about the rest. Sheesh! You've been through a lot these past few years, and your faith has done nothing but grow. So proud of your attitude and you will be in my prayers, sweet girl!!!!!!!!

heckyeshotmess said...

You write amazing things and share such great emotional truth!

I'm glad to hear about your remission! It is a great feeling regarding that.

I hope your surgery goes well and a good recovery! Take your time and let your body heal!

Fibro is a pain in itself. I learn to live with BioFreeze & Icepacks and lots of rest!

Take care of you!

- Manda

Jen said...

SO amazing!!!!! :) Hugs and love!

Elle Sees said...

congrats on the remission and you're still in my prayers.

Laura Beth said...

WE MUST MEET IN REAL LIFE FOR COFFEE OR WATER OR NOTHING BUT CHATTING!!! << as you can tell I'm super serious about this ;-) … I just love your spirit and heart and all the strength you have, God wouldn't have put you though this if He knew you couldn't do it, But you CAN. You have faith WAY larger than a mustard seed and He knew that, and He knew that through you more people would come to know Him!! xo