He brought my special friend Nontsikelelo into my life for girl chats and giggles which have now turned into written letters and hand drawn pictures. He sent me sweet little Sisekelo for long naps/snuggles when my body needed to rest. He used my time in Swaziland to break my heart in new ways and call me to places I never thought I'd go. I know that I will return very soon and I cannot wait to experience the sheer joy of that day. Holding onto that dream alone has kept me going through all of the health trials this past year has brought me.
Today, I am embarking on another adventure...this time to spend some time at Mayo Clinic with my momma by my side. Again, I find myself a bit nervous and hurting, but still confident and hopeful that God will use this trip, too, to grow my faith and grant me some answers...this time regarding my ongoing health struggles and the debilitating pain I have been experiencing. Though it was a frustrating and exhausting process to get into the rheumatology clinic here, I can already say with certainty that it was 100% worth it.
I am willing to do absolutely anything at this point to receive answers and experience relief. With that sort of desperation, I can only pray that the doctors I see today and in the days to come will use wisdom and their best judgement to care for me in my current condition. I can only pray that this long awaited visit will give me the bravery, assurance, and motivation needed to move us forward in terms of treatment that will help me get parts of my life back. Parts of my life that this pain has robbed from me.
Endurance is a difficult skill to acquire, but I have seen God work through my pain DAILY and witnessing that has taught me much about what it means to be fully content in the midst of challenging circumstances. Those lessons are ones that I would not trade for the world.
Today, I am not bitter...but I am prepared. I am not spiteful...but I will continue to fight. Living with chronic pain for 5+ years has been a balancing act of sorts. There is a fine, fine line between being angry enough at this disease to fight against it and do what it takes to keep it controlled while focusing on who I am aside from my health struggles and the pain I experience at the same time. I hope with my whole heart that my time here at Mayo helps me to balance those things just so.
There is not always laughter and gratitude, rainbows and butterflies...but I am okay. I am resilient. I am fighting. I am slowly but surely creating my new normal, grieving the loss of what my life and body once were, and finding ways to be me in a new light.
Come what may, I am here. Living, breathing. Writing hard things. Chasing after littles who fill my heart to the brim. Enjoying community and vulnerability. Fighting.
To those encouraging and praying along with me for this weeks appointments and my time at Mayo Clinic: THANK YOU. Your support is a gift just as each day of this crazy life is. I will never, ever be able to express my gratitude fully.
Here's to adventures -- even the scary ones -- and all the life that lies ahead.