Two weeks ago, I got a new hip. This will be my 3rd joint replacement. The avascular necrosis (deadening of bone tissue at the joint) the culprit. Most likely a side effect of the steroids I received during chemo and as treatment for my HLH. It’s questionable that the HLH itself may have affected my bones. I suppose the origin of the disease doesn’t matter so much. What does matter is that it hurts, leaves me weaker and affects my quality of life. But is it deadly? No. Not by itself.
My first hip replacement occurred, if you remember Slimming and more toned after living without a hip for 18 months. And it was no less than a complete success. I was doing more, being more, recovering more than anyone could have hoped for. Until about 12 months ago, after doing yoga, I experienced an extreme pain in my right hip. “What did you do?” I was asked over and over. “Nothing.” I wasn’t boogie boarding, skiing or riding rollercoasters. With joint disease as severe as mine, it takes nothing to break a bone. So that’s what I had done- nothing. Knowing the idiocy of insurance, I knew that explanation would not be good enough. I went through months of painful physical therapy so that am mri would be approved and eventually a visit with a surgeon. My hopes of continuing recovery were pinned to that visit. That I would be able to grasp a hold of the normalcy I was beginning to have. That I would be offered a simple solution to a known problem.
Those hopes were soon dashed.
In my mind it seemed simple. Broken hip = hip replacement. That part is easy. But HLH, BMT, DVT, PE in BG KY? Not so easy. A 15 minute conversation with the surgeon who had been recommended to me yielded a phrase that would stick with me for 15 months. “You are not suffering enough.” No surgery. Not locally anyways. While words that he spoke did not immediately sting, their lingering effects cut my psyche to the core.
I could address the coarseness of the chosen phrasing. For I am quoting, not paraphrasing. The insensitivity of it. Lacking compassion from those who are suppose to be trained in it. (There that’s done.) But I have also chosen those words in some form. I am not without guilt. I have chosen what I thought was the best solution for both myself and the person I am treating. He did his best. I’ve done my best. I hope those that feel I have not heard their cries forgive me.
The focus of my world became the word suffering. Had I not lost my hair, my job, my spleen? Lived in a world of chemotherapy, uncertainty and sadness? What part of suffering had I not done? How could I justify myself to the world? When would I feel that it had been enough? I tried to swallow the anxiety that these thoughts gave me. But my throat was full and the thoughts choking.
Then God told me, in no uncertain terms, “I did not make you to suffer. Suffering was never part of my plan and you are here in Boston to make it stop. I understand you. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. I have helped you find the solution over and over. Trust me.”
This conversation came after an anaphylactic reaction and an evening in the ER.
He knows how to get your attention.
I’m here to tell you today. You are not made to suffer. And you are certainly not alone.
Proverbs 3: 5-6. Lean in. He is waiting.