As I write this post, the breeze coming through the car window is cool this morning, but the sun warms my face as I wait and pray. I’ve been walking around the medical building that is bordered by bright spring flowers and tall trees. Walking and praying for my man. Somewhere inside that building, he’s getting ready for his second procedure. The nurses are asking him questions, prepping him, and rolling his gurney into the surgery area where they’ll inject his veins with a drug that heavily sedates him. And then the procedure will begin.
If you are a new reader here, you may not know that my husband is partially paralyzed due to a rare neurological disease (you can read some of that story by clicking here). Neurosarcocidosis has damaged his spinal cord and left him with significant nerve pain and horrific muscle spasms. The injury to his spinal cord developed into CRPS (a serious condition that some refer to as the “suicide disease” because of the unbearable pain that patients endure and the hopelessness it produces).
His suffering is brutal to watch.
The doctor who has walked much of this journey with us recommended a “spinal sympathetic nerve block” series of injections. Today is the second one in the series of three. The first was last week, and the last will be next week. So today, marks the middle of this treatment journey.
I was very encouraged after the first one, the day after, he actually had a brief reprieve from the pain and I shared that with you in a post last Saturday morning. But, by that afternoon, the muscle spasms and nerve burning returned with a vengeance. And each day since, it seems like his body has been punishing him. The muscle spasms contort his left leg—it looks like it could rip away from his body at times, while he endures the excruciating force of its pull.
If it is this traumatic to view his suffering, I can’t imagine what it is to actually be inside his body and experience that level of pain.
On Tuesday night, I just had to go to the closet to get alone to cry and pray. It is so hard to watch him suffer, so hard to see this much pain—to see it continue for such a long, hard season. When it continues for such an extended period of time, it almost feels scary to hope for relief. But, after a long cry and honest conversation with the Father, I came out of that closet with a renewed determination to continue asking, and hoping, for relief and healing.
It’s good to go to the prayer closet when things get too hard to keep standing upright.
The doctor said we shouldn’t expect improvement until after the third injection, but in all honesty, every day since his illness first started I’ve been hopeful for improvement, for relief from the pain, for complete healing. Every day.
Every day, I’m hit with memories of my strong, healthy, athletic man. And I miss him. And I hurt for him. I ache to see him relieved of this heavy burden of torturous pain.
LeRoy started this morning, just as he does every morning. With great effort and difficulty, he drags himself to his recliner—after giving me a tender “Good morning” greeting. He bows his head to spend some moments in prayer before I hand him his first cup of coffee, and then he opens the Word. He begins every day the exact same way—whether in agonizing pain or not—worshiping the Savior that we love and depend on day by day.
We know, and understand well, that this world is groaning. This world is filled with sorrow and suffering, and today, many are grieving great losses. Jesus told us to expect this kind of thing, to not be surprised by it. But with that ominous word, He also gave the clear instruction for us to “take courage” (John 16:33). Because of His work on the cross, because of the assurance and comfort of His abiding presence, we can take courage knowing that He has overcome. He overcame death. He took our punishment on Himself—and walked out of the tomb a risen and living Savior.
A risen Savior is reason enough to take courage.
At this point, I need to interrupt my own post and explain that I wrote this post yesterday, while sitting in the car waiting for the phone call from the surgery center telling me they were ready for me to pick him up. He was groggy and half awake, as the masked nurse wheeled him out, and helped me transfer him to the car seat for the drive home. Thus, I had no time to actually post this blog on the website yesterday, but rather than deleting it or starting over with a new post . . . I’m just putting it out there for you as it is, hope it makes sense.
For those of you who are still praying for us, I want you to know that your prayers matter.
We are extremely encouraged by every comment, every mention of prayer support, every kind word sent our way. We are grateful for your prayers and we know that they matter.
Today may not be the day that the pain stops. Today may not be the day that all our prayers are answered. But today, we will take courage—for today, we know that our risen Savior has conquered death, His Spirit is with us, and one day, He will return to remove all pain, all suffering, all tears.
One day. It will be a new day—the old will pass away. And how I long for that day!