Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Back Surgery Metaphors for the Christian Life, Part 2

My neurosurgeon, Dr Seyed. Emadian, is one of the best in the nation, but he practices medicine in my small rural town. He also prays with his patients. My Holy Physician is also dependable and reliable and can guide my surgeon’s hands and mind.

This surgery, 2 PLIFs to fuse the L3/4 and the L4/5, is pretty gruesome, but after seeing the MRI results (Yea!), it was obvious something needed to happen. It looked like the L-4 had been bombed. leaving an inky blot behind. The vertebrae were shifting on top of the extruding disc into the spinal cord area, creating the look of a bone spur,

Wait is a 4-letter word. Wait, wait, wait! I had 2 surgery dates: May 25 or May 31. Once again I was waiting for insurance approval. That approval came in time to do surgery on May 25. Praise the Lord.

However, time slowed as the pain marked the minutes. Yet as the time grew near to surgery, part of my brain began to scream NO! Three months in a back brace?  Rescheduling all the summer appointments? No trip to Maryland to care for two grandsons? Summer disappeared into a black hole. Everything done to diagnose the problem … led to three months reconnecting the fibers, nerves, muscles, and bones. Only God could heal my back.

On the morning of surgery, fear invaded. What if something went wrong? I trusted God and Dr. Emadian implicitly. What if the pain after surgery was worse than before? My spine could not stay the way it was. So I walked to the registration desk (all that pre-surgery testing done yesterday) and said, “I’m here to volunteer for back surgery.” The nurse looked at me as though I’d lost my mind and said, “Good. We don’t get enough volunteers for that.”

Did I mention I live in Tennessee? I truly volunteered because it was time to surrender all my fears and pain to the miraculous work only He could do.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Back Surgery Metaphors of the Christian Life

My journey toward reconstructive back surgery began years before 2016. Cortisone shots in my lower back reduced the pain and inflammation, but they were temporary measures, never fixing the big picture. After air travel alone in January and again in February, after slinging computer bags into the overhead bins and pulling bags from the baggage carousel, it was clear that something was wrong.

As a fibromyalgia sufferer, it’s sometimes hard to know if pain is more than just a spike in ‘regular’ pain.  For a while I dismissed the pain in my hips, lower back, buttocks. My right quad would go numb when standing for too long. Tingles would cascade down my legs. When I woke on March 9 with a massive muscle spasm from my lower back to behind my knee, my husband said, “Now will you go to the doctor?”

So I did, finally. After yet another cortisone shot in my left lower back and an x-ray showing a ‘bone spur’ on the L4 vertebra in the lumbar region, the physician’s assistant requested an MRI from the insurance company. If you follow me on Blasting News, you’ve read that story.

How is all of this a metaphor for the Christian Life?

First, you can’t go about changing a problem until you realize you have a problem. As non-Christians, we all must come to the conclusion that something is wrong in our lives. All the Tylenol Extra Strength doses would never fix the cause of my pain. Once I knew that the pain had a specific cause, I knew I had to fix it. Sin in our lives, yes even Christians sin, can never be repaired without the Holy Physician’s help. Only He can remove our sin as far as the east is from the west. Until He excises my sin problem, my constant missteps without Him, I continue to stumble and fail to live a life focused on Him instead of dwelling on myself.