I received some troubling news last week after receiving the results of an MRI last week.
I have had three back surgeries since 2009 at the L5/S1 level. For those of you that don’t know the levels of the spine, this is in the lower back. “L” stands for lumbar, and “S” stands for sacral. This is a troublesome area of the spine for many people out there, and I was unlucky enough to be one of them. It all started with a herniated disc in 2009. My first two surgeries failed, and I ended up with two broken screws in my back – scary, I know! The third surgery was a “success” in that the bones fused successfully, but the pain never went away.
I deal with chronic pain. I am in some degree of pain every day. However, I try not to let it stop me. I have been told from the beginning that walking is the best thing I can do for my back, and I have tried to do this; however, I have become a little slack over the past few months. I have also been in physical therapy which seems to help, too.
About two months ago, a couple of toes in my right foot went numb. Around that same time, I began to have constant foot cramps which were quite painful and an increased level of pain in my lower back. My physical therapist worked with me twice a week, but the symptoms never improved. I even tried Gatorade and bananas as we thought there might be a possibility that I was dehydrated. However, that didn’t work either.
The MRI results showed that I now have degenerative disc disease in the two levels above my surgery sight. This wasn’t a complete surprise since I was repeatedly told by the doctors that the surgery puts more strain on the levels above it which could lead to future problems. Even so, I was quite depressed when I found this out, and for a day, I didn’t even feel like getting out of bed.
When I woke up the next morning, I was still quite depressed. I thought about things for a few minutes, and then I decided to pick up my Bible. I desperately needed something…anything…to lift my spirits. I have been reading 2 Corinthians, so I continued to read where I left off. Amazingly enough, , I read about Paul’s “thorn in his side”:
To keep me from becoming conceited…there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12: 7-9 (NIV)
I realized that God will not allow anything to happen to me that I won’t be able to handle without His grace! How wonderful! He was reminding me that all things happen for a reason, and I have to trust in Him. My soul felt lighter and happier knowing that God is right here with me as I walk through this storm. I also learned that whenever I feel down or discouraged, all I have to do is pick up the Holy Bible, and God will surely comfort me.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 (NIV)