What do I have to be thankful for? These past few months have been the worst period of my life. A time of despair and gloom. Thanksgiving? No thanks.
I went to the ENT in August having a hoarse voice, but otherwise feeling great. He put me on three medications that made me feel bad, and gave me reflux. He thought I had reflux already, even though my only symptom was my voice problem. Maybe he’s right. All I know was that before those medicines I felt great and after those meds, I’ve felt miserable
I tried going on and off meds. I tried switching meds. I changed my diet. Low fat. No ice cream. No cookies (Shannon’s an amazing baker). Stopped eating anything after 7:00. Propped up our bed. Got a wedge-shaped pillow. Loosened my belt and untucked my shirt. Nothing helped.
I had headaches. Reflux in my throat. Cramps in my stomach. I’ve lost 20 pounds. I’ve slept badly, waking up anxious.
I have seen 2 ENT’s, 2 GI’s, a speech therapist, a nutritionist. I visited a medical professional 2-3 times a week. I had a colonoscopy, and endoscopy and a mole removed twice (just to be safe).
Since I didn’t have enough crisis in my life, Superstorm Sandy came. We lost power for 4 days. During this time, I was supposed to have the stitches removed on my mole-removal wound. But the doctor’s office, like everyone else, had no power, so my stitch removal was delayed. During the delay, the wound got irritated, so I was put on an antibiotic. The antibiotic made my reflux worse.
And yet, despite my misery, there are still things to be thankful for.
Friends. Friends have listened. They have prayed for me and with me, spontaneously laying hands on me in classrooms and shopping mails. During our period of powerlessness, friends shared showers, meals, and even a generator. When I told author Frank Viola about my struggles, he sent me a chapter from his book, Revive Us Again, how God brings light out of dark times. Friends have sustained me.
Family. All the things I said about Friends, ditto with family. Prayer. Sympathy. Support. But my family has blessed me particularly with humor. My soul needs to laugh.
God’s word. The psalms have been my constant friend. Giving words to my thoughts, fears, hopes and prayers.
God. I’ve never been closer to God. Desperation has driven me to God.
Hope. God is healing me, slowly. My voice is better. The headaches have diminished. Sleep isn’t great, but it’s improving.
God recently gave me a light bulb. I was in my office reading and praying through Psalm 107 when my friend Tony stopped by to give me lightbulb that I needed for my lamp. I asked for the bulb a couple of weeks ago, but it was a unique bulb, so it took awhile to find. After Tony left, I looked down in my journal and read what I prayed right before Tony arrived:
Bring me out of darkness and gloom (see Psalm 107:10).
Perhaps it was just coincidence, but I don’t think so. I prayed for God to enlighten me and he sent a lightbulb through a friend. That lightbulb was a sign that God listens and wants to illuminate my life and heal me.
I’m thankful for lightbulbs.
What are you thankful for?