Tomorrow I will have part two of the surgery – removing the metal bar that I’ve had in my chest since November. I read back over my posts from my diagnosis and surgery (see the links in my first sentence), and I realize how far I’ve come and how much God has taught me. I’ve told a few people that I’m actually excited about this surgery, more for what it means than the actual procedure.
On Sunday, during worship at church, I was really struck by the lyrics of the worship song “Dance Again” by Life Worship UK. You can listen to it here. The lyrics are:
Praise Him, when your heart is breaking
When your strength is almost gone
Sing out your song and praise Him, in the fire and fury
In the dark night of your soul, your God is in control
Praise Him, for His love and mercy
Praise Him, for His grace and favour
Praise Him, our God is faithful
Praise Him, He is strong and mighty
Praise Him, He is holy, holy
Praise Him, He is always in control
His love has conquered all, His love has conquered all
Your tears will dry, your heart will mend
Your scars will heal and you will dance again
And of His kingdom there will be no end, for Christ our King is coming back again
( by Matthew Hooper, Copyright © 2013 Integrity Worship Music & LIFE Worship)
As I sang those words I thought of the limitations I’ve had since the first surgery: no running, jumping or doing anything that could jostle the bar; no lifting anything over 15 lbs; limited twisting and bending; occasional chest pain when I laugh or breathe deeply; back aches as my posture changed; worry over the bar shifting, etc.
But even as I thought of that, I pictured myself teaching Zumba as I used to. Dancing, feeling alive, thanking God as I often did for giving me the health to dance. And I remembered… I will dance again. My God is faithful. His plans are far better than mine, and his timing perfect.
Looking back over my old posts from my first surgery – they act as a journal of sorts – a few things stood out to me:
- “Hopefully when I look back at this post in a week, two weeks, a month, etc. I will see some real improvements.” That post was from the end of November and I really have seen improvements… At that point, Sam had to help me lie down, and help me up. I couldn’t use my abs to pull myself up at all, and I was not allowed to “log roll.” It even hurt to raise my arms above my head and shampoo my hair. This morning, as I pulled myself out of bed and got ready for work, I remembered how much of an accomplishment that really was.
- “Was this even worth it?” A day or two after the surgery, when I was in the worst pain and my thinking was clouded by nausea, I remember moaning this. Months later, even though the bar isn’t out yet, I can see the fruit of that pain and the surgery. If nothing else, God has strengthened my faith through this and built my character. He’s taught me to trust him unconditionally, even in the “dark night of your soul.” On Sunday, my friend Rhiannon preached and delivered an encouraging and insightful message on waiting for God, called Watching Paint Dry (you can listen to it here). She mentioned Romans 5:3-4 at one point:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4, NIV)
I realized as she spoke that hope doesn’t always come first. We must persevere in order to build our character, and that in turn gives us hope. In that painful time after my surgery I couldn’t see how God was going to use all of this – I only felt pain – but God showed me how to hand every day and circumstance over to him and persevere.
- Another small thing I mentioned before was noticing the weight of the bar. I said it felt like my cell phone was sitting on my chest. Now, 9 months later, I don’t notice the weight at all. I’m hoping that means I’ll feel light and free once it’s removed. And I’m praying that my lung capacity will improve as well without that pesky bar in the way!
So, I’m about to go to bed. When I wake up, I’ll begin all of the typical pre-op procedures. Please pray for my surgery, my recovery (anesthesia and I don’t get along), and my doctors and nurses. Also please pray for my at-home nurse over the next few days (his name is Sam… and I hear he’s pretty cute). Thank you so much for your prayers – over this whole journey – and I’ll update you again after I’ve recovered.