Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Winning the Battle, Continuing the War

Today I made progress towards home! I had another dressing change, and thankfully, it was not as bad this time. The wound is already showing signs of healing, and is a little bit smaller! Still have a very long way to go, but it's exciting to see positive progress. (Gross alert) They packed the wound a little differently this time - they actually want the tissue to attach to the packing this time. That way, when they pull out the packing, the new tissue will be torn. This will be much more painful for me, but is supposed to stimulate faster healing. And I'm all for faster healing, even if it means pain in the short term.

I also talked to a urologist (another gross alert)... Of course, I only can have embarrassing health problems, haha. I've continued to have bladder issues, and they were really bad over the weekend. I basically have a lot of trouble going to the bathroom. An ultrasound today showed that when I do go, I'm not able to actually empty out all the way. This may mean that the nerves down there are damaged from my past surgeries, or I may have scar tissue messing things up. We are going to trial a medicine and then decide whether or not to pursue further testing to figure out what exactly is going on. This isn't a new problem, and it's not at the level that is dangerous to my kidneys or anything, so I may well decide to do nothing, to be honest. ;)

Dr. Saturday thought I could go home tomorrow, most likely! I am very excited. I am a little worried about pain management at home. I'm definitely sore from the surgery, but it's not bad at all. The trouble is that my muscles are really hurting off and on, and I'm still having occasional twinges of the abdominal pain. When I've been on the strong meds here in the hospital, managing my chronic pain with the pills (which I took before I had surgery) is sometimes a challenge. I had such relief from pain for the first few days after surgery... it was so great. I wish it had stayed like that, but I guess God has other plans.

Someone said something to me about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, since I'm going home soon. I don't really feel that way right now. I have several weeks ahead of me of painful dressing changes and dealing with the woundVAC, and, unless God chooses to heal me, life-long continued battles against painful autoimmune disease and the after-effects of the invasive surgeries I've been through. I'm not saying this because I'm overwhelmed or upset or depressed or worrying about the future. I just want to emphasize that I may have won this battle, but the war is not over.

It's just like in our Christian life. We are not to be worried, despite the suffering and trials we face, but we have to be constantly vigilant. Peter expresses it like this: "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith..." (I Peter 5:7-9a).

Why do we give the Lord our cares? Why do we resist the devil, and stand firm? Because of the fellowship we have with other suffering Christians:

"...knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."(verse 9b).

We also stand firm because of God's great promise to us:

"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."(verse 10).

What an amazing promise. Thank you all for the fellowship we share because of our common faith in Christ and our bond through suffering. The faith we share and the experiences we suffer through give me strength to keep fighting and to stand firm in my faith! Together we keep in mind the understanding of how temporary this is, and the help and hope God promises. What is our reaction to those promises? Peter says (and I echo):

"To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen" (verse 11).

Hannah ;)

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