Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2012 By The Numbers

Okay... so it's been a REALLY long time since I've posted. I'm sorry. Bad health plus broken computer plus low motivation resulted in blog silence! Now I'm back, and I'll even try to catch my faithful readers up with all the "exciting" health things that happened in November and December (including about a dozen doctor's appointments, several adrenal crises, an ambulance ride, a 10 day hospitalization, a couple ER trips, a promising new treatment that's decreasing my pain, and a few weeks of remission!).... BUT, now it's time for the infamous (albeit a bit late) By The Numbers blog post!

10 Doctors involved in my care this year (not counting hospital doctors)
4 ER visits
2 Ambulance rides
54 days spent in the hospital (a new record...not a good one!)
4 PICC lines
1 Surgery (but it was a doozy!)
10 daily meds (down from like 15+ in May)
36 self injections (of blood thinners, methotrexate, and steroids)
25 days of being NPO (Nil Per Os, nothing to eat or drink by mouth)
5 Adrenal Crises
50 pounds gained (curse you, high dose steroids/Lyrica/effexor/who knows what)
5 Costco-sized buckets of animal crackers consumed (possibly related to the above number?)
2 NG tubes
7 months with open wounds (Jan - March with the wound on my backside, May-September with the wound by Squirt)
1 new diagnosis - POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
30,000 dollars worth of medical bills forgiven
15,000 dollars raised by friends and strangers alike on the Help4Hannah website

Countless needle sticks, X rays, ultrasounds, trips to the pharmacy. liters of IV fluids, sleepless nights, visitors to my hospital room(s), cards received, words of encouragement, bags of pretzel M&Ms consumed, prayers sent to heaven on my behalf...

This year has been, without a doubt, the hardest year of my life... and that's saying something, as the last several years have been anything but a cakewalk. In late May, I hit rock-bottom... and then continued to sink lower ever day for quite some time. I had never been so low for so long without relief. I will not pretend that my attitude was perfect or even very good at many points (it was more like, "God, I know You are good, and I trust You...  so, what do you want from me? What do I have to do so that You will make this pain stop?"), but I never once doubted that God was in control, and that He was still good.

We don't always get to see the reason why things happen to us. But I think God gave me a little glimpse into the "why" as a special gift of grace. While this year was the most painful on record, it was also the year of my life when I've experienced the most blessing and witnessed the most amazing miracles. I have never known another person who has received as much support, love, and care as I receive. My church body is constantly contacting me through text, email, visits, letter, facebook messages to let me know that they are praying for me and my family. My pain got under control again. I faced what seemed to be insurmountable hospital bills as my insurance maxed out. Through my friend Dennis' Help4Hannah website creation, God provided an ASTOUNDING $15,000 in donations for my medical bills. The hospital and others forgave me of over $30,000 worth of bills. I never would have seen the mind-blowing generosity and the miraculous provision of the Lord without first having gone through the ickiness of the epic hospital stay.

It took some time for me to process (and it's still a work in progress) all that has happened to me this year. I had to take what I know to be true about God and make it fit with what I saw happening to me. Some days, it didn't seem to add up. The main thing that I learned was that intense suffering does not mean that God has forgotten you. Jesus, God's own Son, endured great temptation after 40 days of fasting. He endured humanness for over 30 years. And, of course, He endured the cross. Does that mean that God did not love or care for Jesus? No, of course not! The fact that Jesus suffered also means that we have a special fellowship with Him when we experience sufferings (Philippians 3:10 - "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.").

While my life currently consists of lots of sickness, lots of time in bed, lots of pills and shots, and lots of doctor's appointments, I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I just want God to be glorified by my life, and it would be foolish of me to think that He'd be more glorified if I were an ordinary, healthy 25 year old who was able to work full-time and go through life normally. Just look at what God has done this year - He's brought me from a place of intense pain to a place where I am much more physically comfortable. He's delivered me out of several years of malnutrition and being underweight to where I am now - having to watch my weight, since I can eat more and have more of an appetite than I have in years! He's provided thousands of dollars for my medical costs. He's provided the support and love and care of my loving family and literally hundreds of people... I could go on and on. No matter what 2013 holds (and I have NO idea, and I don't even really want to try to guess!), may I never lose this sense of wonder and awe at the greatness of my God.

Hannah ;)

See previous By The Numbers posts: