Saturday, April 6, 2013

I take you

It's true, I've been away from writing for a bit. It's hard not to write: blogging now feels like my part-time job, one that I love. But with only one thing on my mind lately, I waited for the right time to write.

It’s been about six weeks since Bill and I first stepped into an orthopedic surgeon’s office. What a ride. Over the years, Bill’s walking and balance have become increasingly difficult. Walking the dog with me: too tiring. Walking through a mall or a one-mile hike: impossible. His legs just won’t move fluidly.

And so we decided to find out what's going on. The x-rays and MRI's revealed some sobering facts. Bill has a lot of arthritis up and down his spine. And while most of his pain is in his lower back, the most serious issue is in his neck, where arthritis is pressing in on his spinal cord. He also has a number of discs that need repair.

On Tuesday, April 16, Bill will undergo a two-part surgery to fix these problems. There’s no guarantee that he'll be pain-free or that he’ll regain complete mobility. But according to our surgeon, this condition is degenerative. It will only worsen, and must be addressed soon.

We’ve been told to expect three nights in the hospital, up to two weeks in a rehab facility, then home. He’ll have to wear a collar as the fusions heal and grow. No driving during that time.

Those are the basic facts of the situation. Bill is logical, methodical. I can’t know completely how he's processing this, but he definitely thinks things through. Being the deeply “feeling” one, I’m definitely experiencing a jumble of emotions.

It’s not a routine, simple surgery. Though I'm feeling a peace about it, I'm also nervous.

I’m angry at times. That we have to go through this, and that Bill doesn’t seem tuned in to what I’m going through.

Then I’m ashamed, too. That I focus on myself rather than Bill, who is the one facing the hard work of recuperation!

I’ve felt mentally exhausted. There are the what-ifs, updating friends and family, the pre-surgery details, the post-surgery care, and initially waiting for Bill to decide whether to have the surgery at all.

But I am thankful. Thankful that this is our first major health issue in all our married life. Thankful we live in a time and place that affords us accessibility to skilled surgeons and advanced medicine. Seeing the MRI was amazing! Thankful for an incredible group of family, neighbors, friends, and church family who are standing by to help. Thankful that two of our children will be here for the surgery.

I choose to trust in the Great Physician, the same God who reassured Joshua as he succeeded Moses in bringing the Israelites to Canaan. I choose to trust in God's promise that he’ll never leave us. And I choose to be strong and love the husband I took 35 years ago, in sickness and in health. And when I feel weak and scared, I’ll trust God and do the next thing, as Oswald Chambers says. Just do the next thing. (After all, feelings are so unreliable, says Elisabeth Elliot.)

As we prepare and work out some details leading up to the surgery, I will blog as I can.

Thanks for your love, prayers and support. So very thankful for you!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9


LPool said...

One foot in front of the other, one breath at a time, try not to anticipate anything before it happens...that's how you get through stuff like this. That and the fact that you have immediate family, close friends and church family to help. I'd say you have a handle on this. :)

Lisa Fowler said...

You have many folks who will surround you with love, help and support. We are just a phone call away and we will be praying for you both for the best outcome. Fred and Lisa

Karen Dawkins said...

Praying!!! Love you.

jane_ash said...

I will continue to pray for Bill's healing and well being. So glad to hear this first step is behind you.