Thursday, February 4, 2010

An Opportunity for God's Glory

Wow, what an amazing journey I've been on since last September! Pretty much all of my “extra-curriculars” were stripped away, either by someone else or through my choice, as I felt God telling me to take a time of rest. I have always been involved in church service from childhood, so to sit in the congregation without any responsibilities seemed odd at first, but as time progressed I found a new depth in my relationship with God that I have never had before. I am so grateful for this time I've had with Him and even for the circumstances that brought me to place. I've learned so many things through those cirumstances and the resting time. Things that I probably could not have learned otherwise – things that busyness had distracted me from. I am certainly a better person for the journey of these few months, and so many things have changed in me. The way I see God is different, the way I see myself is different. The way I see my family and those around me is different. The way I pray and conduct myself is different. It's as though I've been born again, again. I'm not negating my original rebirth experience, nor am I saying that my relationship with God was poor before the time of rest. I'm simply saying that it all has gotten so much better. And now I'm ready to rejoin church service with renewed vigor and vitality.

One of the things that I learned during this time is that I don't need anyone but God. Don't get me wrong, I desperately want my husband, children, and family. They are the reason for so much of what I do, and I dedicate much of my life to them. But, God forbid, if one or all of them were taken away from me, as painful and difficulty as that would be, I would survive, and I would continue to serve God. This realization has given me a lot of freedom in my life. I'm free to love my husband and kids in a way I never have before. I'm free from worrying about what other people think. I'm free to be myself, the person God created me to be, without having to prove to other people that I am acceptable. And, I'm free to walk in unity with those around me. Am I perfect in all these areas yet? No, I'm still working on breaking old habits, but I always return to Christ as my center. This is a new thing for me. Christ was always a part of me, to the point that when I've tried to deny Him the past I was unable to. But now He is so much more than just a part of my life. He IS my life. My desire is to seek Him first before all else and let Him take care of the rest. My desire is to do everything that my hand finds to do for Him and not for men. So, when I'm doing laundry, making bread, changing dirty diapers, talking to friends, blogging, or singing His praises, it's ALL for His glory.

That brings me to the present. Two weeks ago I started having mild pain in my right armpit. I felt for a lump, but found nothing at first. Then Sunday came. I had fallen asleep on the couch, and my husband lovingly woke me up to go upstairs to bed (as he does most every night). I was in a lot of pain when he woke me. Before I went to bed that night I felt in my armpit again. This time I felt a lump, very deep, very hard, and very painful. Monday I called the doctor and made an appointment for Wednesday morning. I saw the LNP, who said that my lymph node was enlarged. She ordered bloodwork and an ultrasound (she orginally recommended a mammogram, which I refused). The bloodwork showed no sign of infection. On Thursday the ultrasound tech had a hard time getting a good image of the lump because it was so deep, so a CT scan was ordered for Friday. The CT came back confirming that it was my lymph node, and that it was infected. I was prescribed an antibiotic and told to check-in after 10 days to confirm that the infection was gone. The LNP also said to keep checking the area to make sure it didn't change.

In addition to the Keflex, I have also been taking garlic, echinacea, green tea extract, and 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D. For several days I was able to take a couple of ibuprofen every once in a while if the pain got too strong, but at most that was once a day. Then came this past Monday evening. Instead of receding, the lymph node got larger and the swelling spread into my upper arm and down into my chest. The pain is excruciating at times. I was having to take three ibuprofen at a time and the pain usually came back in a couple of hours. So I called the doctors office back after hours Monday, and was told to come back in on Tuesday. I saw another NP on Tuesday. She gave me Vicodin for the pain (which I try to only take at night) and referred me to a vascular surgeon, who I saw that afternoon. The surgeon said that my lymph node, which should measure at 1 cm, was measuring at 3 cm. She said that it needs to come out. The danger is that the infection could easily spread to my bloodstream, and become fatal. She also said that once the node is removed they will biopsy it. There are three possible causes for the enlargement: infection, inflammation for unknown reasons, or lymphoma. We'll find out 24-48 hours after the procedure. She did say that if lymphoma is the reason, we've caught it very early, as it hasn't spread to any other lymph nodes yet, so it should need minimal treatment in that case.

After the appointment with the surgeon I went straight to Whole Foods and got unpasteurized, unfilitered apple cidar vinegar, which I'm taking three times a day, as well as colloidal silver, which I'm also taking three times a day. I wanted to get colloidal gold, too, for the pain, but it is a little too far out of reach for our checkbook right now.

Well, as wiped out as I was from the medicine yesterday (I will NEVER take Vicodin again!), I was determined to get to church last night. I knew I needed to be surrounded by people of God, and I needed to participate in corporate worship. I solicited prayer from a few people to stand with me, because, “If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Mt 18:19-20 NLT) Needless to say, I don't want surgery. I am believing that the swelling and pain will dissipate, and I will not need to be cut open. Whatever happens in the next few days, I know there is purpose in it, because what the enemy has meant for evil, God will use for good, and He WILL be glorified.


natalie said...

So sorry you're dealing with pain and discomfort. God be with you as you deal with some scary possibilities. My little brother had a painful enlarged lymph node once, it turned out to just be Cat Scratch Fever or something like that, and he needed it drained.

Hope that you feel better soon!

Steph said...

Thanks, Natalie. God is so faithful, & the peace has been amazing! I was scared when I first found the lump, but He has given me comfort. I trust Him to take care of us.

I was asked about cat scratch fever, but, even though we have 2 cats, I can't remember the last time I was scratched. I had also thought they might just drain it, but the vascular surgeon says it needs to be removed because of it's size.

Thanks so much for your prayers! Blessings!