3/01/2010

Lenten Journey Begins in the Mystery of Redemptive Suffering

As you can see I have not visited my blog in quite awhile. Last spring the subbing and wrapping up fulltime classes really tied me up. Shortly after school was out and I got a job and was in training all summer. In a few days I will post some other papers I wrote last semester to the blog. The best one was on Redemptive Suffering in the lives of our Saints of Darkness (John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.)

Because of the economy I had to cut back on studies to half time and find a fulltime job. I started June 8th. Shortly after graduating as a claims processor and going to the floor in September, to help those who have been in a car accident or had a tree fall on their house, our office was struck down with swine flu. Unfortunately, I caught it too. This past fall semester has been a very difficult one dealing with complications from swine flu, trying to keep up with grad studies, and working fulltime.

In October while I was in the midst of the bad bug, we received a new Bishop. Oh did that give my heart hope and pure joy. Any pain and suffering had that much more meaning and purpose. So yes I offered it up and then two weeks into the midst, our Holy Father announced out New Bishop. Paul Etienne. Our Lord was sending us our own Paul.

After the initial bug hit me, something was not right with my immune system. As some may know, I have lived with chronic health issues since childhood. Technically I live with Crohn's, Celiac, Arthritis, and Asthma. Well as you can guess by now swine flu is not a good thing to come down with.

I just know it was such a blessing for the Lord to give me the Job he did, because if I was still working as teacher or subbing, I would be much more in a hurt locker. I lived for a year without any heathcare or insurance, now I have it. I have been given an extended medical leave of absence with the assurance of a job when I have recovered.

That bug did something to my immune system, like put it into hyper over drive. Anyways when my GI specialist completed a colonoscopy shortly after the virus ravaged inside, he found that an area of scar tissue, I carried for many years, was beyond medical intervention.

So just after Christmas my parents and I found out from a very specialized surgeon down in Denver I had about 2 to 6 months before I blew. Basically a few months before I would have been life lighted. The scar tissue needed to be removed because it was falling apart like hamburger meat at a rapid pace.

So Jan 21st I had a permanent colostomy with pelvic floor rebuild. (Major, major, major surgery.) My recovery was going so well. I was at my parents in 7 days and had just completed my first follow up with my surgeon. He thought in two weeks I could go back to half days at work.

2 days later, my father and I both had an upper respiratory infection. Not good, in four days the skin around my surgery sight had rotted away on my body. VERY BAD! One of the worst complications for a Crohn’s patient happened. It had manifested itself on the outside on the body and eaten away at the skin.

So on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes; I was rushed back down to Denver and under the knife once more to save my stoma and my life. I knew I was in her hands. I was at peace through this even though I couldn't feel Christ's heart or closeness, but I could sense his work through those around me. All I could do was unite my pain with all those in need of prayer, the children in Haiti and new bishop, diocese, and those others I met who were so sick.

Then slow progress as they began medical intervention with high dose IV steroids, Humira, and 6-MP to get the Crohn's back in remission. On Ash Wednesday I was told to get ready to go home. So we were preparing to do just that, but Lent was just beginning. Suddenly my surgeon was there with two wound care nurses and suddenly I was going back to the OR. Still some dead tissue to be removed. So minutes before rushing to the OR, this beautiful deacon from the Cathedral down the street shows up in my room by my bed. Oh what a joy! The Lord was not forgetting me. That beautiful servant of God planted the biggest black cross of ashes on my forehead. As I was rolled into the OR, my surgeon let out a big roar and said, "The Man Got You!"

See through this all I had the wonderful care of a Christian Hospital at St. Luke’s in Denver across from St. Joseph. How much Christ had to be in so much control, because it is the very hospital with the one other Crohn's patient in the region already dealing with this same rare manifestation. The team of doctors already knew what needed to be done.

So ALL I ask is for prayers and keep them coming. God is working a Lenten miracle in me. For the skin that they thought was gone forever is growing back and my wound care specialists said it is because of prayer. Wow what a Lenten journey. My question though is if it is so possible to be so close to Christ in his wounds that you can't hear his heart beat? Always before when I suffered I experienced tremendous consolations, now it is just the reality of the pain. But mysteriously there is still this abiding joy in my heart, but it is not emotion. All I can do is smile, which is my Lenten journey. To not complain but to be still in joy and complete total trust that he is in control and that this is just another season. God always can make lemonade with us can't he?

1 comment:

Manjusha said...

Hi, My name is Manjusha and I'm currently a graduate student at the University of Wyoming here in Laramie. I was hoping to send you a formal message but could not find an email address. I'm interested in speaking with women that are going to deeper into religion than secular living. I would love to hear from you my email is njones14@uwyo.edu.