Five years ago this month, I had the incredible joy and privilege of experiencing the adventure of Colorado. I had trained for six months to be ready for a backpacking trip in Machu Picchu in Peru that was scheduled to happen in May. Going to Colorado to hike at higher elevations was the last test to see if my fitness level would be suitable for the high elevation that I would be hiking in once I got to Peru.
I had no idea that my life was going to radically change on the heels of my return home. I had other plans. I thought I would be off to Machu Picchu in a couple of weeks and experience the adventure trip of a lifetime!
Unfortunately, even as I was hiking in Colorado for a week, apparently a staph infection was sitting in my thoracic vertebrae, doing its destructive work, gnawing away at healthy bone and turning it to sponge. Remaining hidden and without overt affect on me, I have no idea how long the staph had been in my body, but by May 8th, a week after my return home from Colorado and just a week before I was due to leave for Peru, my back, chest, shoulders screamed at me in pain.
Removal of my gall bladder didn’t solve either the pain or the problem! (Of course!)
By the end of June, with no diminishment of the pain, my digestive processes on strike, and my appetite totally gone, a visit to the emergency room and a radiograph of my chest revealed the lesion on my spine.
Blood tests, MRIs, more radiographs, and a five-day stay and I was sent home with a back brace, having chosen that over surgery. I was equipped with a “pic line” and trained to administer intravenous antibiotics to myself four times a day, along with numerous other medications.
Within a week, however, when I turned over in bed, what felt like an electrical shock, went through my entire body before the “lights went out” from the chest down…I could no longer feel my legs.
A return visit to the hospital and another MRI revealed that two of my vertebrae had collapsed. Emergency surgery was now the only option.
As I laid outside of the operating room, waiting to be wheeled in for what ended up being a seven-hour surgery, requiring two neuro-surgeons, Romans 8:6 ministered to my heart. I knew I could choose what my mind would dwell on. Would I choose to think about my fear of losing the use of my legs permanently? My fear of the surgery and recovery? This was all new to me.
I chose what my mind would be fixated on. I chose the Spirit. I chose “life and peace.”
Often, we can’t choose our circumstances, but we can certainly choose our response to our circumstances. We can choose what our minds dwell on.
I knew that I needed to “take captive” my runaway thoughts and bring them under the authority of the Lord.
This was just the beginning of one of the most challenging seasons in my life…
To be continued…