Exchanging hearts

I had hit rock bottom. Depression had taken over my life again after being freed from it after 25 years. Chronic pain in my back and hip with no end in sight. I compromised standards and boundaries God had given me and had fallen into old habits that were hurting me and those I loved. I felt so guilty and ashamed that I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to God. I weighed my options, do I walk away from God, my church, my friends and just give into the darkness or do I finally surrender it all to God, like I told him I would, and live? Well…I chose to live! I surrendered every circumstance, every mistake, every worry to God. I chose not to live by my emotions or to live by my circumstances, but to live for Jesus. Now, with this decision did my situation change? Absolutely not! My heart changed though, it was as if something just finally clicked, my heart hit the reset button. I ran to God instead of away from him. I asked for forgiveness and cried out to him for help. He forgave me, not because I deserved it, but because God offers us perfect love. When we come to him with a true apology and heart for change, he listens and provides us a way out from our troubles. My full trust is now in God where it belongs, my foundation is in him. No matter what circumstances or storms come, I know that God will take care of me.

This heart change and my surrender to God were definitely tested very quickly. My circumstances began to get even worse. The physical pain is at an all time high, I am having new pain. My lower back below my original back injury is giving me trouble now. I have nerve damage from the original injury, but this was getting worse. Most days I have very little feeling in my feet and sometimes up my legs. My hip surgery date is still yet to be determined since hurting it in march 2015. I was also informed by my work, that after 14 years of service, they may end up terminating me after my long term disability runs out. My finances are cut in half and now I may not even have a job to go back to because of the limitations they feel I will have. I feel stuck in almost every area of my life due to either finances or physical ability. I am still fighting the depression each day, especially on those days I can’t function or get out of bed due to pain. BUT my trust is not in these circumstances, it is in God. I didn’t let these new things that were added to my storm stop me from believing the good things that God has promised me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel worried, or sad, or angry, or any of those emotions that are in this season of life, but I have hope. A hope that only God can give me, which allows me to not live my life by these feelings.

June 2016 I received a call from a pain clinic, I had been waiting to hear from them for about 6 months. I honestly felt nervous to see them, I figured they would just offer me was drugs to cope. I have been doing each day with no meds which is a personal decision due to addiction concerns and not wanting to numb my mind, as I had done in my past. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to have a meeting with the Doctor to see what he had to say. He looked over the MRI of my back injury and told me straight away that it was not repairable. Also, that he would not even address my hip since I would be having surgery for it. I knew these things already so was not surprised by this. He told me he wanted to perform some tests on my back because he was wanting to see if he could give me better quality of life and some relief. What!? I had lived with this since 2012 and had never received anything to help other than pain meds, so I was overwhelmed and confused at what I had been missing out on. He wanted to perform a facet block and an SI injection, he said that if either of these tests came with positive results he could help me out. I was so excited! I went in and had these done in July 2016, only a month after our consultation. These tests were incredibly painful, and as he was performing the SI injection and taking x-rays he discovered a new injury. Turns out that my hip and back had worked together to create a new injury in my SI joints, there are gaps where there should be none. Double the size of what would be considered ok. I knew something wasn’t right, but was shocked that I now had a third injury to deal with. I was frustrated, devastated, and remember thinking a lot of those ugly thoughts. I decided to throw myself a pity party as I had done in the past, although this time there was a guest. A guest that was the life of the party, who overshadowed all of it. God was the centre and the party quickly ended. When God is your foundation, you find yourself having an unexplainable peace even though your circumstances don’t line up with it. A peace beyond all understanding. So I refocused and continued to trust God.

I discussed the options with the Doctor. He informed me that because the facet block was not successful that there was no relief to be had in my original back injury. I thought, ‘Ok, thats alright. I did years of physio to get it where it was manageable, so I can do that again once my hip is fixed.’ So we talked about the new injury. He said there were two options. Radio-frequency Neurotomy(burning the nerve endings up and down my SI joints) which if successful would be repeated every year to continue to give me relief OR Prolotherapy, a one time fix with a 95 percent success rate which essentially “glues” it back into place. Well no brainer, obviously, the one time fix please! Well, turns out the one time fix is not covered by the government and was way beyond my financial means. Once again, I needed to trust God. After all, I was so incredibly blessed to even have options, many don’t. I opted to try the free ‘temporary bandaid’ of Radio-frequency Neurotomy. I figured take the relief I could have for a year and spend that time to financially figure out how to afford the permanent fix. So in August 2016 I went in for my minor surgery to get the nerve endings in my SI joints burnt off. It was a very painful process that I was at least partially sedated for. During recovery I was given pain meds that were very much necessary, as it was more pain then could be tolerated. It took me about 3 weeks to recover from the worst of it. The results of this surgery aren’t known for 6 weeks, I had no relief but knew there was still time for this to happen. I was back to my “normal pain” so it was time to give up the pain meds. I found this to be one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. My mind and heart fought hard! Usually you go off of pain meds when your pain gets better, and here I am going back into chronic pain. I looked to God to find that unexplainable peace he provides, and as always, he provided it. I gave them up. After a few more weeks the results were clear, the procedure was NOT a success. What now? In the next part of my story I will bring you up to date on where I am in this journey, and how God can do the impossible.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Tall Jen

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