Dear God, whats wrong?
For weeks and months I had this funny feeling something was wrong. You know that feeling deep inside your bones. It’s an instinct you can’t shake but can’t find a solution for. I was smiling and going about my day on the outside, but on the inside, I was in pain and did not know what to do.
My nightly prayers felt they were not being answered. It did not seem like God was listening or guiding my step to the solution. Next step: I took my questions to my priest. The great thing about being Catholic is that we receive graces in the sacrament of reconciliation. Not only that, but the words a priest speaks can reach the very depths of your heart and soul. It’s necessary for life itself.
Honestly all I wanted was to know why I was still struggling with bits and pieces of my health (specifically my sinuses). I just wanted my immune system to kick in and kill my never ending sinus infection. It was a mystery to me. I wanted to believe that God made the body so it can heal itself when given the right tools…but why was mine struggling? I did not want to live on antibiotics for the rest of my life because I was beginning to feel very tired and run down. Why did it feel like I could never get a full breath? I was getting winded walking up the stairs to my apartment (I started thinking “am I THAT old?”)
My sinus anatomy
I knew my sinuses were very inflamed and infected and could not drain. Sinus problems haunted me since high school. I knew I could not breath through my nose. A year ago my doctor brought up the possibility that my reoccurring infections were due to an anatomical problem. The words flew past me because I was not ready to hear it. I was scared and stubborn of “giving up and giving into surgery”. God had more work to do on me obviously.
Once I moved to Colorado, the problem did not get better. But the newness of starting over was just what I needed. I was quickly led to skilled doctors, sinus specializing chiropractors, infectious disease specialists and nothing worked. I honestly was loosing hope the pain in my head would never go away. But I still held onto wanting to know and make the decisions.
The same words
When we want to control our lives, that is not good. God wants us to trust in Him.
I remember the day I saw a priest at a visiting church, he asked me if I was ok. I told him I was getting impatient and sicker by the day that no one could figure out these crazy sinus infections. Calmly he said that “God is willing this to happen, there is nothing I can do just yet.” Ouch! I was not crazy about this answer but I kept it in my memory.
Fast forward one month and I ask a different priest what he thinks, and the answer was almost identical. “There is not much you can do about this condition, but trust God has given this to you as a “gift” to change you.”
Fast forward one week and for the 3rd time I bring up this pain to my priest. He looked at me deeply in the eyes and said that he “thinks God has given me this sinus problem, not as a punishment but out of love. God only wants me to let go of what I am holding onto most in life…control”.
It finally clicked.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
All along I wanted to control this situation. I wanted to know the answer and just get better…all in a time frame. I was still scared of too much medicine. I was scared I would never get better.
I remember this day clearly and I sat down in the church pew and told God that I was ready for him to help and I would step down and let Him do the work. It’s when we become meek and humble that God can start to work within us. This is exactly what happened.
It’s time to listen, take courage and just do it
I got referred to an ENT weeks before Christmas break. I put it on the bottom of my list because I had been to one in MN and he basically did nothing. So then I go to MN to visit my family and was almost bed ridden with sinus pain for some of the time. I get home and spend New years eve in the ER with a worse infection. I guess I learned my lesson. My thought process was ” if it did not help before, why would it be any different now.” This is where I started to lean on my own understanding and figured I knew the answers.
But I could not shake a conversation my mom and I had when I first moved out here. She casually said “what if you find that one doctor in Boulder that actually can do something big, and give your body what it needs to recover.” After everything I had tried already, I thought why not and scheduled the ENT appointment.
I found myself sitting in the office of a skilled surgeon who simply pointed to the scan of my skull. She showed me the grooves and hollow spaces in my sinuses. I was fascinated..but there was one big problem- there was no passage way left for air. It was less then a mm between the bones.
It was not all in my head, finally an answer. Some people take it as bad news, but for me, it was a relief. The infections never left because there was always a pool of fluid stuck in my sinus cavity. The bones in my head were formed in a way that did not allow fluid to drain. I remember a time in high school where my sinuses felt “tight”. Over the years it slowly got worse, but I slowly got used to it until my normal. That “normal” transformed into a inkling something was not right. I went about my day obsessing on how others could breath so easily, and I could not!
Next step was to stick the scope inside to see whats going on. Kinda an intimidating gadget. I asked for no anesthetic because of the side effects it gives me. So I grip the sides on the chair, she injects the decongestant liquid and tries to maneuver the scope inside my sinuses. But no luck- it was pretty much swollen shut even with the strongest decongestant/membrane shrinker. At that point I knew there was no more thinking or pondering..there was one answer that I had to take the risk and just do it. Time to jump right in.
Time to let go
When I got the news sinus surgery was in my future. I asked the surgeon, how soon? She said we can try a few things…but I blurted out. “No please, I have tried so much, I just want to breath.” After going through the list of things to try before surgery (most of which I had already tried) we set a date 2 weeks out for the surgery. She completely agreed, I needed a change and relief from infections.
Wow that was quick! But she wanted to make sure that I did not have to go another month of antibiotics (I was already on month 7 of those bacteria killing pills.) Everything after that went smoothly like it was all in Gods hands. The paperwork, the phone conversations, the dates…it all just worked out. This kind of situation reminds me of how Gods timing works and feels. It’s almost too easy to be true. God never wants us to stress over the little things. All it took was my “yes” and becoming weak so God could do his work.
Bless me please
I asked for a blessing before my surgery, and my wise priest said a good will come of this. Not only will I get better physically, but I will get a chance to let go and trust God even more. It’s a scary thing to hand over your life to a surgeon and anesthesiologist. But he was right, its an opportunity to make peace with whatever control that fights inside.
When any of my friends of family heard of this upcoming surgery they all had the same response. “You will be so much better afterwards.” I did not believe anyone through all my fear and pain. So I was still trying to control the outcome, kinda silly, but I think this was my coping mechanism. I honestly think I was in more pain the months before the surgery then the weeks after.
The pressure inside was unsettling and suffocating. I felt numb. The numbness was just a sign that my body was tired of fighting this endless infection and it needed a helping hand. It was in this numbness that God worked deep inside my heart. He taught me its ok to let go of this fear and control. Its time to stop running from it, but take courage and do it.
After this, I did not hesitate. I made the appointments, took the bottles of pills and fasted before the big day (thats just part of the procedure before anesthesia.) I told the family’s I nanny, I would need time off since there is a limit to how much physical activity I’m allowed after. The week before I even went to confession.
I felt ready for the big day. I went through all the motions and slowly Gods will for me started to sink in. I finally chose to trust the unknown. I chose to trust that surgery was good. I was trusting help was on the way.
“Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4