February 28, 2013

Not our fight

When I mentioned that my word for the year is War, I didn't tell the whole story.

It scared me to have a word like this assigned to me. And then I remembered that the word I got for 2012 was scary too. It was the word Health.

I wasn't sure what to do with or think of this word. Was I expected to work on my health? This is how I understood it at first. So I started out going to the doctor. I'd been having vague but troubling pain and thought it was an ovarian cyst. The doctor, after blood tests, ordered an ultrasound. During the ultrasound the tech couldn't find a cyst on the side I had pain on so I asked her to look at my kidney since stones are my ongoing struggle. She looked....she moaned. I knew. It was full with 3 large stones and lots of little ones.

Two lithotripsies later, I finally did some research on something a friend told me about probably 15 years ago. She had recurring stones and had found out it was her parathyroid that was out of whack and after having it removed, she never had another stone! It seemed too good to be true, but I looked into it 15 years later. I had asked many doctors if the parathyroid could be the problem. They had all said that was very rare and I would have tons of stones if that were the case. So I never doubted them. And I never did my own research on it.

After my blood work in March came back with high calcium again (....always high....never explained), I did not ask my doctor what she knew about the parathyroid. I simply asked her if I could get a PTH blood test to see if my parathyroid hormone was too high. And she did order the test because I told her about the research I had done. This PTH hormone triggers a release of calcium from bones and teeth and sends it into the blood stream. It also causes a LOT of other symptoms that I never would have put all together with the same root cause. You can read about it on the Parathyroid page if you're interested. It is a lot more common than doctors have been educated to think and it is so easy to diagnose with that blood test.

My main symptoms were the stones (although not everyone has kidney stones with this) and also a growing depression and lethargy that was so alarming by summer that I seriously had the thought in the back of my mind that I was dying. I didn't know then that this was because of the hormone overload.

I put off seeing the surgeon until after my daughter's wedding in late October, but I wish I'd had it as soon as I knew my levels were high because I felt SO much better after the surgery. The wedding pictures showed me with heavy eyelids and looking very tired and worn. And that's how I felt. Three weeks later I had a simple out patient surgery to remove just one of my four parathyroid glands. They are normally the size of a grain of rice. The doctor said mine was the size of a peanut M&M, then remembering it was Thanksgiving time, he changed that to the size of a cranberry.  ;)

Now I'm feeling great and don't run out of energy by noon. I can barely remember that dreadful feeling of lethargy and apathy. And it wasn't until I was wondering about a word for 2013 that I realized that last year's word was something completely different than I had imagined. Health wasn't something I was supposed to achieve on my own.

I do think we should work to be healthier, but I'm saying my word for the year wasn't like that. It didn't depend on me. It was given to me as a gift! And I may not have picked up on God's intervention in it all if it hadn't been for my word of the year being health. He knew the journey I would be on this past year.

Realizing this helped me to understand the 2013 word War better. Spiritual warfare is active, it's a tool for us to use (every day). But it's a gift too. We don't do the fighting. We ask God to fight for us and for our loved ones, for our country and our world. And He is faithful and will hear our cry and answer us.

This year has been a time of waking up for me. I am so much more aware of things to pray about and people to pray for. I only hope I am faithful to keep alert to it because we frail humans tend to fall back to sleep so easily. Lord, keep us sharp and in tune to Your leading.

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