In just three days, I’ll be leaving for a Compassion tour in Nicaragua.
It’s a trip I’ve been hoping to take since first becoming a sponsor through Compassion four years ago, but the weeks leading up to this trip haven’t gone exactly as I had envisioned them.
In that vision, I would have set aside more time to read my Bible, some inspirational faith books and maybe some other sponsors’ blogs about their own trips. I would have spent more time in prayer preparing my heart and mind for the trip ahead. I would have begun writing in my trip journal already. I would have gone into this trip feeling mentally and spiritually prepared for the days ahead.
Instead, the past four weeks have been an exhausting string of medical issues in our family.
First, my youngest son needed to have a tooth pulled. Everything went well, and he bounced back quickly after a day of everyone smothering him in love at home.
Then three days later, my daughter had surgery on both legs to correct a toe-walking issue. She came home in two casts, to be worn for almost five weeks, but her surgeon assured us she would be up and walking in those casts within a few days. That was hard to imagine in those first few days, as it was painful for her to bear any weight at first, but about five days after surgery, she began making short walks around the house. She’s still sore and can’t be on her feet for too long, but she’s healing and getting around now.
The following week, my sister had surgery to remove a large tumor. The two weeks leading up to this unexpected surgery were filled with anxiety and concern that the tumor would require radiation or chemotherapy treatments after removal. But we were all thrilled when the entire tumor was removed, and testing indicated no further treatment would be necessary other than annual monitoring to check for regrowth.
Not even one week later, my husband had knee surgery to fix an old skiing injury. That procedure also went well, and he is slowly healing and getting back to normal.
Finally, just last week, my youngest son had an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist. His regular pediatrician heard a heart murmur during his annual physical this summer, and referred him for a follow-up. At the time, he assured me that children often grow out of heart murmurs, but he felt it best that my son be seen for it. So I took him in expecting to be told the murmur was nothing to worry about.
Instead, my son was diagnosed with a heart condition that eventually will require valve replacement surgery. In the meantime, he will see a cardiologist annually, for life, to monitor the condition. He’s four years old.
There was a time when news like this would have had me asking, “What else could go wrong?” There was a time I would have been shouting that question, especially following the previous three weeks of medical ups and downs.
Thankfully, God has given me a different response this month. I am feeling blessed beyond words, and here’s why:
I live in a place and time where all of the medical issues of the past month are manageable. Having a tooth pulled is better than dying of infection. Surgery to correct a walking issue will save my daughter from future complications with her legs and feet. My sister is cancer-free due to great screening and medical care. My husband will ski again this winter with our children, rather than sit on the sidelines. And by the time my son needs surgery on his heart, procedures and techniques likely will have improved to the point that the surgery is even more safe than it is today.
So although I haven’t had the peaceful, meditation-like preparation I was imagining before this trip, and although I still feel a bit frazzled by the month’s events, I will step on that airplane Thursday ready for the next adventure. I am ready to see what God has in store for me, and I look forward to finding the answers to, “What else could go right?”