This is part 4 of a 4 part series. To read part 1, click here. To read part 2, click here. To read part 3, click here.
Around the same time that I was learning to focus on my blessings instead of the negatives, I also found a new neurologist who specialized in headaches. He was able to see that I was having 3 different kinds of headaches and found a medication that actually gave me headache free days instead of headache free hours. It has fewer side effects too. All in all I was feeling better, exercising regularly, things were looking up. Best of all my anger at God was gone and I was again growing in relationship with him. I had a few months of things going really well. My echo-cardiogram was good so my cardiologist said we could skip my yearly MRI, we went on vacation and got to see family, and I went to my first National Marfan Foundation Conference. After hearing again the risks and the necessity for monitoring at the conference, I called my cardiologist and requested that we do the MRI. My headaches also started ramping up again and I noticed that my endurance as I exercised wasn't as good as it had been a few months before. I thought that the many hours in the car had been too much and I just needed some recovery time.
I was so anxious as my MRI came closer. I normally have some anxiety, but they are routine so I don't know why it seemed worse this time. As they did the test I knew they had found something because they took more time than usual and injected the contrast an extra time. The results did show a pleural effusion and the radiologist wondered if one of the cysts from my Dural Ectasia had formed a fistula with the pleural space and that's what was contributing to the fluid around the lung. At this point, it's all speculation based on impressions from the MRI. I'm not happy that another health challenge has cropped up. I have referrals to 3 specialists and I'm not looking forward to another season of doctor visits and tests. I sent an email to family to ask for prayer and I've obviously been praying a lot about it myself. At first I was filled with anxiety and my anxiety was causing me to not listen very well to God. I couldn't hear his assurances that he was taking care of me. Instead I was frustrated and trying desperately not to get angry again. I was overwhelmed with the thought of a season of poor health; it was made worse by the memory of how far from God I felt when I was so angry.
I received a text message from my brother after asking for prayer telling me that God had revealed to him that I haven't given my health issues to God, that I still try to control things. And you know what? It's true. That was from God. I see it in my anxiety. I see it in my need to do everything I can to take care of my body. I see it in my diet. I see it in my exercise plan. None of those things are bad, but it's the heart behind it. It's the desire to control and do everything right so that things will go well. With that comes frustration when things don't go well because I have done everything right! God had said the same thing to me earlier in the week--that I needed to just relinquish all of it to him. I obviously hadn't listened since he told my brother. The thing is, I love how God works. If anyone else had said it to me it probably would have made me mad. But when my brother told me--because of who he is in Christ, because of his humility and his love for me--I wasn't angry I just instantly thought, "Ah, he's right." I love that God knows our relationship so well that he knew who I would receive the message from.
So now, here is my dilemma. I want to surrender this completely to God. But I don't know how. I don't know how you balance surrender with appropriate concern and responsibility. It wouldn't honor God if I just stopped getting medical care, stopped taking care of myself. I need to use my discernment to know when an issue needs follow up and when I can let it go. But I want to let it stop with that rather than going beyond that to taking control and responsibility on my own. I am praying and I know that God will show me how to give this to him, even if I have to do it daily for a while.