Friday, October 03, 2008

On the subject of healing

In 2002 I started having mysterious abdominal pain. Bloating, cramps, gas....

Here's a picture of me at the time (I'm the one in uniform). I was performing in a community theater production of "Rumors" and I remember having to go outside before going onstage. I would step outside and belch as much as possible to alleviate the gas in my stomach. My belly was bloated, and boy did those pants show it off!

I went through a barrage of medical tests to identify the problem. Since the trouble seemed to be gastrointestinal, I started with a GI guy. He didn't find anything so my next stop was an OB/GYN. She scheduled an exploratory laparoscopy. I went in for a 30 minute outpatient procedure on a Friday afternoon that turned into a 3 hour procedure and 4 days in the hospital. I had severe endometriosis. The doc sliced me open (full pelvic incision, about 8 inches long side-to-side). She carefully cleaned everything up as best she could, and took only one ovary. When she stopped by to see me Monday, she was very pleased with herself. I was PO'd. I had started my period not too long after waking up from the surgery.

When I saw the doctor Monday, I'd already had a couple of days to wonder why she hadn't performed a hysterectomy. There I was in my hospital bed, vomiting from the anesthesia (yes, for days), constipated (a separate agony), and menstruating. My reproductive system was clearly malfunctioning. I have four children, I was almost 40, my husband was in the waiting room and the paperwork had been signed allowing him to make medical decisions. I never did understand her response when I asked her, "Why?" - "But you're so young!"

Last year, 5 years after the first surgery, I had a hysterectomy to correct the severe endometriosis that had inevitably returned. The 2nd go-round was a completely different experience with a competent, compassionate doctor. The tragedy is that I'm having to do hormone replacement which would *probably* have been avoided if the 1st doctor had left the one good ovary but removed the rest of the reproductive organs.

As I reflect on the nightmare of the 1st round of this experience, I'm reminded that healing is a multi-faceted challenge. I tend to think of healing as physical, but we need to be healthy in our "whole self," so mental and spiritual healing is also required.

1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"

We must take care of ourselves - body, mind and spirit - in order to be a worthy vessel for the Holy Spirit. If our bodies are broken, our minds distracted, our spirits conflicted, we are in need of healing. It wasn't enough for me to be mended and no long suffering from cramps. I also needed to forgive Doctor #1, and "let it go". For me to be fully healed, I had to free my mind and my heart from the lingering hurt and sense of injustice.

My goal is to be so full of the Holy Spirit it spills out of my eyes, my mouth and my blogging fingertips. I do not want to be perforated with emotional wounds that allow the Spirit to drain away. I do not want to be tainted with poisons that kill the Spirit. I nourish the Spirit with the Word (John 1). I replenish by drinking from the well (John 4). When I'm spiritually wounded, afflicted, tormented by demons, I pray for healing...just as I do when I'm physically ill. It is our obligation to take care of ourselves.

Be well,


Princess Abigail said...

That makes for a beautiful read.
Thank you.
I will be back to read more!
Alison in France
The Bernard Bunch

dallasdiva said...

You already have a following!! Go Fran!