Tuesday, December 24, 2013

He Rules the World

Merry Christmas!  This has been a very different sort of Christmas year for us, since my daughter EV is having surgery this morning.  (We're "making it up as we go along" in terms of how to apply our traditions and work around the craziness of surgery on the morning of Christmas Eve!)  But, for now, let's suffice it to say that this has been a year of learning to trust the Lord.

Four months ago I broke my tailbone ("Yep, there it is; snapped it right in two," said the doctor reading the x-ray!) and I am still suffering from significant pain in the area and in my back.  That's challenging to trust the Lord's timing with, yes, but it is nothing compared to sending your 19-year old "baby" under the knife for risky surgery!

For several years now, EV has been suffering with significant pain every time she eats--no matter what she eats or how much she eats.  She has suffered through several elimination diets in an effort to ferret out any food allergies that may be the culprits.  She has spent months on several different "special diets" that have helped countless others to rid themselves of their food and eating problems.  None of it has worked. She's been poked and prodded and scoped and tested by a variety of doctors, and all of the tests have come back negative.  No, it is not celiac disease, nor Crohn's diesase, nor IBS.

Finally, doctors believe they have found the cause.  They think that EV has MALS (median arcuate ligament syndrome), a condition in which a cluster of arteries that is normally an inch or two down from the median arcuate ligament is actually much higher, compressed under the ligament, causing pain whenever blood flow is increased to the area for digestion.  (Hence, pain every time you eat!)  They cannot know for sure that this condition is the cause of the pain, but when all other more-common issues have been eliminated, if this is present, there is an assumption that it likely is.

When the surgeon explained the situation to us, he also explained that this surgery will correct that constriction, and that--if that is the cause of the pain-after-eating--there is an 80% chance that the surgery will stop it.  He further explained that the surgery is pretty risky, since there are five major arteries in the area that he must avoid cutting as he seeks to cut the ligament that is compressing three of them.  It is laparoscopic surgery, where they make six small incisions and head in with cameras and instruments and other surgical paraphernalia.

When we left the surgeon's office after that consultation, I asked my daughter, "Well, EV, what do you think?  They're not sure that's what is causing the pain, or that this surgery will correct it.  And the surgery itself is pretty risky.  You wanna do it?"

She did not hesitate for an instant.  "Yes!" she exclaimed excitedly.  (Only someone who has hurt every single time she's eaten for the past several years can know what an exciting offer an 80%-chance-of-no-pain is!)

"Even if you may die?" I asked.

"Yes, Mom.  'All the days ordained for (me) were written in (His) book before one of them came to be,' remember?" she quoted.  "If this is how I go, then this is how I go."

At 19, she's not really a child any more, but I was so struck by the childlike trust my daughter exhibited in that moment.  Total understanding that this could be the day she dies, and yet total trust in her good God and His perfect plan.

So, this year, we learn to demonstrably embrace what we've always said we believe: that these children of ours are gifts from the Lord; that He loves them even more than we do; and that He is good and loving in all His works, all the time.

And we are joined by hundreds of friends around the city and around the globe who are joining us in praying for successful surgery.  May the good, pleasing, and perfect will of our Father be that our sweet EV lives another day to praise Him here on earth.

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