He is Gentleposted on May 16th, 2012 / by Christina Davis / 9 Comments
I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was two years old. Although I went into remission just a few months later, I was treated as a precaution for three years. I walked away as a five year old with a chaotic half straight and half curly head of new hair, an intense and serious little personality, and a bigger than you can imagine fear of doctors, hospitals and needles.
By the time I was ten years old, my parents had given up taking me to my yearly follow-up appointments. The trauma it evoked in me, and in return on them, was just too much. I remember literally being drug down the hall of my doctor’s office to the lab as I wailed and struggled to get away. That was my last blood test for years.
I couldn’t remember details of my years with cancer. I just knew that I had nightmares here and there about being forced to have another “back stick” (bone marrow biopsy). I would wake right before it would actually happen in my dream and lay in my bed in paralyzing fear. In my mind, doctors equaled the threat of another bone marrow test.
In the sixth grade, a boy in our small Christian school was diagnosed with the same kind of leukemia. One morning in chapel we were standing in a circle praying and interceding for him when I had a sudden “flashback” moment. I began to remember in detail specific events of my three years of treatment. I remembered being in a room at the hospital waiting to get a “back stick” and hearing children scream in other rooms. I remembered the nurses telling me, “It’s okay. Those children aren’t as brave as you are.” I remembered knowing with absolute dread that I wasn’t brave either.
Here I sit today, 26 years from the time I walked out of that hospital for the last time, and I can’t help but be amazed at the gentle journey to freedom that God has brought me through. Moment by moment, baby step by baby step, God has carefully walked me through the process of unloading all of that fear.
There was a sweet lady at church that was my GMA teacher. (GA’s for Southern Baptist/Missionettes for Assembly of God) She was a nurse, as well as a friend of my mom’s. One evening in class, when I was in my early teens, I sat reciting the beatitudes one minute, and then before I knew it she had the girls in my class take a hold of my hands, pulled out a needle and vial and had my blood drawn in 60 seconds flat. We all laughed until we cried at how random it was and the look on my face when she pulled the needle out of her purse. My mom had peace that my blood test was normal. I had a breakthrough.
This same wonderful lady came to my house before I left for college and gave me all the immunizations that I had to have but had refused to get before then. She gave them to me while I sat on the couch, and witnessed, along with my mom and boyfriend, as I reached another breakthrough. “Shots aren’t any worse then stubbing your toe. Who knew?!”
In my early twenties I had two children. I used a midwife and stayed the heck away from the hospital. I had blood tests, exams and ultrasounds, and my blood pressure taken every month. All these things would normally make me panic, but because it was in the old-fashioned, cute birthing center house with my wonderful midwife, breakthrough happened at each appointment. I had both of my babies without any pain medicine. No way was I taking a needle in my back for anything in the world, and an added benefit was that successfully getting through two un-medicated childbirths made me feel strong for the first time in my life.
I think one of the biggest breakthroughs of all was when I found out that these days most, if not all, hospitals sedate patients (or at least give them the option) before they give them a bone marrow biopsy. Never, ever, will my children have to go through what I went through. Never, ever, will I have to go through what I went through!
This past month I scheduled a much-delayed check up that I knew I needed to make. At one point during the visit, I told the doctor that I deal with a lot of lower back pain. I asked her if she thought it was possible that it could be from the bone marrow biopsies and spinal taps I had as a child. She asked me if Ibuprofen made the pain go away for a while. I told her that it did. She replied, “Then, no, it is not from that. If it was, Ibuprofen wouldn’t help.” Then she smiled and not knowing the weight of her words she said,
“You do not have any permanent damage.”
I don’t know if she even knows the Lord, but she was speaking by the Holy Spirit at that moment. I felt the truth penetrate down to the deepest part of my heart.
Finally after 26 years of the gracious and gentle work of my Lord …
I do not have any permanent damage.
Do you have a trauma that has weighted you down with fear that knows no mercy? Dear friend, I understand. I have been there. Take hope that you ARE on a journey to freedom and healing. Will you ever be able to say, “I wouldn’t go back and change it even if I could”? I don’t know. I don’t know that I can say that myself. I DO know, however, that God has caused my suffering to work out for my good. I know that God has never, ever left me. I have felt the compassion of God weep for me and encourage me and congratulate my baby steps. The stories above are just a few of dozens. He is an amazing orchestrator. He has been tender with me. And He will be tender with you.
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalms 103:2-5