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Crisis of Faith

This blog was first posted on February 24, 2010. It is now 2015, and Dave has been in pain 24/7/365 since May of 2007. Until just last week. Read to the bottom of the blog to find out the latest!

For those of you who don’t know, my sweet husband, Dave, has had numerous health issues for almost three years. It was May 4, 2007, when I first learned that he had been in pain all that week. Dave is a software consultant and normally travels 50 weeks each year. I remember that date specifically because he had come home a couple of days early to help me prepare our house for our first party. We had moved into our house in February of that same year and were finally settled in and ready to entertain. We were expecting about 30-40 people that Saturday evening.

Dave’s pain from that week never abated, in fact, it worsened. After going through many tests, procedures, exams and doctors, Dave’s first surgery was in July of 2007. Since that surgery, he has had a total of six surgeries and all six have been connected in some way to the spine. Two neck surgeries, one back, one hip and surgery on both arms and wrists. It occurs to me at this point, that perhaps it is no coincidence that all of these health problems are some way connected to the spine. The spine is the backbone of the body. It is basically what holds the body up straight and helps to hold the body together, so to speak. The husband is the priest of the home – the “backbone,” if you will. He helps hold the family together. Hmmm…definitely something to think about there. But, back to my original thoughts…Most of the time during these three years I have had all the faith I needed to believe for Dave’s healing. Yes, I questioned why he wasn’t healed, but I never doubted or lacked faith. Until a few weeks ago when I realized I had no faith left. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

A week or two after I realized I no longer had faith to believe for Dave’s healing, my priest’s sermon and article was “When Belief is Not Enough.” Coincidence? I think not. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent to him after his article was published in a local paper:

Your sermon on Sunday and this week’s article are most timely for me. I find
myself in a place I have never been before. Even when my first husband left and when my teenage daughter was pregnant, and all the details and circumstances that surrounded those two situations, I never doubted God’s faithfulness. I never doubted His presence. Yes, there were times of questioning, times of being in a spiritually dry land, but even then, in the deep recesses of my heart, I knew God was there. Now, I am at the point of “I simply cannot believe.”

Dave has been in pain twenty-four hours, seven days a week for two years and nine months. We have prayed for his healing; he has been prayed for by numerous people, he has been anointed with oil and prayed for; and he has been prayed for by people he doesn’t know and who don’t know him. Not only have we not seen any healing of a measurable amount, but in actuality, he is no better and probably some worse than he was almost three years ago when this started. Dave says he has resigned himself that “this is the way it’s going to be.” And I guess that’s where I am because I can no longer believe that God will heal him.

After I wrote and sent this to my priest, I let this situation go. Completely. Let. It. Go. After all, if I no longer had faith to believe for Dave’s healing, why worry about it? Over the next several days I began to notice that I had peace about this situation. I had not done anything different-I hadn’t prayed in a different manner and I certainly hadn’t increased my faith – so why was I at peace? I had let go. Completely. Let. It. Go. And when I did and stopped worrying about Dave’s health, THEN God was able to give me peace. And with peace, comes faith and with faith, comes freedom. I am no longer worried about Dave’s health.

Spine – the backbone of the body. Priest of the home – backbone of the home. Definitely something to think about.

MARANATHA!

Last Thursday, April 9, 2015, Dave had a temporary spinal stimulator attached to his spine. This stimulator emits electrical impulses that zap the pain. It is designed to control his pain no matter what position he is in. In fact, the stimulator recognizes when he rolls over in the bed, and adjusts accordingly. The rep from the company that makes this stimulator told us that if Dave got 50% relief, they would consider the trial a success. With the permanent implant, the percentage of relief should be higher. Today (April 12, 2015) Dave has been pain free for a portion of the day!! Praise God!

(C) 2010 Edwina E. Cowgill

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A Lesson Learned from a Frustrating Day

This has been one of the most frustrating days of my life!

My husband, Dave, and I flew to Jacksonville yesterday for an appointment at The Mayo Clinic. The appointment was scheduled last May. Yes, almost six months ago–that’s how far in the future they are booking appointments.

Some of you know that Dave has suffered with several back and nerve issues. For the last six to seven years he has been in constant, unrelenting pain. He has seen orthopedic doctors, orthopedic surgeon, a spinal specialist at Emory Hospital, and two pain management doctors in Newnan. Not one doctor has been able to give him an absolute, definitive diagnosis, much less recommend a course of treatment. This appointment at Mayo was pretty much our last option.

When the appointment was scheduled, Dave was told to plan on being here two to three days. He would see different specialists, have any tests performed they felt necessary, and we’d have a recommended treatment plan presented to us before we left for home.

We saw the first doctor this morning who basically left us with the impression that a) he didn’t care about Dave’s case; and b) he really didn’t think Dave has a serious problem–if a problem at all. He had his nurse schedule Dave for a consultation with the pain management doctor here at Mayo. Naturally, we assumed it would be sometime this week. After all, that is what we were told. Right? Oh, no. Not at all. The appointment is for Tuesday, October 28. We are finished here for the week. But we’ve paid for the hotel room for three nights, flights tomorrow (Thursday) to Atlanta are full and some are overbooked (we fly standby) so we are staying here until Friday.

It was an incredibly frustrating situation that I allowed to really get to me and I complained for hours.

Finally, God had heard enough. He spoke softly, but with authority. “You think this has been a frustrating day? That you have it bad? This has been nothing. What about all the women you have seen with scarves covering their heads because they lost every single hair on their head during their chemo treatments? Or what about the young girl in Registration this morning whose legs were prostheses and whose hands were stumps? What about the wizened little man who joked and laughed with you, but his color and his body language says he’s losing his battle with cancer? These people are fighting the battle of their life while today’s situation for you was an inconvenience. It was a test and you failed completely.”

I was broken. Completely broken. I cried and asked for forgiveness and cried some more. How could I be so self-centered when there are people all around me, not only here at Mayo, but also in the world, who are suffering unimaginable diseases, abuse, poverty? How could I pass these people by without silently lifting a prayer for them, or reaching out and speaking, offering encouraging words? May I never reach this point of self-centeredness again.

God was gracious, as always, and extended mercy and forgiveness to me and I thank Him for that. But my prayer is that He will help me to always be aware of people around me, that He will even put people in my path and i will know beyond a shadow of doubt that the person and I have crossed paths for “such a time as this.”