Sackcloth and ashes
Yesterday, our family was dealt another blow in what seems to be a never ending litany of challenges. A little over a week ago, Sister had a one year check in (on a partial tear of her left ACL) with the orthopedic surgeon. I was unable to go, but I was not expecting the phone call I got afterward from my husband. Our doctor did not like the pain she described, ordered a second MRI, and asked us to return in a week.
For the entire week, I prayed desperately not to let fear rule my days. We only told a handful of people, until the night before our visit when I rallied the prayer warriors to flood heaven’s gates. Their response was immediate, bringing tears to my eyes. If you get nothing else from today’s blog, know that we are loved and know that we know it.
At first, our doctor was very happy to see her ACL was unchanged. It had not gotten worse which could have happened. All was looking really good until he spotted a small tear in her medial meniscus. His suggestion was to repair the tear which will require a six month over all recovery and rehabilitation process. What pushed me over the edge were his thoughts that while he was in there he should just make sure the ACL is not really in need of repair or reconstruction. If it is, then an additional surgery will take place and her recovery will be twelve months.
I cried. The doctor cried because he knows our story. My tough girl held back her tears. And my husband asked a bunch of questions.
For as long as I can remember, this sweet girl has loved the game of basketball, attending her first clinic at the age of three – just to be with her boys. Now once again, she will have to sit out while her peers are getting to play. To add insult to injury (no pun was intended there), she loved swimming, but due to a severe allergy had to give up swimming competitively. Because of the injuries she received to her shoulder in the bus crash, she was forced to choose between softball and basketball.
My heart was broken for my girl, who didn’t do anything to cause any of this. She has the heart of a competitor and a love for the game. My spirit was crushed because I know the uphill battle she is climbing, chasing a what now feels like an elusive dream to play at the college level. My soul was searching, pouring my heart out to God asking “Why can’t you just fix this?” For the record, this will push us over thirty surgical procedures in seven years for our children. I am thankful that my children are still here, but in my book that is about twenty-nine too many surgeries.
Outside of brokenhearted and crushed, I was simply mad. A WHOLE LOT OF MAD! Mad because this keeps happening to us. Mad because instead of support last year, what she had to deal with was a lot of rumors about her faking her injury to get attention. Mad because those rumors persist today. Mad because my children have to continue settle, because disappointment is a part of their vernacular. Mad because our big family vacation will have to deal with a child who cannot bear weight on her leg or our dates will have to be changed altogether. Mad because I now have to cancel all of the camps and clinics she had signed up to attend. I am sick and tired of dealing with plans B, C, and D. I just want to get up in the morning and not have to deal with changing every aspect of our lives because once again, we are in hospital and rehabilitation mode, where making plans and moving forward are really just plain tough.
Oh, we can do tough. If it isn’t in our DNA, it certainly is in our collective experience. Some days, I just want to do easy. I want to get up and not have the hurts of our story be so blasted time-consuming. I want to get up and fly by the seat of our pants, not worrying about medications, crutches, braces, and appointments. Yesterday was the first time I wanted to just simply quit. I wanted to jump on a plane, land anywhere there was a beach, and add my salty tears to the briny water.
When the doctor was crying, I said I remember when Sawyer was two and diagnosed with severe asthma after we found him blue and nonresponsive in the backyard. I thought that was the worst possible news we could ever receive. I COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG! All the days I played momma as a little girl never once did my imagination think I would encounter all of this.
But I won’t quit. My children deserve better than a momma who throws in the towel. I will resolutely stand on the sidelines cheering them on and working to help her get better. I am not promising what might happen to the next person who tells me that my children are faking it, but I will remember that pledge when I hear someone else talk about anyone with a hidden hurt. Trust me, there are millions of people who look absolutely fine on the outside, but who are dealing with invisible pain or loss every day. EVERY. DAY. I will figure out how to balance the needs of a surgery of one child mixed in with the graduation of another one. I will cry because that’s what mommas sometimes do when we know that there isn’t a single thing we can do to make any of this better outside of praying. I will pray A LOT, even when my prayers are ones of anguish, despair, rage, and bitterness, because even though I don’t FEEL it right now, I KNOW God has a plan for all of this. I will beseech everyone to pray that the lesser surgery is all that is needed, and I will cling to that hope. I will do my best not to let tomorrow’s challenge rob today’s joy, but that will take every last ounce of energy I have to do it.
But first, I will have to change out of my sackcloth and wipe away the ashes. Along the way, a big glass of sweet tea with extra ice probably won’t hurt either. Taking a little liberty here, it would help to remember that perhaps I was chosen to be their momma for such a time as this. (The book of Esther, chapter 4)