I’ve had the recent opportunity to do quite a bit of driving, mostly in helping out with my elderly mother. I say 'opportunity' because it has seemed that the Holy Spirit has been bringing to remembrance many of the side effects of my prior illness from the early 2000’s in turn, to have me reflect on how far I’ve come. That even though I still have some physical and mental deficits, I am nowhere near where I was 9 years ago.
To reflect on a visit to my mom’s nursing home. The first time I met and spoke with the assistant Director of Nursing, I shared with her that I’d previously been diagnosed with CNS Vasculitis (Central Nervous System Vasculitis) and her mouth fell. She shared that she’d just read about a gentleman with CNSV and was very genuinely fascinated. I shared that I was re-learning how to ride a bike, among other things. Her response was, “You’re not supposed to be re-learning how to ride a bike! You’re supposed to be dead!” and she was so right. (The information for CNS Vasculitis is extremely lengthy. To put it in fewer words, it is the inflammation of the arteries in the brain and spinal cord. It is extremely rare. At the time of my diagnosis (2003) there were 200 known cases or even less. It still had no confirmed cause, no known cure, and was considered to be terminal.
My mind has gone back, over and over again to the long 2 ½ years I spent mostly in bed but running between doctors, testing, hospital stays, and surgeries. In the first year, alone, I was on 26 prescriptions at one time. I learned to give myself shots. The steroid that they put me on to take down the numbness and swelling in my brain caused numerous side effects alone, which I carried for another 4 years beyond the 2 months that I took it (Decadron). One part of my life was a nightmare, while I communed with God. While I learned to be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10a “Be still, and know that I am God”).
And, 9 years later, I am amazingly thankful for this time in my life. I have come to the realization that “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28). He has revealed to me many reasons why this illness befell me but the most pertinent one to me is that I prayed for years and years to become closer to Him, to have more time with Him, for less of me and more of Him so this was all an answer to my many prayers. He knew I was distracted from all of this by this world so He plucked me out of it. He’s set me aside to seek for more of Him. And, I have become thankful in All things, all praise and glory to God!