The Fear Came Rushing Back

Yesterday began with a “sore muscle” in my calf, and ended with a diagnosis of a DVT (deep blood clot), twice daily injections, coumadin, and an appointment with a hematologist. It was a hard day. More than anything I was stunned to find myself back in a world I hoped I had left behind.

I had the flu in early February and was really wiped out for a couple of weeks.  I just hadn’t been able to feel good again. I wondered how my immune system was doing and if the flu might have triggered a flare of my autoimmune disorder (we still don’t know the answer to that). Then last week I noticed I had a sore leg. The pain increased and on Sunday I told Russ that I had felt this particular kind of pain before  – 18 years ago when I had a DVT. I’m rather amazed that my body recognized that unique pain and knew what it was.

Regardless, I didn’t even want to think about having a DVT, and didn’t want to go to the doctor to find out if it could be true. I wrestled with it all morning, and I can honestly say that this is one of those times when I was overwhelmed by a compelling sense that the Holy Spirit was prompting me to go. I tried to ignore it,  but finally called the clinic. They called me back at 12:20 to say the doctor could see me at 12:30. By 1:30 I had seen the doctor at my clinic, had labs drawn, and was at the hospital having an ultrasound of my leg – there are some beautiful things about living in a small town.

When the DVT was confirmed, I cried. I spent many years struggling with an autoimmune disorder, that primarily gave me very low platelets, but also caused clotting problems. I bleed. I clot. It seems like they would balance one another out, but it is far more complicated than that. I spent hours of every week in medical appointments, was hospitalized, had a DVT, lived on prednisone, had many blood tranfusions and treatments, had my spleen removed (no laproscopic procedure for me – too much bleeding).In the midst of it all I gave birth to four more children (six total), nursed them all, homeschooled, and Russ began his career. I look back and it is all a blur.

Then it seemed that I was finally well, until the fall of 2002 when Sunshine was nearly a year old. I hit the bottom of the platelet barrel and it was bad. The condition had become refractory – which meant that no treatment we tried was successful. We were scared. I was afraid to go to sleep at night not knowing if I would wake in the morning or if I would have a stroke and find myself unable to speak, or walk.

Then the doctors decided to try a new treatment. I remember being in the cancer treatment room, knowing darn well that I was the healthiest person there as we all sat attached to our IV poles, medication dripping into us. I was blessed. In just a short number of treatments, a treatment that didn’t even cause my hair to fall out, I began to recover. The cells that had been destroying my platelets were now themselves destroyed. I went into remission.

We tested my blood daily, then every other day, then weekly, monthly and eventually every other month. As the years went by I checked it less frequently, but at least three or four times a year. I thanked God for a normal platelet count every single time and counted myself among the most fortunate who maybe, just maybe are cured.

Yesterday Russ and I sat in the parking lot of the pharmacy (after picking up the syringes preloaded with medication) and I cried. This DVT brought all of the feelings and fears rushing back like a hurricane. One worry after another spilled from my lips. Russ finally grabbed my hand and said, “Look at my eyes.” I didn’t look at up. “Look at my eyes,” he repeated more firmly.  “We do not need to worry about tomorrow, all we need to do is take care of today. One shot. One pill. We can do this.”

And we did. And today I got up and gave myself another shot, and it was fine. I’ve done this before many times (with daily heparin shots through two pregnancies), one week of shots is a breeze. I just need to sink deep into the peace that only Christ can give.

Our prayer is that this DVT is not the beginning of a long cycle of struggle. If it is,  I’m going to need a lot of strength and grace. I said it myself at the Refresh Conference, there are lessons to be learned in suffering; this is not the way we would choose to learn them, but it is the way God has chosen to accomplish it.  We trust completely in God’s goodness, his sovereignty over every detail of our lives, and his abundant love.

Thanks for reading, friends; this was cheaper than therapy.

Lisa

 

 

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

52 Comments

  1. Jennifer Litz Seivert
    March 19, 2013

    Praying that God will bless you with a quick healing this time around Lisa. You are an inspiration to other adoptive parents that are in the trenches.

    Reply
  2. Angela Arnett Stone
    March 19, 2013

    My prayers are with you. I live with cycles of health and then it being taken away. The Lord is my strength and I am grateful for the lessons he gives me the opportunity to learn.

    Reply
  3. Dawn Flatness Wright
    March 19, 2013

    Oh no!!! Praying for you!

    Reply
  4. Tara Bradford
    March 19, 2013

    The ongoing battle your family is enduring makes my heart ache for you! I am praying Gods peace and grace over you and praising Him that you have such a wonderful, strong, godly partner to hold your hand.

    Reply
  5. Chantelle
    March 19, 2013

    Oh you sweet woman!! I can't believe all you've gone through!! (((((((((((((((hug)))))))))))))))))) I will be PRAYING for peace for your tired heart!!!

    Reply
  6. Holley
    March 19, 2013

    I am reading a book right now, "it all starts with food", and there is a lot of discussion in it about auto-immune disorders, and inflammatory foods. There are also many testimonies about people with auto-immune disorders clearing up after years of treatments, drugs, etc… It might encourage you. Praying for you and your family today.

    Reply
  7. Tisha
    March 19, 2013

    I'm moved to tears with you, Lisa as I read this. Praying blessing and peace and restoration over and for you, dear friend to many. You are well loved!

    Reply
  8. Carly
    March 19, 2013

    Praying, Dear Friend. I totally understand. Cannot for the life of me get right with my INR… oh, well. LOVE that RUSS is a WISE MAN! And, you are human. We all need to be reminded about reality sometimes. Each day= one day closer to JESUS. And HE will provide, better than we can. I love you.

    Reply
  9. susan
    March 19, 2013

    Oh Lisa…..I'll be thinking of you and hoping it's just a blip on your screen. Take some time to rest and recharge your batteries.

    Reply
  10. leslie
    March 19, 2013

    PRAYERS…………..

    Reply
  11. Hannah Jasmine
    March 19, 2013

    Praying for you as you bind on the armor of God's grace to fight this battle once more. May His love be ever visible as it surrounds you every moment.

    Reply
  12. Katie Szotkiewicz Patel
    March 19, 2013

    LISA….oh my gosh.. I don't know what to say except I will be praying for you. LORD, some relief please for this your daughter! Lisa I know that all of us will be thinking and praying for you, so hopefully some way you can feel the love across the miles and across the computer screen. I just…am in awe of your faith. Was it just the other day on one of your posts you put the verse (Psalm 61 i think) "Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I"…praying that you dig your fingers into the ROCK and that peace and healing are yours in Jesus' name. Thank you for sharing with all of us, so we can join together and pray and send our thoughts..
    Katie

    Reply
  13. Lisa H.
    March 19, 2013

    Oh Lisa! How I hurt with you! I'm glad you shared part of your story, and I will be praying…..

    Reply
  14. Gloria
    March 19, 2013

    Praying for you with tears.

    Reply
  15. Kelly
    March 19, 2013

    We will be covering you in prayer… That a period of rest may accompany this time, as I'm sure you could use it. Praying as well, that those in your circle will rise up and walk alongside you with helpful hands and steadfast hearts.

    Reply
  16. Kemery
    March 19, 2013

    Oh darlin'. I am sorry to hear about this, but Russ is right – one step at a time and try to keep the fear at bay. (We both know how hard that is!) I've walked many of these years with you and I am still right beside you, if only in spirit and prayer most days. Love to you all – you got this. I'll try to call this week. K

    Reply
  17. Mom-2-6
    March 19, 2013

    Oh, Lisa! I can only imagine all the anxiety this DVT diagnosis must trigger. Thankfully, we serve a faithful God and He will see you through. Love and prayers to you.

    Reply
  18. fullhousefullhandsfullhearts
    March 19, 2013

    Oh Lisa, I am so sorry you are going through this on top of all the other challenges and stresses. I wish I lived closer and could help. Big hugs and lots and love and prayers headed your way.

    Reply
  19. Heidi
    March 19, 2013

    Oh, Lisa. I cried. I am so sorry, and I pray with you that this will not be a long cycle of struggle. More than that, I pray for grace and strength and His glory in your lives. Hugs.

    Reply
  20. Mary (Owlhaven)
    March 19, 2013

    Praying for you, Lisa!

    Reply
  21. Emily
    March 19, 2013

    Oh friend, I'm sorry. Praying with you.

    Reply
  22. Kirsten Miller
    March 19, 2013

    I'll pray for healing, Lisa!

    Reply
  23. Heather
    March 19, 2013

    Oh. Bless your heart. Praying for you!

    Reply
  24. Mary
    March 19, 2013

    Prayers!!!!!! Prayers for healing!!!!!!!! Prayers for peace!!!!!!!! Prayers for community!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  25. Tami
    March 19, 2013

    Thank-you for sharing. I feel your pain. I have had many similar experiences including DVTs, autoimmune disorders, melanoma, etc., and understand the anxiety and depression it can bring. I think your husband is wise, "one day at a time, one shot at a time, one pill at a time." Keep your faith and I will pray that you do. Things like this can definitely have a tailspin effect. God Bless you!

    Reply
  26. Mentor Mom
    March 19, 2013

    So, so sorry. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Laurel

    Reply
  27. daysofwonderandgrace
    March 19, 2013

    Blogging IS therapy :).

    You know, I've never believed the human wisdom that, "God doesn't give us any more than he knows we can handle." To the contrary, it has been my experience that He does it routinely. Adversity keeps me at his feet, needing Him, laying hold of His mercy by faith. Otherwise, when I think I have the future figured out, I tend to try to walk there by sight…. I don't claim to know what He has in mind for you in this, But He is SO good, Lisa :). He is already right there in this story right now meeting your needs. Hebrews 11:3 says, "By faith we understand that the universe [everything!] was created by the word of God, so that what is seen [including adversity] was not made out of things that are visible [like your clotting factor or my neurons :)]." Praying for you!

    Reply
  28. Angela Dormish
    March 19, 2013

    I am so sorry, Lisa! I am praying for you through tears!

    Reply
  29. jenn britton
    March 19, 2013

    Lisa,
    This DVT happened to me and made its way to my lungs. It ended my life for a few minutes. Obviously it didn’t “take”, as evidenced by this comment…but it was terrible for me, for my family.
    You were right to catch it when you did.
    I thank God that you are with us, and well enough to post this. Love you.

    Reply
  30. Leah Freeman
    March 19, 2013

    Praying for you for peace especially during those times when your mind goes in overdrive on the "what ifs" Blessings to you and yours.

    Reply
  31. courtneycassada
    March 19, 2013

    oh, wow. i'm so sorry! i will be praying…for complete healing. He CAN do miracles!!

    Reply
  32. kristine
    March 19, 2013

    I have suffered with a chronic illness for 20+ years and it can bring moments of hopelessness. Russ is right of course, you don't need to worry about tomorrow and you can do it. One day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. I am praying for you. You have so much light around you.

    Reply
  33. suzanne
    March 19, 2013

    I also have an autoimmune disease – there's just a special kind of anxiety and pain that it brings, I think. I so relate to the 'guilt' of being the healthiest sick person. 🙂 Just constant prayers for you tonight.

    Reply
  34. linedancergal
    March 19, 2013

    And even through all that you made me laugh. Cheaper than therapy lol. Happy to be here.
    The things God asks of us are often not easy. But then worrying is not any easier. In fact it's downright miserable. The way I try to look at things is that IF something rotten happens and I spent my time worrying about it, then I have wasted what should have been happy time, and the worrying doesn't change a thing. I think it might be even worse to worry about something happening when in reality it never does happen. That's an even bigger waste of time!
    God has given you a very smart hubby. One day at a time. Sometimes it might need to be one hour or one minute at a time, but you can't take a weeks medication all at once and you can't fight the next week or year's battles all in a day either. When things look like a mess, just remember that God knows what He's doing! This is not bad luck or a mistake. God has allowed it for a reason. He loves you. There will be some reason for this. It's just that you don't know what it is yet.
    All easily said. Very hard to live.

    Reply
  35. Blessed
    March 19, 2013

    Praying for your complete healing, and for divine peace.

    Reply
  36. Melissa
    March 19, 2013

    You do not know me, but I follow your blog. Today I was out for a walk and out of no where I began thinking about you. You had preiously mentioned that you had had an autoimmune disorder. I began thinking about your condition and health. I just sat down and read this post. I believe that it was the Holy Spirit bringing you to my mind. I will be praying for you. Praying for the peace that only God can give. Praying for health and wholeness in every way.

    Reply
  37. Carrie
    March 19, 2013

    Lisa, I just read this and am hoping your spirits are a little better. I am sure it is a scary place to re-visit. Praying for miraculous and quick healing and peace for you and your family.

    Reply
  38. Leslie
    March 19, 2013

    Oh my goodness. We are praying for you.

    Reply
  39. amy
    March 19, 2013

    Sharing in your current grief, praying for this to be fluke rather than a constant.

    Reply
  40. Christin
    March 19, 2013

    We're praying you through over here. Rest in GOD'S strength. {He's made you stronger than you think}

    Reply
  41. Leese
    March 19, 2013

    I'm so sorry.

    I'm praying.

    And I'm in a very similar place. A very severe PICC infection on Saturday – something that had been my physical lifeline for the last many months and was going to be until a critical surgery could happen as soon as insurance approved it in the next couple of weeks or so – led to the discovery while I've been in the hospital that I've got multiple DVTs in my arm. So I've lost the PICC and am doing lovenox injections and coumadin also. But now the surgery I desperately need is off the table – possibly permanently, which is catastrophic, as is a new PICC anytime soon – which means I'm not going to be keeping any of this down anyway. I feel caught in a vicious cycle.

    Thanks for your post and honesty (as always) and posting your thoughts – I seriously had to double take as I saw your post while I was in the hospital feeling so many of the same things. I appreciate you posting what Russ said to you – I needed that reminder. And as I'm dealing with this alone, I appreciate someone else saying what my heart and mind needed to be reminded of!

    Really…know that I'm praying.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 20, 2013

      Leese, your situation is so much harder – it hardly compares. I'm so sorry for the suffering you are experiencing and I can imagine it is difficult not to worry into the future. Please know that I am praying for you now, and will put a note on my mirror to pray for you with each injection over the week. May the Lord do a mighty miracle of healing in your body.

      Reply
  42. unconventionalwomanhood
    March 20, 2013

    PRAYING!!! DVT's are no fun at all! May God's healing hand touch you and bless you more than you can imagine!

    Reply
  43. aditi
    March 20, 2013

    May you heal and be blessed always….
    your faith…will get you through….
    It always does…

    Reply
  44. nancileamarie
    March 20, 2013

    Praying for peace and healing.

    Reply
  45. Sadee
    March 20, 2013

    Praying!!

    Reply
  46. charity
    March 20, 2013

    I don't presume to know how God is working in your life His ways are not my ways, or yours:), but as I read your post I almost felt myself say aha…so perhaps this is why Dimples needs to be in another place at this time…so you can focus on what YOU need at this time, which would be an impossible choice and balance to keep with a season of such intensive parenting needed…I am grateful your load was lightened just enough to be able to find a place to work through this challenge. I use cayenne as a daily supplement and feel it nourishing my heart as it is absorbed, i know there is much more to it, but perhaps it is worth looking into. I also know that God is capable of mystifying medical science, and can do whatever He chooses in our behalfs, in your behalf. We love you! you are STRONG~

    Reply
  47. Ann
    March 21, 2013

    Praying for you. Not understanding God's timing–my goodness but I don't understand Him sometimes! LOL! But forever thankful for your faith and your humor in the midst of so much trial. Thank you for sharing your faith–praying for you multiple times every day.

    Reply
  48. Francine Veríssimo
    March 21, 2013

    Lisa, I've been reading some of your blog posts and, as a 20-years-old, I told myself "I want to be like this great woman of God when I get older".
    You're an inspiration. Don't forget that. You truly inspire me with your strenght.
    Sending you prayers all the way from Brazil.

    Francine

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 21, 2013

      Francine, thank you so much for commenting and your kind words. I have to confess, I'm really just a woman who loves Jesus and is living with small successes and brilliant failures. The Lord is using so many things to refine my life, and I'm thankful that you are helped and encouraged as I process it all right here. Blessings to you.

      Reply
  49. Paula Miles Spears
    March 30, 2013

    Wow, Lisa, a lot has happened to you while I was in Ethiopia for two weeks. You will be in my prayers for a steady recovery

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 30, 2013

      Life never does slow down, does it! I followed your trip through photos on Facebook. I would love to hear more.

      Reply

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