Yesterday Kate had her first orthopedic appointment in Marietta. Truth be told, I had not really given Kate’s “special needs” very much thought until yesterday. For me it had become one of those “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” things. David and I had agreed after Kate’s referral that it didn’t matter to us if Kate was completely handicapped for the rest of her life, she was our daughter…so I was not going to worry about all the things that it “might” be. And for once in my life, I didn’t worry.
We walked into a very nicely kept office and waited for Kate’s name to be called. We can tell that she has gotten very comfortable with us because she no longer sits stoicly on our laps for anything. She is busy. She wandered around the the place like she owned it. When they took us back to the exam room, she was much more chatty than she has ever been while we are out. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the whole family was there so she felt complete…but she wandered around checking things out and laughing and smiling. She has been to quite a few doctor visits since she arrived so when we started talking to her about the doctor she was quick to say “No doctor”. She continued to enjoy her time in the exam room, but would come back to Mommy’s arms at intervals with a sad face saying “No doctor, no doctor”. David got quite a cute video of it.
Finally the Dr. came in and she was very sensitive to Kate’s aversion to her. She stayed back and just chatted with us for a minute about Kate’s history. Then we laid Kate on the exam table for the doctor to look at. She wasn’t happy…she tends to associate doctors with shots right now. They took her back for xrays and then the doctor came back and told us that she thought she had a diagnosis. She thinks that Kate has fibrous dysplasia. She showed us why she thought this and told us a little more about what it is and it looks to be the case according to what she showed us. She also showed us where Kate had actually broken her left leg at some point and it healed back together very incorrectlly and not only increased the bending of her leg but also shortened it.
Fibrous dysplasia is actually catergorized under “tumors” in the medical community…probably because it can possibly grow. It is areas on the bone that are fibrous and spongy instead of hard like a bone should be. They weaken the bone so it is more prone to breakage. It is a genetic condition that is caused by a certain gene mutation during growth in the womb. It usually affects the humerus, femur, tibia, ribs, and face. In most cases, only one bone is affected. In rarer cases, multiple bones are affected. In the rarest cases, hormones, thyroid, and facial bones are affected. We don’t know how bad Kate’s is, but we do know that at least her humerus, femur, and tibia bones are affected on both sides…nothing else was xrayed so we are limited to that at the moment.
Right now we just have to wait. We will get a second opinion and we found a doctor in Atlanta who may specialize in this condition and know the best path of action. I won’t go into all the things that we might have to do about it or how it may affect Kate in later life because I have promised myself that we will take this day by day and lean on God and His plan for Kate’s life.
It would be very easy for me to talk about God as the healer right now…about faith that can move mountains and miracles that still happen today. I know God heals… I know that He works miracles. If you have read my blog, you know that I have seen them in my own life and that Kate being here at my table playing with Playdoh is a miracle in itself…the fulfillment of a promise. Last night, however, after this diagnosis and a little bit of research I found myself sad. I have more faith than I have ever had in my life, but I was still sad. I asked the Lord why I felt like I did and I felt that He said I was simply processing something the way He had created me to. He created us with emotions, we feel, we hurt, we sometimes fear…faith does not cancel out emotion. You see, I had approached this situation the right way… I had put it in God’s Hands and forgotten to worry about it. I had little to no anxiety when we headed to the Dr. for the examination. So when we actually received the diagnosis and it was a challenging one, I needed to process it…my emotions actually did what they are supposed to do. I love my daughter and she is faced with a challenge and potentially many hard days ahead…that makes me sad. I love my daughter, but I wasn’t able to be with her when she broke her leg, to comfort her, to make sure someone took care of it and put it back together right…that makes me sad. I know that God has every power to heal her and will if it is in His plan, but I have learned throughout this process that often He shows up as Sustainer, and yes, that too makes me sad. Not because I don’t have faith, because honestly, it takes more faith to walk through a situation and be sustained than it ever does to be healed, but because it means that we may have a need to be sustained in the future and that is hard.
Does it sound like I am walking in unbelief? I don’t think that I am. I think that I simply am accepting the fact that we have prayed for God to get glory from our lives…however that looks. Yes, He can and does heal, but that might not be the best thing for the big picture of the Kingdom. Even since we have arrived home, we have followed stories such as Isabella’s…who was adopted at the same time as Kate and has already gone through heart surgery and time in the hospital. Or McKenzie…who was brought home to be diagnosed with infections so severe in her ears (easily corrected ear infections in the US) that have affected her hearing and may require surgery. Or Lily who turns blue when she cries because not enough blood gets to her heart because her veins are tiny. She has already had a stint put in and will need surgery and then more stints to widen the veins. But you know what, if God hadn’t worked the miracle of bringing these girls home to loving families, Isabella would be in danger, McKenzie would be deaf, and Lily would die…not to mention they would be missing the love and care that only a Mommy and Daddy can give. God has already done miracles in our babies through the faith of their parents in a Mighty God and he will continue to sustain them in their journeys. Their babies have not been instantly healed, but they are seeing God’s sustaining miracles every day.
I think a big question for a lot of Christians is “why doesn’t God heal if He can?”…”If I had more faith would it make a difference?” If the key is more faith, wouldn’t that be us doing the healing? God doesn’t need more conjured up faith from us, I think He only desires hearts willing to lay down the expectations of healing in exchange for His plan for His glory. That is where I am at. If it brings more glory to the Kingdom for God to heal Kate, then heal her, Jesus! But if it brings more glory for us to walk through this situation day by day and see Him work daily sustaining miracles even if Kate is the worst case scenario, then sustain us, Jesus! My sister reminded me this morning…the three men in the fiery furnace didn’t say “God will deliver us!” period…they said “Our God can deliver us, but even if He chooses not to, He is still God and we won’t abandon that fact to worship something else.” Or Jesus put it like this “Not my will, but Yours be done”. Now that is faith!! Our plans and desires decreasing, that He might increase.
Am I there yet? Closer than I have ever been….that is for sure. I would so much rather think of God as healer, than I would think of Him as sustainer, but contrary to where I was a year ago, I am willing to lay down my desires for Kate and lean on His. He alone holds the plan for her life. And already in this plan, we have seen so much of His glory. Kate has been an example of God’s redemption to a great many people…maybe soon she will also be a great example of His healing…or maybe all of her life she will be an amazing picture of Our God as Sustainer. Either way, I am excited through my sadness to see God continue to show His glory through this fulfillment of His promise.