I don’t remember life before my mom was sick. I can remember her first episode, as we would come to call them, my dad took us Peidmont park near the hospital and gave us Mcdonalds to ease the pain of spending Saturday in the hospital. I was about six so all I cared about was the toy in the happy meal but it would take quite a few happy meals to get through my child hood and even more visits to the hospital. The doctors deemed her first visit as dehydration and told her to go home and rest, an oxymoron for a woman with four small children. She did her best but it seemed that every time she would start to get better something else would happen and her episodes would come back, Migraines that would last for days, fevers, chills, and extreme fatigue. My childhood was filled with memories of my mother in bed and I quickly appointed myself as her full time nurse. It was all I could do that would give either of us some relief. I had memorized the grocery store isles by the time I was seventeen from all my grocery visits and I had educated my self about health in every way possible. On the really bad days when she couldn’t get out of bed I would sit with her getting new ice packs every time one would get warm. I think I thought I could cure her with Ginger Ale and aspirin. The years flew by as they always do and she spent most of them going from doctor to doctor hoping for some answers. New symptoms would come up every few months and just when they would think they were close something would add up. Each doctor seemed to have a different theory of why she was sick and each doctor was left puzzled by inconclusive test. After a few years they told her she had chronic fatigue, which has no cure and no treatment.
It seemed she would have to spend her life in this condition. Frustration could have ruled my mothers life but if you know her you know that she has strength and grace that could only come from God. She chose to make the best of her life by investing every ounce of her into our family. She attended every soccer game, baseball game, track event, and concert that she could. When I reached my teenage years and began to rebel she did everything she could to show me how much she loved me, including coaching my high school rec league soccer team of fifteen crazy girls. My mom never gave up hope that answers would come and even after a dozen failed attempts at a healthy life she never gave up. We all managed to grow up happy and healthy with a mother who never put her self first. Life seemed to follow a familiar pattern for my brothers and I all the while she was at a standstill, hoping for answers. We grew up, left home, got engaged, married, and moved away.
While our lives seemed to be just starting my moms life work was coming to a close. It was at this point that she took a turn for the worse. Her good days were far and few in between and there were even a few trips to the hospital when her pain was too much to bear. I couldn’t be the nurse my mom needed anymore and I had to learn to trust that God was with her. She was prayed over countless times by our family and church members, we trusted God knew why he had brought her here. Of all the kids I struggled the most amidst my moms illness, I couldn’t face the fact that my God might have allowed this to happen. I couldn’t believe in his holy perfect plan and watch my mom suffer day to day. In the years after high school my mom had become my best friend and watching a friend hurt is harder than dealing with your own pain. Answers were coming though, just not the answers I wanted.
She finally had a test come back positive which lead the doctors to believe that she had a tumor on her adrenal glands and when they did a CT scan it showed a growth on her left adrenal gland. Years of hurting had finally been put to rest. My mom was overjoyed that she might be able to live the life she lost almost 21 years ago. The rest of us were hoping for different answers. Even though it is most likely not cancerous the idea of a tumor is never comforting. While her battle with health might come to a close she has learned something we ofter forget. Faithfulness. My mom had not wavered in her commitment to love God even on her greatest days of pain.
My mom lives out Romans 12:12
“Be Joyful in hope, Patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”