Bekah's Heart, Thyroid, transition

Though I sit in darkness…

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light!” (Micah 7:7-8)

Social media has pros and cons but one of my favorite elements is the way in which it allows you to easily look back. Through things like TimeHop or Facebook memories I can see little glimpses into years past, reminders of the good times and the hard.

The last few weeks have proved fascinating whenever I click on the “memories” section, especially the most recent years. I didn’t remember until now just how hard each of the last two years started out.

January of 2018 was month number two of a six-month waiting period trying to figure out what was wrong with my body. Tracking every symptom, painful biopsies, countless doctor’s visits, wondering and waiting to find out if I had cancer only to be told over and over again, ‘we don’t know’. I was in a place of fighting for peace and for joy. I was determined, but also many days, defeated.

Fast forward to January of 2019. Surgery was seven months past and the initial wounds caused by removing half of a vital organ from my body were well on their way to being an easily-forgotten scar. However, the impact of removing that organ caused complete chaos in my body physically, mentally, and emotionally. I went from being under-medicated in the months directly after surgery to now grossly over-medicated causing muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, anxiety, depression, and literally dozens of other symptoms. Because my body was weak and exhausted so many of the ways I generally dealt with stress and the emotional impacts weren’t options as they made the physical symptoms worse. Every day was a fight to get out of bed and there was nothing more I could do than what I already was besides wait for the hormones in my body to balance out.

January 2020. I found myself reflecting to a friend, “I think it’s been over 2 years since I felt this healthy. Life is not at all without its challenges right now, but I’m doing so well and it feels so good.” When I made that comment I was mainly referring to new life-giving rhythms I recently found. Between the health challenges of 2018 and 2019, attempting to buy a house (and then not buying a house), and the transition to a new job across the country far from most of my support system, rhythms and routines had been seriously lacking for a really long time in my life.

Christmas break provided a reset and suddenly I now find myself weeks into some sustainable ways to connect with God and friends and care for my body and exercise and de-stress. Facebook Memories keeps confirming the reality day after day that it’s not just daily rhythms that have been restored in this new season… my whole being has. In the looking back I see glimpses and reminders of how hard and painful those days really were. Even some posts that may have looked positive to others, documenting the determined fight for joy, I recall how much of a fight it really took to make that a reality in a given day.

While I’ve only recently discovered this verse from Micah it’s been sweet to look back and see how this is a prayer God answered.

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light!” (Micah 7:7-8)

In those stumbling days of 2018 and the darkest days of 2019, I heard the Lord whisper (mainly through my friends and family): “Though you have fallen, you will rise. Though you sit in darkness, I will be your light!”

Some days I couldn’t believe Him. (And that’s when I’m thankful for the friends who held out hope for me.) But our ever-faithful God came through!

Great is His faithfulness! His mercies are new every morning! Therefore, I too, dared to hope! (Lamentations 3:21:23)

My enemy, Satan, did not win. The one determined to take me down by attacking the most vulnerable parts of me, only forced me to lean in closer to my Savior. I won’t say I didn’t sometimes believe his lies that I’d never be effective in ministry again or that I’d always be in pain or depressed. But instead of taking me out of the game, those seasons just stripped away some unhealthy aspects of the way I did life and ministry and made me stronger yet. Instead of the enemy gloating over me, I now can do that over him!

Though I fell, I have now risen.

Though I stumbled in the darkness, the Lord was and IS my light.

Hard times will come again, that I know for sure, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”

Amen. Let it be so!

Until that day when we rise from death and pain forever. Until the day when darkness ceases for good. I watch and wait in hope.

Amen and amen!

Bekah's Heart, Thyroid

Not Even THAT!

Romans 8:35-39 is one of my very favorite sections of God’s Word.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? …

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(Romans 8:35, 37-39 NLT)

I love to think about this verse in the mornings. How powerful it is to start a day knowing that there is nothing that can happen in that day—nothing I do or nothing done to me—that can keep me from God’s love. It is still there waiting at the end of each day.

These really are some of my favorite verses. So, when my cousin was posting pictures of these shirts (pictured below) she was selling a while back to support a student at their church battling cancer, I knew I wanted one. What a cool message in a season of sickness and uncertainty that not even those trials could separate someone from God’s love.

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I got a shirt from my cousin when I was visiting Kansas back around Thanksgiving time and excitedly wore it home on the airplane back to Buffalo. It prompted conversations throughout the day including one with my teammates at work about how neat it was.

Little did I know that within 24 hours I might need that message for myself.

The next day at my annual routine physical, my doctor discovered something in my neck, specifically on my thyroid, that seemed a little “off”. She reassured me that many people (over 50%) get a thyroid nodule at some point in their life and less than 5% cause issues or contain cancer. My doctor was not at all concerned but wanted to send me for an ultrasound and lab work just to make sure. The ultrasound led to a biopsy which led to a six-week wait before another biopsy, both of which came back “indeterminate”.

Basically, they had no clue if I had cancer or not. The cells just didn’t give enough information.

After meeting with a surgeon in February, we made the decision to move forward with surgery. Six months after discovering the nodule, on May 30, I had the right half of my thyroid removed, along with the nodules.  Thankfully, recovery is going well and I’d say I’m about 90-95% back to normal 4 weeks post-op. Even better news: the third and forth biopsies (during and after surgery) seem to indicate the growth was NOT cancer which means a second surgery is not necessary at this time.

I still remain thankful for the reminder my shirt proclaims:

Nothing can separate me from God’s love.

And this is not just a truth for those battling cancer… we can all cling to God’s never-ending love. Whatever we’re walking through, it can’t keep us away from it!

No sickness. No brokenness. No guilt or shame.

No school shootings or political debates.

No family fights or drama with friends.

No anxiety.

No worry.

Not even that one thing you have in your mind that you’re certain is the exception.

NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

NOT. EVEN. THAT.

What a beautiful truth we can live in today, tomorrow, and every day!

Thyroid

Our Bodies are Amazing! So is the Creator.

The more I consider it the more I realize just how amazing the human body really is!

I can get a cut on my finger and within a few days, you would have never known if was there. Without having to think about it, hundreds of times a day, my lungs fill up with air and oxygen is taken to cells all over my body to allow them each to do the work they need to do and my heart pumps blood and my eyes blink.

In some miraculous way I don’t understand, my brain thinks a thought and instantly my fingers move in a specific way hitting the screen of my phone or keys on a keyboard in just the right place to put a series of letters together that make up this sentence. Then somehow your eyes can scan those letters on some screen potentially across the world and your brain computes a message. Mind-boggling.

When we’re sick our body’s immune system kicks in.

When we’re tired or hungry our body sends us signals that it’s time to eat or sleep.

Seriously our bodies are incredible! The more I think about it the more I am convinced this can’t all have happened by chance. Our Creator God is incredible!

This also makes me consider the times our bodies don’t work the way they should. While God designed them to last forever and function perfectly, that got messed up when sin entered the picture back in Genesis. Ever since then humans have been living in less-than-perfect bodies, bodies that ache, bodies that fade, bodies that get sick.

I’ve thought about this more recently, as I deal with some health issues of my own. Long story short, I will be having surgery in May to remove half of my thyroid. A thyroid is a small gland, shaped kind of like a butterfly located in our neck. If you would have asked me 6 months ago what our thyroid does I would have potentially stared back at you confused and barely been able to say where it was even located in my body. But now I know exactly the amazing, miraculous things this gland does for us. Each moment of every day our thyroids produce hormones that impact the function of almost every vital organ in our body including our bones, the heart, and on some level, basically every cell in our body! It’s work in these areas regulates our metabolism, weight, and energy levels. So it does pretty important work each day that often we are clueless about.

While mine thankfully functions very well, some extra cells have decided to grow on one side of it and I now have two very small nodules on the right half of my thyroid. One is not a concern at all and the other likely isn’t anything serious either however it was still labeled, “suspicious” after a few tests.

So, we’re on to the next step which is just get rid of those cells just in case. This is scheduled to happen in May. I won’t know until I wake up from surgery whether they removed just half or the whole thing. It will just depend on what they find when they get in there. Either way, the recovery should be pretty quick. (That also is amazing evidence of the incredible complexity of the bodies God gave us!)

As I mentioned before, the thyroid gland is a pretty crucial part of our body. Without it eventually our other organs would stop functioning properly too. If my entire thyroid is removed, I will need to take medicine that replaces the thyroid hormone in my body. That may or may not be the case if they leave the left half, but either way I find it incredible that God created humans with brains that at some point in history were able to figure out what a thyroid does and what is in the hormone it produces. Then they discovered how to replicate that in such a way that our bodies can take a little pill each morning and continue to function well even when that part of our body is removed. It’s amazing!

I am feeling good about the surgery and at peace with taking this next step.
I am confident in my amazing surgeon.
I am thankful for the awesome family and friends walking the journey with me.

And I am finding myself even more and more amazed at our Creator God who also happens to be our Healer as well!

That, too, is an amazing design! 🙂

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