Over the last two weeks I’ve become acquainted with yet another section of the excellent Tufts Medical Center. Our list includes Labor and Delivery, Maternal Special Care, Hematology/Oncology, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cancer Infusion Center, and now Wound Clinic.
Wound- as in, gross, raw, gaping hole in the body. Mine was caused by Lovenox (blood thinner) necrosis from a shot in late January. It started as a huge bruise that degenerated to something like a blood blister, then to dead skin in a large area around the injection site. Normally the body might be able to take care of a wound like this without special attention. However, chemo attacks the most rapidly growing cells in the body, which include those forming to heal wounds. So, this nasty thing has been hanging around on me since February without much improvement. The only reason I am sharing this is because the darn thing became a huge challenge to me this week, both emotionally and spiritually.
I was getting concerned about the wound area and decided a few weeks ago to mention it to my oncology nurse at my next appointment. We met with my oncologist first and Nate brought it up. I actually didn’t want to mention it to him because I’m a chicken about gross things like this and would rather not have to deal with it. However, the doctor said the wound didn’t look right and I got an appointment at the wound clinic pretty quickly.
I’ll spare the details of what followed at the clinic. By the time I got home, the wound was bleeding profusely, although I didn’t realize it right away. After waking up from a long nap, I was shocked to see how much it was bleeding. Again, the details are disgusting. It’s enough to say that I borrowed some diapers from my sister in law because nothing else I had was absorbent enough. The bleeding continued through the night and the next morning, when I got so concerned that Nate took me back to the clinic.
As all this was happening, I became increasingly angry and despondent. Maybe it’s because I hate dealing with gross bodily stuff like this, but whatever the reason, I felt like it put me over the edge. It seemed like insult and injury at once. My attitude was “Really, God? Really?! After all that Nate and I have been through–THIS?!” It seems like a small thing, I know, but it was just the final straw. I was ANGRY. Angry with life, angry that I had to deal with this, angry that this stupid unnecessary thing had happened to me (the injection site was an error, and Lovenox necrosis is unusual). To call it what it is- I was angry with God. And despondent on top of it. I felt like giving up and wanted to just lay in bed– forever. I had nothing to say as Nate and I drove to Boston and waited to see a doctor. I just looked at him and shook my head. We usually cheer each other up pretty well, but at the wound clinic I lay on the gurney bed with no words. Mad and depressed.
The wonderful doctors and nurses at the clinic patched me up well. They stopped the bleeding and gave me some hemostatic material to use at home should it happen again. My mood improved a little. I texted my friend Lindsay, telling her my woes and she prayed for me (which gave me the insight that whoever you call or text when you’re at your lowest is a good friend indeed).
Later that night I was thinking about all of this and the Holy Spirit reminded me of a truth that completely changed my attitude: “He was wounded for our transgressions”. It hit me that Jesus’ wounds were huge, terribly painful, and they took His life. There was no stopping the bleeding. And He did it for me. For my joy, Jesus chose suffering. He knowingly and willingly went to the nails, the pain, the bleeding, the raw, gaping, bodily gore that I hate to deal with. It’s not just that my little wound is nothing in comparison, but what really changed my thinking was getting my eyes on Jesus rather than myself.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Side note- Nate and I are in the process of sending out thank you letters to friends who have given us gifts. I am holding up the process due to procrastination- I hope to have them all sent before 2017 🙂