Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Holy Moments



It was a holy moment. No one else would have seen it that way. Actually, no one else saw the moment at all. I was laying in bed in those first moments of lounging before getting up to face the day. Most nights I lay on one side or the other with my arm curled under my pillow supporting my head. It’s just the way I sleep. I like laying on my left side, for some reason, but the problem is an old rotator cuff shoulder injury makes that shoulder start hurting after laying on it awhile. Every night I seem to not remember that the next morning it’s going to hurt. So, in those first few minutes of waking, my shoulder hurts. I get up to use the facility and take two Tylenol. Then I lay back down, on my right side this time. I stretch out. The bed feels good beneath my feet. I curl my arm under my pillow just right savoring the smell of jasmine perfume that wafts from my nightstand. I love that smell. And when I turn on my right side the perfume bottle is close and a take a deep breath. Somehow it is the fragrance of the new me. And I am new.

My left arm runs down my side feeling the curves of my body. Instinctively, I ease my left elbow down on the mattress. This puts just enough stretch on my shoulder to make it feel better. In this position, my hand automatically rests on that area at the top of my pelvic bone and just under my rib cage. It’s my waist and this is the holy moment. Six years ago if I had attempted this position, I would have wound up like a beached whale. Although it is not a position of extremity in any sense of the word, it would have been for a woman who weighed well over 430 lbs. and couldn’t even remember ever knowing where her waist was.

I run my hand over my protruding pelvic bone and then over my rib cage. I run my hand back down and along my waist to the skin that lingers there at the front, my pennicula. Well, I can live with that. It’s a reminder of when I was so big it hurt to move. I run my hand down the top of my leg and feel my hip bone and then my thigh muscles.

This is indeed a holy moment. For God in His infinite mercy has allowed me to experience what it feels like to not be engulfed any longer in the addictive sin of overeating. He has allowed me through the miracle of modern-day surgery, to have my stomach resized much smaller and my intestines rerouted so that at least one-third of them are bypassed. This means several things. First, I can’t eat much at one time. The days of gorging at a meal until I could barely move are over. Even if I wanted to, and most days I do not want to, I cannot eat large amounts. I can eat about half what I used to eat. Even that concerns me as for several years after my surgery I could only eat about ¼ of what I used to eat.

I like the built-in control that having a smaller stomach brings to my life. I like saying, “No thank you. I’m full.” I like bringing home doggie bags. Strange what things you begin to savor after never having the control before. Of course, I could bring home the doggie bag, wait about an hour and eat the rest of it. That’s where the self-control or I should say the God controlling self comes in. I pray that God give me the truth of the situation and then I tell myself that I just ate and I am not really hungry. Most nights, it works. Amazingly, it works. And every time I realize, God cares more about this than I do. And this, too, is a holy moment.

Second, because of the bypass portion of the surgery, if I do overeat or eat something with high fat or carbohydrate composition, it will be bypassed and not absorbed by my system. Yes, friends that means it comes out the other end. After a few times of this happening, it is enough incentive to try to avoid that scenario. It is as if God Himself is reminding me again of my promise to make Him first instead of food. Ok, need I say it? This too is a holy moment.

Third, because I don’t absorb as much food, I also do not absorb as much vitamins and nutrients so I must take things like B12, calcium and multi-vitamins. It is a necessary thing for me, not an if-you-want-to thing. This too is a God-thing. If I want to be healthy, full of life and ready to do what God wants me to do, I need to do these small, seemingly insignificant things like take my vitamins. Now it is part of my daily ritual, morning and night to take my vitamins. The fact that God wants me to be healthy for His purposes makes this also a holy moment.

A fourth necessity is one I have to admit I’ve got away from but am back at and enjoying. It is exercise. I’ve never liked to exercise. That’s probably one reason I got in the shape I did, that and the wonderful cooks in my family. I found that water aerobics are my exercise of choice. As many mornings as possible I go to the local parks and recreation gym and either do water aerobics or walk for 30 minutes on their water track. I really enjoy the latter because I can do it at my own pace and on my own time. I can make my own rhythm. Also I make it a prayer and reflection time. It’s the time that the Lord and I have together. The sameness of the steps, the swing of my feet and arms and the presence of God all combine to make this once again, a holy moment.

One problem I have had since my surgery is a bladder issue. This nagging problem cropped up in earnest about a year after surgery, after I had lost about 200 lbs. I wondered if it could be the extra skin hanging over my waist line that was causing the problem. Doctors said no. About a year and a half ago, I went to my old OB/GYN. I told him my problems. He sent me to a urologist, who did tests and didn’t like what he saw. He sent me to a neurologist who did lots of other tests and came back with the very annoying diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The MRI he took shows 25-30 spots on my brain called lesions.

Although the only symptom I have of MS right now is the bladder difficulty, the doctor explained that I need to go on a daily injection of one of the MS drugs. Because the injection is expensive and hasn't been shown to cure the type of MS I have, I decided to get a second opinion. At the Mid America Neuroscience Institute in Lenexa, KS, they told me they would follow me and have me go through basic tests every three months to see how I am doing. This will point out any problems or new areas of concern. If the MS returns or affects some other part of my body, I may need to go on the injections. For now, I'm just being monitored without putting some drug in my body that no one is sure what it accomplishes.

In the next few months I am also having both knees replaced. Hopefully this will increase my ability to walk and engage more fully in my exercise routine. Although it won't be a piece of cake, I am praying the results will mean stability in standing and walking eventually without pain. I know that my knees are worn out because of all the weight that they carried for years. Sin has consequences. Even though I'm in a better place physically, I'm dealing with many of the consequences of my years of disobedience in eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and however much I wanted.

Obviously I have some lessons God would like for me to learn in all of this. Whatever, they are I will try to listen and get them the first time so that perhaps I won't have to go around the mountain a second, third, fourth, etc., time. My prayer is, by whatever means, in whatever process, God be praised.

So far the MS diagnosis and even the knee replacement surgery has forced me to get more particular about my routine. I make sure I take all my vitamins. I exercise at least three times a week, more if possible. I try to eat whole, healthy foods. I take time to pray, read my Bible, do my Bible study. I’ve cut things out of my life that eat up my time and are not things God has specifically told me to do. Now more than ever I realize the time, perhaps my functional time, is short. The talents and gifts God has given me in the area of writing have to come forth now. Whatever He wants me to say, whenever He talks to me, I will write it down. Just like this morning, even though I should be getting ready for church, God said, write it down and so I have. And this, too, is a holy moment.


©2010 by Teresa Parker

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