After weeks of brooding over my “normal” diagnosis regarding my thyroid function, I called my endocrinologist. I asked for more tests. I braved the hospital lab early on a cold Saturday morning. I met an angel phlebotomist who, when I started to cry, asked me, “Have you been tortured? I can always tell the ones who’ve been tortured.” She promised me that she would only stick me if she was 110% sure, and she kept that promise. I smiled when she assured me that I was, in fact, bleeding freely.
Four pages of tests. Ten vials of blood. I don’t even remember all that was on the list. Celiac, rheumatoid something, hormones galore, adrenal function, vitamin levels. A week and a half later, I heard from my doctor’s nurse, Frankie. She went through the list, saying, “That’s good,” every time she said that the result was normal. My heart sank with each item, and my brain screamed, “This is the opposite of good!” Being unwell with no explanation is not GOOD.
Finally, she let me know that my vitamin D was low, and that I should supplement. And also, did I want to come back to see the doctor in a year? I nearly threw the phone on the floor at that suggestion. I was supposed to just live with my growing list of symptoms for twelve months, go back, and what? Have her tell me that there still was “nothing wrong with me”? Vitamin D was not going to fix all that ails me. I insisted that I need to see her soon, and got an appointment for next month.
I won’t give the details of my physical reaction in the aftermath of this conversation, or the plummeting of my hope for healing, or the desperation that was skillfully calmed by the wisest woman I know (a.k.a. Mom, of course). Instead, I want to share with you the joyful prayer of thanksgiving that escaped my lips, when I decided to focus on all that my body has done and can do, instead of the ways it is deficient now.
1. My body has grown 8 healthy children within it, through normal, uncomplicated pregnancies. Though not without their discomforts, I did not spend all those months vomiting, or bed-ridden, or in fear for my or my child’s life
2. My body has given birth 8 times; again, normally, and without complications. I was blessed to give birth 6 times in the comfort of my own home, with amazing support and care all around me. I experienced the beauty of God’s design; although fraught with the pain that came when sin entered the world, I am in awe of what He made my body to do.
3. My body has nourished 8 children with the milk it produced, on average for about 16 months each. They all thrived on that perfect food, and the joy that came with warmth and overwhelming love was more than enough to counter the few “issues” I had with breastfeeding.
4. My body shed the copious pounds put on during pregnancy seven times. Seven times I gained and lost an average of 50 lbs. Beginning with my third pregnancy, I had to work for it, but my body always responded to me treating it right.
5. My body rarely gets sick. I don’t often get colds, and I’ve never had an illness worse than strep throat. I get a stomach bug maybe every other year.
6. My body has never had a broken bone or needed stitches. That may be more a testimony to my lifestyle and choice of activities, but I’m thankful for it nonetheless.
7. My body has never needed surgery, aside from dental surgery. I have never had to be admitted to a hospital, for any reason.
8. My body is fairly well coordinated, and I have a good sense of rhythm. I’m pretty sure I would rock at Zumba, if I ever had the chance to try it
As I tearfully thanked God for all of these things, my mind kept trying to interject, “but what about…” But I shut it down, again and again, and returned to the things that I am thankful for. As my mom reminded me, I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Whatever else may come, that will always be true.