Sunday, July 26, 2009

Come Sing in the Midst of the Darkness

"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you will know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:2-3

It has been four weeks today since my knee surgery (Monday, June 29th). Though I wanted to put up a post sooner, sitting at my computer desk has been difficult to say the least. Even now, I am in a recliner with Robert's laptop on a lap tray.

This has been a very challenging recovery. The hospital stay was easy until two days after the surgery when I developed a nasty fungal (yeast) stomach infection. Since then, the course of events has gone as follows:

July 1st - Treated with drug for stomach infection; infection improving.

July 2nd - Home from the hospital; infection still improving, but intense nausea.

July 3rd - Home health nurse and physical therapist visit; changed the course of pain medication, lessening the amount. Off of stomach medication because it was causing nausea.

July 4th - Intense knee pain all day, especially when exercising.

July 5th - Spent 6 hours in the emergency room because of intense pain; was released with new pain medication; returned home and took new medication only to have a severe reaction to it. Switched back to old medication, but increased the amount. Pain is more manageable.

July 6th - Developed thrush (fungal yeast mouth infection).

July 7th - Began treating thrush with a probiotic supplement, probiotic foods and prescribed drug.

July 8th - Thrush is better.

July 9th - Since coming home, I am spending 4-6 hours a day on a "continuous passive motion" machine, which bends my knee to regain range of motion. Also, have been attempting to do physical therapy exercises though intense pain often cuts this short.

July 10th - I am learning how to manage snacks, meals and medication as meds taken on an empty stomach cause much stomach distress.

July 11th - Exercising is still very difficult and I am discouraged, knowing that my range of motion depends on this.

July 13th - Began to cut back on narcotic pain meds; thrush still present.

July 14th - Cutting back more on pain meds.

July 15th - A most difficult day - spent all day crying with no control. I think I'd become addicted to the pain meds and was coming down from them.

July 16th - A much better day. I went for physical therapy as an outpatient. The session was very painful but overall productive. The therapist told me to take more pain medication (oh no!) so I'd be able to do the exercises.

July 17th - Went back to the old pain medication schedule. I am able to exercise more freely now.

July 18th - In the morning I noticed a little red spot the size of a pea at the very top of my incision (incision is about 10 inches long). Called Kaiser and they said it sounded like nothing.

July 20th - Today, three weeks after surgery, I reached the four-week goal of bending my knee 90 degrees. Yippee! The physical therapist noticed a red spot, now the size of a quarter, and says we should keep an eye on it.

July 21st - The red spot is now the size of a 50 cent piece. After dinner, I notice that the spot is slightly opened and draining a small amount of yucky discharge. Time to go to the doctor.

July 22nd - I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, who says I have a "stitch abscess". He opens and drains it, clips off the bad part of the stitch, swabs the wound to be sent to the lab and dresses it. Prescription for Keflex (antibiotic) given. I am to return on July 24th (two days later).

July 23rd - The infection site is larger today - now the size of a medium peach. Antibiotic is not touching it. If it gets into my knee joint the surgery will be destroyed.

July 24th - I visited the doctor who tells us that the infection is MRSA (pronounced "mersa") - the worst possible news. This is the antibiotic-resistant strain of staph bacteria that has the medical world in a panic. The doctor warns of the dangers of this infection and prescribes Bactrim. I am told to stop exercising and using the CPM machine until the infection is under control. (There goes all my hard work and range of motion!)

At home this past Friday (after getting the bad news), I called a naturopathic doctor and she made certain recommendations. I am on antibiotics and am also following the course of treatment given by the naturopath. One thing she told me to do was to apply tea tree and lavender essential oils directly to the wound as these destroy the bacteria without creating any resistance. Something is helping because the infection site is shrinking.

Now for the point of all this...
Now, for what is really important and why I shared my struggle with you. Through all of this, the Lord has been so kind and near. On some nights I would just lay weeping because of the pain. Robert took it upon himself, at those times, to sing to me. He began with "Gentle Shepherd" and has since added in many more songs.

This has been so precious. For one thing, I had never heard Robert sing all on his own before (in over 32 years of marriage!). He's only ever sung with music. So perhaps you can imagine how sweet it was to hear him next to me soothing me in song with thoughts of my kind shepherd. This has now become something we look forward to every evening at bedtime.

Once Robert starts singing, it isn't long before my heart is also compelled to worship. And in that worship, the presence of Christ completely transcends the physical pain and I find myself falling asleep. Oh, how precious He is! This indeed has been a priceless treasure wrought out of the darkness.
In no way am I out of the woods with this MRSA infection. And I am still struggling with the stomach and mouth infections. Robert just got over a week-long bout with the stomach flu. He is feeling much better but has so much on his plate right now. Please pray for us, that:

1. We might keep our eyes on our kind and gentle shepherd.
2. We might not waste this trial, but cooperate with God's sovereign purposes and bring Him glory.
3. Our God might restore my health and mobility.

When this "day of trouble" began with the stomach infection, I asked the Lord to draw very near to me and also give me a poem to honor Him. That prayer was answered last night. May you be encouraged in your struggle to seek Him, thank Him, praise Him and sing to Him (even, or rather, especially in the darkness of your trial).

Come Sing in the Midst of the Darkness

When it seems that the night will o'erwhelm you,
And the gloom has you close to despair, 
Come sing in the midst of the darkness,
Rich treasure God hath for you there. 

Cease mourning - His arms are about you; 
But the midnight of pain hides His face; 
Rejoice and give thanks midst your weeping, 
And you'll know His sweet presence and grace.

The darkness will flee when you praise Him;
The night will shine forth as the day; 
Great billows of Christ's healing comfort 
Will sooth and give peace all the way. 

Christ is your rich treasure in darkness.
His presence will transcend the pain. 
Tears of anguish will turn to rejoicing.
Christ is all that you need - bless His Name!

"I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places so that you will know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:3
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  1. sharon...I didn't realize that it has been such a challenging road that the Lord has caused you to walk through. I will continue to pray that He would guide and soothe you as only He can.

  2. HI Sharon!
    What an ordeal you have been facing. Praise God that He is faithful, even during immense trials and pain. I'll be praying that the infections go away quickly and you can be back to exercising/working on range of motion(although we know how fun that is!:)
    Love, Jennie

  3. Sharon, What a blessing to hear how the Savior is sustaining you. I will be praying for your healing and encouragement. MRSA is nasty stuff (my mama has it) but we have a sovereign Lord. He will give us a 'song in the night'. (Who knew Robert would be singing it though? ;o> )
    Love to you both, Luiza

  4. Dear Sharon,
    What a beautiful poem God has given you, even while you lay in such agonizing pain. In the midst of your trial, you give me comfort and encouragement to stand in my own trial. I will hold you up to the Lord in prayer all the more, knowing more of your need.
    By His Mercy,
    "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works." Psalm 73:25-28

  5. Sharon, it is 3:00 am and I really should get my butt in bed, but I just had to tell you that I'm so into your story, and so sad for all the pain you're going through. But also touched by your sweet story of the faithfulness and kindness of your husband AND of our Lord. He's being like Jesus to you. Precious.

    Praying for healing now for you!

  6. Sharon,
    Loved the blog; your updates; and the poem. What a wonderful gift you've been given in through this trial. Thank you for sharing your struggles and especially how you and Bob are finding peace even in the midst of these circumstances. I'm encouraged by your response. I will keep you in my prayers. Take care my friend, Prayerfully,
    Dianne J.

  7. Sharon thats exactly what I would have said! I would have told you to do the tea tree oil for MRSA. it kills it completely! I am thinking and praying for you!