Recovering from brain surgery has literally been a pain in the neck. I know I’ve said that before, but it is. It has taken me three days of rest just to recover from a trip to NC for my post-op appointment. Although we didn’t do “school” Christi has had a home economics course this week. She has made grape juice and jelly, cooked meals, and between her and the older two boys all the laundry has been done and the house is still in order (somewhat). Thank you, Lord, for my family.
The hardest part of having a Chiari Malformation is that to look at me you wouldn’t think I had a problem. But, it is a struggle. It was tough not knowing exactly what was wrong with me for so many years. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder over 20 years ago. When Robby started getting ill with many of the same symptoms I naturally thought he was just suffering from depression. But, he always insisted that there was something physically wrong with him. I on the other hand, just accepted many years ago that my headaches and other odd symptoms were just related to depression. After Robby was finally diagnosed, I secretly began to wonder if I might have some neurological problem. It sure changed my perspective when we finally learned that I too had a Chiari Malformation. All these years I just thought I was crazy. Now we know that I have a brain disorder.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
And He delights in his way. Ps 37:23
God sure knew what he was doing when He put Robby and I together. I was able to be somewhat sympathetic when he first started getting ill. He looked good on the outside, but suffered from chronic pain. I learned many years ago how to walk around looking good even though I felt terrible. Some people just keep putting one foot in front of the other because they know life must go on. That is the way we are. With both of us having the same condition, we can understand what the other is experiencing even when those around us think we are just fine.
A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
We got three opinions before deciding I would have brain surgery. All three doctors agreed I had a Chiari, they just didn’t agree on the treatment plan. They each had a different approach. My Chiari isn’t as severe as Robby’s. But, we decided to opt for the surgical fix rather than hope neurological rather than psychological meds would improve my symptoms. We knew that if my symptoms continued to get worse I’d end up under the knife anyway. We believe God’s plan is to heal all our diseases (Ps 103:3).
I know we made the right decision. But, I feel guilty that I must rely on my children to accomplish so much of what I normally do. They wash, fold, and put away clothes, clean the kitchen, vacuum floors, take out trash, empty the potty seat for their little sister, prepare meals, do a variety of chores around the farm, and still do their school work. I don’t know why I feel guilty. When I think about it, I started doing all those things except the farm work when I was about 10 or 11. I turned out OK (I think). Because I got stuck with doing all those things when my parents split up, I never wanted my children to have to take on so much responsibility. Because of my illness they are doing so much more than I ever wanted them to have to do.
I am glad I learned to take care of house when I was a kid. I knew more than the other girls I roomed with while in the navy. I taught them a thing or two about cooking and keeping our room inspection ready. I remember in boot camp the drill instructor was impressed that I knew how to make hospital corners on my sheets.
He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich…
As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
So is the lazy man to those who send him.
Proverbs 10: 4; 26
I remind myself that even God wants us to teach our children to work hard. Learning to keep house and do yard work will not kill my children. They just may be pleased some day that they learned these skills at such a young age. At the very least they will know how to earn their keep.
However, I struggle with the fact that I need their help. I am their mother. They should be asking me for help not the other way around. I tend to define myself as a wife to a Godly man and a home schooling mother of five blessings. Recovering from surgery means I cannot do many of the things I have done for years. I got use to doing many things with pain, but now I worry if I lift too much or strain doing something I might seriously hurt myself. I am glad this will not last forever. If I take care of myself, I should be doing more than I did before my surgery in just 3 – 12 months.
Lord, help me to wait on you to renew my strength
so I will mount up with wings like eagles,
run and not be weary,
walk and not faint. Isa 40:31