“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)
“Keep looking,” I said to the orthopedic surgeon after he stated he could not find the two centimeter tear in my rotator cuff while operating on my left shoulder early that July morning.
I was dazed from medication but alert enough to know I wanted him to make sure he didn’t miss anything while inside my shoulder. I knew not to speak to the doctor unless spoken to and he had just told me he could not locate the tear, despite seeing it in his office four months earlier on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The block given to me during the surgery did not reach the entire area and I felt a slight part of the operation–but I did not care–I wanted the surgeon to make sure he did a thorough job so we did not need to repeat it at a later date.
The doctor cleaned bone fragments, bursitis and other “junk” out of my shoulder as I watched on a computer monitor. I chose to stay awake because people with dysautonomia often have difficulty with anesthesia and I did not want the added risk. It was fascinated to observe this man’s skill; to see the inside of the human body, what God has created, was indescribable. But the surgery ended there–there was no tear.
I went home thankful the surgery was completed and my autonomic nervous system tolerated the medication. But more dramatic was the fact that my rotator cuff was intact and my recovery would be far less extensive. Miracles happen. Instead of being immobilized for months I would be in a sling for just a week and start physical therapy two weeks later. Now two months out I have pain but I am gaining mobility and the recovery will not take the expected year.
The day after my surgery was my birthday. Forty-eight years earlier I was born premature and my dad had come home and told my siblings I was not expected to make it, rather I would go to heaven. My family called it a miracle that I survived. I believe my second miracle came this year when the surgeon could not find that tear in my shoulder –the one visible on the MRI.
During follow-up appointments, I told my primary care physician, and the nurse practitioner who participated in my surgery, my theory. Neither could explain medically what happened and both agreed that yes indeed I just may have gotten a miracle.
So I rejoice in the fact that while I’m living with a chronic illness God cut me a break that day in the operating room and I am forever grateful. Miracles happen/
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for being present with me both during the surgery and after. You amaze me with your ability to help me face the challenges that living with a chronic illness entail. Please help those who are suffering and who need your help as they rejoice in the Glory of your presence. Amen.
About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three kids. She retired from her job as an elementary school counselor in July. She is writing a book about her struggles with dysautonomia, a neurological condition in which the autonomic nervous system breaks, affected such things as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature regulation.
What surprises has God shown you despite your challenges with illness? How do you rejoice when you see even little miracles happen in your daily life?
Need inspired today? This video by Angela Moss Poole featuring Rod Lumpkin II is the worship song, “Miracles.” Simply beautiful. It makes us want to sing along!