The ultrasound tech seemed calm at the time. She was scanning my left arm that became puffy a week after I fell from a roof, broke six ribs and fractured my shoulder in two spots. I was wondering why it became swollen. Then she ran from the room to catch the radiologist. They both returned within a minute with news of thrombosis this and thrombus that and get to the ER immediately!
Thrombosis means blood clots!
Two long, licorice-like clots clogging veins in my upper arm from elbow to arm pit.
When I hear “blood clots” I think death could be imminent any second. They seemed to be alarmed enough for me. My heart had to catch up a bit. So I drove over to the ER to spend a lovely, expensive afternoon waiting.
Blood clots are most common in the legs, not as common in the arm. But it made sense why they happened in my arm. I fell 10 feet onto the ladder, giving it a nice warping, but it broke my shoulder in two places. In the hospital they put my arm in a sling to keep from moving my shoulder. But the trauma, the fractures and the inactivity was the perfect recipe to allow the clots to form.
So now I’m on blood thinners. I feel too young to be on blood thinners.
But almost worse than being on blood thinners is the anxiety of living with blood clots about six inches from my heart. The constant nagging thought is “will one of the little buggers breakaway, head right to my heart and end me?” At the ER they said to pay attention to any chest pain, any shortness of breath, any severe pain, and any unexpected bleeding. So I’m sitting on the couch with aching back from broken ribs and throbbing shoulder and wondering whether any pain I feel is unusual.
I’m overthinking this every second. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Now my heart is racing, feeling like a panic attack is seconds away. Shallow breathing…is this because of the clots or because I’m anxious. I can’t tell. My heart rate feels elevated. Is it because of the drugs, the blood clots going where I don’t want them to go, or because of the sugar high from the banana pudding I just ate. I can’t tell.
I don’t know. I don’t have answers. My head is burning from the anxiety and the unknowing. It’s like blisters are forming on my heart from the not knowing. I can’t stand not knowing more than I can’t stand going to the ER and waiting.
But sometime there is no choice but to wait.
I was wrestling with what I was feeling again yesterday while driving (and I’m no longer on any heavy duty pain meds that make me dizzy). Out of sorts. Sad. Confused. Wondering why did this happen? I wanted answers. Then this song came out the radio.
I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a wordYou’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
“Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin
I think that is why those words “You know just what we need before we say a word” meant so much to me. I don’t even know what I need. How can I ask for help when I don’t even know what I need? But the Father knows…even when I don’t. He provides answers for all my searching. Sometimes it takes a little time to discover those answers, but He is the good Father that loves and cares for me in the middle of my blistered heart anxiety.
“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.“– Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
Most of us already do. When we are freaking out, we call out to God for help.
What most of us don’t do nearly as regularly is take the Father at His word. When we pray, leave it there with Him. And He does the strangest thing…He gives us peace that defies comprehension. Is it really that easy? It doesn’t seem possible. But it’s written right there. I want that peace when my heart is blistering. I want it so badly.
In order to experience it I need to let go of trying to control or know all the outcomes. That is what fretting, what worrying, what being anxious is…not knowing the answers but trying control the ideal outcome. And nothing I can do can shape the outcome.
Back to “we’re all searching for answers only You provide.” When we pray about what concerns us, trusting our good Father to take care of us—even in the unknowing—He grants that peace that we long for. That kind of care for my blistered heart is exactly what I need, and He knew it all along.
Sometimes there is no choice but to wait. But instead of waiting while feeling acute anxiety I can choose something different. I can choose not to fret or worry. I can choose to pray my concerns to my good good Father. I can choose to leave those concerns with Him and experience a welcome peace that doesn’t make sense. I’ll take that any day, but in particularly on these days as I wrestle to leave all the outcomes in His good hands.
It’s a moment by moment battle to not fret and trust Him. I wish it was easier to take Him at His word. But I am trying to leave all these concerns in His hands. Some moments when I am doing that well and experiencing this crazy peace that doesn’t seem logical all I can do is say thank you to Him.
He is good. I can look and see that or I can focus on my worries. Those worries don’t give me anything but anxiety. But taking Him at His word gives me a whole lot…and an unexplainable peace is just one of those gifts. I’ll take it.
Wandering on Purpose, even in the anxiety.