“Never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill
“The brave aren’t brave because they don’t feel fear. They’re brave because they pushed through it.” – Carey Nieuwhof
There are seasons in our lives where we will face a lot of discouragement and disappointments. Sometimes these knock on our door one by one. Other times we seem to face a barrage of them; where one thing after another seems to go wrong.
It feels like there are challenges and hurdles at every level.
Each one has to be faced and each time you have to keep bringing yourself back, getting over the new disappointment and find the strength to move forward.
There are moments when despair knocks at your door. Pleading with you to let it in and yet you know if you let it in, you will also let in all the other feelings and thoughts that accompany it. Once they get a hold of you, it is hard to break free because those dark thoughts will pull you into horrible places.
It is not easy some days. You have to find the strength for each new day, each new battle, each new decision.
Sometimes all you can say (or shout) to yourself is:
“I WILL NOT QUIT! I WILL KEEP ON GOING – REGARDLESS OF HOW DIFFICULT THIS IS!”
Until you can again break through to a place of hope. A place where you can see light for your future. A place where you decide you will not let what is happening around you and to you destroy you. A place where you can gain a better perspective and will not let the bad news win!
It takes great courage and strength to keep on keeping on when the way forward is not clear.
We had some disappointing news from the hospital this week. Following my relapse a month ago of CSF leak/ post-concussion symptoms, I was offered a second blind epidural blood patch as treatment. (I had one in March that got me back to about 70-80% normal for 5 months).
Two weeks ago I went to hospital to have this procedure, but when at last the anaesthetist was ready to call me to theatre, the day ward I was on realised that the ward would shut before I had taken the full recovery time.
So it was cancelled.
I cried when they told me (thankfully I was wearing sunglasses due to photophobia). So I had to let my husband talk (because I couldn’t get my words out). He remains the most brilliant advocate through all this. Calm and understanding, yet strong and willing to fight where necessary.
When you have waited ten days for a procedure to help you get better, then you go into hospital, wait all day for it to happen, told they are ready for you in theatre, to then find it can’t happen after all – is really very hard.
But we were assured it would get rearranged. So we pulled ourselves together and chose to keep waiting.
After two more weeks of waiting for another appointment (and after daily phone calls to chase it up), it turned out that the anaesthetists have changed their minds and have ALL refused to do the blood patch and instead I have been referred to the chronic pain clinic to manage symptoms. (A blood patch is an internationally renouned treatment to deal with the cause and symptoms of CSF leaks. And the treatment requested by my Neurology consultant. The problem is a lack of understanding about how they work and the diagnosis means Doctors don’t always want to take the risk with them).
After already waiting for four weeks for a blood patch, to be told I won’t get it is unbelievably disappointing.
It feels like another ‘blow’ in a very challenging journey.
It’s left us in a very difficult position in which we need a lot of wisdom to know the right course of action to move forward with.
I currently still need to lie down flat all day to deal with symptoms.
Despair is knocking at the door of our lives coaxing us to allow it in.
But we WONT let it!
It won’t steal my inner peace.
It won’t steal my inner strength.
I will keep on keeping on – Regardless!
It’s hard but I won’t let it destroy my life. At every level, I am choosing hope. I won’t settle for fear, doubt, worry, anger, bitterness and blame.
As a Mum I have a responsibility to demonstrate to my kids how to face hard times and endure through them; yes – somewhat broken, but also stronger and wiser.
As church leaders Matt and I together have a responsibility to show that we can face what life throws at us and still remain full of faith and strength.
It doesn’t mean we find it easy. It certainly doesn’t mean we don’t feel weak.
- We get angry at the process.
- We daily face the frustrations of managing life with me in bed all day.
- It’s painful, it’s hard, we often don’t know what to do.
- There are tears, there is exhaustion.
But we have already decided:
WE WILL NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, GIVE UP!
“Leaders are teaching others how to handle pain at the exact moment they are learning these lessons themselves. The pain is felt and the lessons are taught in real time.” – Samuel Chand
Despair, anger, frustration, hurt and worry come against us. Telling us their pitiful story of how terrible our life is and how hard this is for us.
But we have learnt and will continue to learn how to stop these thoughts as quickly as we can.
It’s not easy, but it is possible.
“….let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” -Romans 12:2 (The Bible)
We will not allow our perspective to be dragged down to the smallness of our current circumstances. We choose to look beyond this. To find purpose within the pain. To remember what we do have to be thankful for.
And when we don’t have the strength to fight, we know that God will carry us. We know that we have people around us standing and fighting with us and for us.
We are not alone and we will ENDURE!
Endure: To carry on through, despite hardships; (The Free Dictionary).
We endure each day by facing and finding the strength for today. Not getting bogged down by what may happen tomorrow. If we look too far into the future it can overwhelm us.
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” -Mother Teresa
This is the hardest long term battle I have faced in my life.
It came out of nowhere and suddenly tried to take control of my life. My story of this year will always be a part of me but I will not allow it to consume everything in me as well.
I am not a diagnosis. I am Becky Hill who is having a challenging year fighting a complex diagnosis.
I WILL come through this. However long it takes. I WILL get better.
And in the meantime I intend to travel through it as well as I can. Make the most of every opportunity. Do what I can do and not despise what I can’t.
My life does not only consist of what happens around me. We cannot always change what happens around us or to our bodies. But what has happened won’t take me inside. In my heart, my spirit, my thoughts.
So even when my body is weak (weaker than I have ever known). Even when physically my strength is limited.
My spirit can soar. My heart can sing. I will do what I can to still build myself up, stay encouraged and inspire others in the process.
I have to fight for the right perspective on foggy days.
But I will overcome.
It will change me.
But good will come from this.
I will not allow it to take me down!
“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory” – Philip Yancey
Can good things come out of your suffering? What could you do to find purpose amidst pain?
Thankfully after finishing this post we got some better news from the hospital. It’s by no means clear cut but there is a bit of a way forward now. We can always hold onto hope and faith.
To read more about my ongoing story of living with a chronic spinal CSF Leak click here.
Here is a brilliant 2 min animation about Spinal CSF leaks.
For more information about spinal CSF leaks please see the UK charity website at www.csfleak.info or the US charity website at www.spinalcsfleak.org.