Simplify

Okay, I’ve decided to move some old blog posts from my other website to this one. It’s just too much for me to keep track of two separate ones. Over the next couple of weeks I will feature some of my favorites, and then starting in January, I’ll get back to blogging.

I am really excited for 2014. Resolve is going to be ready for sale soon, and I can’t wait until we start working on the trailer!

Here’s a post from August 2011: Stress + Worry = Sick. As I reread it, I’m reminded that God is so good. I haven’t had health complications in years.

On Thursday morning, I went to the doctor because I hadn’t been feeling well since Tuesday. After going through the routine questions and discussing my symptoms, the diagnosis was an upper respiratory infection. The doctor called a pulmonologist while I waited because of my long history with asthma. He didn’t like it when I told him I was hospitalized in April of 2010 for a spontaneous pneumothorax.

Unfortunately, with any respiratory-type illness, I am a high-risk for another one. Actually, since I have asthma I am at risk for one at any time. I will quickly explain what a pneumothorax is and what causes it. I got my information from my pulmonologist. My pulmonologist explained to me that asthma-sufferers have weak spots in their lungs. A pneumothorax is presence of air in the cavity between the lungs and chest wall, causing collapse of the lung. A pneumothorax can be caused by a list of things such as a chest injury or any underlying lung disease like asthma. It’s sometimes called spontaneous because it appears to happen out of nowhere, which tends to be true for those who suffer from lung diseases. If it does happen to me again, I’d have to undergo surgery where they will attach my lungs to my chest wall, so that it’s impossible for my lungs to fully collapse. I know someone who has had the surgery; and it’s not fun. The recovery time is pretty long. I don’t remember exactly how long, but after my trip to the hospital my recovery time was 6 weeks…so it’s much longer than that.

So, I am taking it easy! I’m a little frustrated that I’ve missed more than 1 week of work, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I haven’t been back to work since I left for NY. Thankfully everyone I work with understands! This leads me to the point of today’s blog.

Whether you have ever read the Bible or not, I am sure that everyone at some point has heard some kind of warning against stress and worry. The one that comes to my mind is “Don’t worry, be happy.” I’m not sure who said it or what his or her meaning behind it was; but I think it means that if you are worrying, you’re not really happy because you are taking joy away from your life by worrying.

Jesus warns us a couple of times about worry, but I’d like to quote the Bible (NIV) from Luke 12:25-26: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” It seems so simple. Yet, I have trouble time and time again with worrying. This may seem pretty obvious, but when I worry about anything, it causes me stress. When I let worry or stress constantly consume my thoughts I usually wind up sick. There have been studies to prove that stress significantly influences our health. I am living proof of that.

I can’t tell you how many times I was sick in law school. The semester before I graduated, I had 2 trips to the ER. The first was back in February 2010, for chest pains & heart attack-like symptoms. Thank God it was not to a heart attack, but a heart condition calledmitral valve prolapse (or regurgitation). This is when one heart valve sometimes malfunctions and so instead of pumping all of the blood through, some of the blood flows backwards. This condition can cause fatigue & heart pain. It sounds scarier than it actually is. Mitral Valve Prolapse (or MVP) runs in my family and thankfully no one has had any serious trouble with it. If it is bothersome, surgery and I believe taking beta-blockers can help/fix it. Thankfully I don’t have to go through either. My doctors believed that three years of constant high-stress caused MVP for me.

Well, I was so worried about what caused the heart pain & the MVP, that a week or so later, I was back at the doctor’s office with an asthma flair up & sinusitis. I missed more classes, but I was relieved that my professors understood. I’m also grateful that I didn’t fall too far behind in classwork.

Then two months later, as the time for final exams and bar exam prep approached (forget being excited about graduating…), I had a lot of studying to do. I also wanted to do well, hoping to make my GPA go way up. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was studying at my in-laws. During a brief study break for lunch, suddenly, I had severe chest pains & I thought it was MVP acting up. Good thing my husband & in-laws took me to the ER because I had a spontaneous pneumothorax. My lung collapsed 5% by the time I arrived at the ER. The doctors put me on oxygen and watched over me before they made any drastic decisions. Four hours later, my lung collapsed another 15%. Then they put the chest tube in to suck the air out. Let me tell you, I hope I never have to experience that pain ever again! After two days, my condition improved, so the doctor took the 1st tube out & replaced it with a smaller one. The smaller tube hurt even more! I could barely talk. I went for about 3 to 4 x-rays per day so the doctors could see whether the hole in my lung was healing. By the time my pulmonologist released me, the hole had gotten much smaller. I went for several checkups after that day and the hole finally healed.

I had so many people praying for me that I felt completely calm & at peace the ENTIRE 5 days I spent at the hospital. Keep in mind that I was released from the hospital 3 days prior to my first final. To a law student, that’s NOT enough time to study for exams. I slept for 12 hours and studied the remaining 12 hours for those 3 days. Before I went into each exam, I gave the situation over to God. There was NO way I’d pass any of my exams without Him strengthening me. Well, not only did I not fail any of my exams, I got B’s on every single one! I thank God for healing me as I didn’t have any complications, I was able to take my finals on time & graduated with a better GPA than most of my other semesters! I did find humor in this.

So, after all of this, you’d think that I’d learn not to worry & stress so much. Apparently I did not because within the last year, I’ve been sick 6 times. I believe that I’m sick now because I had really stressed out about our flight back to FL being delayed. I tried to not think about work as my boss understood my dilemma. However, in the back of my mind I kept worrying about my paycheck. Unfortunately, I do not get vacation time or sick days so when I miss work I don’t get paid. Then, the night before I’m supposed to return to work, I get symptoms of a respiratory infection. I’ve missed three days of work now. You can only imagine the worried thoughts that are going through my mind. I can’t help but wonder if I didn’t worry about missing the 1 extra day, I would not have ended up missing 3 (possibly 4) more days of work.

According to the scripture I quoted above, did I add a single hour to my life by worrying about my paycheck? NOPE! Let me tell you, I am certainly tired of not learning this lesson! I believe that God has been calling me a worrywart for quite some time and is showing me that it’s obviously not doing me any good to worry & stress. By not trusting God to do what He promises to do – which is taking care of all our needs because He is our provider, I am doubting who He says is His. That is pretty convicting & it really humbles me when I think about it. Okay, Lord, I am listening, I’m done worrying! This may be a struggle for me, but I’m promising myself today to give my worries, burdens, and stressful situations over to Him.

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