Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

 Read that title again. Now seriously that is my life. One hip surgery, two hip surgery, HOORAY IT'S OVER! Oh my, praise the LORD oh my soul!! In my last post I said I would tell you about the miracle which is my hip(s), and the day has come. Want to know how cool God is? Read on, my friends.

My freshman year of college I hurt my hip in an impact injury. It was November 2009. My trainer thought I had just pulled my hip flexor pretty badly, and it was time for the conference tournament- so I played on for 3 weeks. During the off season I rested and saw doctors at MSU who told me I could have a number of different inflammatory issues but nothing serious. I had an arthrogram MRI, which means an invasive MRI where they inject dye into my joint to make sure nothing is torn. That came out normal. So I was unsure what to do at that point. I went through therapy, got cortisone shots, and nothing seemed to be working.

My trainer, who was with me through the good, bad, & ugly.
The summer between my freshman and sophomore year I was supposed to work at OnGoal, a traveling Christian soccer camp, with one of my best friends. However, because of my injury I was unable to fulfill the commitment I made to them. After the week of training, I had to go home to try to figure out what was wrong with my body. Upon moving to St Joe where my parents had moved the summer I left for college, my physical therapist told me about a doctor who did what is called prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is the chemical injuring of one's tendons and ligaments in order to signal to the body that it needs to heal. I had run out of other options (the MSU dr's wanted to operate on me to see what was wrong), I decided I would start this new-to-the-scene treatment. This involved me going every 4 weeks to get multiple shots into my tendons and ligaments in my hips (by this point, both hips were hurting). Sometimes I would get up to 14 shots in one session. This was some of the most painful treatment I have ever received. While it was challenging, and not ideal, because of this treatment I made it through my sophomore season of soccer, which ended with a National Title at the Christian National tournament.

Few moments bring feelings like this.
Unfortunately, the problem did not go away. Throughout the entire season I practice very little and only played in games. I hated doing this and felt like I was letting my team down. After sitting out the entire off-season during my sophomore year, my hips still were not getting any better. I came home to St Joe again for the summer to try to rest and get healthy. The end of summer was nearing and I was unable to work out without pain. Running and twisting were incredibly painful. I had no idea what to do. I had worked so hard for so long and I felt as though my dreams of being a contributing member of my team were over. It was 4 days before I was supposed to pre-season camp and I was freaking out. I had so much anxiety I made myself sick. I was worried and scared, and I was afraid to let everyone down. I prayed and cried, a lot.

When I was praying, out of no where I had the idea to go to a church I had never been to. Jake's friend Jen went to a Holy Spirit driven church that I heard her talk about once. And for whatever reason, I knew we had to go there. I called Jake to tell him, and the next day we showed up at the Friday night service in a church we had never been to. While we were there, it was obvious that the Holy Spirit was at work. I was uncomfortable and scared. The kind of scared you get when you know you are going to encounter God. Before service was up, Jen and her friend Amber took Jake and I into the hall so they could pray over my hip. Amber has the gift of healing. Now this was all very new to me, and I still don't know much about it, but I trusted her. She made me laugh and feel comfortable. She explained that not everyone experiences healing in the same way, some people are healed instantly and others have to walk out their healing in faith. I knew God would require the second of me. So after explaining this, they all put their hands on me and prayed. They prayed for healing and that I would have the best soccer season of my life. I cannot explain this feeling I had. I felt a smile rise in me from what felt like the deepest part of my heart. I couldn't help but smile. I started to laugh a little. I didn't feel better in my hip, but it was as if God had His hand right over my heart.

When we left that night, Jake and I weren't exactly sure how my healing was going to play out. However, when I went to pre-season camp I ran the fastest mile and a half time I had ever run in my life. Throughout the season I would play extremely well in games, then afterwards feel pain. It was one of the strangest experiences I have ever had. I would pray before the game and throughout "God, you have spoken Truth into my body, I trust you." And I would be able to perform. When I came off the field I could feel pain, but not on the field. It was as though God was showing me that He was carrying me. It's because He was.

The season went on and I finished really well along with the rest of my team. We made it to NAIA nationals and flew to Alabama to compete. At the end of the season, I received All Conference honors- which I had never received before. It was the best season I have ever had.While this was true, my pain was still there in the off season. I was so confused. I wondered how God could heal me, then "take it away". Had I lost my faith? Was I not being faithful enough? Why was this happening? I went to more doctors, feeling as if I was betraying God's faithfulness because I didn't trust Him to heal me fully.

While I was plagued with so many questions, I realize now that those were not from God. However, in the midst of the storm I was also faced with the question of whether or not I would play my senior year of soccer. The pain affected my ability to play and I was growing more weary. My trainer and I were unsure of whether or not my body would be permanently damaged because of playing through so many years of pain. I went into the summer uncertain if I would be able to play come fall. But the MSU doctors referred me to a doctor in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Byrd was supposed to be the best of the best. I looked him up online knowing he was my last option, most likely for the rest of my life. (I had seen every dr under the sun). When I looked him up, a ton of scholarly articles appeared. He seemed like the Father of Hip Surgery to me. I had no idea how this was going to work out, seeing as every doctor I had seen in the past 3 years still didn't know what was wrong with me. However, I knew I had to give him a chance. I wouldn't be able to see him until after my soccer season, but I wasn't going to give up on the game.

I've loved this game for 18 years.
I played well throughout my senior season and our team had the best season in the history of SAU soccer. I enjoyed myself, even though I had to sit out of some practices. God carried me in the same way He did my junior year. It was pretty incredible. During our last game, which was a heart-wrenching loss, I felt my hip give way and I was in more pain than I had been in 2 years. I knew at that moment that my soccer career was over. We still had half of the game left, but with that pain came the realization that God had carried me as far as I needed to go, along with the rest of my team. With this reality in my mind, I played the rest of the game as hard as I could.
My family. They were a huge support for me through everything.
After the ending of my soccer career came the ending of my college career, along with that came my engagement. (My life is always pretty full haha) However, I had no idea what I was going to do after graduation. Well, that was until I saw Dr. Byrd. On January 20 my parents and I went down to Nashville to try to figure my hip out. On the 21st we found out that I had torn both of my hip labrums (waited 3 years to have an answer!), and that I would need surgery on both. So on January 22 I had my first hip surgery, then a mere 10 weeks later had my second hip surgery. While I dreaded my second surgery, it went phenomenally well. I had much less pain and much more range of motion from an early date. Now, just 4 weeks later, I am off my crutches and continuing on the path to wellness :)

Now this was a very long story and some of you may have missed the miracle in all of it. The miracle is that God DID heal me. Not only did He provide the perfect timing for two surgeries, as well as the financial provision, but the surgeries gave me opportunity to live at home with my family during the precious months before I get married. He completely carried me through my entire soccer/college career, and by doing so healed my heart in SO many ways.

He has proven He is trustworthy and faithful. He has shown me love and grace through His people throughout this entire process. He has solidified in concrete that HIS way is the BEST way, even when it doesn't make sense and feels more like pain than goodness.

God is so good, my friends. This grace covered ragamuffin can't stop talkin about it :) To Him be the glory.
All For Him

::By His Grace & For His Glory::

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