Well, I survived the first few days of my social media fast and the best way I can describe it is like having an itch you can’t scratch. I itch when I wake up in the morning. On Day One I picked up my cell phone, swiped to open the screen and realized what I was about to do. I itched again when I sat down with my coffee at breakfast. In fact, all day long I itched. Itched to get back into the stream of social media. Even though I itched, I am proud to say, I didn’t scratch the itch.
I recently read this very insightful post by Leo Babauta “Don’t Scratch the Itch“. I swear, that man was in my head. His brief and to-the-point post is just what I needed to read. And it is something that can be applied to virtually any bad habit. What itches do you need to stop scratching?
Ok, that’s just prying. I’ll stick with my own itches for now.
After my last post, I was inundated with responses here and on Facebook. I was surprised that so many people related to my own personal struggle with self-control. It certainly struck a nerve.
I was also deeply touched that so many agreed to pray for Steve. Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to us. I didn’t go into the details of Steve’s condition in my previous post because I wanted to respect his privacy but I asked Steve if it was okay to share with you what’s going on and he agreed.
In 2006, on a family vacation in Whistler, BC, Steve had an accident while riding a mountain bike. He injured his back and since that time he has struggled with chronic pain in this area. Over the years it has gotten worse and by 2011 the back pain had become debilitating to the point that Steve was no long able to work. He had back surgery to try and relieve some of the pressure on the discs. We were very hopeful at that time but the surgery was not effective in relieving the pain and since then it has grown steadily worse.
This past year Steve’s health has declined even further. He has been in unrelenting pain throughout his body that has kept him confined to the house and to his bed. Within the last couple of months he received a diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism. The Mayo Clinic describes hyperparathyroidism as “an excess of parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream due to overactivity of one or more of the body’s four parathyroid glands. These oval, grain-of-rice-sized glands are located in your neck. The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone, which helps maintain an appropriate balance of calcium in the bloodstream and in tissues that depend on calcium for proper functioning.”
This condition, while unrelated to his previous injury, appears to be the major cause of his worsening health, deep bone pain, tremors, sleep difficulties and a myriad of other symptoms.
The treatment for this disease is to remove the offending gland. The prognosis for recovery is good.
Some of you were already aware of Steve’s health issues but it may come as a complete surprise to others of our friends and family, as we really kept so much of this to ourselves until quite recently.
Why did we decide to share these details with you now? Because we believe in the healing power of Jesus and the Scriptures say that we should “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Here’s the kicker, how can you bear someone else’s burdens if you don’t know what burden they are bearing? I think we are guilty of this a lot in the Christian community – bearing things alone when we are urged in Scripture to share these burdens with one another.
It is so uncomfortable sharing our weaknesses. I mean really uncomfortable. We don’t want to look like whiners. We want to be the strong ones. We want to be in control.
But this pain is very real to Steve and our whole family. We are weak and rarely in control. Steve has been bearing this pain for far too long.
Here we are. We are asking for willing burden-bearers and burden-sharers to pray with us for Steve’s complete healing – not just from the hyperparathyroidism but from the back issues that have plagued him for years. (Mark 18:19)
We are also praying that God would be glorified through our suffering, our obedience to His Word and our faith, as miniscule as it might be. (Matthew 17:20) We care deeply for those who are in pain and pray that God can use us and our weakness to encourage others.
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;