~A Birthday Never To Forget
It was a birthday never to forget, that's for certain.
Scary, sad, tender, beautiful all at the same time.
It all started with my sweet Eliza. You see, for the past few months we've noted some worrisome changes in her. Her legs, ankles, feet, hands, and even her face swollen and puffy. Hurting pressure, tingling in her toes. Hard to stand up very long and when she does, those feet turning red and even purple. Complaining of dizziness. Being winded easily at recess. Coming home after school and going straight to her bed. Changes in urination- feeling like she needs to go, but can't empty her bladder all the way.
Something was definitely wrong with my little girl.
I took her to the doctor on Friday. Urine showed that she was spilling protein, white blood cells. Her blood pressure a little high. Her heart seemed fine otherwise, though. I thought about kidneys. About her urinary reflux problem she had as a baby and toddler, that thankfully she outgrew. Brought up her family history of my dad and Keith's uncle having nephritis as children. The doctor listened, took notes and said he'd get back to us on Monday.
In the meantime, over the weekend, Eliza told me that she didn't want to worry me but that her lower back (she didn't know the connection to her kidneys) was aching.
I didn't sleep much on Sunday night. Studied and researched symptoms. Everything led us (my parents, Keith, Jane, as well) towards chronic kidney disease.
Naturally, I thought the worst. I knelt in prayer and pleaded to the Lord. For peace. For wisdom. For patience. For faith. Thinking about what my child's future might hold. Tears flowing down my cheeks, sadness enveloping me, I waited for answers, to hear what direction the doctor wanted us to go.
This wasn't the birthday that I expected or wanted. But it wasn't about me now, this I knew.
In the meantime, there were concerned calls from my parents, from Gary, from Jane. This brought me strength. My sweet friend Mane took me to lunch, distracting me from my worry.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the hospital. Blood tests and ultrasound to try to know for certain. All of us waiting on pins and needles, it seemed.
Through it all, I kept trying to hold on to gratitude. That gratitude would triumph over my sadness and my fears. All this abundance distilled into my soul:
~For my parent's concern, their constant generosity, for my mom baking me a birthday cake.
~For the phone call and visit of Phyllis (and for Dennis's sharing a poem he wrote to cheer Eliza) and Monique last night.
~For being able to pour my heart out to Karen (a church leader) who only called to wish me a happy birthday, but gave a lot more.
~For my sister Felicia coming over. For her remembering. For the time to talk.
~For being remembered with birthday love from all my Facebook friends and loved ones, bringing lots of smiles to my face throughout the day.
~For Mane bringing over such a comforting, delicious dinner. (She's always there.)
~For competent medical professionals.
~For my faraway sisters' phone call birthday singing and support. To hear their voices.
~For Gary and Ivana's visit, generosity, smiles, and sweet words.
~For Keith wanting to make my birthday special with a beautiful basket overflowing with thoughtful gifts, and his last minute run for the health food store birthday"cake" (Rice Dream mint chocolate pie- they're so good and just what I wanted.)
~For Isaac's tight birthday hug.
~For the thoughtful books Jane spent with her hard earned money. For her tears of concern and love for her sister. Her support to me.
~For watching Harry Potter on my bed with family.
~And for my sweet, little Eliza hugging me so many times throughout the day, holding my hand as we walked, and saying how much she loved me. Her life, her goodness, her love a gift that I've always known and felt, but now magnified and brought back into focus (a gentle lesson to remind and teach me, I can see now) even more. And what a sweet, tender mercy it is to know that as much as she needs me, I need her.
~For my eyes opening more and more, understanding that HIS love is made manifest by THEIR love.
And finally now, the news- such a blessing of sweet relief- hearing this morning that the tests show that everything looks normal. (Realizing that we still need to find and will continue to search for answers to Eliza's health issues.)
Thank you, Heavenly Father.
So now, and even through it all, my heart is full. Knowing, really, as I look back, that even if things didn't turn out the way we had hoped, there would still be peace.
The gift of gratitude- the best birthday gift of all- makes all this possible.