My 8th month with Cauda Equina Syndrome is in the books now and what a month! We moved back to our old house on Sep 6th and began the process of unpacking. I took time off from Sep 6 – 15 so I could help monitor the move (and maybe even help a little bit.) We’ve been taking it slowly, metering our energy and pain levels out. My wife and I enjoyed our time together immensely. We did our devotional times together and then discussed it in depth, often spending an hour or more a day on it. We found out that there is a lot of truth in the statement, “The closer a couple gets to God, the closer they get to each other.” We had a great time of reconnecting in a relaxed atmosphere. We sure needed this time!
Just prior to the end of Month 7, I reached a low point in battling CES. The long days of physical challenge, the emotional toll, and the strain on my wife as well came to a head. I didn’t know it then, but God was preparing me for what was just days away. He broke me down completely as I spent several hours one night, sobbing and crying out to Him. I was looking for answers and understanding. Eventually, I was spent physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Then there was nothing. No prompting, no comfort, no answers. I fell asleep.
Immediately upon waking the following morning, I knew God had answered. His peace was on me like never before and I felt His comfort wrapping me. Not a in a physical sense, but just knowing, throughout my being, that He had heard and was showing His love for me. It changed my outlook on life, my Cauda Equina Syndrome, and much more. I even changed the title of this blog. You can read more about it here – http://wp.me/p3A64Y-7V
During the study my wife and I were doing together after moving, each of us (separately) came to a realization that we had slowly taken back our lives from God and that He was calling us back to fully committing to Him. We explored the depth of that commitment because it was clear that it was far more than we had ever considered it to be. As we each pondered it that day, the Word sank in. That evening, I told my wife that I had decided to go all in – yielding my life to God for His purposes. She had made the same decision. We rejoiced together.
In Month 8, I also came to the end of the road for legal action regarding my Cauda Equina Syndrome. I had 2 separate law firms look at the case for a possible malpractice claim. Both attorneys say that without doubt there was medical malpractice committed on me. However, under Ohio law, the “value” of a medical malpractice case is determined by how much better your outcome would have been if the malpractice made a difference. I have been very blessed by the Lord in my recovery thus far. Most who are afflicted with Cauda Equina Syndrome are left mostly or totally disabled for the rest of their lives – dealing with pain, numbness/lack of feeling, bladder and bowel problems and sexual dysfunction.
I’ve pushed hard since my surgery, spending a week in Acute Rehab at the hospital then 2 months of outpatient Physical Therapy. I’ve done my stretches and exercises faithfully. I willed myself back to work and worked through pain for several months. My recovery, by objective standards, has been remarkable. My prognosis at the time of the surgery was in the worst possible outcome category due to the malpractice and delay in diagnosing and treating the CES. God fooled them all. I still have all of the above problems, but they are quite manageable with proper treatment and sensible limitations on my activities. I’m in the top 5% of outcome possibilities. So you can see that had the malpractice not occurred, my actual outcome wouldn’t be much, if any, better than it has been. Legally, that means the malpractice didn’t matter. I will be dealing with these symptoms and restrictions for the rest of my life but because I am doing better than I should, it isn’t worth anything. You know what? I’ll take my recovery over having done poorly enough to have a good malpractice case – ANY DAY!!!
The week after my wife and I committing and yielding fully to the Lord was one of great spiritual attack upon us. Everything that could go wrong did, 10 times over it did. And then some! I’ve never seen anything like it in my 55 years. We were so overwhelmed with PROBLEMS that arose with everything, from fighting with an unscrupulous business, to insurance issues with health, home, life and auto insurances, to mail going missing (it took one important letter 20 days to make it 40 miles), pharmacy orders disappearing in transit (and unable to reach anyone in the company to fix it), to car problems, and much, much more!
At first, we fell back to our old ways and began to feel overwhelmed and angry. But God wasn’t going to let us go back to what we were. He showed us that it was a spiritual attack and calmed us with His comfort. You know what, He was right. None of it surprised Him, He has our lives so He can do whatever He wants with them, and the result was amazing. We put out a prayer request and many people from all over the country prayed. We were protected and the attacks ceased.
In the rest of Month 8, I’m now commuting 100 miles a day, round trip. I can make the trip in to work in just 45 minutes. However, the trip home takes about 65-75 minutes. In the old days (last month), I would have worked myself up in a tizzy with Road Rage in that time! Now, God is in control of when I get to work and when I get home. I just enjoy talking with Him and being courteous to the other drivers who are desperately frazzled. I used to pride myself on my “excellent” driving skills allowing me to move through traffic quicker than others. Now I drive to help others, even though they won’t often know it. And I get a much bigger charge out of the new way!
In summary, at the end of Month 8, life is good. It certainly isn’t what I would have designed or wanted from the individual aspects. But the whole of what God has made of my life and done in me with His relationship with me, is great! I love my wife more than I ever knew one could love. And the love for my Christian family has multiplied many times over. My life is now focused on how I can help others as I go through life knowing that God’s desire for me is to become, in words, thoughts, and actions, an extension of Jesus. When others interact with me, they must see Jesus and His love for them. This is what drives me now. It is what should drive all who call themselves Christians. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” Which are you?
Month 8 = more normal feeling, more changing of tingly not painful into tingly painful (this means movement towards normal feeling), and better bowel & bladder activity. I was told the nerves would regenerate for a year with most of the regeneration occurring in the first 6 months. I’d had no significant changes since Month 2. Maybe I was too busy fighting Cauda Equina Syndrome rather than living with it. I’m not going to say that this is a reward from God for yielding to Him because I don’t believe He operates that way. He loves us all and wants us all to trust in Jesus, first for salvation and secondly for life. All that He allows or causes in our lives are to bring us to those two goals – first to rely on Jesus’ death in our place as the only way we can have a right relationship with Him and live with Him in Heaven one day. Once we have done that, God focuses all of His resources towards us to make us into images of Jesus – we are molded to have kind and loving words like Jesus, have gracious and generous thoughts like Jesus, and not WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) but WDJD – What Did Jesus Do? How did He act with love for others and for the Father? Not what we think He would act like regarding something today, instead acting out of His love in ALL things.
What a month! What a life! Thanks for reading, my family, my friends, and my extended family in His Spirit.