Certainly you made my mind and heart;
you wove me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13, NET)
The human body is an amazing, intricate masterpiece created by an Intelligence far deeper than anything we can yet fathom. We’ve learned so much about ourselves and our inner workings over the past hundred years or so, yet all that we have learned thus far is minuscule compared to the knowledge of the One who created us and first set us apart from the rest of creation — giving us minds to reason and hearts that are able to seek after something greater than the moment.
Have you ever stopped to think about all the multi-tasking your body is doing right now? Breathing. Thinking. Reading. Digesting. On a microscopic level, our bodies are like intricate biochemical machines.
Sometimes something goes wrong. I’m thankful that I am living in 2014, rather than 1014, because I found out this month that I have a hiccup in my internal machine. “Renal arteriovenous malformation,” or renal AVM, is the mouth-full name of a rare congenital condition in which the arterial “highways” and venous “freeways” in (at least) one of my kidneys are directly connected without capillaries. In other words, there are no on-ramps — the “roads” with high pressure/traffic converge! Congenital means I was born with it, and until now those wrong-way ramps weren’t causing me any problems. Until I woke up earlier this month and discovered that my urine had turned so bloody that it looked like knives were cutting me inside.
It’s fascinating to me that doctors know so much about the body that they understand where exactly veins and arteries and itty bitty capillaries should and should not be. That even though I have a condition that is extremely rare (less than 1 in 30,000), the doctor was able to diagnose and treat me. It makes me appreciate the long hours my nephew is putting in as he powers through medical school!
So as I look forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving today (and later this week!) with family and friends, I am grateful to be living in 2014. Had I been born even a hundred years earlier, I would be suffering. The condition left untreated leads to pain and obstruction from blood clots, anemia, hypertension, and even congestive heart failure.
Most of all, I’m thankful for the family and friends who came alongside me during this (very) scary trial. My internal radar went on high alert when my urine samples looked like this, and without my family and friends I would probably still be curled up in bed from the pain, unable to think for myself.
They were the hands and feet of Jesus as they prayed for me, ferried and fed my daughter, dropped everything to come take me to the hospital, took my dog to the vet when I couldn’t, picked up prescriptions for me when I hurt too badly to drive, helped me decorate for my daughter’s sweet sixteen when I couldn’t, dropped off multiple meals, sat at the hospital with my mom while I underwent exploratory surgery, and mailed cards and well wishes.
Grateful doesn’t even cover it. A thousand times infinity thank you’s to all those who walked with me on the scary road — my husband, my daughter, my mother, my brother, my neighbors, my doctor, my friends — and especially the Holy Spirit, who gave me the presence of mind and humility to ask — and accept — help, something that is innately difficult for a person as independently minded as me.