Enemies. They come in different forms. For us, our current enemy is not one of human nature that we can sit down and attempt to reason with. Instead this enemy came in slowly under the radar. It showed itself gradually over the last two years in different forms. Today we are tackling it week by week.
It’s not been an easy fight. Yet with all confidence I can say that God has walked with us every step. Sometimes I felt very alone or even abandoned. Yet in my heart I always knew He was there. Even if it seems my cries were hitting the wall, I knew that somewhere He was in the midst of the whirlwind of events. Then suddenly I could sense His unexplainable peace and comfort.
Now that I have looked this enemy in the face, I have come to recognize the times that he started taunting us. At the end of 2019, my husband kept fighting sinus infections. No matter the meds given, they kept returning. Then by December his eyes developed cornea abrasions that were 3 layers deep. With the recurring sinus infections, fluid was found in his lungs by March 2020.
Throughout all of 2020 one symptom after another kept showing up. The list of specialists we saw grew. From ENT, allergist, pulmonologist, dermatologist, etc., none could explain why infections kept occurring or eyes were not healing or where the fluid in the lungs was coming from. Test after test came back negative. Nothing that could be proven an issue.
By December 2021 the pressure in his eyes sent us to the cornea specialist. Once again we heard the now repeated theme, “I do not know what is causing this but I think all of these issues are somehow related.” Within weeks of starting to see the cornea specialist, the abrasions started growing. The layers that had been opened were now pulling away from each other. The doctor ordered a biopsy. Result – ‘nothing is wrong’. Yet we all knew something was VERY wrong! With that knowledge, he sent us to Baylor in Houston.
The doctor at Baylor immediately got a plan of action. Two weeks from the consultation the first eye would be repaired. Two weeks later the second eye. By now he also had facial swelling. Before we made the visit for the second eye, I noticed that swelling had started all over his body.
Both procedures to repair the eyes went well. Two days after the second procedure, we were back home when the doctor from Houston called us. Biopsy results had returned. Amyloid protein was found in his eye tissue.
Amyloid. The unknown enemy. Such a rare condition that even at Baylor they are now using his case to show their interns. So rare that our ENT and primary had to research to know the next steps. More tests. Fluid had also spread more in his lungs. This time tests returned with answers. The congo red was applied to the test and amyloid was found in lungs and blood.
Amyloidosis AL IgM Lamba. That’s the official name. So rare that in a 22 year span of amyloid patients at Mayo Clinic, they only had 50 recorded cases. It is a disease caused by a malfunction with a body’s blood stem cells. Treatment is three months of chemo followed by bone marrow transplant that uses his own stem cells. If not found and treated, it can be fatal within 3-5 years.
Our enemy is no longer hiding but is now being flushed out and is on the run! It is not an easy journey. Chemo treatments have been tough on him. I live exhausted from wearing so many hats. Yet there also is such a peace carrying us. No. I don’t always feel peaceful in the midst of the tough days. But when I take time to slow down and breathe, I realize that peace has kept me from a total meltdown.
Yes, the enemy has fought hard. Yes, I have had days of screaming out to God, “Where are You?” I have doubted. I have cried. I have shut out the world at times and just starred into nothingness. But even in my struggles, my Father has set a table up in the midst of the battlefield. He has led me to sit down and take comfort in all of His work. And then peace came. So did comfort. Even joy.
Our table has been graced with little miracles here and there. As I sit down by Him and take rest, He reveals to me the miracles that are around. Being sent to Baylor in order to find the root. The referral to an oncologist who ends up a believer who has actually seen this rare protein before. Realizing that this was all found ‘just in time’.
Like the pictures of beauty situated next to a sea that has too much salt to support life, He has prepared this table for us as our enemy still attempts to taunt and throw his arrows. See, He doesn’t always come in to save the day and cause all fighting to cease. Sometimes He decides to just be with us in the midst of the fight to provide nourishment for those weary from battle and bring wisdom to the battle plan. I am learning more and more to sit down and take that rest with Him. To find comfort and strength in the midst of the fight. As I stay at the table with Him, those flying arrows are missing their mark and the enemy is starting to retreat. My focus has shifted from the fight raging around me to that table set before me. With that focus, I realize I am never alone. He carries me.
I don’t know what enemy you might be facing today. But know that our heavenly Father has a table He is setting just for you. He wants to provide you with strength for the fight and comfort for the pain. He might call a cease fire for you. Or He might just lead you to the table and be with you till the end. Either way, trust Him in the midst of the storm. He will carry you.