On Monday around 12:30 PM God decided to set me up for a little heart surgery…in the form of ear surgery.
Let me explain.
I had been working for weeks as a summer intern with Children of the Light Dancers helping to plan and organize a summer dance camp. Monday was the first day of camp. We had made it through the morning session and I was setting up for the afternoon session when I got a call from my mom around 12:30 PM. She said that my ear specialist had a surgery cancelation and I could have a much needed surgery on Tuesday morning. I was so overcome by joy and fear. I had a decision to make. Do I leave all of my work behind and trust in God’s timing? I knew this was His miraculous provision, but it didn’t fit my plans. It didn’t fit my schedule.
I decided to go forward with surgery and by 8 AM I was in pre-op with surgery starting at 10:45 AM. While the surgery was only expected to take 2 hours, it took 3.5 hours due to unanticipated complications. My left ear was treated by a laser. The laser was not as high as it should have been, so it rendered the operation in that ear longer and unfinished. The right ear had an invasive cutting behind it. My ear canal had been collapsed (for who knows how long) so they had to perforate it to even get through. Then, they found a misplaced bone, but because the space was so tight and the risk of damaging muscles, the bone was left alone. Finally, they found that my jugular vein, which should have been encased in bone, was fused to my eardrum and was very delicately detached. Inside my right ear, they patched up the holes leftover from ear tubes that had been in there since I was two.
After surgery, I was so nauseous that they kept me a little longer. I got home around 6. Both my ears had dissolvable packing that would remain there for 4-6 weeks. Additionally, my right ear was packed pretty heavily with cotton to ensure clean and swift healing. But the healing was anything but swift and anything but clean.
The next week would be one of the hardest weeks of my life. The first challenge was the shooting pain. The heavy pain meds seemed ineffective. Day and night I would sit with tears streaming down my face in my bed. My mom held my hand and cried with me. I ate so little. I felt so weak. I was endlessly trapped in a hurricane of pain that left me in complete desolation. The second challenge was the solitude. I only received two visitors during the first week of recovery. The first visitor came the night before surgery with a beautiful care basket so thoughtfully composed. The second visitor was a family friend who delivered flowers and a sincerely moving card. In my moment of great need, great pain, and great fear, I needed friends who would hold my hand. But I found myself very alone. The third challenge was the silence. My world was more quiet than the muffled reality I had become used to. The silence was so complete I couldn’t even hear my own voice outside of myself. And it was everything I never wanted and everything I needed.
He met me in the pain, solitude, and silence. When no one else knew my hurt, He did. When no one else sat beside me, He was there every moment. When I could hear no one else, He spoke to my ears…and my heart. My ears were the ones with the physical surgery, but the spiritual surgery was in my heart. I didn’t know how much I needed heart surgery till God set me on the operating table and explained to me how my insecurities, distrust, and fear had been choking my heart. And it was there on the table that God started to restore my ears, and my heart.