Sunday, October 4, 2009

The valley of wait

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. –
Isaiah 40:31

For the past several years I’ve complained to my doctor about an increasing tiredness, insomnia, weight gain and the inability to lose weight and keep it off, no matter what I do.

“It’s my thyroid,” I told him. “I don’t think my medicine is strong enough.”

He’d decreased the dosage twice.

“Your lab work is normal. Lose some weight,” was the usual reply.

Last year he referred me to an endocrinologist, who, after sending me for an ultrasound, diagnosed thyroid nodules.

“Very tiny,” he said. “They may enlarge or disappear altogether. Nothing to worry about.”

He made no change in my medication. Over the past year, however, my symptoms worsened and new ones emerged. By the middle of the summer, the fatigue was interfering with my daily life. I was slowing down, physically and mentally. I won’t list the symptoms here—I don’t have the room.

I had an appointment with the endocrinologist at the beginning of August. Convinced the problem was metabolic, I thought for sure he’d find something. Nada. I listed my growing symptoms, including a low pulse rate when I exercise.

“That’s because you’re in shape,” he said, reading my file. “Now, about your weight . . .”

“My weight is a symptom,” I said.

His answer?

“Your lab work is normal. Lose weight. See you in a year.”

“I’m fed up with doctors who pay more attention to paper than to the patient,” I complained to my husband. “What he should have said was, ‘Your lab work looks normal, yet you’re still having problems. Let’s get to the bottom of this.’ He never tested all the thyroid hormones. Only two. I’m not going to him again.”

Three weeks later I had my yearly physical with my primary care physician. He listened to me—sort of. After ordering more lab work, which included tests for EBV and Lyme disease (he wouldn’t even consider ordering more thyroid tests), and two heart tests, he inferred that he believed they’d all come back normal.

Back to the old “blame it all on weight, depression, and/or aging.”

I wasn’t buying it. I called another endocrinologist, but I couldn’t get in until mid-February. Six months is too long a wait when my symptoms worsen by the day. So I made an appointment with a doctor a friend from church recommended.

At last a doctor who listened! He spent an hour with me, checking me over, asking questions, getting my medical history. He asked questions the other two doctors didn’t. He checked me for water retention; the others didn’t. He ordered more lab work than I’d ever had done at one time, which required 21 tubes of blood.

I still haven’t gotten the results of all the tests. I have 2 1/2 more weeks until my next appointment, but I’m OK with waiting. I know I’ll have an answer.

When problems arise in our lives, we run around from one place to another, searching for answers, but finding none. God is the last resort.

Yet God is the Great Physician, the one who listens, the one with the answer.

Even when God is my first resort, though, more often than not I have to spend time in the Valley of Wait before I get the answer. But I’m OK with that. It’s where I learn faith, hope, and trust. It’s where doubts are dealt with, and patience is strengthened. And I know eventually the answer will come, even though it may not be what I want. God knows best.

Are you in the Valley of Wait? Know that God will do His work His way in His time. Your answer will come, and it will always be for your good. (Romans 8:28)

Dear God, thank you for reminding me every day, in so many ways, that You are always with me, even when I walk through the Valley of Wait. Amen.

Special-Tea: Psalm 27

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