Skip to main content

My Spinal Cysts (Upon Learning More Than I Wanted To Know)


My dad served as a U.S. Marine at the tail-end of WWII. He was an MP, serving in Occupied China, Hawaii and Washington, D.C.

When the Korean "Police Action" broke out, he was called up. However, after a physical, he was told that he had spinal cysts, and could not serve. (He wasn't too broken up about that.)

I have inherited many things from Dad. I love military shows and movies (although, I confess, I do not share his love of Tora, Tora, Tora.) I love to read. I have bunions and hideous seasonal allergies.

I also have spinal cysts.

To be precise, I have Tarlov cysts. These are rare. Some people who have them are asymptomatic (like my dad) and others suffer a great deal. I seem to fall somewhere in the middle.

I spent most of last year trying to get relief from the incessant nerve pain. To that end, I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted, which seems to have done the trick.

Except, it does nothing for muscle pain. Which I have a lot of.

It's disheartening to realize that the spinal cord stimulator was not a magic elixir. I'm also afraid that, somehow, I'm going to let people down by admitting that I'm not pain-free, and probably never will be.

What causes Tarlov cysts? No one really knows, although traumas such as falls and auto accidents are suspected. There is also the hereditary thing. And nothing can really be done to "cure" them, although treatments are available.

When I was 15, I was able to go to Fatima. Whenever we girls on the trip had a complaint about anything ("Is this ... goat meat?"), the Sisters accompanying us said, "Offer it up." Of course, the young seers of Fatima became dedicated to the suffering of the world and of Our Lord, and went to great lengths to offer up their suffering.

This is not a club I ever wanted to belong to. But: God calls us and we can respond or turn away, despite our own will.

Writer Ann Voskamp:
[W]e don’t need hindsight to know God is good. We already have hindsight. On that cross. In that empty tomb.And whatever road we’re walking one now—then somehow, someway—that road is good. There’s not just breadcrumbs of good for you on it; It is for your benefit. My benefit.In this hard, He is doing something holy. He is doing something transformative. Even as our hearts rage. Even as they break.This upside down road, where His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), where troubles are an opportunity for great joy because troubles usher us into His presence, and in His presence, there is fullness of joy.This God is no stranger to the hard road. This God walked the hardest road for us.

Both of my parents died holy deaths. However, we do not presume that anyone is in Heaven, unless the Church declares it. So I pray for their souls. I do, though, believe I have two allies in Heaven, and I'm sure Dad is praying for me.

No one signs up for suffering. But if we do God's will, there is always hope. So: now I have hope. And cysts.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

So close to Jesus

This past Sunday, at Mass, Dear Husband and I had the great good fortune of having a dad, toddler and infant sit next to us in the front pew.

"Good fortune?" you say. Sounds horrible. Kids are so distracting. Put 'em in the nursery.

Nope. We sit up in the front pew, and always invite parents with young kids to come and sit with us. Having raised 5 hyper kids, we can pretty much ignore anything, plus kids do much better when they can see what's going on.

I have to admit, I wanted the toddler to act up a bit so I could whisper to the dad, "I'll watch the baby if you have to take him out."

Instead, we saw something rather remarkable.

Oh, the toddler (not quite 2) was a toddler. He was a bit anty. He wasn't quite sure that he liked seeing his mommy in front, cantoring, where he couldn't get to her. He whined and fussed a bit.

But during the Consecration, his enormous blue eyes locked onto the priest. That baby boy saw Jesus up there. You could just…

Fading Into Friday

It's been a long week. Monday was just ... bad. I ticked off our IT guy at work by opening up one of those d*%$ emails that as soon as you click on it, you think, "Oops." So I trotted over to his office, and he promptly yelled at me. Like I was a child. Or stupid. Or a stupid child.

This was after I found out that every imaginable driving route from my home to office and back home again is under construction. Can't get there from her. Orange barrels. Must as well sleep in the office.
This, combined with the fact that I am now the ONLY person on the planet who stills checks their blind spot before changing lanes, makes me want to quit my job and go live in a yurt.

Our health insurance company sent us these gloom and doom letters that Dear Hubby and I HAD to go online and fill out a health assessment NOW or OUR INSURANCE WOULD BE CANCELLED!!! They were SERIOUS! So, I went online Wednesday. Their system was down for maintenance.

Tried again yesterday. I swear I could n…

If you're ill, don't shy away from God.

There was a time when lepers had to carry bells and loudly announce their presence, so that the "clean" people would have time to seek shelter from them.

Illnesses were blamed in parental sins, or even farther back the family chain. When the AIDS epidemic first struck in the 1980s, they were those who were convinced that this was God's way of dealing out "justice" to homosexuals.

Illness can sometimes seem like an additional cross from God: "Great, I just started a new job, and the kids have different schools this year, and I haven' even thought about a summer vacation and sorry, what's that? Lupus. No. No, you don't understand, I don't have time for that.,,,,

That may be true. YOU don't. But GOD does. For whatever He also int our lives is good and life-giving. Facing any serious illness, chronic or life-threatening, is not something anyone puts on their calendar. It can also make things very difficult to explain to people.

Oh, people …