Let It Be Done:: Waiting on a Diagnosis

When waiting on a medical diagnosis, patience, faith and stillness are helping this mom cope with the uncertainty of her future. 



Patience is a Virtue

Waiting is hard. 

I’m always telling my son to “be patient”, “hold on a minute”, or “just wait please!” I even find myself getting frustrated with him when he can’t, or won’t, wait patiently. 

Well, guess what? I’m just as terrible at waiting as my two year old

Recently, I started experiencing some health issues. One evening, as I went to bed, my lower back went numb. By the next morning, my entire left side was numb. No pain, no vision issues. Just numbness. Two hours later, the feeling had spread throughout my body, bouncing back and forth from limb to limb, side to side. When the left side of my face and head went numb, I called a doctor. 

I’m not a hypochondriac, by any means, but at this point, I was panicking. My son was demanding my tightly focused attention, I didn’t know if I could safely drive us, and I was worried that I was having a stroke. 

As parents are apt to do, my mom and dad swooped in to save the day, or at least, my sanity. My dad came to watch my son, while my mom drove me to the doctor. While the doctor wasn’t any help in pinpointing the problem or offering a diagnosis, he did reassure me that my life was not in immediate danger. He referred me to a neurologist, with whom I promptly made an appointment- in over a month. Side note:: why is it so difficult to get appointments with crucial specialists, like neurologists and cardiologists?!

And Now, I Wait

As I said, waiting graciously is not in my arsenal of talents. In this world of two day shipping and Chick Fil A delivery, I was ready for my answers yesterday.

I’m alternately horrendously anxious and nonchalantly cool. I’m either frantically researching each and every symptom and possible diagnosis or completely ignoring the Internet. I focus on every symptom as if it is proof of this or that disease, while also recognizing that perhaps not feeling hungry at dinner is maaaaybe just due to anxiety. My husband is, as usual, calm and chill about the whole thing, even when I’m bombarding him with each and every theory, thanks to my Google MD. 

{Don’t worry. I DO recognize that I’m not a doctor, and I’m not attempting to self diagnose. This is merely my method of coping with waiting. Effective, right?}

As of right now, I’m still experiencing this strange, full body tingling and numbness. It’s odd, and frankly, disconcerting, but not at all painful. I’ve experienced a handful of other symptoms with regularity; I can calmly recognize them and document them for when I do see a specialist. I have my suspicions about what is causing these symptoms, but nothing concrete, and, as I said, I’m not attempting to self diagnose. I know my body though, and I do know when something is wrong. At this point, I don’t have any answers or a diagnosis. What I do have, though, is a freshly earned certificate in a crash course on waiting. I know some of you mamas received yours a long time ago, and maybe even have renewed it several times over. So if you’ll indulge me, I want to share a couple of things I’ve learned during this season. 

We’re Not Promised Forever, and Other Cliches

Okay, so I know “we’re not promised forever” is one of those phrases that’s tossed around, usually in a cheerfully mocking tone intended to encourage us to be more motivated to Get. Things. Done. I’ve heard it a thousand times, and so have you. However, when my symptoms came on as quickly and intensely as they did, I was acutely aware of my own mortality. And my first thought was, What if I’m not here for my son

Logistically, this is not a concern. My husband is a wonderful father, and perfectly capable of raising our son to be a good man. We also have amazing parents, siblings, and friends who would jump in to help him. But selfishly, my heart aches, thinking that I wouldn’t be there. I’m with my boy basically 24/7, and I know him the best. I know what he is saying, in his garbled, two year old language. I know just how to make his sandwiches {peanut butter only, how DARE you consider putting jelly on it}. And I know just how to comfort him when he is sad. My chest feels tight just typing this, thinking about a possible diagnosis and not being there to see him grow up. 

Unfortunately, while I’ve been hit hard with this lesson, I don’t have any real words of comfort here. I might not be here to watch him grow up. But that’s true of anyone and anything and any day. So what I have learned is this:: I cannot live my life in a constant state of panic. Not only is it expensive {seriously, popping antacids over here like candy}, but it takes away from the good moments. If I am sick, and even if I’m not, I want to spend my time loving my family with my whole heart. I don’t want to leave any room for fear to eat away at that love.

Find Your Center

As I know my own son the best, my mother also knows me pretty well. She stopped by my house the other day and handed me one of those small stones with a printed Bible verse. 

“Be still”, it said on one side. “and know that I am God {Psalm 46::10}”, it said on the other. I thanked her and placed it on the windowsill above my kitchen sink, where I’ve set up a little prayer shelf, to remind me to pray when I’m doing the dishes or cooking. And then I went on with my day, hovering in my self-induced anxiety cloud. The next morning though, I noticed the small stone; my mom had laid it against a frame so that the “Be still” side was visible. 

So I closed my eyes. And I breathed in deeply. And I was still. 

I felt my anxiety unfurl, like a thorny vine spreading throughout my body. My eyes flew open, my breath coming in shallow gasps. I glanced down at my hands, shaking around my coffee cup; and, there, on my wrist, where it has been for the last five months, I noticed my tattoo. Fiat. In Latin, it means “Let it be done.” It refers to Mary’s “yes” to God to be the mother of Jesus. “Let it be done to me according to Your will.” And I got it as a reminder to be open to God’s will. 

Let It Be Done:: Waiting on a Diagnosis | Houston Moms Blog

Faith can be a tricky thing. Most of the time, I feel my faith like a living, breathing part of me. God is my center, my foundation, my hope. He is my rock. And yet, as soon as I experienced a hint of suffering and uncertainty, I lost my balance. I was afraid my rock wouldn’t be strong enough, and I frantically searched for something else to steady me. 

As I stood there, in the stillness of the morning, I breathed in, and felt a warmth wash over my body, soothing my anxiety riddled stomach. I breathed out, and felt those vines of fear retreat, as if they couldn’t survive in the sudden light. I looked at my tattoo again and felt God reminding me:: fiat. Let it be done. Have faith in My plan. 

That was it. My symptoms didn’t abate. I wasn’t miraculously healed. I didn’t have a diagnosis. But I no longer felt wobbly; my sense of balance had returned. 

Waiting in Stillness

I’m still waiting on a diagnosis. Maybe, as I hope,  it will be nothing. Maybe, as my gut tells me, it will be something. No matter the answer, I will be still. I will take each day as it comes. I will wait. And I will not be afraid. 

“Courage”, as Franklin D. Roosevelt says, “is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” Love is more important than fear. Life is more important than fear. My faith, my husband, my son- they’re more important than fear. 

My anxiety over the future? Not so much.  


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One Response to Let It Be Done:: Waiting on a Diagnosis

  1. Avatar
    Stephanie July 12, 2019 at 6:28 am #

    I hope you get an answer soon. It took me many many years to eventually see a Rheumatologist and get a diagnosis. Numbness and tingling in my arms was my initial symptom and I began seeing a neurologist. I wish I had known about their knowledge in autoimmune diseases at the beginning of my journey.

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