Saturday, January 3, 2015
Christmas Anointing of the Sick
I wanted to write about something that few people know about. On Christmas Day, I received (for the second time) the Anointing of the Sick from my spiritual director. I actually didn't have that planned... at all. I talked to my SD after Mass and he asked if I wanted to get anointed because both mom and I hadn't been doing too well lately. I said okay (I had more unexplained weight loss, low platelets, low white blood count, low red blood count, low iron, etc.) because I knew the graces that come with the Anointing. Last time I received one was a couple of years ago when the doctors couldn't figure out what was going on with my stomach and it greatly helped.
This time around the doctors are still trying to guess what's going on with my platelets (they've yet to officially diagnose me with ITP), iron (I'm not absorbing it for some reason), and my being underweight despite eating 1800-2100 calories per day (most days). No, I don't exercise (doctor's orders, if you can believe it; I'm only allowed to take walks) so I shouldn't be losing so much weight or even failing to maintain the weight. It's been a tough time and I do have moments where I do feel frustrated and/or sad over it so I knew that the Anointing would help put things in perspective for me and would help me carry my cross with more humility and love and less distress and hopelessness. What I didn't count was the immediate results we saw in the blood draw the following day.
My doctor on the 26th (I have rotating doctors taking care of me) really wanted to get me checked for anemia since my iron had been so low for months. In fact, I had my blood drawn on the 23rd and my platelets and everything else was still low. My platelets had been at 119k (141k is low normal) so she also ordered a complete blood count. I got blood drawn that same day for immediate results. I got a copy of my results yesterday (since I don't have another doctor's appointment until late February, I didn't want to until that long to get my results) and was shocked to see that almost everything had jumped up. My platelets had gone up to 132k (I haven't had them that high in months, possibly a year or two). My white blood count and red blood count had gone up to normal numbers for the first time in months. It did show that I do have some iron-deficiency anemia but that can be taken care of with vitamin supplements. Some other things in the blood work came back a bit abnormal but not to the point where the doctor was concerned. On paper (and, really, in person) it looks like I'm on the mend. All of this from blood work taken a day after being anointed... 3 days after the first blood draw with (then) low levels. I couldn't believe it... yet, I could.
After I went to confession, I knelt in front of the tabernacle and thanked God for all the graces and blessings He's given me. I hadn't been doing well -- emotionally/psychologically or physically -- for a while. I might've not talked about it but I went through a brief period of depression due to health concerns late last year and it felt like a deep hole of despair that I couldn't get out of at its worse. My prayer life was in shambles. I still prayed but it was very monotonous; just going through the motions. I mentally knew that I had to trust God and I tried so hard to let go of any fear but it's sometimes hard when well-meaning people just make you feel worse and/or when you can't see that light at the end of the tunnel. I'd slowly felt myself getting out of that dark hole and the anointing made me feel like God had finally pulled me out of that hole.
No, my health isn't the greatest still but I don't feel so alone anymore. I think you can even see the difference in my blog posts. Seriously, compare the ones from before the 25th/26th of last month to the most recent ones -- you can tell the tone is different. Yes, I know that the future (as far as my health) is unknown but I feel more prepared to face it on. See? I'm building on the whole bravery thing I talked about last time. ;)
If some of you can please refrain from the "oh, you're always sick," "I feel so bad for you," or comments similar to that (which are well meaning, I'm sure, but end up making me feel worse), I'd greatly appreciate it. I don't want anyone to feel pity towards me. I'm sharing all of this because I hope that it'll help someone going through the same thing (or a similar health issue) not feel so alone. I have faith that God will help me. If it's a cross I need to carry, He knows why and I know I have to (and I do) trust Him. His plans for me are greater than those I have for myself. Who knows, maybe this is all temporary because I need to learn or gain something from it. Whatever is God's will, I accept wholeheartedly.
Anyway, I just wanted to share this with y'all. :D I'm really enjoying listening to the 99 Most Essential Romantic Masterpieces album so I'm going to call it a night on social media and listen to that while I have some silent prayer time before bed. Yes, I know listening to music and having "silent" prayer time means it won't be entirely silent but I've found that I do some of my best heart-to-heart moments with God when there's music involved. You know St. Cecilia is proud of me. ;)
I hope y'all have a wonderful rest of weekend! I'll be praying for y'all. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D