Anxiety and Fear

I have written a book about fear: Fear Not Tomorrow, God is Already There. I base it on the fact that Jesus is the exact representation of God. So I took a look over Jesus’ shoulder as He interacted with real people in real time as recorded by the Gospel writers. I wanted to examine how people reacted to Him. Were they afraid? Was He approachable? Was He harsh? Did His presence bring comfort?

It was a great book to write – I think it is my favorite.

Well, I wrote it. I taught it. Now God wants me to live it! Funny how He does that…

For a long time I have struggled with balance issues. Doctors have proposed Parkinson’s, hydrocephalus, etc. I have seen all sorts of doctors and physical therapists. Finally they discovered a large, benign tumor in my spinal column. You will remember that a year and a half ago, I had back surgery to remove it. There were complications – no fun.

My balance did seem to get better after that but then the issues came back and gradually got worse and worse. I was afraid people would see me walking down the street and report that they saw Ruth Graham drunk! That’s how I walked. I went back to my neurosurgeon for a check up and told him the things I was experiencing. He sent me to another neurosurgeon.

This doctor did not want to do a spinal tap to determine if it was hydrocephalus because I’d had so much work done in my spinal column and he didn’t think it would be good to poke another hole in it. He examined me and determined the best explanation for my symptoms (falling, lack of balance, small script…) was hydrocephalus. He was very concerned about my falling…I was too as I’d already chipped a front tooth and split my lip.

So, all that to say, I am going to have a shunt put in my brain with a catheter which will take the extra fluid from my brain to my abdomen where it will be absorbed. Not an uncommon surgery – my own father had it done years ago.

Last week I spent the day in Richmond to have all the pre-op work done at the hospital where I will have the surgery, hence the title of this blog: “Fear and Anxiety.” I experienced both!

To have them shave part of my head, drill through my skull and place something in my brain…is anxiety making. I’m usually quite calm and not anxious. But I am experiencing a new level of stress and anxiety. And fear.

All the things I wrote about, I will practice. I do believe God is in control. He has a purpose and it is good. I will trust Him through this. When I was in the hospital after my spinal surgery I remember hearing Chris Tomlin’s song, “You’re a good, good Father.” I found that to be so true. He was with me.

And He knows my weaknesses and remembers I am but dust. I wish I could declare with courage that I am not afraid…that would not be authentic. I am not sure I’m as afraid as I am anxious. Back surgery was one thing but messing with my brain is another. I know I have a good team of doctors and a fine hospital. So I have taken care of the possible and leave the impossible up to Him!

People who have this surgery usually show a remarkable difference afterwards so I am looking forward to walking with confidence. Looking forward to getting my balance back. Wow. It has been a long struggle but the end is in sight. And I have a new empathy for those who do struggle with balance and walking. It is very hard to feel so insecure and not be able to do the things you once enjoyed.
I have a new appreciation for simple things – like walking, gardening, even grocery shopping!

I thank the Lord that we seem to have found the problem and it can be corrected –next Monday, June 11th. Please pray for my surgeons, my nurses, my recovery and that this truly will be the answer to my stumbling and falling…

And if it isn’t, that God will give me the grace I need to live fully for Him.


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