The Journey up the Mountain

I’ll be honest…this post is unlike most of the other’s you’ll read on my blog. It’s very candid- as if we were sitting down at a coffeehouse together. It’s time that I share this part of my life with you. I was scrolling through pictures from 2018, and I happened on one that stopped me in my tracks. It’s a selfie from a year ago, and it’s got me all up in my feelings. Here’s the story behind the picture…

The Journey to the Foothills

Ever since I was a little girl, doctors’ offices had been a very familiar place for me. I’m not going to get into it all here, but one of the doctors I was seeing was an eye doctor because I was born with something called Dwayne Syndrome.

Dwayne Syndrome looks different for different people, but for me, my right eye could never track over to the right. The muscles didn’t work quite right, and even when I tried, the eyeball wouldn’t budge past the center. It never bothered me as a kid, but it was always there.

As I got into my teens, whenever I would get really stressed, the eye would basically scream I NEED REST by pulling in to the center of my face. The muscles would get so tired that they would give up and I could feel my eyeball out of place. It was uncomfortable and I felt self-conscious about it. The only way to reset it was sleep. And, of course, this would happen at the most inopportune times. My doctor said that whenever I felt like I needed it, we could try surgery to pull the eye back to center, but there were no guarantees it would stay that way.

The Start of the Climb

Fast forward to my twenties and, in a series of about five years, the muscles of my eye got tighter and pulled the eyeball in more and more. Again, I had no control over this, and it became a constant. I had to turn my head to feel like I was looking at you straight on (even though I wasn’t aware of this). I had to switch from contacts to glasses because my eye wouldn’t even function with something in it. And it kept pulling closer and closer into the inner corner.

At one point, around two years ago, we (my parents and I) decided to pursue surgery. I was starting to have double-vision with my glasses (found out it was because of a too-strong prescription) and I had a hard time feeling “normal” or confident because my eye was such an “eyesore”.

Where the Rubber Meets the Rocks

If you were around on Instagram for that part of the story, you know how it went. If not, the cliff notes version is that I saw 3 doctors in 3 months over the summer when I was back in the US. And…everyone said something different. My doctor of 20 years didn’t recommend surgery because I wasn’t having double vision (why fix it when I could still see straight?). Another doctor in Omaha recommended surgery on BOTH eyes and said the good eye would pull the other eye back to center (Uhm, NO THANK YOU! What if we mess up my good eye?!). 

But the final doctor I saw (at the Mayo Clinic) gave me hope of having a straight eye with little to no double vision without having to operate on both eyes, and I felt like it was time to go that route and have him perform surgery. He was very knowledgeable and had done a lot of research on Dwayne Syndrome. He made me feel heard and positive about what surgery could do for me.

At this point, the plan was to have surgery in December. During the Fall, I tried to get insurance coverage for this out-of-state surgery, to no avail. Another roadblock; and I was BUMMED. But, as a final attempt, we went back to my original doctor, told him about what the 3rd doc said (turns out they know each other), and he said he’d be willing to give it a shot.

But he has a more realistic and conservative outlook, and he made sure I knew what I was getting myself into. He wanted me to try something to gauge how my eyes would do with surgery because he thought that I would end up with double-vision for months because my eyes wouldn’t be able to readjust. He had the prism seen in the picture put on my eyeglass to mimic how my eye would see post-surgery. #mindblown #thankGodformodernmedicine He told me to wear it as much as possible over the next month, and then I could make the decision whether or not to have surgery based on how my eye felt and adapted.

Let me tell you, I was NOT excited about this! First of all, all of this work could end in a big fat nothing, if my brain wouldn’t be able to adapt. Second, I felt like I looked like a robot, and looking through the prism for the first couple of weeks was really hard. My mom was with me at this appointment, and afterward, we went and got Starbucks and sat in the massage chairs at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for an hour and cried. I can look back on this moment now and laugh about it, but I was not happy then.

But the wing 3 of my 2 personality (comment below with your Enneagram number! I love talking about it!) wanted to do this 110%. I wore that thing all day long. Even when I felt self-conscious. Even when I wanted to pull it off. Even when I couldn’t see very well. And…it got better! My vision adapted, and by the end, I could see pretty well out of it. I knew that surgery was not a sure 100% win, but I felt God saying, “Do you trust me?”

The Hardest Part of the Climb

So, five weeks later, I went into surgery. It was scary, but I knew that God had led me to this at this time. I knew that I could end up with double-vision for months. But I trusted that my Healer would work through the doctors’ hands. And, HE DID.

The Summit

Recovery wasn’t easy at first. My eye was swollen shut for a good week. And then, almost two weeks in, I had this crazy pain on the outside of my eye one morning…I couldn’t even open it. It turned out to be a suture that got loose. But it allowed me to go in to see my doctor a couple days early for my two-week post-op. I got to tell him that, less than TWO WEEKS after having this surgery, I had almost NO double vision. WHAAATTTT. And, friend, can I tell you, it was SUCH a testament to God’s divine healing power. My doctor, who we had never in 20+ years of seeing him mention anything about God, said, “Hallelujah! Praise God!” when I told him! He was expecting months of double-vision, if not a lifetime of it.

And, things continued to heal just as expected, if not better. I haven’t had double-vision since February, and my eye is still where it should be. God is SO good and gets ALL the glory!!! Sometimes God heals in a moment, other times it takes years. Sometimes it’s through a touch, other’s it’s through the meticulous hands of a doctor. Friend, if you are waiting for your miracle, know this: IT’S COMING.

If you couldn’t tell, this journey to the summit of this mountain was HARDDD. Probably as hard as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro…in a lot longer time! In the moments of confusion, the unknown, and sadness, I didn’t know why I had to climb the mountain this way. I wondered why there had been so many roadblocks and obstacles to find a way around. There were times when I was unsure that I could reach the summit. But, this trek sure did strengthen my trust and relationship with my Father. And, although I have faith that my eye won’t have any further complications, I know that there’s a possibility of Him calling me to a higher peak. 

We only see a tiny speck of the big picture- what’s right in front of us. It looks like rocks and dirt and sky. God gives us a small task and says, “Trust me.” And when we do our part and keep on holding His hand and take those baby steps one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, He does His and moves mountains. I believe that my testimony of His miraculous healing power and goodness isn’t just for me, it’s for my doctor and so many others too.


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