A Different Answer
Guideposts|September 2020
A Different Answer
I prayed for help with my rheumatoid arthritis. So why was I still in such agony?
MARION BOND WEST

I WAS DRIVING HOME AND THINKING over and over, There’s nothing wrong with me. This, despite the doctor, saying there was, and then the bombshell he dropped: I would probably have to start giving myself shots.

A little while earlier I had sat across the desk from a pencil-thin rheumatologist wearing a blue button-down shirt. He had already advised me that the first appointment would take an hour and a half. I liked his messy desk; it resembled mine at home. I glanced down at the chart where he pointed. “Your X-rays and blood work indicate that you are in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis,” he said. “I’m going to prescribe some pills for you, but I expect you’ll decide to give yourself regular injections.”

“I don’t think so,” I said, smiling politely. My thinking was: So I’ve been diagnosed with RA. That doesn’t mean that I actually have it. I took the prescription for pills and made another appointment for three months later. Well, whatever.

I pulled into our driveway at home and felt an increasingly familiar twinge in my hand when I turned off the ignition. Ow! Inside the house, I dropped my keys and purse onto the kitchen counter. My husband, Gene, was full of questions. I put him off. “Here, let me see the pills you’ve got,” he insisted. He sat down and began reading all the detailed paperwork the pharmacy had given me. I hate directions of any kind.

Early the next morning, during my quiet time, I wrote in my prayer journal, “Lord, I am sure this isn’t a big deal. Just don’t let the pain get worse—in fact, take it all away. I trust you to do that. I feel pretty good—most of the time.”

The very next day, Gene nagged, “Marion, I’m sure you should be exercising more now that you’ve been diagnosed. Not long ago, you walked four miles, then two. Now it’s…”

“I’ll start back in the spring. I like early mornings.”

“Come on. I’ll walk with you now. It’s nice outside.”

“Not now,” I snapped, walking away.

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September 2020