This may be complicated but I'm going to try to make sense of it the best I can... We went in last Monday for the trial spinal cord stimulator. Brad ended up having 4 incisions in his back, with only one above his injury level that he was able to feel. The surgeon chose to do one 'paddle' with 16 electrical contacts at about the T4 level and then a second one at the T8 level. They were hoping that the higher one would reach his chest and back, while the lower would help his legs and feet. We found out throughout the week and after many different adjustments with the stimulator that Brad was not able to feel any stimulation where he has no normal sensation (from the middle of his chest down). Also, last summer when Brad had the hardware removed from his back, he lost some sensation on the left side of his back. This means that he can feel more on his right side than his left which also led to more adjustments with the stimulator. The bottom paddle was making Brad's stomach and lower back spasm (stimulation was reaching this low) but his legs were not responding at all.
Just a side note: Brad has NO movement or sensation from his chest down. All of the pain he feels is chronic nerve pain from the spinal cord injury.
All of this being said, the surgeon and the rep for the stimulator agreed that removing the lower paddle would be best since he was not getting any relief in his legs and feet. However, Brad did feel that the top paddle was working enough to keep it. So we went in this Monday to make everything permanent.
Initially, we were confused how the stimulator works but have found this explanation to be most helpful in helping us understand. This is from the literature that came with the stimulator from Boston Scientific: "The system electrically stimulates the spinal cord to alter the perception of pain signals that move along the nerve pathways on either side of the spine." The stimulation feels to him like a buzzing/tingling sensation that doesn't hurt, but doesn't necessarily feel good either. It's kind of a neutral feeling. However, he still feels the pain but is able to turn the stimulator up to a level higher than the pain so that his brain focuses on the stimulation and not on the pain. This is not THE answer we were hoping for, but it is providing some relief and for that we are grateful!
Through all of this we have had many discussions on prayer, the power of prayer, and the point in praying. If God is sovereign, which He is, so He knows ALL things, then what good does prayer do? We know in our hearts that we should pray, but sometimes it seems to fall on deaf ears. I have also been struggling with continuing to pray BOLD prayers because I've had them time and time again not answered HOW I want them and WHEN I want them.
The past 2 days, though, God has really shown me through my quiet time with Him the answers to these questions.
Yesterday God revealed these verses...
"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" -Jeremiah 32:27
"For with God nothing will be impossible." -Luke 1:37
"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." -Luke 18:1
Then this morning is was all about BOLD and continuous prayers...
"Never stop praying." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
"Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and thankful heart." -Colossians 4:2
"Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying." -Romans 12:12
All of these spoke to me so clearly. We are to keep praying and not give up. Even though He knows everything, He wrote our story, we are still to be patient and keep praying. When it's hard, when He is silent, when the answer is 'no' or 'not yet', keep praying.
Something else that was revealed to me is that we need to have the confidence to pray for things that ONLY God can do (baby, no pain).
And sometimes our prayers are as simple as Luke 4:38, "Lord, help her." Joni Eareckson Tada said in her daily devotion that this short and simple prayer "describes how we've come to the end of our understanding and that we have nowhere or no one else to whom we can turn."
Proverbs 31 Ministries Daily Devotion also highlighted that, "Having a heart attitude of prayer simply means developing a focus on joy and gratitude. When we focus on the good, instead of the bad, we develop a mental attitude of thankfulness. When our hearts are full of thankfulness for God, we will find ourselves longing to talk with Him more and more and learning to recognize His holy whispers."
I pray that this post will encourage you when you need help in continuing to pray for something that you have prayed for a thousand times or need God to come through in a way that only He can.
Let's make it our focus to "keep on asking..." -Luke 11:9
|On our vacation to Miramar Beach!!|