I STARED at the orthopedist’s face and shook my head back and forth.
“I’m afraid it’s true. There’s an infection in that new knee joint. The only way to get rid of it is to take it out, put in a temporary spacer, treat with antibiotics, and then insert a new knee joint.”
“But I have plans. I’m going to South Carolina in May and to a writer’s conference in June.”
Now it was his turn to shake his head no. “I’m afraid not.”
I withheld the tears threatening to emerge. “This is heartbreaking.”
I managed to stifle my emotions until I went to the lab across the street. The woman who registered me to have my blood drawn was like a sympathetic mom.
Her kindness was the last straw. I couldn’t maintain my brave façade any longer and she handed me the miniature Kleenex box that hospitals stock to save on their revenue.
Calling my husband, I broke the news. The months of pain and physical therapy that I endured from the first knee replacement was for naught. Now I faced two new surgeries and weeks of antibiotic therapy before heading for round two of physical therapy. To say I was overwhelmed was akin to the shock of a pregnant mom being told she is carrying multiples. Although the outcome would likely go well, the ensuing months would be fraught with discomfort and worry. Not to mention bed rest.
Besides missing out on two important trips, I had two books releasing soon, one in June and the other in October. I was also hoping to go on a book promotion in New York for the October release. When I asked the doctor about this, he answered with a questionable, “Maybe.”
All my plans were crumbling bit by bit. I was fast losing control of my life. Poor me, I thought.
I bravely faced the first surgery with the knowledge that dozens of family and friends were lifting me up in prayer. I felt every plea to heaven that was spoken on behalf of my situation. God was truly present and everything went as smoothly as could be expected.
Then the antibiotic therapy began. This involved—and still involves—a daily trek to an infusion center at the local hospital. It also necessitated being attached to a bag that carried a medicine pump, supplies, and two doses of the powerful antibiotic chosen to attack the bacteria that would have eventually spread throughout my knee and elsewhere. Poor me, I thought.
I soon realized however that I was not the only carrier of the black fanny pack. There were numerous patients receiving these “designer bags,” as I called them. But many of my fellow patients were not just on antibiotics. Many carried stronger weaponry to fight a worse enemy: Cancer.
The day I stopped bemoaning “Poor me” was the day I was forced to confront my self-pity. Riding in the elevator with a gentleman attached to a bag, the man kindly asked about my leg brace and medication bag. I complained about the infection in my knee, grousing about my situation. But the worst part of that elevator ride was the realization I had not even asked him about his back brace and medication. In a moment of time, I had missed an opportunity to be compassionate. All because I had focused on “poor me.”
I was devastated. This isn’t me, I thought. What have I turned into? A self-focused complainer who could not even take a moment in time to sympathize with a fellow human? Someone with a lost opportunity that I likely would not have again?
Then and there, I decided to look outward instead of inward. I made a choice to understand there is much grief in this world and God expects His children to reach out with the same love that Christ himself would extend.
Does that mean I’m not allowed to shed tears of disappointment or grief? Not at all. But the more I focus on others’ needs, the less time I have to indulge in a pity party. And the more chance I have to share about the love of my Savior. Perhaps that is why I’m attending the infusion center this summer, instead of my writer’s conference. Only eternity will tell.
“Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.” (Phillipians 2:4, ERV)
Join the Conversation: Have you ever felt sorry for yourself and realized there are others worse off than you? Did you miss an opportunity that God placed before you? If you are inspired to share, please do. We’d love to hear about it.
TWEET IT: “Reach out with the same love that Christ himself would extend.” Elaine Marie Cooper (Click to Tweet)
June 16, 2016 Release: Promise of Deer Run
The year is 1790.
The American Revolution is long since over, yet the battles still live in the hearts of the survivors.
One young veteran is haunted by the painful memories of war. He still awaits a father who has never returned from battle and feels the sting of betrayal from a former love. He withdraws into his own world, clinging to one hope: Perhaps his father still lives.
Only one person in Deer Run seems to understand him: Nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, who feels a kinship with the loner veteran. She senses the wounds in his spirit as much as she struggles to bury her own traumatic memories of war. And the veteran’s search for his father touches a chord of empathy in Sarah, as she feels the loss of a father she never knew.
While the couple begins to find hope in a mutual affection, others determine to destroy it. Slander and misunderstandings ignite a fire of doubt and mistrust, destroying whatever faith they had in each other.
Can two souls longing for healing and trust love again? Can faith—and a family—be restored?
About Elaine Marie Cooper :
Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of Fields of the Fatherless and Bethany’s Calendar. Book 1 of the Deer Run Saga (Road to Deer Run) released last December and Book 2 (Promise of Deer Run) releases June 16, 2016. It is available for pre-order at http://www.crossrivermedia.com/portfolio/promise-of- deer-run/gallery/fiction/
Saratoga Letters, a historical romantic suspense, releases on October 4 through Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and Book 3 of the Deer Run Saga (Legacy of Deer Run) releases in December, 2016 through CrossRiver Media. All of her books will be available at Amazon on their release date.
You can connect with the author at her blog/ website at www.elainemariecooper.com