When life is tough it sometimes does us a lot of good to reflect on the life of someone who is, humanly speaking, a lot worse off than ourselves. So I’d like to tell you about a very special friend of mine who, if all goes according to plan, faces a very serious neurological operation on Friday. Already she is a walking miracle, as you will see, but those who love her can see that the day is fast approaching when the doctors will be unable to ease her sufferings any further. It is time to start praying for the ‘big’ miracle, and I ask you to join me.
Our friend K was born with a big portion of her body’s immune system missing. Whenever she gets an infection it takes a long time for it to clear her system, and it generally takes intravenous top-notch antibiotics or very painful self-administered antibiotic injections to get her better. Well over 10 years ago one of those infections got inside her skull and caused great pain. The doctors were puzzled because all of the regular neurological testing options didn’t show anything untoward. Only when an old fashioned, out dated testing procedure was used was the infection found.
Other parts of K’s body chemistry don’t work well either. She needs special blood products every two weeks or so, (another painful process), and she can eat practically nothing and still put on kilos of weight. Her pituitary gland doesn’t function normally either. During the almost 27 years she has been on earth this unusual metabolism of hers has caused her all kinds of suffering. Despite all of her efforts, people of all walks of life freely insult her and make her life miserable because she carries a lot more weight than current society deems beautiful.
For some reason the good Lord saw fit to let K still look and act normal, even though her body is falling apart. This makes it hard for people – and doctors as well – to believe that she is as sick as she really is. Regular doses of morphine keep her going.
Within the last year she has hung suspended between life and death several times. The bad ones were traced to an infection in the bladder/kidneys and to an infection surrounding a device inserted into her chest to make receiving the blood product easier.
For reasons that are still baffling the medical community, the pressure inside her skull is at abnormally high levels. Because the optic nerves are sensitive to cranial pressure, and don’t seem to bounce back when the pressure reduces, K has lost a lot of sight in both eyes. Legally blind on top of everything else, she had to give away her driving license and is now dependant on family to go anywhere. The cranial pressure produces a horrible swishing sound in her ears, and that constant internal noise would be enough to make any lesser person lose it completely. The pressure has also severely damaged what used to be a brilliant memory.
Over the last 6 months K has had two sets of stents placed in her skull to reduce the cranial pressure, but it hasn’t really worked. The risk of stroke is ever present. On Friday, since the medics have now found an anomaly on the other side of her skull, K will have another dangerous neurological operation to put at least one stent in this ‘new’ side of her skull.
Why has the good Lord permitted her to go through so much suffering? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that He often asks His most special friends to grow in union with Him through suffering. It is how He forges Saints. Her faith is strong, and she has one of the most beautiful and generous hearts I’ve ever come across.
At 27 no one wants to die, and in particular K doesn’t want to die under anaesthetic. After two stent operations with minimal positive results, only the good Lord knows whether this operation will be any different.
If the Lord Jesus wants to put his finishing touches on this masterpiece before taking her home to heaven, then K needs His grace to face all the suffering between now and then and for Him to take away her fear of death and to give her a longing for heaven. If the Lord Jesus has need of even more of her innocent sufferings to repair for the misdeeds of others, then K needs His grace to keep on going and the kind of encouragement that only heaven can give. If the Lord Jesus so wills, He can restore K to full health in the twinkling on an eye, confounding all of her doctors and showing His majesty.
Whatever His holy will is for her, K is in serious need of our prayers. Please pray for her, and for her family who have several other members with chronic medical conditions.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the good Lord gave K the grace of total healing through the intercession of Blessed Pope John Paul the Great? I’ve already started my novena, perhaps you might like to pray it, too, praying for K’s total healing. It can only be to His greater glory if we trust the Lord Jesus enough to pray for the ‘big’ miracle for K. Here’s the novena…
Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Pope John Paul II
O Blessed Trinity, we thank You for having graced the church with Blessed Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of Your Fatherly care, the glory of the Cross of Christ, and the splendour of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him. Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with You. Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore ……..…………, hoping that he will soon be numbered among Your Saints. Amen.
Blessed Pope John Paul II, please pray for K and for us.
Update 25 Jun 2012. K came through the 7 hour operation on Friday, thanks be to God. However she has been greatly knocked around by it, her memory is scrambled and her hands have tremors. Hopefully when the swelling from the operation goes down, improvements will be seen. But for now, we still watch, wait, pray and hope. Thank you for your prayers for K, please keep them up.
Update 26 Jul 2012. The novena has come and gone, and there is as yet no visible sign of so many prayers being answered. K continues to suffer, and her condition seems to be gradually deteriorating. Whenever the good Lord delays to answer our prayers, it is always for a good reason, and only to grant us a better answer than we could ever have hoped for or imagined. That K’s total healing will come, on earth or in heaven, is a certainty. The timing belongs to God. Our prayers haven’t been forgotten, and on a day – probably one significant to Blessed Pope John Paul the Great – the wonder will happen.