For the past 16 years I have been dealing with a chronic intestinal illness called Crohn’s Disease. While I have had a number of flare-ups over the past years, to be honest, I have been extremely fortunate that my disease has been manageable with medication (8-16 pills a day with no real side effects) and slight dietary modifications. Many people who suffer with IBD are not so fortunate.
This fall, my body began sending me signals that all was not well. A series of scopes and and scans revealed three things:
1) my disease is active
2) over time the disease has taken its toil on my system
2) my past treatment plan is no longer working
Two weeks ago, I saw a new doctor who happens to be one of the top experts in our medically rich part of the world. He indicted that his personal bias for patient care was “deep remission.” Now trust me, I am all for deep remission. However, deep remission comes with a cost – an aggressive treatment plan with all sorts of potential side effects.
Today I began a new treatment plan. It sounds so simple: one small pill. The drug is mercaptopurine, an immunosuppressive drug which is used typically used to treat leukemia. While the drug has been known to be highly effective in treating Crohn’s, to be honest the potential side effects scare the crap out of me. I started to read the fine print a number of times, but could never make it past the first sentence or two. You know how at the pharmacy check-out you have to sign something indicating you do not need counseling; in my case, I need psychological counseling. Truth be told while I had the prescription filled last week, but it has taken me days to work up the courage to swallow the first one. Why? Because downing that pill would require of me the faith of leap.
Over the past couple of month, my coach Steve from Centered for Life Coaching has been encouraging me to take some risks and has placed before me the image of jumping off the cliff. Until my call this month, our coaching conversations, while not unimportant, certainly did not contain the level of significance or risk factor that my challenge with Crohn’s possesses.
As we talked about my decision abut this new approach to treatment, I was especially grateful for Steve’s reminder that I am not stepping off the edge into some dark abyss with no hope of a good outcome, but I am actually leaping into the arms of a God who is both strong and loving. As he spoke my mind raced to the words of Psalm 62:11
“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love.”
Now I believe in a God who heals and I trust that God will heal me; that healing may be instantaneously, progressively or ultimately. But until then each day will be a fresh opportunity for me to face my fears, trust and jump into the arms of a strong and loving God.
What is your cliff? Where is God calling you to practice the faith of leap? What’s stopping you from doing that today?
Please pray for me. And know that I would be glad to pray for you as you face your own cliff.