Not a Coincidence
Dec 13, 2020 | by Nancy Newbrough
A terrible muscle cramp in my right calf woke me in the early morning hours of November 12th. I stretched and the pain eased enough for me to fall back to sleep. When getting ready for work, I was in enough pain that it caused me to limp. The pain got worse throughout the day, and it felt as if the muscle had ripped down the middle. I do run, so I believed that I likely had the beginnings of a strained muscle from running earlier in the week. I must have made a misstep somewhere that worsened the injury was my thought.
Over the next few days, I rested, elevated, and iced my calf. After four days the pain did begin to lessen; however, the shooting pain seemed to return during the nights and woke me up multiple times. I also experienced a constant tightness. No matter how much I stretched or walked or rested, I could not get my calf muscle to relax. It seemed to always be on the brink of cramping.
I began reading about a variety of things that could cause muscle cramps -- from dehydration to deep vein thrombosis (blood clot). Dr. Google can definitely cause fear to begin to grow, especially when you read how dangerous some of the conditions can be. Even so, I still assumed it was a torn muscle because the symptoms did not completely fit any of the more severe conditions. For instance, the classic symptoms for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) included swelling, redness, heat, and tingling or numbness. I only had a tiny bit of swelling and some pain that would come and go. Nothing else.
Nevertheless, I could not shake the thought that the constant tightness was odd. My boyfriend suggested going to the doctor if I did not stop limping soon. He is the one who always says, “Wait to worry!” So I decided to be on the safe side and make an appointment, fully expecting the doctor to tell me it was just a simple muscle strain and to rest.
But getting an appointment was not easy! It took three tries! My normal family practice did not have any same day appointments. The second office I tried was not taking new patients. But the third had a doctor with an opening that afternoon.
That doctor found only slight swelling and no heat or redness. He noted that I was a healthy weight, and my blood pressure was normal. In short, he said, “You do not fit the typical symptoms of someone with a DVT; however, he sent me for a Doppler ultrasound of my leg -- just in case. Shockingly, it showed that I DID have a blood clot in a deep vein in my calf!
Everything was a whirlwind after that! It was scary, of course! I was immediately prescribed a blood thinner and referred to a hematologist who continues to treat me. He was encouraged that the swelling that existed in my leg was already gone and anticipated the clot being resolved by taking the blood thinner for three months.
This experience was most definitely not expected. The trials in life usually are not, though! The message Pastor Brian delivered recently used 1 Peter 5:6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” So often God has given me peace when the world says I should feel chaos, and I knew how important it was to trust Him in this trial. The Prayer Team was also lifting me up – yet, I still struggled! There are so many nightmarish scenarios associated with DVT, which most often form in the legs or pelvis. They can be life-threatening if a clot or multiple clots detach, travel through the right side of the heart and get stuck in arteries that supply blood to the lungs. I had to remind myself that this thing and, actually, everything else in this life is ultimately out of my control. When deciding to give my life to Christ, I handed over control to Him! Pastor Brian’s message reminded me of the profound fact that if I did not cast this worry onto God as well -- then I was being prideful. It was the Holy Spirit’s conviction at its finest!
After the initial shock, I began to see the Holy Spirit’s guidance throughout the entire scenario: the weird tightness in my calf that could not be ignored, my boyfriend’s urging to see a doctor, finding an open appointment, and connecting with a super-thorough doctor who ordered an ultrasound. This is not coincidental when you are a follower of Christ … it all points to God’s intervention on my behalf. I am so grateful for His leading! All glory to Him!
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my
right hand. You guide me with your counsel…