Awhile back I did a series entitled “The FREE Fifteen”. The concept was simple: have a contest in which fifteen people would be chosen to tell their story. In return for their authenticity, they would receive a free mini session and a feature on the blog.
What I didn’t know was that in doing that something in me would spark a flame.
Reading story after story inspired me in ways I can’t even begin to tell you. What took root was something that I’m calling “Story Sessions”. These sessions are inspiring tales of truth. Real people, doing real life, authentically persevering, trusting, hoping….
So, without further Ado, let me introduce you to Macey.
My Dad had always noticed the unevenness of my back. Ever since I was small, we had been aware that something was different, but not a single doctor had a diagnosis. During my 8th grade year my best friend was diagnosed with a 15% curve in her spine. After her diagnosis, my family agreed to reinvestigate my back’s unevenness once more. To our surprise I was diagnosed with a 27% curve.
I had Scoliosis.
We were told that it was nothing serious, and that just yearly check ups were needed. Surgery was not something we would need to consider any time soon. I was in dance at the time and I loved it. But as time progressed, my back aches intensified. Finally, I decided to quit dance. Not just because of the back aches and pain, but also because of the anxiety I would experience in anticipation of the pain. Something as simple as a jump or twist would send a shot of pain right through me. But I kept telling myself I was fine, the doctors said I was fine.Life continued on. A new school year began, and with the new year, I also had an orthopedic check up on my semi-harmless medical condition. The pain had stopped when the dancing stopped, so we all expected the X-rays to reflect the same results they had at our last appointment.
The Doctor informed us that he had bad news, but it wasn’t devastating. My back had progressed to a 35% curve, and he insisted, still, there was no need for surgery quite yet. Only a year had gone by since my last appointment, and something in me was uneasy about how fast my curve was progressing.Six months later, the pain returned. I had been very active in that season- going up and down a lot of stairs and such. We went back to the doctor for another check up, just to see if we could do anything about the pain. The check up was routine, but something about this specific visit made me uneasy. There was a tension in the room as we waited for the doctor to return to tell us the results of the most resent X-rays. When he entered the room, his cheery disposition and personality comforted us. The tension lifted as he chatted with us, examining the X-Rays against the white glowly light of the examination board. His jokes quieted, and he turned to us. He rolled his little chair up to where I was sitting and began to describe to me what he saw. He said I had a specific type of scoliosis that usually was the more painful kind. Not only was my back curved but it also had a pretty stressed twist in it as will. My curve had also increased to 56%.
The weight of the situation hit my mom first. I looked up from processing the doctor’s words to see her crying. I sat quietly for a moment, realizing that I would forever have two rods in my back. Surgery was now necessary. We were encouraged to get a second opinion.
My family and I decided to get a second opinion from a well known Christian Doctor in Atlanta. We waited a few months, and then made the six hour road trip to see him. I was determined to be defiant against complying with any thoughts of surgery. I made this known to my family and they fought me on it. A part of me just couldn’t imagine living with the two rods, forever in my back. X Rays were taken, along with other numbers: blood pressure, weight, and height. Our spirits were high. My family and I laughed and joked as we waited for the X Rays to return.
When the Doctor returned he sat down and began explaining the process and preparation for surgery. I completely zoned out, I just couldn’t comprehend. Surgery was not only mandatory, but needed as soon as possible.
We got back home and I went through a series of emotions. I was depressed, angry, and felt completely overwhelmed. We scheduled the surgery for January 7th 2015, and even now, hearing the date freaks me out a little bit.
The fear of the unknown has been the worst. As if being diagnosed with Scoliosis at 16 wasn’t enough, I’ve also been diagnosed with other health conditions as well. It hasn’t been easy. Simply getting out of bed has been a chore. But, once I got passed the initial heartache of it all I was really able to see God’s work in my life. I might not know what He’s doing or what the outcome will be, but I know when it says, “Count it all joy, my brother when you meet trials of many kinds,” in James 1, that I should be praising God in the midst of my circumstance. I am His and He is in control. Although I don’t always feel the physical comfort that I want, I know that I have peace in God. At 16, I’ve come to learn and understand the pure joy and motivation in the fact that I don’t have to live for myself anymore- there is so much more to my life than me. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it does take the pressure off of feeling like I have to “have it all together”. The pleasures of the world will waste away and what I’m left with is what really matters: Jesus Christ. He is growing me, changing me, challenging me to trust him.
Stay tuned for the second part of Macey’s story to be featured in the months to come! If you would like to send a word or encouragement to Macey please comment below or contact Anna Filly directly.