We all have hidden wars going on inside of us, things we are going through that no one knows about except us and God. There is pain in all kinds of scenarios – physical, mental, and emotional. It’s only by the grace of God that many people make it through each day. I am one of them.
I have suffered since I was a young child with a bladder disease that wasn’t truly diagnosed until I was sixteen, but that I’d my first major surgery for when I was only five. Interstitial cystitis, a disease causing the bladder to shrink and ulcers to form inside, makes going to the bathroom painful and uncomfortable. The pain is one aspect I’ve had to deal with, but there are also the treatments that, especially to a child, could be almost be classified as torture. Sometimes the treatments worked, and I could go six months to a year without seeing my doctor. Other times I had to take treatments three times a week for months.
It’s Hard to be Different
School was hard, not the work, but living with the constant pain and urge to use the restroom. Most of my teachers allowed me to leave class when I needed to, but there were others who made me feel like I was I was doing something wrong by asking for permission to go to the restroom. During those years, I learned how mean kids can be. I cried at the names I was called and the taunting I took because I spent so much time in the restroom. Elementary school was bad, high school was worse.
My symptoms scared off every boyfriend I had. There were a few who truly cared, but who didn’t just understand what I dealt with. In my junior year, my symptoms grew severe and I was homebound for the last six weeks. During my senior year, a teacher came to the house every other day from midterm through graduation. There were several new treatments available, and I was a good candidate. While the side-effects were painful and frustrating, I began to improve, and by the time graduation came, I was able to walk with my class.
After graduation, I sought God’s direction for my life, and as I continued the treatments, I began to feel better. I got a job, bought a car, and was soon going for treatments only every six months. I met a guy, fell hard, and we got married. (We celebrated our thirty-sixth anniversary this May.) Soon I wanted babies, but my doctor told me I would probably not be able to conceive, yet in three months, our first baby was on the way. He was born in October, and our second child was born the next August.
In a kind of remission for the next fifteen years, I saw my doctor for yearly for checkups. Then what I thought was a just kidney infection turned into a nightmare. The disease was back. I started the same kind of treatments that had helped before, but this time they didn’t work. None of the new medications or treatments I tried worked either. After nine hydrodistentions in one year, my doctor told me if he did any more my bladder could rupture. He then told me he would disconnect my bladder, let it lay dormant, and down the road, reconnect it. As I’d previously been told I would need a cystectomy, the removal of my bladder, I figured disconnecting it was better option than radical removal. After surgery the pain was just as bad as before, if not worse. And I developed a DVT (blood clot).
Ten years later, I finally had my bladder removed. It stopped the horrible spasms I had always lived with, but caused me to develop another DVT, this time behind my knee. I am now on blood thinners and I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There isn’t a day that goes by that I do not have to take meds, and not a day that I do not hurt.
By God’s Grace
A few years ago, I stepped out on faith, took online classes, and graduated with an associates degree in Religion and Theology. While I do not know why I was born the way I was, God does, and by His grace and in His power, I’m able to live for and serve Him every day.
Kim Lizana Draughn
KIM LIZANA DRAUGHN is a wife, mother, and grandmother, who was born and raised in the beautiful bayou state of Louisiana. One of her proudest moments was receiving an Associates of Arts Degree in Theology and Religion from Liberty University in 2017, especially because she didn’t start college until she turned fifty. Kim is active in her church, singing in the choir, and playing bass in a bluegrass/country praise band that plays traditional hymns and praise songs in the bluegrass style. She is passionate about her family, especially her grand babies, who have her heart wrapped around their tiny fingers, and photography. Kim loves looking at the world through a camera lens. Shooting outdoors is her favorite. And she is passionate about writing and her blog, prayerfully using both to reach others for the Lord.