My dear friends! I have some news and an urgent prayer request. I am in New York unexpectedly early to get surgery on my ankle, which appears to be in much worse condition than originally assumed. While the plan is to eventually move back to Texas, I will not be returning until after my recovery, which could take upwards of four months; nor will I continue my service with Saint Paul’s Outreach next Fall.
If you’re on my support team, I am so sorry this news had to come in an email! I was planning on calling each of you individually to tell you, but everything happened so fast and now I’m gearing up for my surgery this coming Monday. Feel free to call me to catch up, or read on for the full story…
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, leaving behind my life as a Saint Paul’s Outreach Mission Leader.
I’ll start at the beginning. Last summer, I was convinced that I was going to be a missionary forever. I wasn’t wrong, but I may have misinterpreted what God meant when He said “missionary.” Recently, the Lord has been tugging on my heart to put more time and energy towards the things I’ve always cared most about: photography, art, storytelling and families–and to make that my mission. I’m not entirely sure how, but He has me convinced that it’s time for me to move to this new mission field. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, leaving behind my life as a Saint Paul’s Outreach Mission Leader, but I think it was the right choice. Whatever I do, I pray it will be an avenue to spread the Good News and give glory to God.
I wasn’t convinced this meant I should completely drop everything, however. My plan was to get a creative job of some sort but stay in Central Texas and continue serving the students at Texas State as peers. As this semester quickly progressed, I was offered a job as a marketing assistant at a glassblowing company just twenty minutes from campus, starting June 1st. It was nearly a perfect fit; but something didn’t feel right, so I asked for time to think about it.
Two days later, I went to my doctor in Austin to check up on my ankle. It had been about two months since the accident, so they expected my fracture to be mostly healed. It was far from it, and he said I would need surgery. Realizing I was in no condition to start a job that would have me scrambling around on my feet all day during the company’s busiest time of the year, I turned down the position.
My plan then became to go to New York for surgery and recover in the comfort of my family’s home, where I wouldn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay rent for the few months I’d be unemployed. While I recovered, I would work on various creative projects to be faithful to God’s calling for me to glorify him through photography, art and storytelling, and return to Texas as soon as I was healed. This is still the plan currently, though slightly accelerated.
Shortly after turning down the position, I got a call from my parents asking if I could fly up to New York the following week to see a particular doctor. In order to get my surgery lined up soon enough for it to be successful, a lot of strings needed to be pulled and long story short, it simply couldn’t wait until the end of the semester–even though I only had three weeks left. Reluctantly, I packed up a few days’ worth of things and flew out with the expectation of returning after my appointments.
My parents and I went from doctor to doctor to doctor until we found someone we trusted with the surgery, who would be covered by our insurance and could squeeze us in earlier than late June. Knowing I wanted to return to Texas to finish the semester, she crammed me in her schedule for an immediate CT scan and MRI. What she found wasn’t good. Returning to Texas wasn’t an option, I needed surgery ASAP.
I never thought there could be permanent damage beyond an ache when it rains.
I’m not going to try to explain the technicalities of my injury, but I’ll do my best to summarize what matters. The problem with the talus is that it has very little blood circulation to begin with. Because of that, a lot the bone around my fracture died; hence why it wasn’t healing. That bone can’t be salvaged. Fortunately, enough of it is still alive to where an attempt to fix it using bone marrow from my heel is worthwhile.
If it doesn’t work (which it very well might not), the only other option is to fuse my ankle together, attaching the talus to the tibia. That would mean no movement in my left ankle, ever again. This was the hardest thing for me to hear. I never thought there could be permanent damage beyond an ache when it rains. An intense surgery? I can deal with that. A little arthritis? I’ll manage. But never hiking, two-stepping or horseback riding the same again? That put fear into my heart.
So my request for you is this: please pray for me on Monday. Don’t just say you will and wish me good thoughts. Actually pray. And if everything goes wrong and I do lose the use of my ankle, pray I’ll use my condition for God’s glory. I can’t do this alone, and I’m so grateful to have so great a cloud of witnesses to call upon for prayers! I will keep you updated as time goes on. Thank you for being there for me.