‘Cause it’s been fear that ties me down to everything
But it’s been love, Your love, that cuts the strings
~ Brave, Nichole Nordeman
To treat her MS, my twin used to take daily injections. The shots were extremely painful, and caused a number of unpleasant side effects. Every day, every shot was an emotional battle, and for a while, she was losing.
She came up with a game plan. She would rotate injection sites on her body over a week – Monday would be the right arm, Tuesday the left arm, Wednesday the stomach, Thursday the right hip, Friday the left hip, Saturday the right thigh, Sunday the left thigh. She assigned a loved one to each site – for e.g., “right arm day” was my day and she would spend the day praying for me.
A few times a week I would go and administer the shot to her. Afterwards, the pain would hit hard and fast for several minutes and she would spend the whole time, with clenched fists, praying for whosever day it was. I would spend the time willing her pain to pass, amazed that she would focus on someone else in the midst of it.
(But then again, she loves the One who was flogged, stabbed, ridiculed and crucified… the One who endured the pain of the cross and, all the while, thought of us.)
Even though she no longer has to take the horrible shots, she continues her fight against MS.
Hope and I visited her today while she received an infusion. She is receiving three thousand milligrams of solu-medrol intravenously over three days. The purpose, they say, is to reduce the inflammation around lesions in her brain. A metallic taste in the mouth, gastritis, weakness, depression – the side effects are brutal on her.
Hope is no stranger to hospitals and infusion clinics, but today she took issue with the nurse smacking my sister’s arm, searching for a good vein (there are no more good veins).
“What’s she doing to my Aunt?” Hope asked, none too pleased.
“She’s going to give her a long shot,” I said softly, trying to keep it simple.
Hope brightened, “Oh, but then she’ll get a sticker!”
We both smiled.
“But what face does my Aunt have?” Hope asked, serious again.
We play a game with Hope where we ask her to make different faces. Show us your happy face, Hope. Show us your confused face. Show us your surprised face.
I looked up at my sister. Her features so similar to mine, me wishing I could take her place. Her eyes shining with unshed tears. I saw tired. I saw sad. I saw serene. I saw gracious to a fault. I saw strong. I saw her, as usual, thinking about us.
“Brave, baby. That’s her brave face.”
She’s the bravest girl I know.
Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
”Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come…
he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.