On Thursday of last week, I finally had my tilt table test. The past few months seemed to be leading up to that moment. I was a bit nervous going into the test. Anyone would be nervous about a test where you were laid on a table that tilted up and down in an attempt to study the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Thankfully, I only had two days to prepare myself, as I found out I was having the test done on Tuesday. But, the morning of, I could feel the anxiety coursing through my veins. What if I got sick? What if I passed out? What if the results weren’t what I expected? What if they drew blood? There were so many questions in my mind and all of which had answers that I would have to wait to receive.
The time leading up to the test, and the time following the test were worse for me than the test itself. I hate needles. I pass out getting blood drawn, and besides that, it hurts! Yes, I live with chronic pain and still hate the feeling of needles. Yes, my chronic pain is worse than getting a shot or having blood drawn. I honestly can’t say why, but I dread needles. Recently, I found that getting the needle in my wrist, of all places, hurts the least. So, of course, when they came to draw blood, I requested the wrist. I was pretty proud when they pulled the needle out because it went really well. In fact, I was thrilled. That was until they came in to give me an IV. Of course, that meant I had to be poked again. Going through the process, I’d say that was the worst part pre-test.
The test itself was boring. I laid on the table for 10 minutes, waiting for the doctor to begin. They tilted me up, continuously asked me if I felt dizzy. My response was that I’d felt much worse without passing out. After one tilt, they stopped the test, and I was disappointed. In fact, it was kind of a letdown. It was as if I was reading Huckleberry Finn all over again. There was anticipation and anxiety leading up to it. But, in the end, it wasn’t exciting. It didn’t match the lead-up. And, as I sat in the back, waiting for them to give me an answer, I couldn’t help but wonder what they had seen on their screens. As it turns out, my blood pressure dropped to 63/47 during the test. That is an extremely low number, and it probably contributes to a lot of my nausea and dizziness. I had a few heart rate jumps as well that they caught on their monitors.
I ended up being diagnosed with Dysautonomia. I knew I had it, as I had all of the symptoms of it. But, getting the diagnosis relieved a lot of stress I felt leading up to the test. For starters, the tilt table test had always seemed like a daunting task. For some people, it probably is. But it was actually a lot easier than I had anticipated. These past few years have been difficult. From dislocations to chronic pain, EDS has taken up a large portion of my life. But so has dysautonomia. I have dealt with heat intolerance (this symptom has actually been for a majority of my life), irregular/racing heart rate, low blood pressure, GI issues, anxiety, fatigue, etc. All of these had affected me, and I feel like this diagnosis is bringing me one step closer to finding a way to treat it.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend about fear. We were discussing the idea that with chronic pain comes the fear of more pain. She stopped for a moment and asked me if I had ever prayed for healing. It was a question that I don’t think anyone had ever asked me before. I think that in the Christian bubble, most people just assume that if you have something like EDS, you’ve never prayed for healing. I think that’s why a lot of Christians respond with something like, “Oh, I’ll pray God heals you” when told about chronic illness.
I kind of laughed, because I had just written the post, Pray For Healing, on my blog. I didn’t even need to think before I answered. “Of course,” I said. “I prayed for healing every night before I went to bed. It wasn’t until I got the EDS diagnosis that I realized something; I don’t think that healing is a part of God’s plan for me. He has something better.” If I had time to think before I had spoken, I probably wouldn’t have said this. But I didn’t think. Instead, I let my heart talk. In truth, I would love to be healed. I would love for the pain to go away. I would love to be able to go outside without worrying about passing out. I would love to be able to function with 3 hours of sleep, or barely any water, or on nothing but Taco Bell, as most normal college students can. But I’m a defective collagen college student. None of these things are possible for me. If I spent all of my time focusing on what I could do if God healed me, I would forget about what I can do because God didn’t heal me. While I don’t believe that God causes evil, I do believe that God can exploit evil for God. EDS is evil. It takes a lot from the people affected. But, if God can use my pain for His glory, isn’t it worth it? I don’t have time to worry about my pain, because I know that God’s power is made perfect in my weakness, and I have hope that my weakness will become His glory.
High Hopes by Panic! At The Disco
“Had to have high, high hopes for a living
Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing
Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision
Always had high, high hopes.”