God Saw Me Through
By David J. Stewart | August 10, 2009
Psalm 23:4, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
I am back from Los Angeles where I had my neck surgery. It was a 13-hour flight from Micronesia. The last thing I remember before my surgery were tears flowing down the side of my head. The first and only thing I remember when I came out of anesthesia 10 hours later were the words I spoke out loud, “God saw me through.” I didn't plan to say any words, but that's the first words that came to my mind, and I said it once again in a louder and clearer voice, “God saw me through.” And He certainly did.
I thank all of you who prayed for me during my surgery. I know many people wanted to contact me at the hospital, but I decided it probably was wisest if I didn't disclose that information for numerous reasons. I do want to thank Hanner Jacobs from Savannah, Georgia, one of my faithful web visitors, who did contact me the day after my surgery to thank me for my ministry and to let me know that he was praying for me. Thank you so much.
As far as the surgery, I am still suffering in horrible neck pain. It's like I didn't even get surgery. I still have agonizing neck pain 24/7. The surgeon said only time will determine the final results. Although I do have a bit of discomfort in my throat, I don't have any difficulty swallowing food, nor do I notice much lost range of motion, thankfully. My voice is fine and the incision pain is gone. However, my neck is completely numb where the nerves were cut from the incision up to my chin.
Unfortunately, I still have the debilitating toothache-like pain in the bony area of the back of my neck. The pain radiates into my facial area. It is miserable to say the least. It's only been since July 21st that I had surgery, so I need to give it time. I am thankful that the surgery is over and at least I stand a better chance of recovery now that my spinal cord has been decompressed. The surgeon told me that I would likely feel worse after my surgery than before and that full recovery would require several months.
I still have much tingling and a puffy sensation extending throughout my right arm and into all my fingers, especially into the thumb. It may be permanent nerve damage or it could just be from inflammation from the surgery. However, I had it before the surgery and it's still there, so I can only pray and hope for the best. Since my spinal cord was compressed for 5-years, there's the increased likelihood of permanent nerve damage. I also have constant tingling and puffiness in my left arm and fingers, but considerably less in intensity than the right arm. I also still feel some tingling and puffiness in my right toe when I'm walking, which I also had before the surgery. The doctor said my nerves need to refind their way. It's too early to know what the final outcome of the surgery will be. One day at a time.
The pain was so bad days after my surgery that they had to readmit me into the hospital. They discharged me too soon. I had much pain in my shoulders after the surgery, which has mostly gone away now. Howbeit, the gnawing pain in my neck is still horrible. I am still taking Percocet 10/325 for pain. I need to wear a bone stimulator device for the next 9-months to promote spinal fusion of the bones around the titanium plate. It's an electronic unit that sends electricity through my neck to aid in fusing my bones together at C5-C6 and C7. I wear a soft neck collar as needed to support my neck. I ask for your continued prayers during the months of recovery ahead.
My faith in God is strong and only by His grace have I made it this far and will continue to do so. As the writer of the song Amazing Grace states, “ 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” Even so, come Lord Jesus.