Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Refined By Fire

Sorry I haven't posted in the past month, it's been a roller coaster lately, but in a good way. I had a doctor's appointment two weeks ago on February 24th, and for the first time, my infectious disease doctor Katherine Smith uttered those words I've been longing to hear since I started Sovaldi last year: "You're Cured!"

Living life post-treatment is one thing knowing your labs are looking great, but hearing those goal achieving words uttered for the first time gave me so much confidence going into one year post-treatment. This time last year, I was very ill from side effects of the regimen I was on. I was reflecting on some of my older posts from Easter 2014, and multiple ER visits along with numerous side effects leaves me with only one conclusion; we are "refined by fire." The human spirit is a strong and powerful mechanism.

July 7th of this year, I will officially be one full year post-treatment. A few of my friends, locally and online, have had some serious issues since concluding their Sovaldi regimens, one of which is the dreaded relapse. A friend of mine, younger lady, late 20's from church, treated on Sovaldi and Ribavirin just as I did last year, but relapsed. She, like myself, was a geno-type 3a, I've been offering some moral support and council for her just this past week, and it seems to be effective. Whether I relapse or remain undetected at one year is pretty much a waiting game and in God's hands. I've accepted both outcomes and am ready to tackle whatever it is next I have to do. 

Nothing in life is earned by our own merit. You don't just wake up one day and be automatically cured of a life altering illness. Struggles are a part of life, so are disease and illness. If the human condition is never constantly tested, how are we to be refined and made better? I'm a leader at my church for a weekly event called "Real Men." One of the questions I'm asked most, why do bad things happen to good people? My response is usually simple and forward: "Because they have to." In 1 Peter 1:7, Peter writes, "so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So when you're in that moment, the world is crashing in, all hope is lost, instead of giving ourselves a pity party, we need to stand up and dust ourselves off and move forward. Life is one continual refining of our condition, to make us stronger and more courageous for the next trial, and the trial after that.

One of my favorite musical writers and performers just this past week announced on social media he has a solid mass in his right kidney, and doctors are 90% sure it's cancer. Mark Hall of Grammy award winning Casting Crowns, made the announcement about his condition. But like the very song Mark penned in 2006 'Praise You In This Storm', "I was sure by now God You would have reached down And wiped our tears away Stepped in and saved the day But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining..."

One thing I can say, I am at a truly peaceful moment of life. Rejoicing in my cure and striving towards July for the one year post-treatment lab results. I can't say it's been an easy road, truth is, it's been anything but smooth. The roller coaster of life has peaks, dips, turns, 360's and maybe even a few slow points, but my advice for those reading this, be ready for anything. Life isn't about what we define it to be, it's about giving God glory in season and out. So with each struggle, our life is being refined physically, mentally and spiritually for our betterment. In the heat of the moment, we don't see the lesson, but just know we have to be refined by fire in order to come out shining like gold.