struck down, but not destroyed

2 Corinthians 4:8–9

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

On October 16th, I woke up a little after 6am and had that small debate we all have within ourselves about getting up or staying in the bed for just nine more minutes. I made the decision to put my feet to the wooden floor and begin my day.

As I rolled off my bed and made contact with the ground, I felt a sharp pain my my lower back and I couldn’t feel my right leg past my thigh.

What is happening?

Instantly, I began to cry. Not sure if it was because of the pain or because of the fear that something was incredibly wrong because I couldn’t move. It took me 3 minutes to get to my bathroom to sit.

What do I do? And why is this happening?

I contacted my internship supervisor and let them know that I could not come in. Made the decision to go to the emergency room even though I have well over $2.1k in medical bills from 2014.

It was impossible to walk so I had to wait until my sisterfriend could take me to the hospital. Getting to the ER, I needed a wheelchair. The woman said there was “only one wheel chair in the unit.” — I was sincerely upset.

It wasn’t until a nurse took my blood pressure for them to fast track me to receive care. Why is it so hard for people to believe Black women’s pain. We should not have to demand person centered treatment to get adequate care. My blood pressure was so high that they were nervous of a stroke that finally made them take notice of my pain.

After testing and waiting and waiting and more testing, the physician came and told me that I have Degenerative Disk Disease with Lumbosacral Radiculopathy. My heart dropped because the diagnosis itself hit me like a train. What does this mean for me? Will I always experience pain when in motion? Only a week before was my mother given the documentation that she does have multiple sclerosis. Devastation set quickly. All I wanted to do was go home take the medication they prescribed and just pause time.

I was put on bed rest for 4 days.

The next morning. I got a Facebook video call from my mother. My great-grandmother, who we reverence as “Bigmama,” was transitioning. She passed away that afternoon and everything in me shattered. I couldn’t fathom what to do because all I could feel was pain. My heart in a million pieces. The woman that was the blueprint to how I wanted to live a life of love & community was no longer here.

What is God doing right now… does He want me to suffer… how can he take away my bigmama… I can’t even walk right now and all I want to do is fly across the country to be home.

Thanks to some of my new Howard family, they helped me organize my studies and schedule. I left to Arkansas for 10 days to say goodbye to the Matriarch of my life. To see my mother and be there for my brother. This was the second time he was present for a family member passing. The last few weeks have been hard. I witnessed my mother not be at her full capacity. I hardly saw her walk or do the things she normally would. It challenged me because I couldn’t recognize her but I knew exactly how she felt.

I had to make a choice for myself that I WILL NOT GIVE UP. I will live with DDD and I will not let it limit the life I want to live. I won’t give up on my journey to a healthier lifestyle or stop my passion of creating a healthy community for those I love and love me in return. I told myself that I would give my mother space but I will be home in December to be present for those difficult conversations that needs to be had about having the courage to get up when everything is against us.

My bestfriends, Tia and Jodi-Ann, sent me a love box that I opened last night. Inside was everything and more. They of course wrote a card that just blessed me without measure. I knew even before discovering each item, that God was going to give me a breakthrough because I thought He had abandoned me in this tough time.

I write this in hopes that by my testimony will be a blessing to someone going through. You are loved. You are worthy. You are divine. God loves you and sees you. Even in moments where we give up on ourselves, the Creator never gives up on us. Our names will be written across the hearts of those who love Him & love us deeply. I know that my Bigmama is still with me AND I trust that day by day the grace of God will continue to hold me in good times and in bad.

xxoxx, TruLe’sia Zhane’