Fear is a nasty thing.
My baby dog Cali has been acting a little abnormal lately. It hasn’t been long, a week or two at best. An accident while she was sleeping, brushed off as she was sleeping too soundly and didn’t wake up in time. An increase in water intake, clearly from it being so hot outside. But then she got these sick, sad eyes and would look at me and I just knew in my mom gut something wasn’t right.
After another accident this weekend, I assumed the worst. (Naturally). So when you are worried, what’s the best thing to do?
Pray, call, make a doctor appointment, think positively and wait until your appointment.
Well, yes, that is the right thing. Unfortunately that’s not what I did. I turned to Google. (Never a good idea).
What I learned was that Cali likely has diabetes or Cushing’s Disease. So I continued to “research”, staying up on my phone till 3:00 am, reading article after article about what this means for her life span and quality of life, while letting my brain race.
The next day, the day the vet was of course closed, I couldn’t shake the anxiety in my stomach that I was going to lose Cali. Of course her dying was the natural thing to assume. Could I hold her while she was put to sleep? Would I survive it? What was wrong with her?
All of my worries ran through my mind like a fire in Colorado, one that couldn’t be put out. I felt physically sick to my stomach. It started in my tummy, like a burning rock that made me want to throw up. Then it spread up to my diaphragm, like hot lava spreading up to my heart, which ached, then up my throat, sitting there like a form of acid. The anxiety of losing my furbaby, the one who has been by my side for 8 years and licked my tears and cuddling against my barren stomach was too much for me to process.
I KNEW better than to let myself go. I recited all the verses I knew about worry and anxiety and trusting God. In fact, I actually begin to think that God was going to take Cali from me as some sort of test of my faith (because I haven’t been through enough) and all day I plead with God, trying to convince Him that I was strong enough without this test of faith.
I was stumped. How could I be praying, reading scripture, and yet so physically ill from the anxiety? Wasn’t the peace of God supposed to take away this pit in my stomach? What was I doing wrong? I had faith that God could heal Cali, but was assuming He wasn’t. I was being honest to Him with my emotions, scribbling down in my journal I’m so scared today Lord. I know you know how much I love Cali and I am terrified that I am going to lose her. I know I would survive but the thought of having to go through that pain paralyzes me and makes me anxious. God, you are a healer and I pray for healing for Cali and Lord, you also are a comforter and I pray that you comfort my heart and calm my anxious thoughts, surrounding them with your peace.
And still the anxiety grew. I couldn’t eat dinner. I couldn’t disengage from the fear. I read Steven Furtick’s words about fear – “…if left alone, it (fear) tends to compound, spread and destroy. Little fears can cohabitate and combine to form levels of anxiety and terror that will annihilate our awareness of the presence of God….therefore, our approach to dealing with fear cannot be passive. Because fear doesn’t evaporate. It must be evicted.”
I was letting the fear destroy me, trusting God but trusting Google more. I was engaging the fear by just looking up “one more thing”. It was awful. I was expecting the fear to evaporate instead of being proactive to just STOP playing the “what-if’s” in my head and setting the phone down. Josh eventually was able to pry the phone from my hands (which resulted in me missing lots of texts, sorry for my abrupt absence to those texting). And then I just had to wait.
Josh prayed for Cali and I and that made me feel better. I took a sleeping pill (the only logical thing to do to stop the voices) and made an appointment for the first thing this morning.
I teared up as I brought Cali to the car, for some reason terrified that they wouldn’t give her back to me if something was wrong. Lord please, any other sacrifice …
(Side note – isn’t it funny how dramatic our brains can be when in FEAR MODE? Logic makes no sense, even typing this now I am wondering how I let myself get so out of control. But that voice just fed on itself and unfortunately, I let it.)
I talked to the vet, spilling out my concerns … a few accidents, maybe drinking more or maybe just hot, sad eyes that have nothing to do with the fireworks, I think … I just know … diabetes? Dying? The look of empathy he gave me was calming, Is she eating normally? (yes) Is she showing a lack of interest in everything? (no, I had to tear her away from her toys to get her into the car this morning) Is her belly bloated? (No) The questions continued and I realized my Google research lead me astray a bit. They brought her back and took a urine sample (poor little pup and the catheter) and some blood work. While we waited Cali demonstrated her tricks for the techs (balancing and high fives and rolling and spinning in a circle and such) – all clearly evidence that she was on her last leg, right? Sigh.
Well, the results are in. She doesn’t have diabetes or Cushing’s Disease. She has a slight UTI and low estrogen (like her mom, go figure), which is causing slight incontinence. Are you sure she isn’t dying??? (“She has some of the best blood work and urine results we have seen, she is extremely healthy and has a long life ahead of her.”) And no diabetes? (“Not a trace.”). And so we were off, with antibiotics in hand and a low-dose estrogen that she will take twice a day for the rest of her long life.
That was a lot of worry for nothing. And how I wish I could have told my yesterday-self that it would all work out like this. SHE WILL BE FINE. Stop the voice. But I just couldn’t build up enough strength to trust God and stop my racing mind. I wish there was a “Peace of God” pill, but there isn’t. I know next time to stay off of Google – to EVICT the fear by stopping my thoughts. By running the other way and to NOT play out all of the what-if’s before they come true. I wish I could say next time an anxiety attack like this hits, that I can say I will have it under control, but it’s so hard.
“Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, “Be quiet!” and he said to the waves, “Be still!” The wind died down, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:39-40 GNT)
When I read these verses today, I couldn’t help but feel God was speaking directly to me – Chelsea, why are you so frightened? Do you still not believe that I have things under control? That you can trust me? That you have nothing to fear because you always will have my protection over you? Trust me, regardless of the outcomes.
What a struggle this is! One I will continue to work on. I wish I was better at trusting. It’s a muscle that I need to continue to work on and I know that in order to work on it, I need to face situations in my life that require trust. It’s scary, but not as scary as the what-if’s. He’s got my back.
In the meantime, send us good luck wishes as we attempt to get a very stubborn little dog to take her antibiotics twice a day. And send Josh well wishes as he now has to live with two hormonally-imbalanced ladies. HA! :)