One step forward, two steps back.
That's what it feels like my head has been doing since not long after I received the Botox injections. Counting the 15th, the day of the treatment, as "Day 0", this is what my life has looked like.
Day 1-2: no change in head pain, expected and extreme soreness at injection sites
Day 3: soreness gone, slight improvement in head
Day 4: head much worse
Day 5: head slightly improved
Day 6: head much worse
Meanwhile, I have all of these amazing people who are genuinely concerned for my status checking in, and it feels like I'm not telling the truth because everything is changing so frequently. And I wish I had a more consistent view of what was going on. The doctor said give it at least 7-10 days, which would be tomorrow the 22nd to the 25th, but having these days of feeling hopeful because the pain is getting slightly better only makes it hurt that much worse emotionally the next day when I'm back to struggling to hold my eyes open.
This is why I refused to be all excited and hopeful when my mother repeatedly definitively said "This is going to work." She thinks I'm just being a pessimist, jaded from all the times that I've been let down by Western medicine, but the truth, I just can't afford to put my hopes on circumstances over which I have absolutely no control. I can't afford to be sure of an ending that I can't promise, nor can anyone else promise me, is going to come to fruition. I know from past experience that doing that only succeeds in tearing away, piece by piece, the strength that everyone else is so sure they see in me. I can't afford to rest my hopes on the success of this Botox treatment, because I know that if things don't work out the way I so desperately want them to, the work that God has been doing in my heart over the past year and a half is going to be ravaged by an attack I'm not sure my heart could stand up against.
So when people ask me if I think this treatment is going to work and I respond, "I don't know," I'm not being evasive or refusing to think positively or any of that. I'm being honest; I really don't know if I think it's going to work or it isn't. That isn't up to me, anyway. I'm simply choosing not to focus on the details that I can't control. I'm choosing not to give power to a treatment that is simply the last tool my doctors can use to help me. I'm choosing not to put my hope on breakable people and fallible medicine (which shouldn't be that big of a surprise, since I've been referred to as a "medical phenomenon" for more than a decade).
My life, or at least my body, has never worked the way people expected it to. Western medicine has not worked to help me on several occasions, and doctors who have been in the business of helping people with my conditions for decades say they have never seen my circumstances happen before. I have failed to respond to medicines and treatments that certain doctors have never seen fail before. I am alive, when several things have happened that, for all intents and purposes, should have made that impossible. The only thing that all of that confirms for me is that I can't trust any of that. I can't put my hope in any treatment, no matter how much it is lauded. I can't be certain a doctor is going to fix me, no matter how many titles they have or awards they have earned.
What I can trust is that God has all the answers to the questions my case leaves my doctors stumped with. What I can have hope in is that God is either going to lead me through every valley or carry me Himself. What I can be certain about is that God has not taken His eyes off of me, my situation, and my story, not for a second. He is where my hope lies. He is the reason that I know that whether or not this Botox works with this treatment, after the next treatment, after the one after that, or not at all, this is not the end for me. I serve an AWESOME GOD who is not defined by test results and modern medicine.
My hope for my future rests in the same Jesus who died so that I could have life, the fullest possible life, life for eternity. And if you ask me, that is the right place, the only place where it belongs.