“This is not the end. I am still here. Still present. Still with you” I hear Him say as I read my devotion before I sleep.

Twenty eighteen has been one heck of a year and I don’t even know where to begin when I try to describe it. But if there was one word I could use to describe it, I would say, “unexpected”. This year has definitely been an unexpected year for me, especially a few days ago when I found out more about my hip situation, but more on this later.

On the first day of January this year I posted a picture of myself with a caption saying, “Looking away unsure but stepping forward unafraid”, while this was true, unfortunately, it was only half correct. That day when I posted that picture it was right that I was unsure of 2018 and it was right that I wasn’t afraid because nothing has happened yet. Fast forward to today the 15th of December so many things has happened and now I know so much. And now the question is am I afraid? No, not now, but I was afraid throughout the year. I was afraid when my mum was hospitalised 3 times earlier this year. I was afraid when the anaesthetist was putting the IV drip in my hand. I was afraid when my right leg couldn’t walk back in August. I was afraid when one of the emergency nurses was inserting the IV drip in my hand. I was afraid when the ward nurse came to inject my stomach. And most recently, I was afraid when I read the brochure about a hip replacement surgery.

Since the second half of this year the word “unexpected” has been on repeat in my head. Who knew that I would end up in hospital 3 times this year? I actually find it really funny because it happened the same year as my mum’s 3 hospitalisation. During the first half of this year when the focus was on my mum and before my issues came, I remember thinking “What now?” and “How long is this going to last? Months? Years?” I was literally worried, but little did I know that was going to be the least of my problems because soon my mum was going to be fine (Thank God!) and it was going to be about me next. Ha! I bet you did not see that coming Nikki. And it’s true, I totally did not see that coming. This is why 2018 has been an unexpected year for me.

Ten years ago after receiving a high dose of steroids I started to develop a condition called Avascular Necrosis (AVN) and since then my legs has always been problematic. I would feel pain in the hip and calf area. I would walk with a limp (just a very subtle one). I would feel limited in my leg movement. I would also feel stiff. And most recently, my knee and my ankle would hurt too. Plus, sometimes, my legs will feel like it’s losing feeling, or you know that sensation you get just before those pins and needles come? Yes, that’s the feeling I’ve been getting since this year. So, I’ve always known that my legs were crap and that there was something seriously wrong with it. Not until a few days ago because apparently the condition of my legs is worse than I thought. I thought it was crap but it’s even more crap. I thought it was serious but it’s even more serious.

a day after being discharged from the Royal Melbourne hospital

I finally had my MRI scan and I finally saw the hip specialist at the Austin hospital. After waiting forever for my number to appear I was finally at the doctor’s desk, because it was my first time seeing this particular doctor I quickly told him a little bit about my illness, the medications I’m taking and the surgeries I’ve had in the past. “I was born with Alagille Syndrome and it affects my liver, heart, eyes, ears and bones…” After he finished writing down all the “fancy” information about me he started talking about my hips. He showed me the image of my MRI result. He explained that while the ball-like thing (I think it’s called a femur? Or femur head?) is still round on my left hip, the femur has completely collapsed on my right hip. Now it’s flat and the only medical option I have is to go for a hip replacement to replace the flattened femur. So that’s another unexpected information for me. Again, I did not see that coming, but even in the midst of my unexpectedness (or disbelief, or shock) I was reminded of something important the other day.

“But as surprising as the unexpected is to us, we need to remember that our unexpected is never unexpected to God.” -Christine Caine

I spent the second half of this year thinking, “Unexpected, unexpected, unexpected…” until I forgot that my unexpected is not God’s unexpected. God needed to remind me that even though I may not have seen any of this coming, He knew it all along. It was all a surprise to me but it wasn’t a surprise to God. This means that I can chill. And so, I feel better now. Knowing that God knows the happenings of my life even before me is assuring and comforting. It is nice to know that I am not going through life alone. Yes, I will need to go for a hip replacement but “this is not the end. I am still here. Still present. Still with you” I hear Him say as I read my devotion before I sleep.

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