Mysterious Ways: The Tree of Wisdom

My choice–amputate my right leg, or try one last surgery. Was I delaying the inevitable?

by - Posted on May 20, 2014

graphic image of an apple tree

A digital apple tree stared back at me from my computer screen. One of those cheesy, interactive web graphics that people sometimes email around. Click on it and something’s supposed to happen. “The Scripture Tree,” this one was called.

A church friend had forwarded it to me, with the best intentions. The internet was quickly becoming my lifeline, as each day it became harder to limp around on my bad right foot to visit friends, even go to church.

I’d barely made it to the doctor’s office that morning. “There’s one more surgery we can try,” he told me. “It may be the last chance to save your foot, Barbara.”

I’d heard that before. I’d broken my foot two years earlier, though I couldn’t tell you how–I have diabetic neuropathy, which means I have limited sensation in my feet. I’d been walking on it for days before I even noticed the swelling.

My doctor diagnosed me with Charcot Disease, progressive degeneration of the weight-bearing joint between my foot and ankle, requiring immediate surgery.

That first procedure wasn’t the end. I spent months recovering in a wheelchair, only to break my foot again as soon as I put pressure on it. Another surgery, another break. The third time around, the doctor suggested amputation–a prosthesis would take getting used to, but I’d be able to walk normally.

Cut off my foot? My blood ran cold. However, it seemed like the only option. Until this morning, and my doctor’s last-ditch proposal. I’d scheduled the operation.

Now, back at home, I recalled all the other surgeries, the endless cycle of recovery and agony. Was I just delaying the inevitable? Would I spend the next few months stuck at home, staring at digital trees instead of real ones, before finding out this surgery had failed too? I couldn’t go through that again.

Trying to distract myself, I focused on the digital tree and clicked one of the apples. A line of scripture appeared. So that’s what “Scripture Tree” means. I clicked another apple at random…

“For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken–Proverbs, 3:26.”

I wasn’t sure if the computer froze or I did… but I couldn’t click anymore. That verse was all I could see.

That week, I went into the operating room confident that everything would work out. Nine years later, I’m still walking in good health, both feet planted firmly on the ground and in my faith.

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