Sunday, April 15
The clip below is from one of my all time favorite movies, Patch Adams. Based on a true story, the movie tells the story of a man who set out to change medicine from a biological model to a HUMAN model. I am inspired all over again each time I watch it- encouraged to always consider the entire person, reminded to laugh more, and challenged to see beyond the parameters that currently exist. The clip I've posted below is Patch's monologue when facing charges of practicing medicine without a license because he was welcoming people with no health insurance to come and receive free help and advice at his ranch. Watch...
Dr. Hunter Patch Adams dreamed of founding a free hospital, and later he would- the Gesundheit Institute. I know I often dream of what it would be like for there to be a place where Lyme patients could go for treatment- effective, holistic treatment- and I'm sure others of you do as well. And it's in the works. Mara Williams, author of Nature's Dirty Needle, is bringing this dream to reality at the Inanna House. I encourage you to look into what's building there, encourage their founders, and spread the word. And in the meantime... Cheer on the advocates and physicians who are passionate and compassionate. Pray that they may spread their knowledge and the fire within them amongst the rest of the medical field.
And you yourself, whether a Lyme patient or not, be inspired today.
Indifference, mediocrity and apathy, these are the greatest diseases of all.
Friday, April 6
Blessings, Love, and Health--
Saturday, March 31
Some days it feels impossible, fighting. But every lymie, or person with any other chronic illness for that matter, knows that life is a 24/7 battle. I will take various medications and supplements at 10 separate intervals today- each planned out, some set to alarms so I wake up with enough time to space it out from another med, and I will still most likely forget at least one. I will decide what I have energy for, when to push myself and when to rest. I will spend more time than I would like to with heat packs nearby, and I will write down absolutely anything I need to remember, lest it be lost in my brain fogged head. This kind of life is a battle minute to minute and anyone would be naïve to think that it wouldn’t affect all the other areas of your self- mental, emotional, spiritual. So yes, it is a fight. But you are strong, stronger than you probably think you are.
You fight when you choose to keep living your life despite pain and when you take a deep breath and calmly explain to someone again what Lyme disease is. You show great wisdom when you choose to eat the foods that will best help your body and not just the easier ones that sound good. You are strong when you get up for another day, when you let yourself cry, when you reach out for help, and when you pull yourself up. You advocate for yourself when you go to yet another doctor appointment. You fight when you take your medicines, supplements, and homeopathic remedies. And hopefully on more occasions than not, you let go and submit, pray and recognize that the Lord is ultimately in control.
So be reminded today: You ARE strong, and you are NOT alone!
Sunday, January 29
What do I say? Do I bring it up? Will that open an old wound, as if that's possible? Maybe she just wants space, time away to heal and 'get over it'. She looks good, so maybe it's not that bad. Yes, she's probably feeling much better.
How do you even begin to approach a friend, a family member, someone you care about with Lyme disease? It's a hard question to answer, but one that every one with Lyme desperately wishes to answer. We don't want to bore you with long, complicated explanations of the disease, and some days we may not even have the mental clarity to do so. It may be, as it turns out, that compassion and sympathy are more important than understanding.
An advocate and Lyme warrior herself, "Lyme Chick" writes and talks about this in her most recent blog post. Check it out. And as always, any questions and feedback are welcomed.
Thank you for being my cheer squad, my prayer network, my friends, my family.
Wednesday, January 11
I write this much overdue post after a day of remembering what healing felt like. Having woken up with a reasonable level of energy, I got ready for my day. I enjoyed a drive with the windows rolled down and the heat turned on (in Oregon, you have to enjoy the sunshine, even if it is a mere 45 degrees!). I went for a walk. Being the nanny for two active little ones, today I actually had the energy for a Nerf gun war, for being the “tickle monster”, for building forts, and for enjoying it all. Pain only consumed every second or third thought. I wrote out lists of all the ambitious projects I wanted to complete and dreamed about careers and travels. And I could dance the day out with Florence and the Machine. Today, I remembered what healing felt like.
Blogging is serious work; you know this if you’ve ever tried your hand at it. So after my last post and my new found health, I stopped blogging. There was simply too much living to do. The list was long of things I had waited for, and the days didn’t waste any seconds filling themselves up: coffee dates, helping friends plan weddings, celebrating at weddings (9 of them!), weekend getaways, bike rides and tennis playing, a new job, a family vacation, seeing dear friends off to faraway lands, time with my church family, and dreaming…oh, did I dream big dreams.
While blogging is hard, and I had much to do, I confess this: I have been afraid to update any of you on my life the last several months. About two and half months ago, Lyme disease (and all of its buddies- coinfections, etc.) has relapsed for an encore performance in my life. It’s a difficult thing to explain, or at least I thought it was. What I experienced seven months ago hasn’t changed, and my beliefs about it haven’t changed either. Remission is a challenging thing to attain with Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD), let alone a spontaneous remission and one in which ALL symptoms disappear. I maintained good health even after stopping all of my meds. The healing God did through the prayers of the elders at my church and by His Spirit was full, complete, and true. But healing is for the glory of God, not the glory of man. So I trust now also that my experience in being healed was used for the glory of God and will continue to be and that my current circumstances will also be used to show me, and those around me, more about our almighty, sovereign, just, and loving Lord. James chapter 5, verses 13 through 16 tells us to call the elders of the church and pray for healing. But then verses 17 and 18 say this,
“17. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
Again, it says. Again Elijah prayed. And so I will continue to pray once more for healing in my own story. I am still uncertain the purpose for this recent relapse in health, but as I remembered today, there is no reason for sadness. I was blessed with nearly 5 months of full health and enjoyed it thoroughly. I was able to do things I hadn’t dreamed I would do this summer. But more importantly, I learned so much about the God I know, who never fails to keep His promises. He taught me how to dream with wild abandon and find hope in the one who IS hope. I may have stopped blogging, but I didn’t stop writing and there is a heap of learning I’ve done and would love to share with you all.
Simply remember today that hope is not found in circumstances and dreams; it is found in Christ.
Thank you for your ongoing support and friendship, love and prayers.
“…but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” –Romans 5:3-5
Saturday, June 11
I’ve struggled to sit and write this post throughout the last week simply because I cannot sit still long enough. I’m more inclined to dance, sing, and talk with everyone I know- to do just about, well, anything! Yes, this very sun-deprived Oregonian is jumping for joy at the sight of a big yellow blob in the sky, but that’s not the reason. To explain, let me tell you a story.
The story really began many years ago, and for any of you reading this that know me or who have even read through parts of my blog, you know that. I’ve been sick with one illness after another, struggling to attain health and even find an accurate diagnosis for some problems. At the same time, God was building a story not at all parallel to my life, but interwoven with it. He was teaching me, guiding me, and growing a faith in my heart that would come to be tested over and over. In November of 2010, I was diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme disease. There was finally hope; if we could define the problem, we could solve the problem (or at least I sure hoped and prayed!). I was aware that treating Lyme disease was anything but easy. And so I braced myself for a bumpy ride. Research, finding the “right doctor”, considering finances, work situations, enlisting the support of my family and friends in prayer as well as other ways. Medications, supplements, and doctor appointments all came in overwhelming quantities. Up to this point, I had defined myself by the things I did, but with growing physical and mental limitations I had to begin the work of seeing myself through God’s eyes- changing my definition of value and purpose- and defining myself by who I was created to be. In the last six months, I’ve learned more than I can even begin to write here. My life changed and my heart was wrecked for God, the true and living King, Savior and Redeemer.
Last Sunday, the fifth of June 2011, I began my day with enormous amounts of pain. This was only one in a long stretch of similar days. I battled medication side effects, headaches, nausea, wide spread pain, and extreme fatigue. On this particular day, I found myself unable to lift my sword and shield to fight again. Through tear filled sobs, I cried out to God- my prayers desperate, but with full assurance that somehow He would make a way because in my humanity, I could not. The day progressed, and I felt well enough that I decided I would make my way to evening church. After a time of worship and a message on the Holy Spirit, the prayer room was “opened” as it was every week, this time with an encouragement to let another pray with you if you were in need of healing. I hesitated, knowing that so many people were already praying for me. Yet, the Holy Spirit continued to whisper to me. “Go”. I knew I would regret leaving the building without asking even just once more for healing. And so I went. An amazing woman of God was standing by the prayer room chatting with someone, but was happy to stop for some time in prayer. As I explained the situation and we talked, we had a conversation that was transparent and honest in every way. I was humbled to admit that I, like most anyone else, am afraid of my own potential, of greatness that requires a responsibility to act. I had indeed wanted healing, but for selfish reasons. It was clear to me now why I not only wanted healing, but also needed it. And so, as it is commanded in scripture, elders from the church were called to pray over me. An act of obedience, an act of faith.
James 5: 14-16 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed…”
Two elders of our church joined my friend and I, and as we talked and then prayed, I could feel how we were removed- our humanness getting out of the way. There was peace. Both my friend and one of the elders were given the same vision during that time of prayer, a vision that spoke to the Lyme disease being literally removed from my body. It’s Lyme disease though; inconsistency practically defines its course. So unlike watching a blind man gain his vision, we had no physical confirmation as to whether I had been healed in that moment. Yet I left with a joy that was indescribable, and that was a gift and miracle enough. The next morning, I awoke like a child on Christmas day, anxious to find wonders left in the night. I rolled over only to feel the all too familiar aches and pains. Refusing to be disheartened, I prepared for my day and spent time thanking the Lord for the work that had been done. You must understand, the work HAS already been done. Healing on this side of eternity is only temporary. So whether I was physically healed today, tomorrow or in Heaven, I can thank God for that gift. It was purchased and given to me on a cross over two thousand years ago. But after months of praying the same prayer with a response that could only be interpreted as “not now”, the answer was “yes”.
Luke 17:19 “Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well’.”
Within an hour or so of waking to pain, my symptoms subsided. Tuesday came and went in much the same way. Wednesday I woke unusually early, and without pain, enjoyed a full day of activity, no exhaustion! Thursday, Friday, Saturday…I’ve continued to be well! My only pain comes from my inability to stop smiling! Perhaps God enabled the medications to work in supernaturally effective ways, or perhaps His Sovereign hand simply reached down and removed this disease from my body. The method really doesn’t matter, because the miracle has been done! One week without symptoms is a miracle, but I choose to believe it will last. Because, you see, this is a story not just of healing, but of truth. It’s a story of love and faithfulness, hope and joy. It’s just one small piece of the story God is still writing in my life and in the lives of millions of people. My friends, God is still in the business of doing miracles!
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Praise God, for He is good!!
Tuesday, April 12
It's amazing how time can slip away so quickly! It's now the seventh week on antibiotic treatments. A few bumps in the road, but the Lord continues to provide a way through it. A week of intense chest pain and difficulty breathing landed me in several doctor's offices while we ran an EKG and did exams to ensure that my heart and lungs were in good health. Fortunately, it turned out to be a problem of inflammation of the sternum causing my spine and ribs to be out of alignment. I've now gotten to add physical therapy to my schedule as we try to resolve this issue. While it's still difficult to take deep breaths, the chest pain is easing. At my last doctors appointment, we decided to forgo one of the antibiotics due to side effects that could have affected my hearing permanently; we'll likely be adding more back into the mix towards the end of April. Maybe not the right combination yet, but the "herxing" (common term for Lyme reactions to treatment) has to mean the medications are doing something!
Since starting antibiotics, my energy level has plumated. It's getting more difficult to do everyday tasks; a very good time to learn a lesson in priorities. When you have limited resources, you have to choose to do the things that are most important. And then somedays, you just have to choose what needs to be done-- grocery shopping anyone?!
As the pain levels and exhaustion continue to increase, I feel certain that my decision to take a break from my job and to move home with my parents is the right thing to do. I know it will prove to be a new kind of challenge, but sometimes life doesn't work out how you thought it would. And sometimes, it just works out better than we thought...so I will put trust in that hope and the knowledge that God is always faithful to work things out.