Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The other day I started feeling myself regressing....I woke up and knew it was going to be a tough day even before I got out of bed. My pain level was up and I struggled just to get in the shower, etc. I had already been through a couple of emotional days with my daughter Annie. Not because of her, but about her. She has had some problems with her digestive system for over 2 years now, but the last 6 months it has progressed to severe abdominal pains, etc. She is usually very happy and playful, so to see her lay on the couch or bent over the toilet, not eating and face turning pale....is very frustrating to say the least. Long story short...after many dr. visits...that didn't want to admit anything was wrong, we have finally seen some specialists who have run several different tests on her. Everything has come back normal so far...and the day before the one mentioned above, I was told that we need to pursue Lyme testing for her. The thought of what that might mean for a little 6 year old....literally sent me to God on my knees in my closet... weeping, grieving and praying that that would not be the case.

So...when I woke up the next day in pain, I felt too weak to fight the mental battle. I ended up going to treatment and crying and griping in my mind and out loud the whole way down. I was angry with God....why can't anything be easy?! Why don't you care about me? I try and try ...I have been asking for help forever here....where are you?!! The whole way down I95, my pity party grew . As I neared the main entrance of the hospital I could feel my hands tightening around the wheel, I had allowed myself to be consumed. The front of Halifax Hospital has a steep incline as you turn in, so as I turned to go up, my suburban completely shut down. All controls went dead and I did not have use of the breaks or steering wheel. All I could think of was that I was going to plow straight ahead into the new concrete wall that was the sign for the hospital and there was nothing I could do about it, except watch it all happen in slow motion form of course! :) (It's funny how my mind goes to the ridiculous at this point...pride probably!;)...anyway...all I could think of was "How in the heck am I going to explain this one to everyone!"
I think it was the years of having to "pop the clutch of my voltswagon bug and zipping it into neutral" skills that God used to kick some reaction into gear for me.....(Wow...he doesn't waste a thing! Wondered why I had to drive that car for so long?! :)....in a matter of seconds, I had slipped the gear in neutral and cranked the engine again...I was on an incline, so I didn't know if it would work, but it did...just enough to get me to turn the car before hitting the wall and get up to the top of the incline....before it conked out again..I looked at the gauges and in a moment was completely humbled...lower than I believe I have ever been before......because in the midst of my "ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!" thoughts....I stared at an "empty" button on my gas tank. In that exact moment, the memory of MUCH needed gas from the night before crossed my mind...I knew there had not been enough gas for me to even make it halfway there and yet "somehow" :) here I was.....in the parking lot of the hospital 40 minutes away from my house! (Not on the side of the highway, not hurt somewhere, etc., but in a safe place.) I had been so caught up in ME and my pity party that morning, that I had failed to even glance at the gauges. And God in His grace and tender mercy had allowed me to safely arrive....even in the midst of all of that he had been taking care of me, His hands were all about me....just not from my perspective. Tears ran down my face like a rushing flood...and I was reminded of His indescribable love for me. It was as if He was speaking to me..."Tam, I know you are in the dark here....but I love you...keep trusting me, don't give up...I AM holding onto you."
Tears flowed down my face, I had been so foolish to doubt...and yet He cared enough about me to let me, so that He could remind me of who He was and is.
....and if that wasn't enough...I knew if I parked I probably wouldn't get it to start again because of the empty tank(been here before!)...so I drove through the lot and onto the street towards a gas station about 150 yards away. As I was asking God to forgive my pride once again, I asked Him to please somehow get me to the gas station. The car died...but coasted through the green light and into the gas station to the only pump left open...just for me!:) I covered my face with my hands and wept and asked Jesus to give me the strength that I need to keep perservering through this journey and to trust Him, ....even when He is silent. Through the tears I thanked Him for the opportunity to see Him and experience Him like I never had before.

God IS near...and He DOES care about me and I am so thankful that He doesn't give up on me, even though I am tempted to give up on Him. A couple of days later, Trent showed me this verse...and it so reflects my journey...I pray I am never as I was before this journey began..
"The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles." Ps. 119:71

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wow, it's been awhile...alot has happened in the last month or so.
We launched epic church in the beginning of September. It has been an amazing and humbling journey...and I am so excited to see what each new day brings, as our story continues!

As far as my health goes...I have had a couple of scares with bloodclots in my line. The first one was taken care of pretty easy and quickly. The second one caused a bit more stress, but it is amazing what drano can do these days!! ;) haha...so haven't had a problem since then.

Treatment has been going fine....not too fast...and really slow...but it is progessing. I have had some rough days still, but all in all, they seemed to be getting better. About three weeks ago I was rear ended, so that has set me back some...not sure how much at this point. Still waiting on an MRI of my back and neck. I have had some pretty rough days since then....the last two were really rough and today I can barely move. Trent had to help me out of bed, to the bathroom, etc. Fun stuff! :) Makes me feel like a young 90 year old again..so trying to fight off that discouragment...otherwise I was hit by a flying golf ball at the park the other day when I got to get out with my kids for the 1st time in awhile. Yes, that was very exciting....Trent and I looked at each other, while I tried to hold in the "burn" of the contact point....with an expression of ????!!!!!! How do you answer those moments.....no rhyme or reason...we have decided that since I never really had an authentic "bulls -eye"targeted rash that some Lyme patients get..(.mine was just a raised red rash)...then I have instead become the actual "bulls-eye" target. lol

So... every day is an exciting adventure! :) Right now we are waiting on a couple of MRI's from the accident and then I am supposed to have another in Dec. to compare the inflamation in the hips (for insurance purposes) etc. The Dr. was wanting to take me off of the meds on DEc. 9th whether or not I am better...(insurance purposes). I am a little concerned about that ...don't want to start all over with meds...or go backwards in my recovery. ...due to insurance purposes ;) So, I would appreciate your prayers on that one...just that God will continue to pave the way...make it clear what our next move needs to be and that all of the details will fall into place accordingly. Still lots of unknowns in the air. Overall I think I might be 50% better...still have a long way to go. My cognitive abilities seem to be much better and some of the physical symptoms have subsided. I still have lots of pain in my hips and legs...and sometimes my back since the accident. Tremors and twitches and facial numbness fit in well during this Halloween season..so I look kind of normal when they come on..:) Appreicate all of your encouragement and prayers..especially for my sister Kelly and brother-in-law Randy, in North Carolina. He got a bone biopsy today, should know something soon.

Choosing to remind myself of Truth today......"Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light."
Appreciating life today...hope you are too!

Reading Prov. 3:5-6 today...

Thursday, August 27, 2009


This is the first week of school for my youngest son. It has been a pretty good week so far. Drop off and goodbye's have been positive and smooth. Then today happened....:) We walked in on time and in good spirits....and then "wham" all of a sudden everything changed. My very confident and layed back son became nervous and apprehensive as I felt him reach out and grab (maybe desperately clutch is a better description :) hold of my legs. I leaned down and with my face next to his asked what was wrong. He responded with a very calm and serious explanation..."I like school mom, but I've decided I'm going to stay home with you now."
It didn't take me long to realize what he had been "confronted" with. It was at his eye level, about 2 inches from his face and his eyes were locked onto "the target". Due to all of the commotion of drop off time at a preschool classroom, I didn't notice right off the bat, but Koty couldn't miss it. The "it" was a cute little girl, whose eyes were full of tears, lips were quivering with emotion and snot was strung across her face. (Don't you just love preschool kids...ha..they just live out loud...they don't give a rip what they look like...they are only consumed with how they feel in moments like these!:) When I looked at her and gave her a comforting smile, she opened her mouth to let out a big wail. Koty's grip tightened around my neck and I heard him whisper, "I'm ready when you are mom."
As one of the teachers came around the little girl with a face full of kindess and reassurance, I turned Koty to look at me and reminded him that everything was going to be ok and he was going to have a great day. He closed his eyes and threw his arms around me. I squeezed him tight and said,
"I love you Koty, and I promise I will be back in just a little while to get you." He opened his eyes and looked up at me. Doubt clouded his expression as he turned to look again at the little girl. I reached out and pulled him close and gave him another reassuring hug. When I stood up and looked around the room, it was easy for me to have a birds eye view of the room. I could see what was on the other side of the "distraction". So I firmly pressed Koty's hand into mine, winked at him and said,"I love you Buddy...trust me." Then I pulled him over to another area away from "the distraction". Immediatedly he saw a couple of other little boys sitting down and playing and having fun. A smile slowly crept across his face. He looked up and said, "Ok mom, but I'll miss you alot today," glancing back over his shoulder. As I agreed that I would miss him "loads" too, we said our goodbyes.
As I walked out, I was reminded of my own doubting moments. When all I can see (and feel) is what is right in front of me. I don't have the strength or understanding to look around the chaos of the moment to see what is on the other side. I'm simply "frozen" by my surroundings. How many times does God ask me to trust Him and I look at Him, wanting to believe, but have a hard time of shrugging off the doubt. The vital thing is that I not let go of Him, even when I am tempted to doubt. To follow His lead and stay close to Him...and in the process He will show me the other side and I am once again humbled, because I know that He can see things and places I cannot. He WILL lead me and guide me...I simply have to choose to trust.
I don't know what I would do without my kids....God uses them to teach me lessons about myself everyday. I'm still a work in progress.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I got to meet a new friend this morning in treatment. Though we were from completely different generations and backgrounds, his story reminded me of so many of my own thoughts and struggles on this journey. Wondering why me, why this, why now? His story is one of great tragedy and yet I wonder ..and know...that God is simply calling Him to Himself. God loves us...(more than I have ever known before until now)...and will go to ANY lengths for us to know His love, even if it means struggle for us. Sometimes that is the only place we will give Him thought or attention. He desires us to wrestle with Him, if that's what it takes, so that we will know, without a shadow of a doubt, of His love for us and in turn, give us a love for Him that is so passionate...that we will not be able desire or pursue anything else, but His presence.

If you have not known a desire like that for Him in awhile....I challenge you to ask Him for it...it is what He longs to give each one of us. He is the only thing that can fill the holes that we so desperately try to fill with anything that we can get our hands or minds on. We try everything but Christ himself until we have no more options. Only then do we look to Him. How God's heart aches for us...for us to be restored to a relationship with Himself. He gave all that He had..his only Son, to die the worst death, for us...people who want nothing to do with Him...and He did it before we even existed.
It amazes me that sometimes only the loss of precious things: our lives, our abilties, our desires and dreams etc. will get us to pursue God...and even then...it is only to get what we want...to manipulate and control Him, like a genie in a bottle. If I do this....go to church, stop bad language, be nice to people, etc....then God will....._______.
We have such a screwed up view of love... We have expectations, and expect God to show up just how we want Him to show up...and when He doesn't...well, we reject Him, question Him, or just walk away from Him. Wow...the things we miss out on! and simply because WE get in the way. Why does God tell us to "die to ourselves"? Because He knows that He is the only one who can fill our "hole" and until we do that...we can never see Him...our ego, profile, etc. is just way too big! :)
Why does suffering and difficult cirmcumstances happen to good, bad or indifferent people? Maybe it's a consequence to a poor choice, maybe it's because God is more concerned with developing your character rather than being concerned with your comfort or maybe it is simply because He is trying to give you what you are truly longing for without realizing it....Himself.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This morning I was reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness. It has been a crazy week filled with lots of activity...mentally, emotionally and physically....lots of moments to wonder, "God what are you up to..What's going on? So many people I dearly care about in dire circumstances..." and then I read this...

Ps. 66: 9-10&12b "Our lives are in His hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling. You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver melted in a cruicible.....We went through fire and flood. But you brought us to a place of great abundance."

I know the "melting" and "purifying" process is not fun..and it can be very stressful and unrelenting, exhausting and overwhelming and defeating. But I know, and continue to find, that through that process we find beauty and purpose.

Through whatever we may be going through...we must remember
" God doesn't build skyscrapers; men build skyscrapers. And they all have a touch of genius, human genius. But you cannot find a man who can make a star. And when God steps in, His working is like the difference between a skyscraper and a star." (Chuck Swindol)

I have to continue to remind myself to wait on the designer...because in the midst of my chaos there sometimes seems no purpose, no understanding, and every reason to give up hope,....but I have to remember the truth....God's timing is perfect..and when I wait for it and put my trust in Him...He will take my breath away with what only He can do!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I have been having problems sleeping for the last 2 weeks. I wake up with severe night sweats and burning sensations. Lots of feeling of swelling in hands and feet. Sometimes I even wake from "inner" trembling. It feels like my whole body is shaking uncontrollably on the inside, but on the outside it is unnoticeable. Severe stomach pains can happen too, usually in the middle of the night and it is hard to get back to sleep. So I have spent alot of a.m time reading and listening to podcasts or praying. I was a kinda sad when i showed up at the doc's and realized I have gained 20 lbs.! ugh! (I think my body has had an easier time with digestion, so I have been eating some things i haven't been able to before.:) ...I'm choosing to look at this as a good thing! haha

Anyway..I went to the Dr. and he asked me if I was noticing any difference. I felt like I have had less pain overall and have been more flexible and have a wider range of motion. (Honestly, I was kind of nervous as I was talking...hoping I wasn't just "thinking postively", or even desperately..but rather hoping that my body was actually responding to the treatment.)

He let me know that was good news and wanted to ask before he gave me the bloodwork results, just to make sure I was seeing the results as well. The bloodwork showed that the inflamation and infection has gone down somewhat...not too much and not too quickly, but something seems to be happening. (Yeah!!!) I literally choked back the tears and tried not to just start bawling! ..It was a good thing! :) i guess in that moment, I felt like God allowed me to be assured of His presence in a small but mighty way (that His hand is in fact entwined with mine), by simply showing me a glimpse of light and hope. His direction is revealed that way many times in my life. Though I feel like I walk in the dark for so long, wondering where exactly He is, or feeling myself groping around just trying to find my way in the right direction or a direction at all..the truth of the matter is, ..no matter how I FEEL...He IS always there. He waits for me to set patterns in my life, determining in my heart to stay close to Him and to trust Him ...no matter what..no matter if plans go my way...or not. Usually then and only then, He steps in to show me a "light" by revealing Himself, His ways, or His direction. That's what I recieved the other day..one of those moments of truth, which gives me the strength to carry on, even when all the details are not yet figured out.
I love this statement from Chuck Swindol, " God has entrusted to us a great deal. He knows that we can do all things by His grace, so He's trusting in us to trust in Him." I pray I will continue to prove myself faithful in that as I continue on my journey.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I have been praying lately that God would continue to stretch my vision and my heart for people and needs all around me and to somehow transfer that passion along to my children.  Today I was in the grocery store with my daughter Annie, 6 and my son Koty 4.  I was just thanking God for the gift of being able to push the cart and walk around the store ( It's amazing how that "drudgery" can become such a joy when it has been taken away from you!:) when I rounded the corner to find such a moment.  My heart was crushed when I glanced down an aisle to find an elderly woman in a wheelchair trying to look for an item.  She had an old wheelchair which she was scooting along in, with the use of one leg. ( The other leg had been amputated above the knee.)  She was holding a shopping basket with her hands as she scanned the aisle for her purchases.  There were many people passing her on the aisle and standing beside her.  Yet, no one was offering assistance in any way and were actually huffing with annoyance that she would have' the audacity' to get in their way as they continued to steam roll through the aisle.  I glanced at my kids, realizing that this was one of those teachable moments...at the same time turning my cart around to go down the aisle to see if we could assist her.   I hobbled up to her with my cane, at the same time trying to put out of my mind how comical this scene must look like (here I've got my own limitations..haha).  When I reached her I simply asked, "Is there something I could help you find?"  She was taken aback and so I repeated the question.  After locating the cocktail sauce that was at the very top of the shelf and having a quick interchange, I asked if there was anything else she needed help with.  "No," she answered still a little dumbfounded.  I was so surprised and thankful when my kids responded kindly and loving to her as we turned to go.  Annie gave her a winning and very authentic smile and simply told her 'Thank you for letting us help you, I hope you have a good day."  Koty smiled too, and chimed in, "You are special."  Where they got it, I'm not quite sure, but I turned quickly trying to hold back the tears.  I was thankful that God had allowed a moment for my kids to see and experience the meaning of 'love your neighbor'.  A little while later,  we spotted her again in the frozen section trying to manhandle the door and balance on one leg to reach for the chicken nuggets.  Annie responded quickly and ran to hold the door open for her.  Koty followed suite by asking, How can we help?"  by the time I caught up with them, I reached in to grab the nuggets and we were able to talk  a bit.  She was a single grandmother whose daughter had just come down with a sickness and now she would be raising her grandchildren.  She just wanted to be able to pick up a few treats for there arrival. My heart was so heavy...why do we live not seeing the needs around us.  Now that I've been sick, I am overwhelmed with the need... everyday that surrounds us..yet most of the time we are simply too busy to do anything about it.
 We went our way and then , just as we were checking out, she scooted up behind us.  She wanted to thank us for noticing her need and helping her.  The kids faces were shining! They were more excited than ever to know that they had been a blessing.  That started more dialogue on the way home between the three of us.  They were so energized to be of help to someone they couldn't wait to find the next need!  
How exciting is that?!  It is what I long for in my children.  To have a selfless heart...one that they act on , not just talk about.  That their lives will be lived in a way that honors and values others.  Especially those in need.
 What are we doing on a daily basis to help those around us?  Most of the time we are so consumed with our schedules and plans, that we are just like the rest of the people on that aisle... frustrated with interruptions or delays, rather than recognizing opportunities to live out generosity, kindness and love.
If for no other reason...this sickness of mine has been an instrument used from God to open my eyes.  To see the vital, rather than the urgent.  Those are the things I want to be intentional about.. every day.

"And you must the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.....equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  no other commandment is greater than these."  Mark 12:30-31

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's been a long hard couple of weeks. It seems like everyday brings a new battle to fight, whether its physical, mental or emotional. In the midst of it all, God's grace and God's grace alone, continues to carry me and give me the strength, patience, endurance and grace I need, and exactly when I need it.
Overall, I am beginning to feel a little stronger. I was able to walk without my cane several days in a row again, though still limping and fighting off pain in my hips and legs. Also, to my great surprise, I was able to hold my grandniece, Bella, on my lap the other day with no pain (first time since she was born), go to the hair salon and sit in the backward seat where you get your hair washed, and then hold my own son Koty on my lap without pain...(first time in over 2years!) Pretty substantial for me...I really had to hold back the tears...and not from pain! Yeah!!:) And literally cherish the closeness and sweetness of precious moments like this that God gives us, but that so many times we take for granted.

I have had some pretty rough days with swollen feet and hands and migrains too. But for the most part they seem to be subsiding along with the burning sensations in my neck and arms. Probably the most frustrating symptom I have had to deal with the last 2 weeks has been the inability to communicate. Sometimes I am simply too exhausted to even follow a thought. I have trouble remembering words and find myself withdrawing from conversations because it has been just too difficult and frustrating to participate. Sometimes that is fine with me because I am so tired and because I actually do like my quiet time, but I have been trying to take advantage of the last couple of times I will be able to be with some of my fellow patients. This week marks recovery for some of them, which I am so thankful for! (They have had it pretty rough.) Tuesday, one of my favorite people will be getting his pickline out. Although I am so glad for his recovery, I will miss his sense of humor and his sweet and tender spirit. He has truly been a Godsend for me...and God has used him to prove that laughter really is good medicine..especially in the most difficult of circumstances.:)

Also, I have been so thankful for my kids. They continually remind me that life is not a destination, but a journey. Healed or not, I don't want to waste what I have been given. And I also don't want to just be focused on that one aspect of life...to be healed. It will happen, whether it is here or heaven. So until that happens, I want to be focused on taking advantage of every moment that God has given me to be a tool that God uses to transform lives that He places in my life. There is so much more to life than simply going through the motions! I am so thankful that He continues to reveal that to me on a daily basis.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I just came out of 3 long days of chest pain, muscle pain, swollen feet and hands and exhaustion mainly with a few other symptoms tossed in there. But today was a good day overall. I had more energy for the most part and I had a huge breakthrough!......For the first time in over 2 years I was able to shave my legs all by myself!! :) To some, that might not be a big deal, but for me...it was absolutely unbelievable! Most of the time I have a hard time twisting, bending or reaching. And when I try it, I am in pain for days. Today I did it all. I still had pain, but it was my normal stuff...nothing added to it because of the movements. Afterward, I literally cried and thanked God for the moment.
I know the tough times are not over...but I am so thankful for the sweet refreshing, personal touches that God seems to send to remind me that He is there and somehow we will make it through this thing together!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm in my 4th week of treatment...hard to believe I have been driving to Daytona everyday for that long! ha...It has been an interesting journey...(the treatment...the drive itself is pretty boring:)..I haven't been able to write any thoughts lately due to exhaustion, pain, and literally no brain. I actually have no excuse anymore...I AM on drugs! ha

People keep asking me if I feel any change...not really. Some days I'm like.."Wow...maybe"..and then .."no." I know it will be a slow process and I think (although there are moments!) I'm ok with that. Of course if I had my choice I want to be better now..I want to be able get up and walk without my whole body trembling from stiffness. I want to be able to turn or move in my bed when I sleep. I want to be able to dance or even sway to music without crying (not from emotion either! :) I want to be able to sit on my couch and hold my kids and read them a story or pick them up to give them a hug. But,.. I know that God has more important things for me to be focusing on right now. Does that mean that they are not important, or that my role as a mom is not important or that the simple, personal things do not mean anything to God?....I can honestly say ..absolutely not! Those little things mean so much to God...more than I could ever comprehend...He is actually all about detail and "the little things"...but I know that in His unwavering love for me...He knows none of that will ever be able to be anything for anyone if I have not become who He needs me to be first.

God has wanted me to only be able to have access to Him these last (over) 2 years. Absolutely nothing else...not my legs, or most of my body, my time, my days or my future, my doctors and reactions to medications, or even my brain most days..because when I have access to it...I totally depend on myself. (not Him). I work everything out according to MY plan and my ideas..etc. I have always been able to justify that away..."I'm a good worker, I organize my time well, I, I , I, I...my life has been about me...and bottom line...that's a wasted life. I have done good things, but it was usually to serve MY purposes, whether to pat myself on the back and stroke my own pride or out of guilt, or whatever...but rarely simply because I love God and love people. A long time ago I prayed that I would have a pure heart, and God is finally answering that prayer...just not in the way I had originally designed. So..I am waiting for the physical healing (haven't given up on it!), but in the meantime... I'm focusing on my heart and on God...and letting Him teach me the rest.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me." Ps. 51:10

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I am 2 days from calling it an official "2 weeks" of treatment. This week I have been experiencing more symptoms and cycles of the disease. Insomnia, Night Sweats, tender soles of feet, joint pain, stomach pain, swollen and painful lymph nodes in the chest, arm pits and rib area, chest pain and rapid heart beat, exhaustion, lightheadedness, acheness all over, swollen eyes and flu like symptoms...also a little bit of Katherine Hepburn going on here and there. :) All in all it was a good week. We had some friends come through for a couple of days and God gave me exactly the strength that I needed for that..and then some! I even had 3 days of no cane and very little pain in the hips believe it or not. I am learning to simply cherish those moments and make the most of them, instead of waiting for the next "'wall" to hit.

This week has given me many moments to reflect on the stories and life events of those so very dear to my heart. It is amazing how bogged down with our own little world we can become and how small our problems seem when we open ourselves to the pain and need around us. My heart has been so broken for some of my friends and relatives and for all that they are up against, physically, emotionally and mentally. Since there is little I can actually do in my state right now...which at times is the most frustrating of all for me because I am a doer...God continues to draw me to himself and I find myself on my knees pouring out my heart to Him for these people and their circumstances. In the midst of those precious moments, God seems to give me a calm assurance that he indeed is working His plan and that in the midst of chaos and seemingly lost hopes, He most definitely has everything under control. It is in these moments also, that God continues to remind me of His great love for me and for them...that though I want to be healthy and able to run around and "do" whatever needs to be done...I am actually in the best place doing the best thing i can do ...which is relying on the Creator, the Lifegiver, the Hope filler, the Provider, the Deliverer..etc. etc. ...and not myself....Its amazing to me how many times I want to be in control of the events, the plans, the outcomes, etc. and usually before I know it, I am grabbing back the wheel trying to steer things in the "right"direction. I am sooo thankful that God is sooo patient and doesn't write me off for the 5ooth time of wrestling for control again.
Romans 8;28-29a...I think I'm finally just beginning to grasp the meaning of these verses..
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son..." I know God is using this place where I am at...I am so thankful that He cares for me so much and wants me to become more like him, that He allows me to be in places that are uncomfortable and downright painful, for me to open my eyes to things I never would have made myself look at..whether it was in me or in situations around me.
I've been too busy to notice Him and too busy trying to do things by myself...He knew I needed to be in a position to rely on Him and to observe Him and what He is able to do. (For me and for people close to me.) It has been lifechanging...and I never want to be the same again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

1st week of treatment

I have had 4 treatments now. It has been a very humbling week. I have not had any allergic reactions to the medication and I cannot explain how grateful I am to God for that!! I have had lots of herxing (which means the symptoms of the disease itself flare up). That was expected and is expected throughout the course of the treatment. The idea is that the flare ups become less severe and less frequent. Some of the symptoms this week have been exhaustion,migrains, nausea and stomach pain, sensitivity to light, and heat. Burning sensations in the arms and hands and neck. Facial numbness, severe pain in the hips, legs and lower back. Rapid heart beat, swollen and painful lymph nodes in the chest and under the armpit and burning and tenderness in the soles of the feet. All in all it has been a pretty good week and I am so thankful for God's goodness to me.

Everyday, God has given me greater peace as I surrender all of my fears and concerns to Him. I know that in the midst of the chaos, He is with me and He is allowing the details to play out exactly in accordance with His plan. As Joni Eareckson Tada writes,..."When life seems crazy, and utterly out of control, it is not. When it seems as though God has forgotten you or turned His back on you to tinker with some other universe, He has not. When it seems like you have somehow fallen out of His favor, been edged outside the circle of His protection, or missed the bus on His love, you have not....And that's what it means to walk by faith."

Thanks for your continual prayers...they enable me to do such things!:)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 9

The last couple of days seemed to be a little emtional for me. I guess just wrestling the fear and uncertainty again. Going into this treatment with a 50/50 diagnosis and treatment plan can be a little stressful at times. After talking to God again about all of the unknowns, my feelings, etc. I came across this verse:

"From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Ps. 61:2-3

Man, I am so thankful for details. I am detailed most of the time anyway, especially in my work, but in my most desperate moments, when I feel hope slipping away from me...the details that God includes in His promises are literally life for me. They are a firm hold that keep me from losing ground and slipping.

"The ends of the earth" speaks of regions we would never willingly go. (Whether that region might be suffering, depression, blasted hopes, you name it). However, at some point in the course of our lives, we all find ourselves "at the ends of the earth" And even "as" my heart grows faint- (not "if", but"as") - somehow reassures me that I 'm not a freak or a loser for finding myself in this spot (again). It's part of being in that region...when I'm overwhelmed, my senses may be numb, I am spiritually and physically exhausted, I feel battered, bruised, alone. God seems so far away, like he doesn't hear or respond to anything I am asking, sometimes begging for, and I feel like giving up, like throwing in the towel. But, in those times that my heart is so low and I feel so weak and depleted that I can't even drag myself to that High Rock, we can ask the Rock to come to us. Then He will take us by our weary hands and lead us to Himself. Isn't that great? Even when I am too weak and overwhelmed to come to Him, He will come to me! So that's the promise that I took hold of today and was refreshed by, no matter what is to come this week...God is my Rock, my refuge and my strength.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Results are in

Came back from the Dr.'s office. It was a good visit. He had all of the results back from all of the tests. Spinal Tap showed no MS...that is not even on the table anymore.
Spinal Tap showed no sign of Lyme either. (was expected)
Bloodwork..all negative except one....it was a maybe....(not surprised)
MRI came back with questions...I ended up having an ultrasound to clarify. Ultrasound was clear, but the MRI looked very "diseased" in the hip area....so.....

It is either Ankylosing spondylitis or Lyme Disease. I have had 3 blood tests for AS, all which were neg. Still...
There is no cure or treatment for AS. It is a disease where the spine and bones of the hip begin to fuse together. Eventually your whole body becomes fused and you can have difficulty moving, breathing, etc. (Don't know all of the details yet.) It does explain some of my symptoms, but not all.
Lyme can be treated and may or may not go away. Everything is kind of "ify" in the treatment, even the length of treatment. It could explain the AS condition if I actually do have Lyme Disease. I won't know unless I go through treatment and begin to get better. (Lyme is still the only one that actually explains all of my symptoms.)
So, I only have one option....do the Lyme treatment. I get a pickline and start the IV treatment on Monday....and we shall see. I know it will get worse before it gets better.

Came across this verse today...

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD." Ps. 112:7 (NIV)

I appreciate your prayers...to be courageous (and for my "nonsticky" brain to remember that verse! :)

June 3

Hope you can give me grace today...thinking out loud....

I'm getting ready for another Dr. appointment. This one is supposed to give me all of the results from the spinal tap and last round of bloodwork that went out to CA. (Lyme speciality center) I'm a little apprehensive. The last time I walked out of this guy's office I was left with a decision to make. No matter what the results come back(and expect them to come back neg.he said)...my decision needs to have been made whether or not I will do the treatment for Lyme. It's not like it's an easy treatment...and the treatment can be as foggy as the disease itself. Since that day I have spent alot of time talking to God. Telling him my fears, my thoughts and my desires. Asking for more clarity and confirmation for the disease. I have had only one pos. test for Lyme disease..then 2 neg. I have been told so many contradicting things...who do you believe, what do you believe...only God knows the real answers...only He knows what path to take...what treatment, if any, is the one to follow. A couple of weeks ago I came across info. and people that seemed to confirm the diagnosis, but there was no absolute bloodwork involved....all the "uncertainty" leaves me so exhausted sometimes and in the middle of that exhaustion, the phantom disease begins to play its old tricks on my mind and body.
"Why does every inch of this journey have to be so dang hard?! God, why can't you at least tell me, for certain, what I'm dealing with here?!" Thoughts like these seem to rage within me ...moments like now, when I'm not sure if I want to see another Dr. and hear the unhelpful results he found...once again. Moments, when I am scared to face the unknown, I feel alone and helpless, weary and "done". These are the moments I am tempted to be afraid to hope again, hope for an answer, hope that my God truly hears my cries and cares for me. But I have learned, and am learning that it is at those moments that I have a choice...to believe what God says or not, despite what everything looks or feels like.

So this is the promise that I am trusting once again...
"Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength:
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary." Is. 40:30-31

Waiting on God is an active, confident trusting- an instant obedience. When the Bible talks about waiting on God in my suffering, it means confidently trusting that God knows how much I need and can take. It means looking expectantly toward the time when He will free me from my burdens....those who wait for Him in their distress will recieve strength and endurance which others know nothing about. We mustn't wait in a dull sort of way with an indifferent attitude. We must rejoice in our hope - in spite of our suffering, in the face of whatever difficult life circumstance we may be enduring. (Joni Earicksen Tada)

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself,"The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. " Lam. 3:21-26

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26

It has been a long weekend. I spent Saturday with my mom in Jacksonville. We were able to meet with several people who have tested positive for Lyme disease. We were also able to connect with Dr. Clark, who has been studying Lyme for 15+ years. God directly answered my prayers for further confirmation through the info. we received from him about Lyme. I am still waiting for all of the tests to come back to Dr. Warner, my local Dr., before we have all of the details together, but it looks like I will probably be starting some sort of treatment soon. Not sure what it will entail...I know it can potentially be pretty intense. I had to sort through my feelings from Sat. (Mixed emotions). Glad to get some direction, but overwhelmed with how much more of the journey I still have left to go. Also realizing the worst is yet to come. From what I understand the treatment can be worse than the disease itself. However, if I don't get treated the disease will only get worse. I know people keep telling me, "Just buckle up and do it!" Although I know the concept is true..processing that and getting "in the zone" is still its own mental battle...especially when I am the one who has to live through it :). So, I appreciate your prayers...for physical healing, treatment as short as possible :), mental toughness and endurance and determination, and to constantly be thankful for all God has given me and blessed my life with. Also, please pray for my sweet family. I love each of them so dearly and I know that they are battling their own journey as well. It seems like this is the worst time possible for something like this....haha (as if there is ever a right and perfect time:), but I know God is not after convenience, but molding and making character. I'm so grateful to know that He always has my best interest in mind...even when it doesn't seem to make sense on my end of it.

"....you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you...." Is. 43:4b-5a

Leaving you with His thoughts today...No matter what you may be facing today, I pray that you will be encouraged!

Friday, May 22, 2009

May 22,

Two friends of mine sent me the same email on the same day...pretty interesting...it was after weeks of asking God to calm my fears about the treatment I may be going through here shortly for Lyme Disease and for confirmation that I am on the right road for answers. Both were answered through that email and what happened shortly after.
I read through the article thanking God for sweet thoughtful friends, for the mindblowing info, and for his continual faithfulness to meet me exactly where I am. This is an example of how He touches me so deeply and so personally sometimes...as I continued to read, I happened to glance at a picture of the Dr. who had put the info together and at the same time the thought crossed my mind..."Man, God it would be great if I could actually talk to a guy like this!" and instantly we saw his contact info. Of course my next thought was..."yeah, maybe we'll hear from him in 2 years if we're lucky!" Decided to contact him anyway....within 45 min. he returned the email and we began to correspond. (yep, my jaw dropped too!haha) Long story short...I am meeting with him and some others tomorrow afternoon.
Don't know what will come of it...but I do know, it's at these moments I really don't care. I am more enamored with my Savior and his love for me. That He cares enough about this whiner to calm me once again and reassure me that He has everything under control and that He CAN be trusted ...even when the uncertain storm rages around me.
So I continue to pray (beg mostly!:)...God, help me to remember your promises..especially when my memory has no "stickiness" to it anymore! and of course He leads me to this....

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in you do, and he will show you which path to take." Proverbs: 3:5-6

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20th update

I received a call from my Dr. yesterday about some of my results. Spinal tap...no info on Lyme yet, but MS was negative..:) Still waiting on bloodwork from CA, a Lyme Speciality Center. The MRI that was done on my hips and pelvic area showed some fluid that they want to investigate further...it is not supposed to be there. I am scheduled to have a sonogram this week to let us know on that.
The last couple of weeks have been very difficult for me. I have tried to sit down and write an update a couple of times, but have been so frustrated and discouraged. There are cycles that I go through where it is very difficult to find the right words to communicate and share my thoughts. It's as if there has been a disconnection in the processing area of my brain. It is hard to explain, but discouragement and despair seem to be my shadow during those times. I can understand what is being said to me, but I cannot communicate back effectively...like a stroke victim. Those moments are the hardest to keep up the desire to fight this thing. I used to run when I felt that frustrated, but now, because of the"phantom" (disease) I can barely walk and tensing my muscles from the frustration can leave me in severe pain for weeks if I'm not careful. Sometimes I think, or even yell in my head :), "God, how in the heck do you expect me to deal with this junk if I can't even relieve the stress without being in agony?!"
So, yesterday, in the middle of such a conversation, God, in His grace and mercy gave me a new perspective...
Pray that you will be a runner...one who runs to the Lord and does not run away from Him. One who does not run to the things of destruction, or from facing challenges, hard decisions, past or present hurts or fears. So, I am praying that God will be my strong tower and that I will find all the safety that I need in Him.

Proverbs 18:10 "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous RUN to it and are safe."

I thought my running days were over, but I was wrong. God just wanted to showed me a new destination! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

5-3-09 Update

For those of you that are wondering..."what's up with this chick?" :)....

For 2 years now I have been battling all types of weird and unexplainable symptoms. It has been a long road, mentally and physically, but God continues to show light for each step of the way. I have been tested for just about everything under the sun and though most diseases have been ruled out "at this time" :)...Lymes Disease is still the only one that might explain ALL of my mysterious symptoms. I was treated in October for Lymes with a 6 week round of antibiotics, but after further study and diagnosis...we are being told that I will need a more intense and lengthy treatment. So...at this point, I am waiting for spinal tap results, getting ready for another round of MRI's on my hips, and more bloodwork from a Lymes Specialty Center in CA. I have been told that there is a very good chance that all of these tests could continue to be "ify". So I will need to decide on whether I want to go through with the intense treament for Lymes without a 100% positive diagnosis.

I have appreciated your thoughts and prayers so much. I'm not sure what the future holds for me...but I am so thankful and humbled by WHO holds it.

"For I know the plans that I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11