Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Joy in Sucking it Up

I've been in a lot of counseling meetings lately, and I feel like the constant theme is the word "Discipline". That word doesn't sound very happy, escpecially when you tell it to teenagers and young adults. That word (used to) say to me... forget what you want, stop being selfish, it's not the right time, you'll have to wait, etc. etc and more seemingly depressing statements.... not fun at all.

But, then I started thinking about the discipline I have had to cultivate in my own life. It has looked like: Finishing school... when I still had years left, Waiting on God's timing (oh my, that has happened in absolutely every area of my life!), Fasting, Dieting,  Exercising... even when I don't want to, and countless other unmentionable situations.

And then I started to think-- What if I had gotten what I wanted right when I asked for it? Would it have meant as much to me? What if I got my diploma in my 1st semester? I don't think I would have appreciated it, or learned nearly enough. What if God sent revival the first time I prayed? I can't imagine the shallowness of my walk with Him had it been that way. What if I was healed of sickness when I first asked? The knowledge I have now and the Joy of the anticipated answer would never have meant that much to me. What if I was skinny no matter what i ate? Well, that would be just awesome.... but really, I have learned how to take care of my body and see the fun in healthy food.

God has been giving me such revelation in the joy of waiting on the thing He has promised-- that discipline you must learn while you press on. It's like when Jacob wanted Rachel as his wife so badly, but he had to go through the season with Leah. As John Kilpatrick said in his sermon a few months ago at church, Rachel was his dream, but Leah was the season that he loved. He loved that season so much he chose to be buried by Leah when he died, not Rachel.

There is just something about that season of waiting. It creates a love inside of you for the deepness and closeness of God while you are learning the discipline to wait. I am so grateful for the things He has made me wait on. (I'm definitelty not as grateful as I should be while I'm waiting) but when the promise comes to pass, it's like the coldest cup of water after months in the desert. Such joy comes to those who seek the discipline to wait for God's best. Consider it a way God is showing you how precious that thing is that he is bringing to you in His timing. The longer you hold out, the longer you press on, pushing aside plan B and disciplining yourself for the promise, the more joyful and precious that promise will be-- Like a hidden treasure with unsurpassing value.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Health Journey

One of the things I am most passionate about is Health-- Spiritually, physically and emotionally. I believe those three parts are all more interconnected than most of us think (more blogging to come on that topic at a later date). I am probably so passionate about this subject because I have been dealing with it in my own life for years and years. I have spent countless time educating myself on it and going on a journey to figure out what has been wrong with me. After years of doctors shrugging their shoulders, I am finally getting some answers. Note: Because of all the "I don't knows" from the mainstream medical community, I tend to lean alternatively, but I still see the importance of regular medical doctors.

I wanted to tell you all what I have been going through the past few months including my diagnosis of Chronic Lyme Disease. I am writing this mostly for me to remember everything, but also so you can understand and maybe offer help to anyone you know who might be going through a confusing health problem. Because, for me, it was other people’s stories that helped me discover what my health problems were. Doctors couldn’t figure me out for years and it took putting the puzzle pieces together from others to get healthy for me. So, basically, I am not writing this as a woe-is-me thing, but to inform anyone else who might be struggling and didn’t know it could be curable, and so I can remember everything for my future reference.

I think everything started in college for me. I was pretty normal before that… I was sick more than my other friends, but nothing serious. Then in college I started getting diagnosed with all different types of things: Chronic fatigue, IBS, food allergies, and during my stressful senior year I was diagnosed with Mono. I had that for 6 months and then kept getting sick on and off after that for years. The doctors said I had mono simply because I had all of the symptoms of it. But no one gave it to me and I didn’t pass it on to anyone else. I also stayed sick much, much longer than normal and never fully recovered. Many alternative doctors believe Mono and the onset of Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed because the symptoms are very much the same (example link). This could have been the onset of future problems for me. (and for reference, I have also been bitten by a few ticks in my life, including during college, but Lyme can also come from mosquito and spider bites… most bugs carry bacteria these days, and it is important to have a strong enough immune system to fight the bacteria off immediately).

For the next 5-7 years I had a lot of minor annoyances, but nothing to go searching out doctors for. My neck hurt a lot and my immune system seemed to be weak, along with food allergies, but nothing too crazy. And now that I think about it, every time I took an antibiotic, I felt amazing afterwards. (A traditional Lyme treatment is strong antibiotics to kill off the bacteria in your body… the antibiotics I took were never strong enough or long enough to take the Lyme away, but they might have killed off some of the bacteria and made me feel better for a bit.) It was also strange when I went to a “crazy” alternative doctor for my food allergies and he took one look at me and told me I had Lyme. I was sure he was crazy so I completely dismissed it. Strange. I wonder what he saw?

Then in 2007 I had a baby, and it seemed like my entire world, health-wise, took a nose dive immediately. I’ve learned that chronic Lyme can stay dormant in your system for years until a traumatic event (like childbirth) makes it active. My symptoms after having a child were endless: chronic fatigue, emotional issues (with the life I have, I should be a very happy person), flu-like sickness on a monthly basis (could be marked on the calendar when I would be sick, dates were almost exact every month), could not handle even an ounce of stress, worn out very easily—like even changing a diaper would wear me out, climbing the stairs would make me lose my breath and want to lie down, etc. Severe neck pain, joint pain that was always changing, couldn’t stand the heat, couldn’t stand the cold, noise bothers me, weight gain, fibromyalgia-type symptoms, sugar cravings, blurry vision (I’ve had lasik) general body aches, hopelessness when everything was going great, etc.

I went to the first doctor and they couldn’t find anything wrong. I went to another doctor and she found that my thyroid TSH levels were non-existent and that I had hyperthyroid and needed surgery (no thank you). I went to another doctor and he said I had all of the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion. He put me on a protocol of supplements and within 3 months my thyroid levels were back to perfect and I could function pretty well. I still didn’t feel great, though. And month by month, my symptoms didn’t seem to be going away. To this day, though, my thyroid levels are still perfect, so I think I fixed an aspect of my illness but not everything. I began using the Far Infrared Sauna and detox program I had read about in the book “Detox or Die” and started feeling a bit better. But, then the symptoms would just come back again. It’s been like peeling back layers of an onion to get to the root. Everything I was doing was fixing issues but I hadn’t found the root of the problem yet.

In 2010, I went to a new alternative doctor and he said I was testing positive for Lyme-- specifically I was testing high on the bacteria Bartonella. He put me on Enliv’n to see what would happen. I did enliv’n  for 2 months and both months had identical painful symptoms that got progressively worse through the week of pills. He said this was confirmation that there was bacteria present in my system because the enliv’n was killing it off and I was experience the detox symptoms of it. I also did another test and the bacteria for Lyme tested high again.

He suggested I go on his Lyme protocol—which is similar to the Cowden protocol of samento, cumandra, burbur, etc. (this is all alternative medicine by the way. Conventional medicine puts you on months of antibiotics which can really mess up your body and actually make the bacteria stronger if you’ve had it in your system for years…it’s a long explanation… anyway…) I was still not fully convinced that I needed to deal with my symptoms so harshly (because I knew that any Lyme protocol would be a miserable experience) so I declined treatment and continued with supplements to strengthen and detox my immune system.

The next 3 months were not fun for me. I seemed to be getting worse… more joint pain, definitely more emotional issues, couldn’t handle stress very well, blurry vision, headaches, wanting to lie in bed all day… so I decided to make an appointment to discuss starting the protocol. The lady said the doctor wasn’t free for 2 months to see me. I got discouraged because I was ready to be done with this. I had hit my breaking point. I was also nervous, though, so I prayed for God to confirm me doing this. The next day I got a call saying someone had cancelled their appointment so I could come in the next day. Confirmation. I started the protocol that week.

I wrote this part in April 2011:
I am on day 14 at this point. I am on 14 drops of cumanda and 28 drops of samento (among other things for detox and immune system strengthening). So I am halfway to my final dosage of 30 drops of everything. I started having horrible symptoms from day 3. It is like everything that the Lyme had been doing in my body was being magnified as it is being killed off. Things I have specifically noticed: Depression, brain fog, major joint pain (I still exercise 6 days a week and now it is getting hard to do that), sore throat and stuffiness, swelling, cold all the time, little noises and actions bother me, beyond tired all the time, feels like I’m wearing a jacket made of lead. I am wondering if the symptoms will get worse or I will begin to see relief soon. I am under the impression that the Lyme I have been dealing with is not as severe as others I have read about (I can still function everyday with job, child, life) so I am hoping I can be done with this in 3 months. That is my goal! I am so grateful to have found what I think to be the root of my sickness. Occasionally I will have a day where I feel amazing and I think to myself—if this is what it is feels like to be normal and if this is how I could feel everyday, I could conquer the world!

I wrote this part in May 2011:
I am on week 7 or 8 now of the Lyme protocol. Last week I had body aches, fever and the worst stomach pain ever for days. But after that, I started feeling much better. I have had 2 good days in a row and it is so encouraging. I still have joint pain, but the emotional side of things seems to be diminishing. I am also not as tired. I feel hopeful and I definitely feel like what I am doing is working. I wish I knew how much longer I will have to take everything. It can be anywhere from 2 months to 2 years. Lord willing…
Another thing I found out today was a revelation about Emily. I had always been concerned because lyme can be passed down from mother to child in the blood. Emily seems 100% healthy, so the concern was always very small, but I still wondered. And then I remember that when Emily was born, her blood test showed that she had a blood infection and they immediately put her on 2 weeks of strong antibiotics. At the time I was very angry about it and swore they had a faulty blood test and my child was on antibiotics for nothing. Now, I am thinking it might have been a wonderful thing that killed off any bacteria that could have severely damaged her. (Most babies with Lyme either miscarry, die within the first few weeks, or end up with major problems) Thank you Jesus for one healthy baby girl and for giving me wisdom on how to rid this disease out of my body so that I can have a second healthy child.
I wrote this part in June 2011:
I had 2 amazing weeks of feeling absolutely fantastic! It was so strange. You don’t realize how bad you feel until you see how good you can feel. After that 2 weeks, I went back to many of the issues again, but they are not even close to the severity when I started. The doctor said I would go through phases of good and bad until everything had been rid out of my system. I definitely have more energy and I am not dealing with emotions so strongly. My joint pain is still pretty bad and I’ve been dealing with lymph node pain, but in general I’m so much better. I leave for our trip to Germany in 1 month and I hope to be off all of my detox drops by then so I can feel good on the trip. I will go back for a doctor appointment right before the trip to get on a “maintainance” plan. Lord let this be over soon.
So, that’s my story so far. Hopefully I will be adding an ENDING paragraph to this very soon!! Thanks for reading. I am definitely not a doctor so don't take anything word for word on this blog, but it's all generally what I've learned....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Getting Personal

A year ago I deleted my personal blog to focus more on the business side of my life. I started my organizational blog and all was wonderful.

But, I find myself these days thinking of a million topics from health realizations to the spiritual and everywhere in between-- all things I cannot post on an organizational business blog. So, I'm starting over with this personal blog thing... just to get those thoughts out.

And for all 4 of my faithful readers: enjoy!!