Prayer Requests

This past month and a half has been very tough … physically, emotionally, mentally … all of it! I have been off antibiotics for a month and half now, because the last antibiotic I was on completely ruined my gut. So, I’ve been having gut issues on top of some of my old symptoms coming back because I am not in treatment right now.

Thankfully, I started a medication for my gut two days ago and it has helped tremendously. No pain, no cramps and hardly any nausea … so that’s good. The cramps were HORRIBLE! I don’t know what giving birth feels like, but if it’s anywhere near the cramps I had … then, I might pass on the whole giving birth part! Adoption sounds like a better idea!

Because of this whole gut issue, I had to do a very strict clean diet. I’ve been losing weight with this diet, and it’s been stressing me out because I can’t afford losing any more pounds because I am tiny as it is! I decided to go to the Co-op today and get a protein shake. Let me back track a bit and say that I have been feeling really crappy today .. weakness, kind of dizzy and my mood wasn’t the best. Back to my little story, my awesome, handy GPS gives me the wrong directions on my way there and I was pretty much going in circles, for like 20 minutes… I was very tempted to chuck my phone out the window.

At this point, I was feeling very overwhelmed.

Marc calls me while I was at the Co-op, and I almost started crying on the phone with him because I was stressed out with everything, and all of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath … almost like I was suffocating (last time I felt like this, I had a panic attack). I kept trying to calm myself  by breathing, but at the same time I was rushing to get my stuff and get out of there! I get to the protein shake isle, and a sweet gal came up to me asking me if I needed help. I told her what I was looking for, so she grabbed a protein shake bottle and was explaining why it was good and yada yada … I was standing there and all of a sudden I felt very dizzy, lightheaded and my heart started pounding. I knew I was having a panic attack. I grabbed the protein shake out of her hand while she was talking, and I just pretty much walked away, fast, without saying anything (Sorry sweel girl at the Co-op). I get to the cashier and I was like speedy gonzales .. I’ve never put groceries on the counter so fast in my life!

I get to my car and I just sit and wait until it passes. I was dreading the 20 minute drive back home … but, I had no other way. Finally, after 45 min of deep breathing techniques along with prayers. I calmed down , said another prayer, and drove away!

This was the second panic attack I’ve had. The first one was two months ago … and I was driving!! I actually ended up calling 911 because I literally felt like I was dying!

Prior to my illness, I’ve never ever had a panic attack, never suffered from anxiety … nothing! The Co-infection Bartonella causes anxiety and panic attacks, and all my symptoms right now scream Bartonella. So, I need to get back on antibiotics, but I don’t know if my gut can handle oral medications right now. So, I’m not sure whether to take the natural route, or risk it and try orals again, or do a port. That’s why I am here asking you all for prayers please. Prayers for wisdom, guidance, knowledge, discernment and patience, for me, Marc and both of my doctors!!

It’s SOO tough, but I know The Lord will get us through this set back we are dealing with right now!

P.s: Don’t use a GPS on your phone anymore … apparently, they can trigger a panic attack :p

Blessings & love,

Aisha

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A Season of Trials (4)

I opened the email.

And there it was. Names of six doctors that specialize in this illness and that can treat me!

Thank you, Father.

I wanted answers so bad and after a very long six months of suffering and over a 100 crazy symptoms, I was finally going to get it. Waiting one week for that appointment felt like a lifetime!

In the meantime, my sweet mother and sister came to help me with chores around the house and drive me to my appointment. While Marc was at work during the day, I would lay on the couch and just cry most days. So, having them around for that one week helped my mental state quite a bit.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012, the day of my appointment. We parked the car and as soon as the car was turned off, I breathed a sigh of relief. I opened the car door and looked up at the gray gloomy sky and I said nothing but smile at God. I didn’t need a clear blue sky and a bright shining sun to feel His presence … there’s a different kind of peace that comes from Him in the midst of grayness and gloominess!

While walking towards the door, I remember looking at my shaky weak legs and in my mind I said “this is the last time you ugly things (the bacteria) can have fun in my body, because I am coming after you!” yes, my mental state was declining and I was talking to the bacteria in my body … don’t judge :p

I wanted to give my doctor a huge hug when I first met her! We sat down and she had me fill out a symptom check list, no joke, I checked off almost everything on that page! And there were symptoms I had a hard time explaining to others, and sure enough it was on there … I wanted to do the happy dance. We talked for an hour and a half and she affirmed that I do have it. Since the testing is so inaccurate, they treat based on symptoms. This is what it says right below the test results “A negative result does not exclude the possibility of infection” …. really?! so then what? unfortunately, most people suffer with a spew of symptoms for the rest of their lives and some die, because most doctors don’t do anything past that point. This has to change.

Besides the medications she prescribed, she told me all the foods I had to avoid to reduce inflammation in my body and all the supplements I had to take. She warned me about this thing called a Herxheimer reaction, it sounds scary doesn’t it? well, it is!! A Herxheimer reaction is when the immune system reacts to toxins that are released when large amounts of bacteria are being killed off, and the body doesn’t get rid of the toxins quickly enough. So, when I take the antibiotics, it kills the bacteria, and therefore it releases toxins in my body which makes me REALLY sick. I honestly can’t even count how many times I’ve been to the ER just because of this Herxheimer reaction. Best way to describe it, I literally feel like I am dying. That is why detoxing is so crucial with this illness!

I was excited about my treatment plan, but at the same time I was very overwhelmed.

I had to change my diet completely, take medications (I wasn’t one to ever take medications, unless I really had to), take supplements, detox and so much more! But, it had to be done.

That first week of starting my treatment plan, I noticed a little boost of energy. I knew then I was on the right track, but it wasn’t a fast and an easy fix. The first few months of being on medication I had more bad days than good days, and it was very very tough.  My balance was really bad the first 4 months, if I had to go get a few things from the grocery store I had to use a cart as a “walker” because I felt like I was going to fall. I actually cried once in the grocery store and had to leave, because I would just watch how fast people were walking and envied how they didn’t need a cart for balance.

In the middle of July, 2012 I went into target and I was confident enough to walk without my “walker” and sure enough, I did it! I can’t even begin to tell you how good it felt to just simply walk. I walked around the entire store and went down every isle … It felt great. I will never ever take anything for granted again, and that includes little and big things in life!

So, friends, that is my story in a nut shell!

I am slowly but surely improving, however, I still have bad days where it is tough to get off the couch, but that is part of the illness and I am okay with that now!

As much as I hate this illness, I am thankful for it, because really good things came out of it and I believe there are still good things that are going to come out of it. I am much much closer with The Lord, I actually have a relationship with Him compared to before being sick. There is nothing that makes my heart more content and joyful than bathing in Gods Word, and what a privilege I have that I get to do that everyday! I have an amazing relationship with my mother compared to before I was ill. Marc and I had a very difficult year and a half and it was and still is far from perfect in many ways, but it was always centered on The One who is, and that brought us so much closer to each other. My heart and mind are forever changed … I feel the Lord’s gentle hands molding and shaping me into the woman He wants me to be … what an honor that is!

I used to get angry and dwell at the fact that I had to drop out of school because of this illness. I may not be in nursing school right now but I am in God’s school, and let me tell you, it is harder than any school I will ever attend and harder than any test I will ever take.

The only diploma I need in life is one from The Lord saying “You did well, my child, you did well.”

A Season of Trials (3)

I prayed, but I was still very afraid.

I was shunned by the medical community and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do next. As the days went on, my entire body was getting weaker and weaker and I was noticing scary new symptoms. I truly believed I was developing early stages of ALS, because I was having a difficult time swallowing my own saliva and food. I was also losing a ton of weight on top of all that.

Some nights before I went to bed I would pray for help and answers, but most nights I prayed that The Lord would take me away in my sleep. I was beyond depressed. Ever since I was a little girl, I prayed that God would bless me with a wonderful husband, and by His loving grace He did. Besides getting baptized, getting married to Marc was the second best day of my life. The man I prayed for since I was a little girl, is now my husband. So, the thought of me dying and leaving my husband behind put me in a state of extreme depression and anxiety. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the movie “Over Her Dead Body”, but It’s about these newly engaged couple, and this man’s fiance (Eva Longoria) dies suddenly in a car accident. Eva Longoria comes back as a ghost and tries to stop the relationship her fiance was pursuing with this other woman. I would think to myself “I am totally going to be Eva Longoria if I die from this mystery illness” Sorry Marc :p !! But, I digress … these horrible thoughts consumed my mind daily. Not only was I declining physically but mentally as well!

I was ready to be done with this season of life.

My mind that is part of the image of God where He communicates with me and reveals His will for me, was distorted by Satan. I forgot what happiness felt like … I forgot what it felt like to laugh and smile! My mind became a battleground of a spiritual warfare, and let me tell you, the enemy did a good job … but not for long.

I had a very big God by my side and the victory is always with Him.

At my very lowest and weakest point … The Lord lead me to open my Bible and dig into His Words for strength, daily. Strength that I lacked spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. And guess what? little by little, day by day and the more I dug into His Words, I felt a little stronger in every way each day.

His words became my anchor.

One day, I felt like I needed to do more research on Lyme Disease. I spent about 6 hours reading all the controversial articles about this illness, and I thankfully stumbled upon a blog of a woman who suffered from Chronic Lyme Disease and Co-infections. I should probably elaborate a little on the Co-infection part, so you are not confused when I mention Co-infections. In my case my doctor thinks I have Lyme Disease along with Babesia (co-infection), Bartonella (Co-infection), Ehrlichia (Co-infection) and Rocky mountain spotted fever (Co-infection). Each Co-infection differs from the other and from the Lyme bacteria, and each one produces new symptoms. That is why I had over a 100 symptoms! Anyhow, while reading this woman’s blog, I felt as if I was reading my own life. Her symptoms, quitting her job and nursing school … everything just fit what I was going through to the T! It was an aha moment for me! I needed to be on antibiotics longer than 7 days and I needed a doctor that specialized in this illness. I looked up Minnesota Lyme Association online, I emailed them telling them about my situation and I asked them for names of doctors that specialize in this illness and that I needed help ASAP. The following day I get a phone call from a very sweet woman, and not too far into the conversation she said “I am going to help you find the doctor that will get you better” I instantly started sobbing … I couldn’t keep it together.

It was a cry of relief … a cry of hope.

As soon as I got off the phone, Marc gave me the biggest hug and kissed my salty watery cheeks, “we’ll get through this, and I will do everything I can to get you better” he said.

I had a wonderful man by my side, but most importantly I had a God who is able.

Who is able to conquer all the powers of evil. Who is able to move mountains. Who is able to part the red sea. Who is able to sustain all of our needs. Who is able to do more than I can ever imagine. Who is able to heal …. yes, that is my God!!

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

To be continued ….

His Light

[Quick random post]

I had a tough day today. Earlier in the day I was able to get out for a bit and run some errands, which was nice, because I’ve been so dizzy the past 4 days and I haven’t been able to drive anywhere! Shortly after I got home, I felt pretty rotten. This illness truly baffles me. One second I feel good, and the next I just feel awful … REALLY weird!! I was putting the groceries away while the kitchen room was spinning, my head pounding, vertigo like no other, shaky legs, fatigue and an icky stomach. I felt discouraged and upset . Of course, when you are upset little things like an apple falling out of your grocery bag makes you want to smash it … it was one of those days! When I am upset, I need to do something that keeps me busy … like cleaning. I was doing the dishes (by the way, I love doing dishes … weird, I know!) and guess who creeps his way into my mind? … you guessed it! Thoughts like “I am never going to get better” “is this what life is going to be like for me?” “what did I do to deserve this?” were consuming my mind. I close my eyes and ask God to help me.

I go and lay down on the couch, with an ice pack on my head and I start crying. My hubby walks in the door from work and asks me how I am feeling. My voice was shaky and I just say “fine”. He knows me too well, so he gets closer, kisses me on the forehead and sits down next to me. I told him it is so hard being sick almost everyday for a year and a half now. He held my hand and he was trying his best to comfort me (I am so blessed for this man), which he did, but I was still somewhat sad and discouraged. My eyes were closed while tears were going down my cheeks. I turn my head and I look out the window, and I notice the sky was pretty gloomy but I could see the shape of the sun behind the gloomy clouds … it caught my eye. I turn my head away from the window, I close my eyes and cry some more. When I physically feel very ill, like today, it is hard for me to take some time out and read scripture because my mind cannot retain anything (Lyme affects the brain in many ways) … but I can pray, and that’s what I did. I laid on the couch, with my eyes closed and simply just said “O, Father, I need You now.” That was all I could say … and that was all He needed.

A few minutes later, I feel this comforting warmth on my cheek and my tears slowly drying. I turn my head and look out the window, and I see the sun behind the gloomy clouds trying to shine brighter through the darkness. Bigger and brighter by the second. I couldn’t look away. I have seen the sun shine a gazillion times, but this was different … I felt Him. I close my eyes … His light shining on my face … I feel His peace … and all my tears are gone.

“I will wipe every tear from your eyes … I am here, my child, I’m here” He whispers.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun.” Psalm 19:1-4

A Season of Trials (2)

I was so desperate.

I went back to my primary doctor begging him to help me. He sat in his chair with his arms crossed and said “I’m not really sure what else I can do for you at this point.” He leaned forward and said “I’ve had young women, your age, come to me complaining with the same symptoms. I sent them to a psychiatrist, and come to find out, they went through a traumatic situation during their childhood and eventually it manifested itself in physical symptoms.” My jaw almost fell to the ground … I was speechless. I had too much faith in my doctor. Unfortunately, my faith was in the wrong person.

I forgot about The One who not only heals, but raises people from the dead.

Oh, how that must have hurt His heart.

Everyday became more and more of a struggle. I was incredibly weak, the dizziness was awful, my legs and arms were shaky, the fatigue was horrible … I can go on and on with the rest of the symptoms, but I think you get the picture. I had to grab my elbow to prop up my arm while I brushed my teeth, I was that weak. Work became almost physically impossible for me. I finally told Marc I didn’t think I could work any longer. I couldn’t believe I uttered those words out of my mouth when I said that to him. I’ve always been an active person, since I was a little girl. I couldn’t wait to work when we moved to the states. At age 15, with broken English, I picked up a job as a telemarketer (worst job for a girl who’s English isn’t very good… remind me some time to tell you the story). So, to hear myself telling my husband I couldn’t work because I physically couldn’t  was very devastating for me.

I called my boss the next day and told him what was going on, and I will never forget what he said “Aisha, the three most important things in your life should be God, your family and your health. Take as much time off as you need and when you are ready to come back, we would love to have you back.” I held back the tears and I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. I was so grateful he said that, but at the same time I was sad because he was the best boss I’ve ever had. I loved my job and everyone I worked with. I didn’t want to leave.

Since working as a CNA in a nursing home, my dream was to become a nurse. I was taking Pathophysiology online when all of this was going on. It was my last class to take before applying to nursing school. Being ill and taking this class online was pure torture. I stuck with it but I had to drop out of school after the quarter was over. All the money, effort and time I put into school felt like it was all a waste.

I felt as if my life was falling apart right in front of my eyes and I wondered where God was at this point.

I become couch bound for a good two weeks. Marc would make me food and he would help me get up from the couch and walk. I am tearing up as I am writing this, because I never thought this girl who danced most of her life, ran and swam would have a hard time walking, brushing her teeth and making food one day. I realized how much I took everything, especially the little things, for granted.

One night, after Marc went to bed, I was on the couch just staring at the wall and feeling so empty. Wondering where God was. I got on my weak knees, trying so hard to hold my weak body up while staring out the window. I didn’t know what to say to Him because I was angry with Him. After a little while I started sobbing and said ~

“Allah never did this to me, why are You allowing me to suffer like this?! Where is the loving Jesus they all talk about?!”

My head on the floor and barely able to speak because I was crying so hard, I prayed that He would take me away, fast, because I thought I was going to die. I prayed that He would bless Marc with a loving wife after I was gone. I laid there on the floor for a good hour just crying.

A few days later, Marc wanted to take me out to dinner just to get me out of the house and get my mind off of everything. I agreed. He held my arm and helped me out the door. During dinner I couldn’t help but watch people and think how lucky they were; I got really depressed. On our way home, I told Marc if he wanted to divorce me he could because my body was slowly deteriorating and no one could tell me what was wrong with me. He held my hand and said he will always be here for me. I looked away and started crying. We stopped at a red light and all of a sudden Marc said “look”, I asked him what it was without wanting to turn my head, he said “have faith”, I thought that was really random. So, I turned my head and he was pointing at the car in front of us.

The license plate said “havefaith”

Those words ignited some hope into my hopeless heart.

He knew just what I needed to keep me going.

Thank You, Father.

To be continued ….