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.”

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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 ….