Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Fire and the Water

"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction" --- Isaiah 48:10

To say that I'm in the furnace of affliction feels like such an understatement.  I am burning up... I like hot climates, but whoa!  I have had a tough few days - been super dizzy - this week.  I told Jonathan yesterday maybe that nerve is just dying (it's called "burnout) and it's coming to an end... I'm still praying daily for my miracle!  God is showing me that even in the fire he provides relief - quenching the burning with water.  I want to share some "water" stories from this week:

Wednesday's fire - Beau had been sick for two days and home from school - running fever up to 103.7 at times.  Needless to say the Gregory home was tired and stressed.  I was super dizzy and the minute I picked up Lydia from school I got in the bed - about 3:30.  My poor 5-year-olds once again had to fend for themselves for the afternoon (Disney Jr. on tv or Just Dance Kids 2 on the computer). 
Wednesday's Water - My friend and neighbor, Kelly, dropped by at 5 PM with grilled chicken, grilled corn on the cob, seasoned green beans, dinner rolls and cotton candy Maggi-O's from Maggie Moos!  The perfect gift at the perfect time.  (Not to mention this same sweet friend took the twins for hours last Sunday afternoon to the OCS Artfest - picture below).

Thursday's fire - It was day 2 of my vestibular rehab therapy (VRT) and when I got there I was too dizzy to even do any exercises.  My therapist, Summer, did some things to try and relax me enough to do some work but to no avail.
Thursday's Water - My sweet therapist, Summer, who I just met but am so fond of, was so sensitive to my sadness over not being able to do any work (I cried a BUNCH), she held my hands and prayed with me before I left.  Sincerely prayed for me and with me - I was moved beyond words and it was better therapy for my soul than I needed physically.

Friday's fire - I was still super dizzy and my kids had the day off school.  Another day that I couldn't do anything fun with them.
Friday's Water - My sweet mother spent the entire day at my house.  She rallied the kids and they threw me a "Feel Better" day... complete with flowers, balloons, cupcakes, goodie bags and a home-cooked meal.  So the kids had fun in the kitchen all day and my spirits were lifted by my mom's thoughtfulness.

Saturday's fire - I woke up at 3 AM with the bed spinning beneath me.  This doesn't happen unless I don't take my meds and I had surely taken my meds before I went to sleep, so I was bothered by this.  When this happens it's like every time you start to doze you spin out of control or have one of those dreams where you're falling and it startles you awake.  I can't really describe what it's like, but that's some idea.  I got up to eat something and took even more meds (which I hate but have to have).  I finally got some relief about 5 AM and dozed back off.  When the family woke up they were all abuzz b/c it was Beau's very first T-Ball game at 9 AM.  As I tried to choke down my breakfast, I went to the back sobbing to Jonathan.  The lump in my throat was tremendous.  How could I miss this rite of passage?  It's NOT FAIR God!!!!!
Saturday's Water - Jonathan held me tight and consoled me.  He encouraged me very sweetly and gently to try and go.  He promised he'd sit by me, carry my chair and take me out immediately if I needed to.  I reluctantly agreed... it was tough sitting through the game like a zombie, but I got to SEE BEAU PLAY HIS FIRST GAME.  I would have never gotten that moment back and am so thankful for Jonathan's support.

So, even though God has sent this all-consuming fire to refine me in the furnace of affliction, He also sends relief - in small ways every day... a sip of water when it gets really, really hot.  It's how I know He still loves me and He's still in control.  I'm excited for my water today and am expectantly waiting for it...

I did get a good laugh this morning.  I went walking before I listened to Brother Bill on the radio.  I walked out of necessity not b/c I wanted to.  As I stumbled along the streets in my dizzy state, I laughed to myself as I thought about the neighbors thinking, "there goes the neighborhood drunk trying to walk off her Saturday night"!!!  If only they knew...

Keep praying Saints... I'm one day closer to my miracle!  Specific prayer this week:  Not too dizzy for therapy on Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Is God Big Enough

I found the journal writing below in some old Word documents the other day - just randomly.  I wrote it in December 2009 (almost 2 1/2 years ago) and never did anything with it.  Little did I know back in December 2009 that the audience who would need it would be... ME!  But God knew.  I am posting it now and also need to clarify something written in my profile section to the left under my picture... it says "Meniere's is a disease without a cure..." and that's really WAY too short-sighted of me.  Let me rephrase - "Meniere's is a disease for which MAN has not found a cure."  God can cure my Meniere's with a blink, word, thought, breath, thumbs-up, whatever he chooses... I know that.   And the information below just supports it.

Is God Big Enough? (Written by me in December 2009)

I was in a church meeting recently where we were discussing a sensitive and emotional matter.  We were talking about potential outcomes and the possible impact to the church.  One member of our group stated that, “God is bigger than all of this” and it resonated with me.

My daughter suffers from asthma.  In the past year she’s been hospitalized four times for “meltdowns” that we could not control at home.  In addition to these four episodes there have been countless others that have deprived me of sleep, added numerous grey hairs and shaved a good 10 years off my life.  My nerves and fears always seem to get the best of me during those times. 

Is my God big enough in the middle of the night?  Of course!

My friend’s little boy is about to go through an assessment to determine the severity of some behavioral problems he is having.  His actions towards others seem to indicate that he may have a condition that affects his ability to feel remorse for things he does to others. This family is agonized over this possibility and the fate of their child’s future

Is my God big enough to care for this family?  Of course!

I have a friend going through serious martial and financial problems.  She and her husband are separated and shuffling their kids back and forth between them.  They have sought legal advice on how to handle the repossession of their cars, the foreclosure of their house and their impending bankruptcy.

Is my God big enough to bring them back from the brink?  Of course!

Not only is God big enough to fix any of our problems, more importantly He’s big enough to fix our broken hearts and worries as we go through this life.  His manner of “fixing” something may not be what we had in mind, but that’s the beauty of it all.  He’s always got bigger plans and goals and HE KNOWS the FINAL OUTCOME.

So why don’t I trust and why do I worry?  Because my finite brain often forgets that He is Always Bigger than anything I’m facing.  Faith isn’t logical; I can’t explain it, touch it or put parameters on it.  In order to have faith and believe HE CAN, I have to let go of ME and my assumptions of how I think things should or will end.

That doesn’t mean I won’t suffer tragedies, let-downs, set-backs and disappointments; it just means I have a God who loves me and always keeps me in the palm of His hand.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (New International Version)
 8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
       neither are your ways my ways,"
       declares the LORD.

 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
       so are my ways higher than your ways
       and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Now back to April 2012...

Thank you God for this reminder of who you are and how big you are and thank you that you have healed Lydia of ALL asthma meltdowns - she has not been hospitalized since I wrote the above.  The last few days haven't been so great for me and these subtle ways God puts in my path to keep things in perspective are much appreciated! 

I had my first assessment for rehab Monday and it was awesome - I REALLY like the therapist, Summer. She seems to have a good handle on treating dizziness disorders through rehab.  I started a few little exercises this week and I don't know if that's what's got me not feeling great or what.

I also started reading a new book by Bob Sorge - The Fire of Delayed Answers.  I can't WAIT to get into it.  In his intro he says, "In His infinite grace, God personalizes some troubles with our name on them, in order to help us toward His design for our lives."  In Chapter 1, he goes on to say "We need not fear or dread the calamity; if it comes, it is customized in advance by our loving heavenly Father just for us."  These go back to my recent post about being CHOSEN.

THANK YOU all again for your prayers and support.  Please pray 1) for complete, miraculous remission from ALL symptoms, 2) my attitude in the interim as I allow God to use me and 3) as I continue on with rehab until remission that the dizziness won't be too bad and that I can function enough to care for my family.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I should have started this blog LONG ago b/c of all of the wonderful and warm responses from all of you – thank you. It has lifted my spirits tremendously. To give you an idea of how bad this disease can make you feel, one lady wrote on her website: “I have often said that Meniere's Disease won't kill you, it just makes you wish you were dead.”

And if you read input from others (which I’ve had to quit doing b/c it's too depressing, the sentiment is pretty much the same).

But THANKFULLY I have a hope that it appears she does not have. And God revealed to me months ago that He CHOSE me for this – He didn’t just give this Meniere’s disease to anyone – he gave it to me. And although there are MANY days I wish He hadn’t, I believe that He will work in a mighty way through this – He already is. And last night it hit me… my husband and children are along for this ride too. My precious little 5 year olds (miracles themselves) are going to witness first-hand a miraculous healing in their lifetime. WOW!

I was praying with them this morning and reading scripture to them and told them that they were going to be part of this. Beau asked, “Is Jesus coming to our house (to perform the miracle)?” I laughed (and thought no, thank goodness, b/c I am SUCH a Martha)!!!!

I cried and cried as I realized that He chose the Gregory’s to experience this. I was reading this morning about being pruned in order to bear fruit. Pruning is painful – I know the shears I use in the yard are sharp and swift! But John 15:16 is so comforting. In Jesus’ words: You did not choose me, BUT I CHOSE YOU and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.

This Meniere’s scar on my life is VERY deep – the deepest I’ve had yet and it will surely produce fruit that will last.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
24 “‘The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

We got a few options yesterday and none of them right now are giving me peace so I'm meditating on this scripture, asking for peace, asking that my heart will be open for peace.

Option 1 - severe the balance nerve in my left ear via brain surgery. This will cure the vertigo once and forever. The docs patients who do this are always "the happiest" - he only does about 5 of these a year so it's not that he's just knife-happy.

Option 2 - a series of shots that place a toxic substance on the nerve essentially killing it - anywhere from 3 to 4 outpatient procedures. This usually cures the vertigo with a high percentage of success. I know people who have done this and they have been cured but some have had to go back for repeat shots.

Option 3 - vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Because of the severity and frequency of vertigo attacks over the last few months my balance nerve is only working at about 10% capacity - that's why I'm dizzy every day, all day. This is a great option ONLY IF the vertigo attacks have stopped. If not, I do the therapy (which is extremely uncomfortable, will take weeks and will make me very, very sick) but then if I have another attack, the nerve will be re-damaged and I'm back where I started - it's a cycle if my attacks aren't gone.

So, the doctor said based on my case and history, Option 1 without a doubt. Here's the catch... with Options 1 or 2 - these will cure me and life will be "normal" again but if anything (i.e. Meniere's disease) happens in my right ear, my body will be without balance function. The doc said the chances are 1 in 1000 and he has 2 patients like this - in wheelchairs with absolutely no quality of life.

Jonathan and I are seeking out Option 3. Please pray that my vertigo attacks are gone. Please pray that this therapy will work. Please pray that during the days/weeks of therapy I will be able to find a level at which to function.

Please pray for peace and peace to all of you!

PS - THANK YOU to everyone who continues to check in, offer help, keep the kids, drive me places, etc... We are so blessed to have had the opportunity to fly back and forth to Austin yesterday... a 3 day trek turned into about a nine hour day - praise God!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

2nd opinion today

It's been 7 weeks since my endolymphatic sac shunt surgery...

Jonathan and I are flying to Austin today to get a 2nd opinion on my ear. My previous doc did the surgery 2 months ago and has now put me on heavy meds and told me to come back in 3 months. Many days I cannot even get out of bed b/c of the dizziness so staying on meds and waiting 3 months does not seem like the right option. Although there is no cure and this 2nd doctor can't really "do" anything differently he can advise us and perhaps give us further insight.

My friends, yesterday marked my 6 month anniversary with this disease. It has been a tough road - I never dreamed that in my 30s I'd be stopped by something so teeny tiny as my ear that would cause me to not be able to even get out of bed some days, not be able to drive or work. I miss spending time with my family. If you have children, cherish them, love them, spend time with them... if they ask you to play a game with them, stop what you're doing and play it! Don't get them involved in so many activities that you never see them. Eat supper together and read the Bible to them. Don't just tell them you love them, show it - every second you get a chance; you may find yourself in a situation where you can't and I promise you, you will sorely regret it!!!

I still believe God has great things in store (immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine - Eph 3:20) but these have been some REALLY tough days. I would be lying if I said my faith doesn't waiver, b/c it certainly does, but He always brings me back to the big picture and I know that nothing is happening here and now that God isn't completely in control of.

Please pray for a complete and divine remission. If God does this, He will get all the glory - not a doctor, not a procedure that leaves me deaf, not anything man can do. God gets His glory. Thank you all for your faithfulness.

Every day when I give thanks I cannot even finish listing out all of my wonderful friends and prayer partners that I'm thankful for - I have to do part 2, part 3, etc... different days of the week!