Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stop the Bustling

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. 
You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.  Each man's life is but a breath
Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro; He bustles about but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. ---Psalm 39:4-6

I've had a really good week - the most I've felt consistently good in a long time - months - I can't even remember when.  You would think that if I had half a brain in my head I would rejoice and do everything just like God would want me to, coming off a week like this one.  But I failed miserably yesterday and the Psalm above came haunting me last night.

I felt good yesterday... I didn't spend the day loving on my kids and enjoying every feel-good minute with my family.  I piddled around in the heat and wore myself out.  To the point that in the evening all I could do was dismiss my kids and tell them to shush so I could watch American Idol that I had DVR'd (even tho I know who won).  I feel despicable even sharing that with anyone.  I've apologized twice to my children already and reassured them that they are much more important to me than American Idol.  That is so sad that I would have to even say that to them.  I am embarrassed and ashamed.

After all I've been through, after all God has been teaching me, after all the promises I made to myself of what I would do when I got well... I blew it. 

When I think of a "phantom," I think of a mindless, senseless, meaningless, formless being.  And that's what I was yesterday.  It's ridiculous to be given the chance I had yesterday after MONTHS of illness and hours of being bed-ridden and fritter it away.  I hope that everyone reading this will reassess the priorities of life.  I hope that everyone reading this will hold me accountable every time you see me to make sure that I am not "vainly bustling to and fro."  It's sooooo easy to do - work, dishes, laundry, chauffeuring, tball, gymnastics, school and any other activity we can cram into our lives.  It is true that some things have to be tended to.  But a lot of things do not... or at least not with the sense of urgency and importance that we place on them.

Have you ever ended a day, week, month, year and said, "I sure wish I had spent more time on the Internet, or playing with my iPad, or watching TV, or getting my kids involved in another sport, etc?"  We never regret that we didn't spend more time doing these things, yet these are the things that suck us in and steal our time.  I've often said at the end of a time period - "I wish I had spent more time with God, my kids, my husband, volunteering here or there."  So if we look back wishing we'd done things differently, why don't we????  I've had a LOT of time to think about this over the last few months.  It all comes down to a conscious, ongoing, Spirit-led decision to make changes - and we have to do it EVERY DAY.

My fervent prayer is that I will no longer "vainly bustle about to and fro" and it is going to be a daily struggle for me as I get well.  I'm such a perfectionist and have severe OCD, so I will have to fight my nature every day.  I don't feel that great today and I truly believe that God is reminding me that as easily as He can give me a good day to make the most of, He can present a bad day that keeps me humble and dependent on Him and remind me of what's important.  I still believe that I will be in complete remission of this disease soon.  But I also believe this "thorn" will always be present and something God will use for the rest of my life to keep my attention.

Please learn from my horrible example and don't waste the time you're given.  Make the activities in your life count.  Don't live a "phantom life, bustling to and fro in vain."

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  As you can see, I still desperately need them!!!!!!  I know this post wasn't really an update as much as it was a conviction that I had to share.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keep Waiting

Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.  For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for Him---Isaiah 30:18

Just a quick update from my last post... THANK YOU prayer partners for your persistence and diligence.  I feel completely at peace with things and have since I posted a few days ago.  I have had 3 really good days; the best stretch of good days since I can remember and I know without a doubt that it's God's way of telling me to keep trusting for His healing.  I am still not opposed to considering other medical treatments down the road, but for right now, I am not.  I've slept really good the past few nights, felt really good and just feel that doing nothing right now (other than my therapy) is right where God wants me. 

I'd like to share a short passage from the book I am reading, The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge:
Why we wait: Because when God finds a man or woman who will truly wait on Him, He is free to act.
How to wait: Run after Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.  Waiting is a stationary pursuit.  Waiting is intense stillness.  Waiting is vigilant listening.

I still believe God is teaching me things during this wait and to move right now would be to take matters into my own hands.  He wants to be free to act and He wants me to run after Him. 

I have a plant in my house that I've had for at least 5 years.  It puts on a bloom about once or twice a year, no more.  As I walked down the hall yesterday, I saw it... my PEACE LILY was blooming!  The Grace of God!!!!

Peace Lily Bloom 5/23/12
Please keep praying for continued progress.  I still feel so strongly that I will be in complete remission one day - no more of ANY of this - NOTHING.  And I also feel strongly that I will be able to say that the only answer for it is God's grace.  I will be able to share with people for the rest of my life how deep in despair I was and how gracious God was to me.  None of us deserve a good, easy life.. so we are ALL under his grace.  If you're fighting and struggling, hang in there; God ALWAYS blesses those who wait for Him (Isaiah 30:18).

Monday, May 21, 2012


How long, O LORD?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?  How long will my enemy triumph over me...  But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.  --Psalm 13:1-2, 5-6

(SIGH)... I have read and reread this verse over and over again for the past few days.  I'll get to why in a little while...

FIRST, I have some wonderful things to be VERY thankful for and I'll start with that.  In a recent post, I asked for prayer to get me through some activities during the last few weeks of school... I made ALL of them!  Field day, taking a cookie cake for the kids' birthday and awards day.  I also survived their sixth birthday party this past Saturday, which wasn't a prayer request, but should have been!  It was a very dizzy day and for a while I thought I might not make it, but GOD is so good and I was able to go and be part of the fun!  Thank you for the prayer and support!!!

6th Birthday Party
I am very thankful for those wonderful opportunities but I am also very conflicted about some things right now also.  It hasn't been a great week.  Last Tuesday was a really good day b/c I felt good.  BUT THEN... at 2 am Wednesday morning I woke up with a migraine.  And the short version is, it knocked me back and down for about 4 days.  I couldn't go to therapy Thursday morning I was so bad and I wasn't very functional the latter part of the week.  It's almost like it had a vertigo-attack effect on me.  The vertigo attacks leave me in the bed for a day or more and had I acted properly I should have stayed in bed for a few days to recover from the migraine.  Anyway, it got me really down b/c it's like the therapy never happened.  Although I STILL haven't had a vertigo attack (big praise), I'm still not well and feel back to square one.

The Psalm above has been so relevant b/c I feel like I continue to seek God and cry out but I'm just stuck - not getting well.  I think my awareness of my inability to function is heightened right now b/c the kids are out of school and I am so upset that their summer may keep them home-bound.  Although God revealed to me this morning that in His plans, Beau & Lydia's world will not end if they don't go, go, go all summer.  Not to sound insensitive but in the work God is trying to do, it doesn't matter much in His big schemes if my kids have the summer of a lifetime in 2012.

And my biggest struggle of all deals with healing.  I have adamantly and consistently believed (and still do) that God is going to restore me 100%.  I know He will take away the vertigo, dizziness, swimminess, attacks, panic and anxiety.  I don't know when, but I believe He will.  The big question is... will He do it in a divine way or will He do it through modern medicine?  I have been holding out for my therapy to be the means but as the days, weeks, months pass by I wonder if I should pursue the shots or surgery I previously mentioned.  I am seeking and praying diligently for some direction on what to do.  I have been holding out for the "divine" healing but now am considering other options.   For a while I thought the other options were my human way of making things happen on my own time, but I realized that cancer patients don't usually sit back and wait; they pursue treatments to help heal them.

I'm just torn.  I don't know what I'm supposed to do... keep waiting and living like I am... or pursue one of these medical options.  Please pray diligently over the next couple of weeks that I will know without question how to move forward.  Please pray for peace that I can rest knowing that if I'm not to seek treatment that I will continually remember that my kids are not suffering any harm this summer if I remain home-bound.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for keeping up with me and for your prayers.  I will never, EVER be able to express my gratitude!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I know, I know, yesterday was mother's day... I'm a little late!! 

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works & consider all your mighty deeds. ---Psalm 77:11-12

This scripture is so significant to me because through this current wilderness experience it reminds of something very, very important: I know that God will deliver me out of this crisis.  Why?  Because of His track record.

We all have times in our lives where we can look back and see the hand of God.  There are situations and circumstances that only He could have orchestrated or gotten us through.  So often during this illness, I have thought back to all of the wonderful works He's done and blessings He's given me.  There's comfort in knowing that He has never failed - not once.

On Mother's Day in particular, I think back to the "valley of infertility."  After years of trying to have a baby we were diagnosed with "unexplained infertility" - NOT a helpful diagnosis.  For months we tried fertility treatments that were unsuccessful.  Then, in October 2005, we underwent invitrofertilizaton (IVF).  The rest, as they say, is history.  This month we will celebrate the twins' 6th birthday.  God was so faithful in this circumstance that He DOUBLED the blessing.

So, on days when I am especially sick and tired (literally) of Meniere's Disease and the journey it is taking me on, I "remember God's miracles of long ago," especially the one delivered on May 23, 2006:

"Miracles of Long Ago... (2 weeks old)"

Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.  ---Psalm 77:19

How often do we think God isn't working because we can't see things happening right now, on our schedule, on our terms?  But think back to those miracles of long ago and remember that we don't always see His work until it is complete.

The entire 77th Psalm is a good one to read, especially if you're in a valley. 

So, to update on Meniere's and other things... all four of us seem to be getting over the crud we've had (thank you for the prayers)!  My cold is still putting a little extra pressure on my ear causing dizziness but it's gone down from the last few days (PRAISE!).  I am trying to do more of my VRT exercises at home to get this nerve SUPERSTRONG.  I go to therapy Wednesday and Thursday this week.  Please keep praying for progress with VRT. 

THANK YOU for reading this and keeping up with me; THANK YOU for praying and checking in.  It means more than I can express!!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

ALL things

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. --Romans 8:28

Here's a recap of the Gregory household over the past 2 weeks:
Tuesday 4/24 - Beau ran fever - up to 103.7
Thursday 4/26 - Lydia woke up throwing up
Saturday 4/28 - Beau threw up all afternoon
Wednesday 5/2 - Jonathan's throat got sore
Thursday 5/3 - Lydia threw up all night
Friday 5/4 - Beau started coughing
Saturday 5/5 - Jonathan went to the clinic for a sinus infection/headcold
Saturday 5/5 - Beau went to the clinic for his cough
Sunday 5/6 - My ear started to fill due to sinus pressure
Monday 5/7 - Lydia began sniffling and my throat got sore
Tuesday 5/8 - I went to the doctor for a sinus infection/headcold
Thursday 5/10 - Lydia went to the doctor with cough/fever/sniffles right after field day
Thursday 5/10 - Beau went to the doctor because of persistent cough right after field day

As of right now, all four of us are on antibiotics and over the past week we've all taken or been on some form of steroid to help clear us up.  I am barely out of bed today b/c of the severe sinus pressure due to my cold and the pressure it is putting on my ear.  A headcold is bad enough but a headcold with Meniere's Disease is extremely bad.  Since Meniere's Disease causes excess fluid in the middle ear and a headcold brings with it excess fluid, there is extra pressure on my vestibular nerve right now causing lots of dizziness.  So not only do I feel awful with a cold, I'm spinning too.

So, I'm writing today from a low spot, but I still feel compelled to write.  My family has been sick for weeks and we can't seem to shake it.  I have to remind myself of Romans 8:28 that God works in ALL things.  So, I take comfort that 1) God is working actively on my behalf, 2) He's working in everything and 3) He's working for my GOOD... not my comfort, pleasure or happiness.  But I sit here in tears wondering why I can't get well and wondering why now my family seems to be suffering physically.  How can this be that you are working for my good, God?

My inclination is to get angry or to let the tears flow without reason.  But I'm reminded of this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. --Proverbs 3:5

I can't get mad, I can't ask why, I can't try and fix it... I just have to TRUST and not rely on what I think should be the case.  Somehow in all of this, God is working for my good and for the good of my family.

And I feel guilty because I'm bogged down by my pity-party.  I have some things to be really thankful for this week.  A HUGE blessing was to attend Beau & Lydia's field day at school yesterday; two weeks ago I probably wouldn't have made it there at all. 

Field Day 5/10/12
Also, in the past week, I have had so many people do so much for my family, my gratitude cannot be expressed.  In the past week, the following people have brought me food, driven me around, picked up my kids and entertained my kids for me:  my Faulk & Foster family, Vicky, Amy, Tracy, Melonie, Mike, Diana, Beth, Carol, Candra - this is just in the past week!

And finally, my mom... she has driven me around (as usual) but ALSO she has taken my entire list of shopping for Walmart and Brookshires and stocked my pantry and fridge - yes, she has done all of my grocery and supply shopping for me.  Again, this is in addition to running me and my kids places all the time.  Thank you, mom, for everything!

Thank you for your continued prayers.  They mean the world to me, as do all the texts, cards, e-mails and notes.  Please pray that I will keep things in perspective and be thankful for all the good in my life. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vertigo Attack Free for One Month!

"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." Psalm 18:22

My last cluster of attacks was a month ago.  That is GREAT news.  I am so thankful to have had no more attacks. For those still confused about this disease, an attack is when something snaps in my brain and scrambles it, causing me to only be able to lie down, completely motionless, in a dark room - it causes severe nausea; I cannot open my eyes b/c they just jump all over the place - nothing is standing still... kinda like in a movie when they cut to a dream sequence and the picture on the screen starts to morph and swirl and twist around.  My attacks typically last about 2 hours and I have to stay in bed for a day or more afterward.  Often the attacks come in "clusters" so several usually come within a few days of each other.  One month ago, I had four attacks in an 18 hour period.  But NONE since then!!!

Therapy is going really well.  I had 2 great sessions this week.  Summer had me do a lot in the time I was there but not so much that I couldn't recover or that I was a mess when I left.  One of the "exercises" is on a swing... yes, when she told me we were going to swing I almost lost it. Anyway, I sit on the "swing" and she gently pushes me back and forth and side to side.  There's a picture below.  And I have to close my eyes while I'm doing it.  Even you "normal" non-Meniere's people out there would be a little unnerved.  But it's really not bad and she takes it very slowly.  After seeing the picture, Beau & Lydia are READY for therapy b/c the swing looks so fun!

"Swinging" at therapy
So I have nothing but praise and good news... no more attacks, which is critical for the therapy to be able to work.  And two good therapy sessions this week.  And the past few days have been MUCH less dizzy, swimmy, foggy!  Thank you Jesus!

I have been reading about those biblical heroes who had their own furnaces of affliction - Job, Joseph, David and they are such an inspiration.  God never left them and He always restored them beyond what I'm sure they expected ("To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" - Ephesians 3:20). 

I often get caught up in what I think might be going on in my ear and what I've read should be the outcome. I have to catch myself in these moments and remember that I've asked the God of the universe to help me.  My brother, Vince, is one of the funniest and smartest people I know.  I'll close with an e-mail he recently sent me in unedited form (for the record, brilliant minds usually have terrible written grammar and spelling)...

Hey sis, it is so great to serve a god who almost always gets things right. to know he usually tries his best, and dosent mean to fail. and he is always so ready to get advice from his lawyers and PR dept so they can put the right 'spin' on things. i am so comforted to know his success rate is in the 80-85% range; depedning on what survey you read.
OH, wait, so sorry, we serve Jesus Christ, the Lord God Amighty, Holy and Reverand are his name. He is the Alpha and the Omega, He spoke all the universies into existance through the power of his Word. Without Him nothing exists. .......And He died on a cross for us. 
OK, I guess we can pretty much depend on Him. All my love. a message for me as much as you, your bro LOVE YA, no need to reply!!!!
Vince.... NSCU (no spell check used... youll get ove it.

Your prayers are working in a mighty way.  I cannot thank you enough for all of the love and support through prayer - it is powerful.  Please pray specifically for:  Continue to be attack-free, continue to do well in therapy; the kids have 10 days of school left and in those 10 days there are 3 times I would like to be up at the school for events.  Please pray that I will have no panic or anxiety and those will be good days and I can attend those things at the school.