Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Closer Look

There was a dead horsefly on our back patio when I woke up yesterday morning.  Seeing as how Gator eats pretty much everything, it was a miracle this little bug was still there.  It was on its back and I bent over to look more closely.  As I looked I noticed its little fly eyes and its stinger.  I then got the kids' magnifying glass and tried to look even closer.  The reason I say I "tried" to look closer is because Gator-the-Holy-Terror was trying to jump on me, eat the magnifying glass and step on the fly all at the same time.  I finally shooed Gator away long enough to gaze.  This fly, which usually is annoying, ugly and sometimes painful, became beautiful under the glass.  I could see many intricate details of its body, its large stinger, its scales, its amazing eyes. 

Over the last 2 weeks I have received at least 6 different words of encouragement from 6 different people in 6 different ways.  I want to share them with you, not to be proud or boastful, but just so you will know exactly what I mean:
1)      A family friend that I see once a year at most told me how much she enjoys my blog and how helpful it is to others.  She encouraged me to write a book or compile my postings in some way.
2)      A friend that I have seen about once in the last year sent me a Facebook message sharing her valley story and encouraging me with her words and lessons, so many of which I can totally relate to.
3)      A friend sent me a text acknowledging that every time she sees me walk into church she gives thanks that I am able to be there; knowing that for a very long time church attendance was difficult and I didn't go for a very long time.
4)      A friend sat next to me in church during a sermon from 1 Peter 1:3-9 entitled "Life Under Assault."  She looked at me after the service and told me she thought of me the whole time and about how I've stayed positive throughout my trial.
5)      A friend has been going through a very scary, physical ordeal for the last week (she's better - praise God!).  I was able to send her some encouragement and get hers in return.
6)      My mom called the twins' birthday into the local Christian radio station last week.  She also told the DJs what a great mom I am and that I read scripture and pray with my kids every morning.  It was a slow birthday morning (theirs was the only one), so the DJs spent some time relaying this story on air.  As I sat down to pray that morning I realized that if absolutely nothing else changes or I don't have a new ministry or calling as a result of this trial, that this one change in our life alone is a gift and a treasure and can have a significant eternal impact.  If I were still working full-time and running wide-open, I would have said, "We don't have the time in the mornings; we can't be late for school!"  And I realize this incredible gift of time that God has given us - time to spend training my children the importance of reading God's word and talking to Him every morning.

Again, I'm not sharing these stories as testaments to anything I've done.  I just want you to understand how over the last few weeks I've taken inventory of the last 19 months and am re-assessing just what it all means.  Somehow, with God's grace, I am able to look through the magnifying glass and see an ugly, painful, annoying situation as beautiful and precious.  It's a process, but I believe God has ignited a renewed sense of purpose for me.  Just like Gator distracting me from fly-gazing, many, many things have distracted me from having the right mindset over the last year and half.

I was lying in bed last night and shamefully remembering a conversation I had with the Young Singles Life Group that I taught up until the time I got sick.  One day in class I asked how many were ready to go to heaven and I sadly admitted that I wasn't quite ready yet.  Because I had a completely blessed life here, I didn't yearn for any more.  I had a great job, husband, kids, home, friends, HEALTH.  Through this journey, the priority of those things has been stripped away.  For so many days the only thing I could focus on was God's grace and the things of this world became "strangely dim" as the song says.  Now I cannot wait for the day that I can burst forth through those pearly gates.  I am ready NOW.  I realize that all I have is temporary and none of it is mine anyway.  It's all God's.  Now that my fingers have been pried from the grip I had on things of this earth I can spend time with my magnifying glass looking more closely at this journey and appreciating it for what it is and even finding beauty in something very ugly.

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
 ---Habakkuk 3:17-18

Other Stuff
I've been on the new meds for a week and it's actually been a pretty good one.  I'm cautiously optimistic.  Nights are still not fun at all, but at least I am getting a little relief in daily activities. I'm still having some trouble setting boundaries and not pushing myself - I'm sure that will continue to be a work in progress.

School is out for summer and I am so thankful for lazy mornings and no homework!

Tomorrow I will celebrate 14 years of marriage with a wonderful husband who has quietly born the brunt of the family burden for a very long year and a half.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20 Mayo Visit

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the continued prayers.  Even though I don't sit and write very often anymore I still know you are faithful in remembering me.  It's been a rough couple of months physically and emotionally and I know I've been withdrawn.  I'm not sure why and can't really describe how I feel.

I had 2 appointments at the Mayo Clinic today.  I told Dr. Staab, the doc I speak with via phone regularly, that it was surreal being there again.  Last October when I left, I truly thought I would never be back.  But 7 months later there we were today. 

What a blessing that we didn't have to fly commercial; we left our house at 6am today and pulled back in the driveway at 5:45 this evening.  We ate breakfast and lunch and had 2 one-hour doctors appointments - pretty incredible!  I know of one doctor in West Monroe that may keep a patient waiting close to 12 hours just to see him (Ok, I'm exaggerating but you get the picture).

So, the long and short of it is that we must continue to try different combinations of medicines to treat my chronic headaches and my dizziness.  My doctors feel we have pinpointed what may be a good combination for me so we are going to try and find the right dosage with those 2 meds.  Dr. Staab was so wonderful, so reassuring, so knowledgeable.  He re-emphasized that I'm not alone; that he's going to continue to work with me until we find the answer and that we have to just "build on the little successes" to figure out what's best for me.  We're trying to get my brain to shift out of the "high risk dizziness" mode and the headaches are "throwing gas on the flames"... so we have to treat both, which is more complicated than just treating the dizziness.

Since I continue to have terrible nights - waking up from dreams that I'm riding carnival rides or dizzied up on heavy meds - I may also begin taking something at night to help me sleep.

Finally, I have to make some "lifestyle" changes.  Instead of cramming all kinds of activities into "good" days and then crashing from it and/or refraining from any activity on "bad" days, I have to pace myself during the week.  Being the OCD planner that I am, this shouldn't be too tough.  Although I don't do well with boundaries and saying "no" so Jonathan is also going to help keep me on track!  Dr. Staab wants me to plan a week out at a time; one or maybe two activities a day so that I don't overdue the good and that I push a little on the bad.

Last October when we left, Staab said to "go home and make (getting well) your fall/winter project."  Today he told me to go home and work on getting my meds right this summer.  And so I face another literal "season" of working through a recovery (if that's what I would even call it) period.  So, that's the gist of it all.  I'm sure this is Greek to many and I probably don't explain it well.  Since I've lived it now for a year and a half, it's all lingo that makes sense to me, but I realize it's very confusing!

I'm not really sure where God wants me right now in all of this.  I am struggling with that too.  I desperately want to write, but I feel empty.  And that makes me really sad.  Please pray that I will listen and act when and where He wants.

On a light and exciting note, Beau & Lydia turn SEVEN on Thursday.  We had their party at Chuck E. Cheese last Saturday and 18 kids showed up.  It was WILD!  Both docs at Mayo knew that I was serious when I told them I’d made major progress getting back into normal activities.  They agreed that any “normal” person would get dizzy in an environment like that and commended me for my bravery!  

Thank you, again and as always, for the many continued and faithful prayers.  I feel like a broken record but I very sincerely mean thank you.