Keeping the faith!

When texting with a fellow sister in Christ today, I’m hoping that the Lord graciously encouraged her with these words.  If you are hurting in any way, I hope they encourage you too.  Jesus loves you!  JJ

We can do this my dear sister! Cling to that cross with your baby fingernails and hold on!

When facing death so many times when my breathing stopped I asked Him if this was the end?  How could I possibly go on?  I feared going to bed every night because the episodes were worse at night.  They hurt my frame.  They hurt Steve.  They hurt our marriage.  And one day the Lord spoke gently only the words that I would not die.  He made His presence known at my darkest points of personal hell.  Then things got worse.  And my measure of life became only the fact that my eyes were open!  With this I learned to live in the wonder of the moment and He sustained me with just enough grace to get to the next one . . .  Then after 3 years time, some answers and the beginning of restoration have come into view.  Whoa.

I am sad for your suffering!  I was hoping you had more relief by now.  I know God is showing up to do the things you cannot do alone in your weakened frame.  Reaching out to others when you have big needs?  And so much more.  Whoa.  Yeah God!

I pray He will speak to your heart today.  Like letting down our swords and shields and letting Him gird you gently with His truth.  And He “speaks” that truth of in so many ways doesn’t He? I know He loves you and cares for these needs, grieves for your suffering.

When someone asks me how I am doing I have often replied, “hanging tough.”  My brother Mike taught me a better answer, “keeping the faith.”  Yes indeed.    Love you, Julie

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The Turning Point

When you start to leave hell, it’s important to take stock of where you have been and where you are then leave all of your baggage at the turning point.

Hi Gentle Reader.  This is my gentle wisdom to you as I gratefully and graciously turn the corner after 3 years of wretched illness.  Much grieving has already gone before me and my beloved Steve.  Much loss has already pruned that which is no longer critical to our lives.  Much angst at our Lord’s merciful throne of grace has established Who is most important in our lives and that He was leading us through all of this.  Much dashing of hopes in false turning points along the way has produced endurance for what appears to be the last leg of this race.  And yes, much joy has returned despite the jagged line that is normal in the recovery phase.  That’s o.k.  WE HAVE HOPE!!!

Briefly, I am experiencing 50% improvement in my health after beginning treatment for very high mercury levels.  This process will require a slow titration of chelating agents, detoxification with the gentlest of methods, much rest, and humility.  Humility?  Oh yeah, humility to stay watchful for the Lord’s leading each step of the way and to continue to lean on Him as my own strength returns.  My husband has proven himself again and again as the Lord’s instrument, a capable spiritual leader in my life.  I have many examples in my life how pride has gone before my downfall, you know (Proverbs 16:18).  I don’t want any more “slips and trips” anymore particularly of my own creation!

As I have started to feel better and do more my devotional time has diminished.  This is not good.  So in response to this turning point, I aim to spend more time in the Word than I have in the past when feeling reasonably well.  I aim to keep practicing gratitude:  holding lightly any material blessings, fruits of my labors, times of fellowship and the like.  I aim to smile more and complain less.  After all, I faced death many, many times!  These days the gift of  time and space, my talents and gifts, and the people/places/things around me are a bonus.  I have never believed that I deserved either the good or bad things that have happened in my life.  They simply “are.”  They simply “were.”  It is with great wonder that I aim to explore each day for what may come.

How can anyone really see beyond a turning point anyways when he or she has never been on a given journey before?  If we worry about it then we have chosen to believe a lie.  No one knows the future so why make up something bad?  Why not something good?  I aim to squelch what is false with what is true from God’s Word:

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (Matthew 6)

Nuff said.  Steve and I enjoyed a long walk in the rain this evening with our pup.  This picture portrays my heart inside.  God is good.  All the time.  God is good.  JJ

God is good.  All the time.  God is good.
God is good. All the time. God is good.

 

 

I am sure of it

 

Multitasking cartoon

Unlike the brain fog of this cartoon, I am going to get well.  I am sure of it!

The second week into the use of an atypical chelating agent (Zeolite by Zeo Health)  for very high mercury levels has brought more moments of mental clarity than I can ever remember in my entire life.  Oh sure there are ongoing seizure attack episodes yet they are generally 50% improved overall!!!!!!  I could not say this after any other treatment protocol attempted these past 3 years.  I could not say this even after the initial relief from high CBD hemp oil (the industrial hemp counterpart to cannabis oil).  I could not say this after antibiotics or Rife treatment with the Beam Ray.  I did not say this after (27) IV infusions of magnesium last Fall.  I could not say this after extensive and expensive mold remediation in 2013.  Even after aggressive treatment for candida over 2 years, I could not say this.  But I will say it again:

I AM GOING TO GET WELL!!!!!!

There is only one person to thank for this new direction:  the Lord, Jesus Christ.  At a time when multiple factors have come together at last, the path has cleared and hope is restored over here because of His mercy and grace.  A key factor in this process is humility.  More on that in a moment.  I also want to thank my chiropractor:  Dr. Lee Nagel at DeKalb Chiropractic Center in Waterloo, Indiana.  He had a hunch early on in my care that I was suffering from mercury poisoning.  After all, two hair analysis tests revealed mercury and other heavy metal toxicity in the year 2000 and again in 2011 but both times my respective Family Practice Physician (FPP) minimized the results.  Both times the Dr. thought I would be unable to tolerate a special type of detoxification protocol called chelation that would be required to remove heavy metals.  So off we went each time in another direction instead until my life of hell began with viral hepatitis October 11, 2011 and escalated into daily seizures beginning in March of 2012.

Dr. Nagle had high mercury levels discovered by his cardiologist.  His health improved after treatment thus placing mercury issues on his clinical radar.  Dr. Nagle, father of three, is one of the most adventurist and athletic people I have ever met (behind my beloved Stevers of course!).  His chiropractic practice rarely includes medical testing but he made an exception with me.  Thank you!  It took a month to get the testing protocol right then the results revealed the shocking reality of a probable root cause of illness for me:  very high mercury levels.  (Please refer to this excellent summary to learn more about this devastating substance.  Original citation available upon request.)  After a false starts with a quack-y Dr. who claimed to provide chelation, my current FPP is guiding me in the use of chelation and increasing other gentle methods of detoxification that have worked well for me.  By the way, my FPP has also recovered from mercury poisoning that almost took his life!

All of this is very humbling after 3 wretched years of illness and 23 years of chronic pain aka fibromyalgia.  While I do recognize that I have a new, long course of treatment ahead of me, I am exceedingly grateful to discover a root cause of much of my suffering.  Holy cow!  A successful outcome could help more than the seizures.  Yeah God!  Both Steve and I are really hopeful this time.  And it is with mental clarity at 4:30 in the morning that I write this to you!  So grateful for the 3-hour nap earlier tonight.  Yeah, the weird sleep schedule continues a bit!

And now about humility.  These entire three years have presented challenges requiring me to trust God for everything up to my next breath.  I submitted to the loving care of my gracious husband as he needed to carry me to the toilet a hundred times; help me to shower, feed or dress me when I could not about once per week; carry me to bed often so he would be near as he tried to catch some sleep before work,  rush me off the emergency room FIVE TIMES, and so much more.   Oh Gentle Reader, have you sensed that I am a recovering Type A personality?  A first born of my siblings in my family of origin?  That I started working when I was 16 years old with babysitting jobs before then?  That I am capable of taking care of myself thank you very much?  This is the longest and most extreme period of need that I have ever experienced.  I have had to let go of everything during these past three years.  At another time I will write about facing death when my breathing would freeze multiple times during seizure attack episodes.  And with all of this, I did not die of embarrassment or lack of oxygen.  My Heavenly Father and earthly husband have carried me through to this next season of recovery.  I AM HUMBLED!  Thank you seems too small.  I love you both!

Briefly, there were two other tasks I believe needed to be completed during this time:  1) learning to depend completely upon my husband for material needs and 2) realizing that the little activities I got to do here and there would become new skills, new relationships, and new activities that would become my future.  Both were tasks that probably would not have come without grounding in Jesus Christ or needing to cope with the crises of severe illness.  I probably would not have seen so clearly and (hopefully) fully submitted to the incredible character strengths of my beloved had I not become so broken.  Steve is my spiritual leader and head of household and I am grateful.  Long before we met I know what it took when my life fell apart in 2003 to soften me into the kind of woman that my beloved would choose to love.  I now see more clearly what kind of man the Lord has provided for me to love in return.  I AM EXCEEDINGLY BLESSED!

So join me, if you will, for an amazing adventure of recovery from serious illness.  IT IS HAPPENING!  So much fun awaits!  Thank you for riding along with me.  May we both praise the Lord for the good that is here now.

Hope is a good thing, eh?  I am sure of it.  JJ

Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV)

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

 

Numb but Hopeful

I love Patrick Klein’s words from the Vision Beyond Borders newsletter this week:

Psalm 143:10-12 says, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” Doing God’s will does not come naturally; our natural tendency is to satisfy our fleshly and worldly desires. We must be taught and transformed by God to do His will. When His Spirit leads us, it is on level ground. He alone can make crooked paths straight. Our duty is to remember that what we do is for His name’s sake. It is not about us. He alone can best determine how He desires for us to bring glory to His name. It is not for us to determine. Despite hardships, trials or persecution that may be allowed in our lives, God can preserve us and bring us out of our trouble. 

Our only responsibility in all of this is to simply remember our role. We are to be servants of Christ. Often we grow weary because we are trying to do His part. We are trying to figure out where He is taking us rather than allowing Him to lead us. We are trying to figure out how to preserve our lives and bring ourselves out of trouble rather than allowing Him to bring us out. We are trying to silence our enemies and destroy our foes when that is not our work. We are not made for those things, and it is exhausting. Our duty is simply to look to God and serve Him, allowing Him to do these things for His servants! We don’t have to strive, we simply have to come to Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light; we will find rest for our souls. May we faithfully seek Him, serve Him and remain completely in Him, trusting Him to show us each step! 

Thank you Patrick.  Last night I started using yet another binding agent (Zeolite) to try to encapsulate and detox mercury from my weakened frame.  Afterwards I felt very weird!  We were Skyping with my husband’s daughter in Thailand and it was all I could do to chat a bit, smile a bit, and keep my shoulders from hiking up to my ears!  The nightly seizure attack episode was significantly shorter and I fell asleep at a more reasonable time, around 1:30 a.m.  Hell was waiting for me this morning and returned with more violence a couple of hours later.  Can you say “mad as a hatter?”  Well if you were a hatmaker in the 19th century you might be more familiar with mercury poisoning than the current medical profession.   So let’s see if we can figure this one out, eh?

#1  Trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

#2  Follow the clues and think about how chelation works for mercury and heavy metals.  Most protocols require regular treatments for a given interval of time, sometimes as often as every 4 hours.  (See the Cutler protocol.)  The rebound occurred about 12 hours after the first dose of a true chelating agent.

#3  Consider a repeat, low level dose at regular intervals to bind and remove the newly circulating toxins.

#4  Relief came within minutes when the detox agent was consumed with lots of water.

And after resting, eating, sitting out in the lovely Fall sunshine, I am upright.  This is good.  I am also extraordinarily humbled by some incredible blessings this week and will end with four to match the points enumerated above:

#1  Unfailing love in the eyes of my intended beloved, Steve.  When I am in his arms no matter what the circumstances, I feel the love, care, and compassion of my Heavenly Husband too.  Thank you Jesus for Steve.  Please love and bless Him.  Cover our marriage with your grace.  May others see a good work in all of this for your glory Lord.

#2  Treatment options that provide some relief.  I believe that the pattern of suffering is about to change for the better and we are exceedingly grateful.

#3  Wisdom that ultimately comes from the Lord.  I have learned so much these past 3 years and have received blessings, gained new skills, met new people, cleared out some excess baggage, and found a voice that I pray will glorify you here.

#4  Hope.  No matter what the burden may be (and we both need not look far to see horrific burdens that our brothers and sisters in Christ must bear for their belief in Him), He will prevail.  As a new friend, Karan Gleddie, brought to light this week we are to “set (our) minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  (Col. 3:2)  Therein we too will find our hope, our peace, our happiness.  And as Patrick reminded me, we are to serve with the strength of Christ for His namesake.  With our eyes on Christ all things are possible.

Gentle Reader, how may I pray for you today?

Colossians 3:2
Colossians 3:2