And in the meantime . . .

November 20, 2011 around noon.  I was alone when my body began shaking uncontrollably.  I was having difficulty thinking clearly and my speech was strained.  All kinds of fearful, crazy thoughts ran through my mind including blaming myself for what was happening!   It was the day after travelling about 16 hours to see family out of State and my husband had gotten up early after just a few hours of sleep to go to church and out to lunch with everyone.  Having never fully recovered from viral hepatitis 1 1/2 months earlier and somehow surviving the extended car ride, there just wasn’t any strength left to get up in the morning and join them.  Now I was immobilized and terrified of what was happening to me.  Somehow I figured out that low blood sugar was worsening the symptoms.  Finally I figured out that I needed to call Steve:  he could bring home a take-out lunch for me from the restaurant and I would hang on until he got home.  The only problems is that everyone was stuck on the other side of town anyways, with the drawbridge up that connected the roads between us!  Flash forward about two hours and the episode was over.  I fell into a fit full sleep and showered much later that day, pretty beat up from everything and quite embarrassed too.  What had happened to me?

April 15, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.  I awakened on my birthday with a nightmare and unusual shaking.  The nightmare wouldn’t stop even though I was awake, whether or not my eyes are closed.  I remained awake a long time, unable to fall back asleep.  This incident occurred nine days after beginning to use a Rife machine, six days per week.  (A Rife machine generates wavelengths of light and sound in program sequences designed to match the vibrational frequencies of various tissues and organisms in the body.)  Treatment for Lyme disease had begun in January with a 5-week course of antibiotics then continued with Rife treatments late in March when I could not tolerate the antibiotics.

April 18, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.  After running 15 minutes of various Rife programs, I was shivering uncontrollably.  My hands and feet felt extremely cold.  Fatigue overtook me and I napped almost two hours.  I woke up feeling somewhat rested until crashing after additional treatments including the beginning of a series of magnesium injections.

April 19, 2012 around 5:20 p.m.  I am suddenly awakened from a post-Rife treatment nap with the barking of our dog.  I am unable to move for almost 30 minutes.  My mind is dull yet rested until the second Rife treatment two hours later when I felt depleted once again.  I learned that this can be a typical response to various treatments for Lyme disease and is often called a herxheimer reaction.

April 21, 2012 around 3:30 p.m.  From my treatment journal I note, “moderate then moderately severe tics as I went to take a nap.  Cast out with calling out the name of Jesus.  Calmed.  Re-started.  Called out 2-3 more times and stopped.”   A two and one-half hour nap followed shortly thereafter!  Napping became my pattern after running Rife programs; my days were consumed with managing all the aspects of treatment.

The attacks of tic episodes continued every other day or so, mixed with nightmares most every day through the rest of the month of April.  Beginning May 5th, the low grade and severe tic episodes ramped up to virtually every day.   Most often they occurred when falling asleep after a Rife treatment or when trying to fall asleep at night.  The first extended episode that appeared to be a full-blown waking seizure was on May 12th after a nap.  It lasted 1 1/2 hours!  I struggled to keep myself from hyperventilating or stop breathing altogether.  Talking or voluntary movement were extremely difficult and made the attacks worse when attempted.  I cried!  My body temperature dropped and both thirst and hunger pangs increased dramatically.  I was miserable, exhausted, and terrified all at the same time.  While the nightmares would continue most days for another two weeks, they generally ended and recurred occasionally when taking a new medication or supplement.

Flash forward one year.  We remediated our home for mold early in 2013 and both my medication and supplement regimes had changed many times.  The seizure attack episodes increased to a couple of hours on a daily basis with some patterning in addition to after exposure to noxious stimuli.  I stopped attending worship services at our church since it is a water-damaged building with mold.  A recurrent urinary tract infection required treatment with a series of different antibiotics.  The seizure attack episodes escalated into convulsions 1-2 hours after taking an antibiotic.  My world continued crashing in on me as I began reacting to more and more foods, supplements, and types of noxious stimuli including loud music and bright lights.  The tic and seizure attacks ramped up in the summer of 2013 to 3-4 times per day for a total of four hours per day and continued at this level for the next EIGHT MONTHS UNTIL JANUARY OF 2014.

In January of 2014 I was very beat up from the wretched seizure-like episodes.  Remarkably they generally decreased to three hours-per-day in February after a series of extremely strict dietary regimes:  a stricter, no-low-starch-veggie-Candida diet; Candida and mold-free diet; Candida, mold-free, and low sulfur diet; and finally where I am right now:  Candida, mold-free, and low oxalate diet.  I have religiously documented my treatment protocols and responses to them, tracked trends, consulted with neurologists & a pulmonologist, networked in numerous online forums and support groups, and researched every angle of this illness to no avail.  Overall these days, this sickness is looking more like a biotoxin illness than Lyme Disease as evidenced by some genetic testing of late.

As of February 2014, some improvements have come including being better able to stay asleep and having stronger nails!  My hair is thinner and so am I!  However, I am largely deconditioned from intolerance to a full daily schedule of activities including exercise; headaches, global pain, ringing in my ears, and more have worsened.  I haven’t worked in two years and am homebound much of the week.  Concentrating on my hobby jewelry business is extremely difficult.  Somehow I have still continued to blog and am grateful for a two-week improvement in my cognition long enough in October to publish my eBook:  Hope Beyond Lyme:  The First Year.  I am grateful for all of the wonderful fellow sojourners I have met these past 2 1/2 years and have made some new friends too.  When I see that a non-believer has read this blog, my spirit soars to think maybe the Lord is using my trials to reach others with hope for His glory!  To see the Lord, Jesus Christ, as my sustaining grace and a source of hope for enduring the trials of this life makes this blog more than a journal and for that I am humbled, grateful.

And in the meantime . . . I am ready for the seizure-attacks to stop, of course!  My neck is killing me from all of the thrashing about you know!  I grieve the loss of time, the thousands of dollars, the stress, the isolation, and the strain on my beloved Steve.  Will I become disabled or return to work?  There is only One who knows the answers to that question and another big one, “why?”  Gentle Reader, if you have read this blog before, you know what I am about to write here:  it’s o.k.  I’m going to trust the lover of my soul anyways, no matter what happens.  I may try another treatment approach before I can see the doctors in a new clinic up in Michigan next month.  High CBD hemp oil (legal in all 50 States) has been shown to work well for both children and adults with seizures and who knows, it just might help me too.  However, I have been down this road of hoping for a cure before, only to have things worsen.  Yeah, supreme bummer for sure.  Sigh.  It takes what it takes.  Sometimes we wait and sometimes we go backwards.  If the Lord leads me to some new information and gives me the ability to search it out . . . if my husband agrees . . . if the resources present themselves . . . and if there are no barriers after prayer and sleeping on it . . . sure, Ima gonna try it.

So when it works, Lord willing, you can join me in rejoicing for having hung in there with me along the twists and turns of this difficult journey.  I hope I remember to lean on the Lord when times are good as well as when they are bad.  Please help me keep my Jesus in front of me as He goes before me each day.  Now let’s all get ready for some good news, k!

Footnotes on Suffering

To sustain us through the tough times, many of us turn to God and to prayer.  In this short article from today’s e-newsletter of the Vision Beyond Borders ministry, we can find encouragement and strength.  Let us allow God’s Holy Word to wash over us and consider Patrick Klein’s remarks as one who has seen suffering beyond what we can even fathom here in the United States of America.  We are blessed to have the freedom to be able to read and share these sentiments today:
Hebrews 12:12-13 says, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” This is talking about someone who has already been involved in the race. It is someone who has been pursuing the Lord and His purposes, but is growing weary and tired from the race. It is the point when they have hit the wall, and must dig deep to keep persevering.
When we feel burdened beyond our own strength to endure, it is then that we must remember not to rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead! We don’t want to start well then grow tired, but to be those who persevere, endure and finish well. We can’t do that in our own strength, but only through Jesus and only by setting His example continually before us; by looking to Jesus the author and FINISHER of our faith! (Hebrews 12:2)
This passage also tells us to make level paths for our feet. The word for paths here is “trochia”. It is literally translated as an imprint left by wheels – like a rut. We must realize that we are all leaving a rut in the ground for others to follow. No matter where God has us, there are people who are looking to us and our example. We must be careful that the path we are leaving is one that is level and straight, that it will not cause others to stumble, but it will be one of healing!
This passage comes directly after God explains how we are to persevere in the midst of our suffering, knowing God uses it to strengthen us…and not just us, but those who come after us! May He strengthen us to persevere for His Kingdom and His Glory. May we be a vessel of His healing as we leave a straight path for others!
I do pray that all of us wherever we are in the world will be healed of our infirmities in this life.  We know that by His stripes we are healed from the consequences of sin and death (1 Peter 2:24), by repenting and believing in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 3:16).  We know that one day there will be no more pain and suffering (Rev 21:4).  While it is possible that it may happen in each of our lifetimes, there are no guarantees of this per se.  Rather than be discouraged, join me in being encouraged that all pain and suffering can be used for His glory if we but keep our eyes fixed on Him, persevere, and endure.  The trials can be used to strengthen us, lead others to the Source of our strength, and mature us (James 1:4) for our eternal reward in heaven (Rev 22:12).
And that, gentle readers, is enough to get me up and running again every time.  Even today when out of sorts.  How about you?
Thomas Kinkaid:  The Cross
Thomas Kinkaid: The Cross

To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question

Shall I blog for my own aggrandizement or to edify the Lord?

If I sign my name and not His with His Word, have I turned the attention to my finite mind and wisdom instead of His omniscience?

Will the cutsy comics and quips create a stir in the moment and not an eternal fire in the hearts of men and women?

Can coping for the moment or finding the next cure become a substitute for finishing the race of life well no matter what, for His glory, His purpose, His plan?

If suffering is my best result in this life, will it still be wasted if I do not see the fruit of my labors and toils in the next 24 to 48 hours?

The apostle Paul wrote many letters inspired by God while in chains, in prison, in recovery from tortuous beatings and deplorable conditions.  If we own a computer and can read this, we will not be able to fully understand how God used this broken man to change the world forever.  He had His own infirmities on top of this such that others had to record the words for him so that we would know the heart of God centuries later.  God’s Word, though Paul inspires me to look beyond the blog, the news headline, the Facebook posting for real, enduring answers and truth.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  (Phil 1)

The questions noted earlier are among the important questions for Christian bloggers no matter what the topic of conversation.  I doubt that each of us will ever really know the answer to the question, “why do I blog?”  Oh we might think we have a purpose, a theme, a mission for our works .  .  .  I just hope that for me, my words have little to do with my drama and more to do with the One who created me!

24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:     that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,     justice and righteousness on earth,     for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.  (Jer 9, NIV)

Your thoughts?