Winning through losing

Winning through losing is the title of an article by Pastor Sandy Adams in the Summer 2017 issue of Calvary Chapel Magazine that touched my heart and lightened my burden this day.  Pastor Adams told the story of the Apostle Paul of the Bible who, after coming to faith in Christ, never had a “thorn in his flesh” removed despite praying three times.  He describes it as follows with a passage from 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 12:

Paul learned to view his thorn as God’s gift.  He rejoiced in the weakness it caused; for it became God’s opportunity to demonstrate His supernatural strength.  Paul rejoices in verse 10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  He took pleasure in circumstances where he was no longer in control.  A weak Paul empowered by God’s grace was more effective than a strong Paul at peak performance.  Paul was confident that God’s grace was sufficient. (p. 52)

Pastor Adams goes on to encourage us that the Lord’s greatest work is in our times of defeat:  a work that He intends to do all along.  “Rest in this:  When we are at our weakest, God makes us strongest.” (p. 52)

It is my hope that my writings here will exemplify this teaching.  I have struggled greatly these past few weeks with episodes of physical and spiritual darkness too ugly to describe publically.  To think that I may never be free from daily convulsive episodes is a burden to great for me to bear in the midst of these setbacks.  At the same time, I continue to have a sense that perhaps soon they will stop.  Should I not hope that they stop?  I think not.  My calling is to remain faithful to the moments in which I find myself:  doing that which the Lord wants me to do, discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in the presence of my King often.  If that means being obedient to the Lord’s call to get off the couch to take a rescue remedy while my head is banging, my legs aren’t working right, and pressured vocalizations are emanating from deep within my loins then I will trust that my Heavenly Father will keep me safe while I do so.  It’s amazing how supernatural power overcomes my own inability to move my body correctly.  His power is real!

I recently completed a course of antibiotics to treat a gut infection that may have a connection to my brain symptoms.  The medication hurt me with damaging side effects.  After 10 days I called my Doctor and transitioned to the first of two herbal protocols that would follow next.  Tomorrow morning I will start the second of these two plans including dosing at an elevated level of an antimicrobial that I have largely tolerated in the past.  I am hopeful that recovery is possible with this new plan.  After reading Pastor Adam’s article today I will remain mindful that there is purpose and power in every moment of this journey no matter the outcome will be.  The power of Christ has indeed rested upon me in my weakest, most breathless states.  I have trusted Him completely albeit not perfectly.  He has ordained these days for me revealed in other levels of healing that I cannot disclose right now:  the longest held desires of my heart have been addressed, have been comforted.  Through seizures!

In time, the Apostle Paul saw his thorns as a gift.  “Imagine, a thorn gift” suggests Pastor Adams.  “When Paul accepted his thorn as a gift, God gave him strength.”  As I have come to my own level of peace with this serious illness, I have received many gifts as well.  Another great blessing has come from my beloved husband, Steve’s, unfailing love, presence in the darkest of times, prayers, and gifts of the spirit.  He is often my Jesus with skin-on, so to speak.  This morning he anointed me with oil as he prayed for me in the aftermath of incredible difficulties.  Oh Lord, please bless this man, this instrument of your peace!  Help me to love and serve him as you would have me do so with your strength, with words from You to encourage his heart.

You know I never really thrived when posed with a competitive situation at home, with my peers, at work, at school, or in most places in life even though I know that it is o.k. to strive for excellence in all of these settings.  I usually fell short before reaching the prize.  Perhaps my focus was on the wrong place?  Winning through losing brings us to the eternal finish line, the one that matters most, in second place behind the Lord, Jesus Christ who will share in the victory that He hath created all along the proverbial races of life.  These are the ones that truly matter.  The ones where we let Him carry us or infuse us with His grace, His power as we cross over into eternal glory.

Now that’s a medal I do want to take “home.”  Lord, in your mercy, help me to finish well!  JJ

2 Cor, 2 Corinthians, 2:9, weakness, grace, sufficient, Christ, power, overcoming trials, Bible verse, encouraging

 

 

Our God Reigns!

Seeing this sweet perching of morning doves is such a mixed blessing this morning.  They are able to sit there because yesterday I was able to cut down the massive out branching of a clematis from lower on the trellis.  Also washed the flagstone patio of dirt and some algae.  I should have worn a mask for both projects.  Acute sickness and violent convulsive episodes followed within the hour and at the beginning of a sweet Skype call with my hubby’s son and family.  So sad.
However, the experience was diagnostic in that I am dealing with biotoxin illness now more than anything else.  Also I am tolerating targeted treatments for this for the first time in 4 of these 5 1/2 years of illness.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!
Gentle Reader, let the morning doves portray the hope that I have each new day in my Lord and Savior,  Jesus Christ.  No matter what may come, our God reigns!  Very fitting the week before Easter don’t you think?

JJ 

Full Moon Follies

My beloved qualified as my “Night in Shining Armour” last night.  If only it were for a victorious time instead of quite the opposite . . .

One would hope that significant interventions to quiet my inner storm would start working already.  Or at least tame the tempest beast when challenges such as noxious exposures and the mysterious workings of a full  moon come along.  I have read a hundred or more testimonies of the latter:  that for persons battling chronic disease, symptoms can worsen around the time of a full moon.  Perhaps it coincides with the life cycle of various bacteria or parasites?  Who really knows?  What I do know is that the worst of everything came forth and both of us are pretty beat up today from the lack of sleep along with the emotional and physical trauma.

  • Continuous convulsive spikes of every dimension
  • Headache, joint and muscle pain, ringing in my ears, dysarthria, bradykinesia, left-sided parasthesia, hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Visual anomalies (spots of bright lights when my eyes were closed)
  • Cognitive slowing
  • Difficulty breathing and communicating
  • Incredible frustration and discouragement leading to hysterical crying and anguish
  • Neurological collapse requiring maximum assistance with feeding, toileting, and dressing
  • Eventually passing out in bed around 2:30 a.m., partially dressed with no recollection of falling asleep

The 100% THC-free CBD oil provided a temporary pause in seizure attacks as did a large dose of liposomal Biocidin.  The entire episode finally ended shortly after taking my (3rd) nightly dose of Low Dose Naltrexone.  I must add that the only positive part of this experience was when I could open my eyes and saw my hubby in his night clothes as he cared for me.  I liked that!

Please pray for us.  We are exhausted.  The demands of life go on just the same.  My MRI with NeuroQuant study our of State will be delayed due to severe weather expected tomorrow; I am hoping to reschedule the appointment for later in the week.  Let’s hope that the NeuroQuant and the updating of multiple medical tests this month will be fruitful, Lord willing.  My Jesus goes before us and sees us through it all.  I trust in His timing, His plan for our lives.  Thank you for praying.

And thank you Steve for your heroic love and care.  May the Lord carry you today.

We wait on the Lord this day and always as we try to figure this out!  This illness is killing us. JJ

Treatment Update and New Learning

So they say that the brain is relatively “plastic” meaning that new associations can form within it over time, over the synapses between cells, even structures.  This can make a critical difference in the long term outcome of traumatic brain injury, seizures, stroke, toxicity, and disease processes affecting our central nervous system.  Thank goodness.  I might just make it out of this neurological illness with something good?

New associations can form in the brain via various mechanisms:  learning a new skill, subject of study, or behavior (such as breaking a habit and replacing it with another).  Utilizing memory can draw together old and new centers of the brain where information is stored.  Sensory stimulation from the five senses and movement also have an impact as each stimulates different centers in brain stem and cerebral cortex.  Movement increases blood flow to virtually all of the tissues of the body including the brain.  I understand that all of these activities but new learning in particular, can help slow down the onset of age-related dementia.  Never stop learning folks . . .

My own ability to learn new skills appears to be improving.  I have volunteered to help a  friend finish her website and continue to be the Assistant Editor of the quarterly Canoe News magazine of the United States Canoe Association.  Both require learning how to use software programs I had only heard of in the past; never used them in my occupational therapy career.  Cool beans.  Thank you Lord for these projects and my ability to tackle them!  When faced with a problem to solve, my attitude of late has been more of, “I’ll figure it out,” than anything else.  I like it!

And in general, the seizure attack episodes that I have suffered daily for 5 years are trending downward again.  Thank you Lord again!  My Doctors have transitioned my care from anti-bacterial (Lyme) to anti-viral medications and supplements.  We are re-testing several areas this month as well.  The biggest help overall appears to be the addition of 100% THC-free hemp oil.  This is a special kind of CBD oil made from industrial hemp NOT medical marijuana.  All of the cannabinoids except CBD are removed; not even the legal limit of .3% THC remains that is present in other CBD oil products.  (I wrote more about this here.)  It’s the only independently lab tested product of its kind that I could find in the United States.  Note that the CBD oil I am taking is  LEGAL in all 50 States!  I know.  I have been researching this issue for 4 years and have tried other CBD products available in my State.

My activity level has gone up some with pain coming down enough such that I can:  work on the 2 projects noted above, walk the dog 3 times per week, and leave the house for one non-medical activity per week.  So far, that is.  Looks like I might have had 2 outings in the past 6 days of this past week already!  I have started to be able to do my physical therapy exercises.  Thank you Jesus!  And when I got sidelined last night with noxious symptoms in the middle of the night, at least I had strategies to get me through a rough headache and morning today.  I’ve got tools to use now that actually help my symptoms.  This is a big deal to me.

Lord willing, Monday will bring an important imaging test in a large city about 3 1/2 hours from home by car.  My beloved hubby is taking me.  The test is a special MRI scan called an “MRI with NeuroQuant processing.”  The NeuroQuant software takes volumetric measurements of various brain structures and compares them to a normal brain.  Experts have identified parameters of significance in both the Lyme and Mold illness that provide diagnostic information and help in determining the severity of these respective illnesses.  This test is also used in traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis care and more.  I am pursuing it due to headaches virtually every day in addition to the remaining convulsive episodes.  Several EEG and sleep studies have shown no negative findings.  My regular brain MRI a couple of years ago was normal.  Maybe the NeuroQuant will help rule out other causative factors?

So did ya learn anything new today Gentle Reader?  I sure did.  I learned that there still is a someone-or-two who cares about me and what I have to say.  Thank you for that dear one.

You rock!  JJ

Gyrations of health: a Testimony

If a cyanobacteria exposure in a reservoir creates the same biotoxin illness as mold exposure, then why did I not tolerate the Shoemaker protocol to recover from both?

Tis the gyrations of health, I guess, like a drone spinning out of control from the pond beyond to the one drowning in our own backyard.

If latent Lyme disease reared its ugly head but resisted treatment with 3 increasingly costly protocols over 5 years, then why do I keep barking up this fallen tree anyhoo?

Tis the juxtapose of stealth bugs who hide, change their DNA, become resistant or move from my big toe to deep within the brain raising havoc all the while.

If a chain of serious viral infections can hang their shingles on my weakened frame at Christmastime, then why does not 30 days of treatment make barely a dent in one of them, huh?

Tis the nature of complex illness when antibiotics awakens a sleeping class of infection, pushing me to a sideline call more spectacular than a Super Bowl play in overtime.

If heavy metal toxicity met its match with the best testing, detox protocol, and success, then why is it still possible that more mercury, lead, and maybe aluminum may linger undetected in me still?

Tis the nature of blood, urine, and hair sampling that only captures that which is circulating or secreting not the poisons imbedded in tissues only a needle in a haystack would find.

If I can gain 34 more diagnoses with one trip around the calendar trying to get well, then why would we even question that there’s a need for a new tune, a break, and yet more prayer?

Tis the nature of hopes dashed while waiting and seeing what may come (not wasting time asking “why” instead of professing “I will trust you Lord.  Show me how.  See me.  And love me through it too.”)

If when married in the past and health challenges that now look like child’s play came but crushed life as I knew it, then it would be many years later that my intended beloved would show me true love:  how true faith conquers all, overcomes.

Tis the nature of fake religion which fails when life gets hard.  A God-fearing man seeks the Lord.  A God-fearing woman does too and this will be our calling card when this chapter of our lives is through.

And if my writings, my research, the doctoring, trial-n-error, or treatments really worked for something good, then why the heck would I still be seizing each day with “the flu” and pain that has marked 5 years of disabling suffering?

Tis the mystery of bothering to recover, trusting in the Lord who has saved me from far worse knowing that one day we shall rejoice, you and me Gentle Reader, if we but hang in there a little longer with hope beyond the gyrations of this life.

I’m in.  How ’bout you?  JJ