Another injection of Prolia behind me for osteoporosis: Six weeks late due to having to change Providers and get re-authorization.
Nursing Supervisor administered the injection instead of the CMA as a precaution after discussing my history with these thingies.
One hour continuous convulsive episodes followed whilst clinging to a raised treatment table, fearful of falling off. The PRN Prednisone did nothing.
Nikki, the very sweet Nursing Supervisor, stayed with me in the dark, closed room for the entire time. I rarely get that level of supervision during an episode.
Sat in the treatment room for 30 minutes more to make sure there would be no mo rebound spikes.
Sat in the lobby for over another hour trying to stabilize to drive home, nauseous, weak, exhausted, pained. Thank God for a little HGTV on the monitors!
Cancelled plans to grocery shop. Gently drove home with a bad neck headache, etc.
I reek like cheap fragrance from that place. Time for a shower and as much sleep as possible whilst nursing the cold I am catching from my beloved Steve.
Wondering if my reaction was worse this time because the injection was 6 weeks late. (Delays also can increase the risk of fracture.) I worked really hard to get this done on time but it is the insurance company who literally “calls the shots.” Glory be, I will be doing this again in 6 months!
Let there be no mistake: if I did not have my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ I would have given up by now! He sees us on our bed of sickness and weeps for our suffering. Always remember that our God reigns and I continue to trust Him. His mercy and grace, sustaining power is REAL. I lay down my sword and let my God fight for me. Lord willing, this 7 years of hell on earth will end; even if it doesn’t end I trust in the hope of eternity when all will be made right and good. Lord help me to be faithful in this difficult calling and thank you for your promise of restoration, of Your blessing one day. To God be the glory.
Gentle Reader, He will meet you where you are as well and carry you if necessary. Lay down your sword and let Him be your tough guy! Believe this day!
One of the movies that has really resonated deeply with me is, The Breakfast Club. Please see my previous post for the catchy theme song that underscored the film and one of the most poignant scenes that is also pertinent to Part 2 of this 3-part blog.
In Part 1, I described the isolation that I have felt when enduring a serious illness and how the Lord still gets me through the toughest of days. His Word is my greatest comfort; the leading of the Holy Spirit and His presence are my greatest companions. I ended with a question,
But how well does he really know me?
Sure, my Lord crafted me before I was born and set forth all that I would be, all that I would endure and accomplish. His Words in Psalm 139 declare that He knows my “innermost being.” Does this include the longing of my heart as well? If it does, why has He allowed me to become so dreadfully isolated?
Maybe someday I will get to see why so many family and friends have chosen to “walk on by” me as it says in the theme song of The Breakfast Club. Have I not been a good friend? Maybe I was not. I remember about two years into this ordeal someone contacted me and asked me about getting together for coffee. I replied “yes” and then I never heard from her again. My spirits had soared then crashed and burned. For believers in Jesus Christ, the answer to the “why” question is usually left for eternity. We simply may never know “why” this side of heaven.
Those of you not living in isolation may not have any idea how much Satan uses this experience to tear a person down. He can prey upon all of our negative emotions and be allowed to create havoc in our lives. (Yes, ultimately God is still in charge!) Yet I know that it’s really not about resisting Satan or about losing the people in my life. I resist the devil and his demons with the sword of the spirit: the Word of God as described in Ephesians 6:10-17. People come and go in our lives and that is the normal ebb and flow of life. It really is about my response to the taunting, the loss of these relationships.
My challenge has been particularly great due to the effect that this chronic illness has had on my brain. Responding to Satan’s lies and the loss of relationships has been affected by the change in brain chemistry that came with chronic illness. My ability claim victory in the name of Jesus Christ and fully embody the companionship of my Lord have been affected. Satan’s lies have been magnified. My social skills have eroded. My ability to think clearly has been altered. And I struggled to override these skill deficits but could not, even if I tried. Allow me to explain.
Only recently did we discover that excessive neurotransmitters called catecholamines (epinephrine, norephinephrine, and dopamine) are likely contributing to my mood changes, thinking and communication skills in addition to possibly causing the convulsive episodes. This is happening due to the expression or “turning on” of polymorphisms (SNPs) or breaks in several enzymes that help form my DNA code. The DNA code is the instruction manual or blueprint from which the body functions. Everyone has a unique combination of broken SNPs that get turned on by illness or significant stressors in the environment (such as exposure to mold). For me the factors included everything that I have written about in this blog: biotoxin illness/hepatitis, latent Lyme disease, Candida toxicity, mold illness, infected root-canaled teeth, and mercury toxicity. That’s a lot of stressors! These illness and environmental challenges became a trigger for disaster. I even have the data to prove it, all of it!
For some people this process manifests as a Mitochondrial Disease or a disruption in the methylation cycle inside the nucleus of the cells of our bodies. My thought life was affected. My mood was affected too. I had waking and nightly nightmares not based in any reality past or present. Those were internal things that my beloved husband, Steve, and the healthcare community could not see very often. Several healthcare practitioners labeled me as having a mental illness of sorts, often without even completing a mental status exam or workup! Gratefully, Steve believed me. They all saw the wretched convulsive episodes that have plagued me for hours every day for 3 1/2 years. And Satan was allowed to enter into the whole dynamic with lies and attacks that I will definitely write about at another time. Absolute mental and physical wretchedness.
But now the gig is up! Two days ago I woke up from a lovely nap after starting to treat this condition. I had my first 16 hours seizure-free! It’s as if someone turned on the lights in my brain! Not only do I have a formula for correcting the brain-part of the process but the prayers of deliverance against the spiritual warfare are taking hold. The cascade of negative mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual suffering is beginning to turn around. Lord willing, I am going to get well!
My Jesus knows all about every aspect of what I have described here. He also knows the desires of my heart. How do I know this? My prayers long before this illness began was to become whole. I had been broken by the consequences of a hard life: events out of my control. Many times during trauma the Holy Spirit would bring encouraging scripture to me that kept me moving forward. Yeah, finding hope and finding myself has come through horrible, ongoing isolation and trauma. I have worked hard to recover from so much suffering in my heart, my mind, my body. Each step of the way has been both painful and meaningful. Yet I tell you, Gentle Reader that nothing has been wasted! I have learned to trust the process in EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE under the protection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And now the desires of my heart are being realized. Cool beans.
So how does one rebirth the desires of one’s heart?
In the 1980’s I visited the Monet exhibit when it was at the Chicago Art Museum. My husband at the time humored me with tickets and appeared to be as delighted as I was with the works of this famous impressionist. Sometimes you just have to see things in person to understand their brilliance; this was true for both of us after we toured the travelling exhibit. We brought home a print of the Japanese Bridge at Giverny to frame and proudly display in our home as a remembrance. I still have that picture lying in wait for the perfect place to showcase it in the more contemporary-styled home of Steve and me. Perhaps we will find that spot in another few decades or maybe our next home, whichever comes first!
Another piece of art takes my breath away every time I see it. If I can ever find another print of it I suspect that I will always have it on display somewhere no matter our décor. I was in the gift shop of the Chicago Art Museum with a boyfriend at the time, years before finding the Monet print, when I found a poster of Henri Matisse’s “The Tree of Life.” It’s a photograph of a stained glass window from the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, Italy. Something about it captured my heart. The colors and themes are simple, completed in a form of collage for which Mr. Matisse remains famous. I’m not particularly fond of most of the rest of his work however, that tends to be more abstract or includes distorted images of people, places, and things in bright colors. Many of those people are partially naked: tis not my cup of tea to have an image of a naked stranger on display in my living room!
We carried the poster home on the commuter train back home to the suburbs like a prized possession. This trip occurred before I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the true giver of life. Oh I knew the story of Adam and Eve from Genesis and the two trees in the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Tree of Life. Perhaps it was the simple themes, Biblical title, and reverence for our Creator that struck a cord in me when I saw this image. Sadly over the years of living in various apartments then storing the print in a storage locker, the framed poster was damaged by a basement flood beyond repair. Or perhaps it was the distraction of graduate school that cost me my better judgment in keeping this little memento safe. Oh well. It’s not that important right?
Years later I came upon the Tree of Life image online. I searched and searched through scores of poster websites trying to find another copy. On two occasions I even called the gift shop at the Art Museum trying to locate a source for securing another copy. The image was printed for that temporary exhibit only and the staff said I would have to contact the Vatican in Italy for another one! Yes, I looked for contact information for the Vatican gift shop and eventually ran into a dead end once again. Still another lead led me to an oil painter who could make copies of it but the online service appeared somewhat nefarious for the cost. I’m not sure it would be worth a few hundred dollars to have a beastly oil painting when a nicely matted and framed print will do just fine.
So the search will go on for perhaps another few decades. That’s fine too. These days the “stuff of life” (as in art prints) is less important to me. An older mentor once taught me at a critical time in my life to hold things of value lightly before the throne of God’s grace. It’s like placing a pencil in the palm of an outstretched hand. He may grant you good things or non-material blessings depending upon each season of life in which we find ourselves. Sometimes we hold onto the pencil for a purpose as it lies on our hand and other times the pencil falls away. To discern whether to hold on to it or let go out of our hands is wisdom indeed and worth holding onto the most. Let’s reflect on this further:
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:18
Ah yes, there it is. Looks like in the Bible the Tree of Life was first noted in the Garden of Eden and later referred to wisdom. What else we can find?
The fruit of the righteous is a treeoflife, and the one who is wise saves lives. Proverbs 11:30
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22:2
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:4
And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. Revelation 22:19 (Our just reward if we do not heed His invitation.)
Knowing that I have access to the tree of life through my relationship with Jesus Christ has made a tremendous difference in my life. These past 2 1/2 years have been wretched with painful, noxious symptoms and waking seizures every day, multiple times per day, and often for hours. Other symptoms come and go every day. Knowing the hope that lies within our Lord’s living water manifest within the image of a life-giving tree resonates with me. I love gardening and increasingly appreciate being outside more than indoors: two ingredients drawing me towards His majestic creation in the natural world.
As He gives life to nature so does He breathe life into you and me. The past 1 1/2 months since my brother’s devastating stroke pains me as I realize his suffering too. My love for Mike draws me to pray for him in hopes that he rededicates his life to the Lord who loves him despite this situation. As we both dwell in the presence of the Lord there will be a purpose for our lives, a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). We must draw upon the living water extended to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection to realize these promises, until we are called home to dwell in His presence forever. His indwelling Spirit will sustain us, and strengthen us like that tree of life growing strong and tall against the storms that may come. It is the harsh winds and rainstorms that help the sapling to develop strong roots, sturdy branches, and rings in the trunk that tell the stories of His amazing grace through it all.
The real tree of life is not a poster or a pendant found on the internet: that is for certain! The real tree of life is the Lord Jesus Christ as the rock of my salvation, His firm foundation under my feet, nourished from the Word of God, yielding the fruit of Holy Spirit for His glory alone. We will grow in love and admonition of the Lord: a wonderful place to be. I am so grateful to have found the true Giver of life. Gentle Reader: have you found Him too? :J
Looking for hope and encouragement while you or your loved one recovers from a serious illness? I invite you to check out Hope Beyond Lyme: the First Year.
The first year enduring and battling a serious illness can test everything we thought we knew about coping with the trials of life. In this book, I invite you to share the more meaningful moments of my journey as I seek to draw strength from outside of myself to endure the trials of my particular story. My hope is that you, too, will find strength and hope that transcends your day-to-day experience. I also hope that you will consider the hope found in God though a personal relationship with His Son. His presence in One’s life makes a difference in where a person lands when this particular journey of life is over. Will we have peace or will we have despair?