Home of the Brave

fireworks-flag

Yesterday on the Fourth of July we celebrated the independence of America from Great Britain.  Among many patriotic sayings is a phrase from our national anthem:  Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner:

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Indeed this song that was sung while waving our American flag is still a symbol of heroism in the United States of America.  And yet I submit to you that within the hearts of the great and mighty that exude bravery are the once ordinary citizenry that the Lord rose up for great deeds.  Those neighbors, husbands and friends chose to align themselves with the God of the universe who reigns supreme and will come again for His own.  Similarly if anything I write here telling my own story reflects bravery then it is a reflection of those everyday heroes in my life that hold me up as well:  many more than I can list here.  Allow me to share with you.*

*A dear friend, Cindy, who checks in on me regularly despite her busy work schedule and home life.  From her I learned to de-mystify alternative cooking for health (a task which consumes much of my waking hours these days!).  Canned coconut cream from a downtown Asian food market is my new delicacy and gratefully it goes with everything.  She’s probably the best resource person I know for local health and food stuff, is extraordinarily encouraging, and has a heart bigger than her petite frame.  Love you girlfriend!

*Three regular readers of this blog who graciously let me know they are out there from time to time:  Jennifer, Sherry, and Amanda.  Some may say that it is not a real relationship when you meet a person online and don’t have any face time with them.  I disagree.  After all, I met my husband online via Yahoo Personals many years ago!  And we are living happily ever thank you very much after having bridged the gap from anonymity to familiarity.  Yes:  very familiar indeed!  I appreciate the prayers, sharing, overcoming spirit, and support of these three lovely ladies in their own heartfelt blogs.  Amanda generously read and reviewed my first eBook last year.  Thank you ladies!  Find them at:

My Color is Lyme

A Labor of Love

Amanda Lannon

*My brother and his fiancé, Mike and Lisa.  My brother had a severe stroke 3 months ago and was subsequently dumped in an inner city nursing home because he didn’t have insurance.  Together they are navigating the difficult processes of securing Medicaid and Veteran’s Administration benefits.  The paperwork, dead ends, delays, and frustrations are intense as time passes without comprehensive medical care or ongoing rehabilitation.  While our conversations about all of these are certainly lively, I am impressed by my brother and Lisa’s overall prevailing spirit.  Mike is looking forward to the day when he can serve others in a similar situation possibly as a dog handler in a pet therapy program.  He is delving into the Word of God often now.  Lisa is fulfilling well her new role as Guardian despite being way out of her comfort zone.  These are good things.  I’m proud of you both!

*My husband Steve.  The love in his eyes for me never changes whether he is carrying me to the bathroom (due to daily episodes of neurological collapse) or showing me how to shoot a pellet gun at an empty gallon jug of orange juice.  He may not have had enough sleep for the previous four nights in a row and yet his love never changes.  He is my Jesus with skin on and greatest hero on this earth.  I love you River Bear!

*The Lord, Jesus Christ most of all.  When I found myself single at age 45, the Lord had become my Heavenly Husband and everyday companion.  He had to become real to me to fill the painful void leftover from my estranged ex-husband.  My Jesus also showed me the once empty places in my heart designed just for Him then filled them completely.  I know that I am never alone.  Ever.  He is the great I AM, worthy of praise, and a warrior for the cares of our days.  No matter what comes in this fallen world or how wretched, He has overcome all of it.  Those of us who believe in Him through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will be saved and spared any more suffering when He comes again for His own.  The Lord is the ultimate hero in which we can place our lives, our confidences.  Every good thing and the bravery needed to face these challenging times comes from the one true God.  In the shadow of His wings I am comforted, protected, find rest.

For the nation of Israel, into which we believers are adopted as sons and daughters of the King, we find our freedom, courage to go on, and rest in the Lord.  It is the hope of my heart that you, Gentle Reader, will find these great gifts in the person of Jesus Christ too.  In Him we have the greatest of heroes:  brave beyond compare.  Now that’s a holiday worth celebrating today and every day.  Bang bang!

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Psalm 147 (NIV)

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
    praise your God, Zion.

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
    and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
    and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
    his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
    they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord. 

 

Sneak Peak: Hope Beyond Lyme: The First Year

HOPE eBook Cover

Here’s an important peek into the eBook borne out of this online blog with updated material, bonuses, and references.  Stay tuned for publication information, coming soon!  Thanks a bunch,  Just Julie

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Final Thoughts

August 24, 2013

“Life is like a box of chocolates.  Sometimes you don’t know what you’re gonna get.” 

Remember this famous line from the movie, Forrest Gump?  (Paramount Pictures, 1994)  Yeah, I “get” this message when the day begins with renewed hope and generally ends, well, somewhere else!  Gratefully, the day is never without hope at some level.

Perhaps you have wondered what you would “get” when you were beginning to read this eBook.  Maybe you downloaded it because of the words, “Lyme disease” in the title.  I appreciate you wanting to learn more about it as it seems I too can never learn enough about this complex and almost sinister disease process that is so difficult to diagnose and treat successfully.  If you would like more information on Lyme disease see the About Lyme Disease chapter at the beginning of this eBook.  I also encourage you to go to the websites of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society and Mercola.com

By now you realize that you have gotten something quite different from me than a Wikipedia description of this and other serious illnesses.  I am hoping that as we close here, you have seen how there can be more to a journey colored by a chronic sickness than the illness itself. 

Most importantly, I hope that you can see how much of a difference it can make to have a personal relationship with God through His son, Jesus Christ, when enduring a serious illness.  He has changed my perspective and transcended my experience over and over again in a way that continues to make a difference.  I could not go on without Him!  Life is just too difficult otherwise.

I hope that you have come to understand that you too can have this personal relationship with God by coming before the Father in prayer and supplication, in the name of Jesus Christ.  As we each approach the “throne of grace,” we must first acknowledge that we are imperfect, live in an imperfect world, and have an imperfect life.  The world is imperfect not because of our mistakes but because of its falleness and that is due to the presence of sin.  Sin in turn affects us no matter who we are as a part of our human condition (Romans 3:23).  We come to understand that we can overcome sin by admitting our brokenness, asking for forgiveness from the Giver of life, and accepting the gift of saving grace to wipe the slate clean:  He then restores us to a right relationship with God.  We are forgiven and free, now and forevermore.  (John 3:16)

The faith needed to believe this truth and go forth comes from reading and hearing His inerrant Word, the Bible.  (Romans 10:17)  When we do make a decision to believe, we enter into a relationship with the God of the universe (and with fellow believers too) that can never be taken away unless we denounce that Jesus is Lord.  We are saved from the guilt of our sin and our perspective in life changes.  We are never, ever alone again as we receive the indwelling gift of His Holy Spirit:  our Counselor, Our Guide.  We also embark on an amazing journey that brings peace, love, joy, spiritual gifts, blessings, and promises that will take us through everything and anything that happens on this earth.  We will not truly know what this is like until we make a decision for Christ.

And one day when our time on this earth is over, we will enter into His presence to live with Him forevermore.  We cannot even fathom the infinite glory of heaven in our finite earthly minds.  In heaven there will be no more suffering, no more tears.  Wow.  None! 

If you have not already done so, and would like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I encourage you to pray a prayer of repentance and submission right now.  In doing so, you surely will receive:   Hope Beyond Lyme.  And if you do, would you send me an email and tell me about?  I’d like to be among the first to welcome you into the family of Christ.

Take care, Gentle Reader.  Just Julie

So where are we now?

Driving+steering+wheelWhen I wake up from a nap while travelling in the back seat of my beloved’s Dodge Magnum, I often ask, “so where are we now?”  We may have been on the road travelling for hours when I finally settle down enough to fall asleep then wake up in a daze and ask this question.  Perhaps I could sound like a kid who would go the next step and ask, “are we there yet?”  Well since I’ve already used that question for the title of another blog post, I opted to go with the first question!

So if you are a gracious reader who has been following my story of recovery from Lyme Disease, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), and Fibromyalgia, you have read in three prior posts about some new treatment directions (reference April 29th, May 11th, and June 20th of this year).  You have also read perhaps with horror of my battle with my most noxious complication of illness:  seizure attacks and all of its variants.  After 16 months since the “neuromuscular events” began, I have some good news for you:  beginning two days ago, the pattern of seizure attacks has started to change!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

What prompted the new direction?  It appears that I’m close to landing on:  1) just the right dose of Losartan (an off-label application which has lowered TGF beta-1 levels and chest-compression pain) and 2) VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide for CIRS which causes me to react negatively to most intense sensory stimuli in any form).  Additionally, a fifth type of antibiotic taken in the past 7 months is reducing the symptoms of a urinary tract infection within a matter of hours after taking it; nothing else has come that close, a la natural or by prescription.  While I am also still feeling spacey, sick, low level headaches, aches and pains, ringing in my ears and a host of other symptoms, the bottom line is that I am starting to get better!  The violence and frequency of the seizure attacks/pre-tics/tic attacks is coming down.  Praise the Lord!

I wouldn’t write about these things if it didn’t feel real to me.  I have had false hope many times before only to have my hopes dashed with more sickness.  Still I have kept the faith and persisted with the strength the Lord has provided; to Him be the glory if any good has come from this blog.  It’s time now to acknowledge that it is too early in this new direction to say any more than I already have written here.  So now I will end this post.

For today, please join me in being encouraged that after 16 months of hellish suffering, some relief has come.  I wish I could hug you out there for standing by me.  Thank you.  Just Julie