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

 

 

We Will be Fine

The plot thickens, my angst flares

Why more nasties when hope came near?

I thought we had it, the Doc and I

But my body freaked out putting me in arrears.

Three infections at once

With more at bay for now

Is much to address

Each in it’s own particular way.

Many calls at night

Hubby running here and there

He is so tired as I

Writhing on the sectional in despair.

Call it die-off

Whatever you may

Take this binder and that

With another remedy in the fray.

I have no idea

If I will ever catch up

The beasts within me win

Or do they?  It is not yet clear.

My eyes are burning

My tummy aching with nausea

The pain is less, hoo-rah!

Unbelievable at a time like this.

So what will I do

To get through another day?

Cancel everything again

Sit tight and hold on as we go this way.

Rougher than most healing

The prize won’t be for wimps,

We elite patients stand strong

In the arms of our Lord holding us up.

Keep your eye on the prize

Solve the problems that arise

One day all will be gone

For in heaven we will be fine!

Rev 21:4, Revelation, no more tears, no more weeping, little girl, hope, trials, scripture, coping, help, suffering

 

Treatment Update

Time for a treatment update and some good news!  Yes, things aren’t as bad.  🙂

My major focus with my health since I started this blog has always been to stop the residual, daily convulsive episodes that have plagued me for over 5 years.  More recently my treatment plan has centered around treating a gut infection that appears to be related.  Some call it Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and specifically for me it might be due to a clostridia species infection.  Regardless, the gut-brain connection is real and affects neurotransmitters in the brain.  A myriad of neurological issues can result when these chemicals are deficient or out of balance.  Specific medications and nutritional supports directed by a functional medicine doctor in the past nor my genetic coach/naturopathic physician more recently seemed promising but did not help.  Over the past 5 1/2 years, my medical doctor and I have also addressed or ruled out a plethora of other avenues (biotoxin illness, Lyme disease, mercury and lead toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, dental factors, epigenetic expression, pain/structural complications, the endocannibinoid system with CBD oil, psychological issues, ruling out brain or cardiac anomalies, sleep issues, etc.).  But what about the dull ache in my tummy?

SIBO, small, intestinal, bacterial, overgrowth, abdominal, pain, tummy, stomach, appendicitis, clostridia, infection, test, OAT

I did an experiment with a hand held far infrared (FIR) device designed to treat pain.  I used to sell the KenkoWave when I was an Independent Wellness Consultant for a Japanese health technologies company called NIKKEN.  Pain in the right lower quadrant of my abdomen has persisted for over a year.  A comprehensive medical workup yielded no clues so I decided to shine the FIR light onto my tummy.  After just 2 minutes, I had a 2-hour, violent, non-stop convulsive episode that would not respond to any remedy we tried!  I hung on for dear life!  I experimented some more the next couple of days with the same result:  an hour of non-stop episodes after only 60 seconds!  Holy cow!  Maybe the cause is in there somewhere?  By this time I had gotten the results for the THIRD SIBO test coupled with an Organic Acids Test (from Genova Diagnostics and Great Plains Laboratories, respectively) with severe and high markers respectively.  Over the next month, a plan of attack came together.

Somehow treating SIBO last year with an antibiotic (that stays in the gut called Xifaxan) was not enough to solve the problem.  The current round began with about a week of a powerful bio-botanical followed by a nasty antibiotic called Flagyl or Metronidazole.  The drug makes me nauseous so I take another pill for that.  I am not fond of drugs but at this point I will do it if it KILLS THE BEAST!!!  Gratefully, the abdominal pain has already come down.  This leads me to the good news:

  • One-point reduction in the 1-10 pain scale.
  • Less reactivity to noxious stimuli and pain that used to trigger seizure attacks.
  • Shorter episodes that are generally less violent.
  • One less episode most days at my most vulnerable times:  falling asleep or waking up.
  • Clearer thinking for some part of more days.
  • Less stress, fear, sadness, and anxiety.
  • Fewer headaches.
  • Less food sensitivities slightly expanding my food choices.
  • Increased ability to tolerate more supplements prescribed by my doctors per my test results.
  • Ability to work in the garden about once per week.
  • Ability to get to bed before midnight up to 3 nights per week.  (I often stay up late to avoid seizure attacks falling asleep.  Sometimes this has helped in the past.)
  • Movement in a better direction on several laboratory test and scan results.

The changes also appear to have been impacted positively by taking Low Dose Naltrexone.  Persons with autoimmunity diseases and fibromyalgia often use it to reduce a variety of symptoms.  I did not do well on a different dose in the past but I believe the Lord led me to do some research and prompt me to try it again at a lower dose.  This started the list of improvements noted above with the reduction in chronic muscle and joint pain.  Praise the Lord!  Treating the gut infection followed and here we are.

I am encouraged and hope you are as well, Gentle Reader.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!

If you are someone reading this who is struggling with severe illness, please let me know so I may pray for you.  And please don’t give up!  If I can make it through hours per day of head-banging, you can make it through what you are dealing with too.  You are not alone.  Keep trusting in the Lord to see you through each moment, to guide you and comfort you as only He can do so.  He promises to never leave us or forsake us and will always be near if we but call upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He sees us on our bed of sickness.  He hears us.  And one day He will come again in glory for us, taking us to a place where there will be no more suffering or weeping.  He promised!

Thank you for following my journey dear one.  Take care, JJ

 

 

It’s Legal: CBD Oil is Here to Stay

A couple of years ago, I ordered my first bottle of CBD oil from Bluebird Botanicals.  My hope is that it would take away the seizure attacks that I experienced on a daily basis as part of a serious and complex illness.  The preliminary research showed that CBD oil made from industrial hemp would be legal for me to purchase in Indiana, was effective for intractable seizure disorders affecting children, and would bear few if any side effects.

I tried it.  I slowly increased my dose over the next 3 weeks to the level indicated in the testimonies and research that I had found online.  Then things went terribly wrong.  I started to have frightful nightmares.  They increased in vividness and horror then were joined by waking night terrors.  These are the kind that don’t stop when you wake up!  I was scared to continue.  I backed down my dose, took a break, re-started and nothing seemed to bring relief.  The benefits of halting or preventing seizure attacks did not outweigh these horrible side effects.  Eventually I abandoned CBD oil altogether.

While medical marijuana has Cannabidiol (CBD) as an ingredient, you don’t need to live in a State where medical marijuana is legal to obtain CBD oil by itself.  Medical marijuana also contains THC which is a schedule 1 controlled substance in the United States.  CBD oil from industrial hemp only contains .3% THC.  This allows sale of pure CBD oil in all 50 States.  For me the .3% was still too much.  I would later understand that I don’t even have a genetic disposition in my opiate receptors to explain my hypersensitivity to THC.  Heck, I smoked pot occasionally as a young adult without any ill effects.  There would simply be no explanation for my intolerance of legal CBD oil from industrial hemp.

industrial, hemp, CBD, oil, seizures, convulsions, benefits, legal, legalize, Lyme, tremors, tics

Flash forward 3 years.  I became acquainted with a company who manufactured pharmaceutical grade liposomal products.  When they introduced a CBD oil product made from industrial hemp, I decided to try it again.  I still suffered from daily convulsive episodes although the number of hours lost per day to them had decreased after beginning IV antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease.  Seizures, tics of organic origin, non-epileptic seizures (or whatever you want to call them) were a definite neurological complication of latent Lyme disease.  The episodes were less per day but not gone.  I ordered a bottle.

I did not get past a single dose of the new product before suffering another waking night terror incident.  Dang!  The only difference this time was that the superior liposomal nanoparticle size delivered the CBD more quickly to my brain than the Bluebird Botanicals product — and for me that was not good.  I returned the bottle to the healthcare professional from whom I had ordered it.  And then I waited.  There would be no other compelling rescue remedies to reduce my suffering when the nightly episodes came.  No doctor would order medication for me to even try; I have been to the Emergency Room 10 times over these past 4 1/2 years because of wretched convulsions!  Even over-the-counter Benedryl would leave me unable to function very well the next day if it did stop them (and render me too sleepy to care about anything the next day).  A few herbal antibacterial supplements offered temporary relief on occasion and the reason for that will be another blog post about Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).  Neurotransmitters and hormones that can give rise to seizures are manufactured in the gut dontcha know . . .

I learned that one of the better manufacturers of CBD oil was preparing to introduce a THC-free CBD oil so I contacted the owner.  I leveraged everything and asked to try a beta version of their new product.  Within 2 weeks the bottle arrived in the mail.  It took around 15 drops to get a significant response:  their THC-free CBD oil definitely helped reduce the intensity and duration of the nightly seizure attacks.  Yeah God!  This benefit happened even when herxing (or reacting) to a new antibiotic used in the treatment of SIBO.  Some relief came at last!  I am optimistic for the benefits that I might receive when the first round of antibiotics for the treatment of SIBO are completed in 5 more days.  Perhaps healing my gut will help everything as well.  In the meantime I have contacted the owner again to see if I might obtain additional product; my hope is to transition from using it as a rescue remedy to having enough for regular dosing that can help prevent the episodes altogether.  I may need to switch brands to get this accomplished.  We’ll see.

CBD oil is legal for purchase in all 50 States of the USA.  If you are frustrated with noxious symptoms especially tics, seizures, pain, depression, or anxiety, there may be hope in the use of CBD oil from industrial hemp.  Please do significant research on the track record of the manufacturer, look for independent lab testing of purity/potentency/concentration of active ingredients and absence of unnecessary fillers before making your purchase, especially if online.  Very likely you will not find a superior product at your local health food store as hemp seeds and hemp oil contain too low a concentration of CBD to make much difference for a serious health condition.  Here is one brand that is available only from healthcare practitioners nation-wide:  Colorado Hemp Oil.  And this website has some good general information although note that it used to be funded by a manufacturer of industrial hemp products:  Project CBD.  I am not sure of its current status.

This is my story and I’m sticking to it!  I am not an expert by any means just a gal trying to find some relief in an ethical, legal, and medically sound manner.  Feel free to share pertinent information below.  Please don’t try to sell me anything!

Take care, JJ

 

 

 

The Medicine Cabinet

Pray tell how much do you think I can hold

In my shelves bursting forth from the orders?

“Try this, take that, or Google the one I heard about”

Becomes license for judgement once thought to be clinical.

Not learned in school but that of “hard knocks”

The ideas flow too simply during paid consultations

Such is the life of a lab rat in the cauldron of illness

Where test results get mixed with expensive remedies.

So I look up interactions online thanks to drugs.com

Although many will be borne out of a bad trip on a Tuesday

When I try your best guess out of desperation, my last dime

And occasionally find relief or find hope a fraction of the time.

“I’ll take it,” I say under my breath as a new protocol prints out

My medicine chest overfloweth, my fingers sore from researching

Til someday the Lord crafts a breakthrough I shall not give up:

For the Great Physician love me more than this infirmity for sure.

Just look up, look out Gentle Reader if you suffer along too

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,

for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Proverbs,4:22, medicine cabinet, God's word, Bible, the word medicine, hope, healing, Great Physician