On May 8, I went for my first MRI with contrast.
I thought I had already had an MRI with contrast in my brain, but after looking through all of my past “procedures,” I have had a brain CT with contrast, but no contrast with my almost half-a-dozen MRIs.
I am claustrophobic, but I have been able to manage the experience with a washcloth over my face; as long as the cloth is placed BEFORE they cage in my face, I have been just fine.
I am glad that the experience of being sucked up into a giant vacuum hose while lying caged in on my back does not even phase me (most likely because I have done this so many times—with my eyes shut).
Last May, when I was at the hospital because the left side of my face went numb following a UVLRX treatment (which had, somehow, opened up another layer of infection that had been brewing/hiding out), the neurologist came in to have a talk with me…
Mind you, every time a physician at the hospital comes in to see me, (s)he says, “I have read your chart and history…”
I somehow refrain from laughing aloud, but I am not quite sure how.
I would like to see my chart and history, please; it must be absolutely FASCINATING, because EVERY doctor has read it and wants to tell me so.
I envision it goes something like this: “Crazy woman in extreme pain. She isn’t drug seeking, but perhaps attention seeking. She presents, yet again, to complain about chronic Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, adrenal insufficiency, anxiety, neck pain… You would think by this time she would get that it is ‘all in her head,’ but NOPE. She just keeps coming back complaining of symptoms of….”
Anyway, this not quite 30-something year-old doctor with a leather man-purse (murse)/satchel/cross-chest bag came in to see me.
He was long-haired and wore thick-edged, rounded spectacles—I would not even call them glasses.
Kind of like Harry Potter, but not cute—nerdy.
I wonder how long these physicians rehearse with one another what they will say to me…
“If she says this, say this:”
“If she starts to question your expert opinion, do this:”
Anyway, he came in and introduced himself to me.
Without testing me physically for any of the issues I had come in for that you WOULD for a stroke/mini-stroke, he said, “I have read your chart and history.” (HA!) “And I have taken a look at your MRI from today. We do not think you have had a stroke.”
“Ever?” I asked. “Or just today, do you mean?”
“Well, most likely ever.”
“Okay, if I HAD, in fact, a TIA (mini-stroke) in October, would there be anything to show evidence of this on my MRI?”
“Well, no,” he said. “TIAs do not have lasting impact or cause permanent damage in the brain.”
“Hmm,” I said. (I already knew this.) “Okay, so what did I have back in October when my right leg and arm went numb and I was unable to speak—other than to slur?
Please, I mean no disrespect, and I appreciate your education on this issue, but unless you have ever had a TIA (I lilted my voice in effort to give him the opportunity to say ‘yes, ma’am, I have, in fact, had a TIA, which is why I am so interested in neurology’) or were in my body at the time, I do not feel confident in that assessment.”
“Well, we aren’t sure what that might have been, but didn’t you receive steroids for an adrenal crisis?”
“Yes, I went into an adrenal crisis after the numbness ‘episode.’”
He was losing in this conversation.
He should have taken more time to rehearse with one of the veteran doctors who had ‘interacted’ with me in the past; instead, he had to change the subject.
“Well, actually, because you are doing significantly better, we are thinking we will just keep an eye on this by having you in for another MRI in a year. The 7mm lesion is not of concern to us. We will look at something else when you get your next MRI.”
Since that date last May, I have looked at those darned MRI and CT impressions and narratives over two dozen times, and I totally overlooked the CT that read “incidental note of partially calcified pineal cyst”
I must have somehow thought that was what the 7mm lesion was, but it wasn’t.
There was no other description in any of my other MRIs or CTs, so I thought nothing more of what might be hanging out in my brain until I accessed my newest MRI result online through my health portal.
Well, an MRI WITH contrast is definitely the gold standard; it shows a whole bunch more stuff than WITHOUT contrast…
Although it took me about an hour to fully decipher these medical terms (and I read medical journal articles for fun, mind you), the results didn’t finally hit me until I realized, “Holy crap! This is what the neurologist was REALLY interested in at last year.”
It is a “minimally prominent complex cystic lesion in the pineal region. Findings likely represent benign pineal cyst” (but remember, it was ‘partially calcified’ as described in my CT with contrast) “and these usually remain stable.”
“In light of its prominent size, a cystic pineocytoma is possible. Consider follow-up in 6-12 months to ensure stability.”
Well, I said that I read medical journals for fun (actually, I really read them to advocate for myself and my symptoms; nonetheless, I am not intimidated by them), so I started reading up on pineal cysts versus pineocytomas.
Pretty much everything in the pineal region is in an area of the middle brain that you really don’t want anyone messing with.
AND, even MRIs WITH contrast cannot actually tell the difference between a cyst or a cytoma (tumor).
You literally do not know which one you have until the neurosurgeon cuts open your skull and starts digging for deeply buried treasure.
I cannot make this crap up.
Generally, these things are not symptomatic, and, overwhelmingly, brain tumors are benign.
Given the size of my “whatever it is,” however (10mm x 12mm), I have a small gumball in my brain.
The pineal gland is also known in some cultures as the Third Eye.
I understand why now.
I literally have a baby ‘eye’ in my brain.
I looked at the symptoms, and I have some of them—the non-stop headaches, the dizziness when looking up, …
I Googled pineocytoma at neurosurgery.ucla.edu/pineocytoma and found this from UCLA Neurosurgery:
“Pineocytoma is one of several different types of tumors that arise in the area of the pineal gland, requiring different therapies. The exact diagnosis is critical for choosing the correct therapy. Pineal tumors typically present with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid pressure within the brain.”
Some things, namely my constant pressure headache/migraine on the left side of my head, seemed to make so much sense now, especially as my findings show ‘mucosal thickening.’
The pineal gland makes melatonin, which helps you to sleep; I thought my insomnia was from my steroids—perhaps not.
Mostly, I had been living my life with the faith and belief that I was going to be healed—just like God had promised me when I went to work for my church.
I was feeling pretty okay with acceptance of the testimony He was giving me through my health challenges thus far; I was certainly not looking for more to add to my trunk of ailments.
Since I first became ill, when I would pray in my prayer room, I would pray over my Bible and then open it up for His ‘healing’ message.
More often than not, it would open to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the LORD to take it away from me.
But He said to me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that CHRIST’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for CHRIST’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I did not question God when it would open to that verse, but I will admit that I just thought that He was somehow telling me that my Lyme would be chronic, like a thorn in my side, and that it would rear its ugly head when I wasn’t taking care of myself or keeping my priorities straight.
I didn’t think brain cyst/tumor, especially because I thought I had somehow received my fair share of health issues (“Uncle! Uncle!”).
I was really upset for a few days, especially when I saw my primary care physician, who kind of freaked out—just a little bit.
Then, when I got the call from that same neurologist from the hospital to discuss the results (when I have an appointment to see him in another week), I realized that this news was supposed to be rocking my world.
I cried and then sobbed myself to sleep.
BUT when I woke up the next morning, I had such a profound sense of peace and love.
It was then that the pieces were all coming together (Hindsight truly is 20-20).
I realized that God HAS been healing me—from my brokenness, sadness, hurts, un-forgiveness, loneliness, worries, anger…
He has been using these past 19 months to set the stage for me to deal powerfully with this ‘news’ that is SUPPOSED to be rocking my faith.
Instead, because of my unshaking faith, I am saying: “Ah, thank you, gumball, for sharing yourself with me. What a gift. Now I know, with certainty and without fail, that I need to make each day and each moment count toward my eternity.”
It had become easier and easier these past few months when I was feeling better and better to begin to stand on my own, upright—not clinging to God to hold me up.
But in every past trial or overwhelming situation—when I did not know where the next meal would come from to feed my family, or how the next bill would be paid, or how the next medication could be afforded, or how my salary could be managed without when I was too sick to work—when I had my hand, my heart, and my soul faithfully seeking God’s divine intervention, He ALWAYS came through.
While I would certainly not like to re-live any of those experiences, those were the times when I had the most faith—because faith was ALL that I had.
I was listening to KLOVE.com the other day, and they played the song “Even If” by MercyMe.
I listened (and still listen daily) to that song over and over and over again.
You see, I have already spent several months in bed, in excruciating pain, unable to move, sobbing, begging God to take away the pain or to take me out.
I have spent almost a year teaching myself balance by riding my bicycle, and, while I still fall and am unsteady at times, I catch myself more often than not.
I have physically had to decrease the amount of time, effort, and energy I used to spend (waste) on trivial matters—I have my priorities straight; I have no regrets; I enjoy spending my days by cherishing moments I used to disregard; I tell people I love that I do; I love my life.
It is well with my soul.
What a gift this all is to be able to accept, not resist, this next adventure in God’s divine plan for me.
I am certain it will be a roller coaster ride, but I like roller coasters.
They are also scary at times, too.
I may cry, scream, or vomit on this newest adventure, but I know God is in control, and I have faith in Him.
I promise to keep it real.
I have been meaning to blog again for months.
I wanted my next blog entry to be my announcement that I have created an amazing resource for people who are facing, managing, and/or coping with major health issues and their symptoms.
I have worked on this project for months.
While I do have the product ready (and over a dozen people have it for my test pilot), I have been overwhelmed with setting up my store online.
I will get to it.
Yes, I promise.
It is called the Health Battle Warrior Battle Plan – Bootcamp.
In the meantime, God has me blogging today to share an update.
I am officially back to work as of March 2016; I am working for a federally-funded research branch of ob/gyn physicians, who are working to solve the issue of infant mortality in Detroit, Michigan.
These doctors are flabbergasted that I am not able to receive adequate treatment for chronic Lyme (One of the doctors is from Connecticut, and he is astounded that Michigan lives in the Dark Ages regarding this horrific illness).
While returning to work was financially necessary, I am by no means raring to go…
I manage to make it through each work day only to come home and crash; I have been able to do it again and again each next day for several weeks now (I did miss one day for hospitalization, but I will share more about that).
The Zithromax/Bactrim double-whammy antibiotic combo I was on for the past several months had finally begun to take its toll on my liver and kidneys.
I did a cleanse to fix that (I thought I was dying—for REAL this time).
My liver and kidneys are doing better now.
Anyway, my new and not-so-friendly round of medicine (Dapsone) requires a weekly blood test to track my methemoglobin levels to ensure I do not develop aplastic anemia (a side effect of the medication).
The most recent protocol for Lyme here in Michigan (in the Dark Ages, as you are unable to have access to meds that are proven effective for neurological Lyme issues) is to continue to rotate two antibiotics every several months (as long as tolerated) for a year without symptoms because the bacteria becomes resistant to the antibiotics.
“Without symptoms” are the key words here.
You see, I have been on antibiotics for chronic Lyme since March 2016, but I have yet to be symptom-free.
I still have ridiculous migraine headaches that nothing can touch (except more steroids), and I still fall quite a bit.
A few weeks ago, I was becoming confused again, and I was falling a lot.
My skin had become severely mottled; I was having small bouts of dizziness, and I was having chest pressure.
Within three days, I had fallen twice in the bathroom and burned my arm both times on my curling iron each time I fell.
My husband, Shawn, who saw me fall and burn myself the second time, said, “I did not believe that could even be possible (regarding the first time I fell and burned myself), but that is EXACTLY what you did!”
As these were all signs of the dreaded anemia, I called my Lyme doctor to find out my most recent methemoglobin blood results.
They emailed me the wrong ones (which showed my blood level was fine), so I figured the results were not yet back.
They had been mislabeled.
That Saturday, instead of going to have my standing order blood draw at the only lab that knows how to do so correctly, I went to see my primary care doctor to share my symptoms.
My regular doctor was not there, but this new doctor was very helpful and listened to me; she called me on Monday to let me know that my last methemoglobin was very high.
I knew it!
That day at work, I slipped twice and almost fell; thankfully, I caught myself both times.
After work that night, I drove to the lab to have the weekly blood draw done that I had missed on Saturday, but they were already closed.
I phoned Shawn, and he picked me up from the lab and drove me to the hospital.
After a “normal” EKG (They ALWAYS are!), I had my blood drawn, and I told my story, once again, about my chronic Lyme.
This time, however, it was like I was in The Twilight Zone…
It was just after midnight by the time my bloodwork was processed that I was able to speak with the doctor…
The ER attending physician informed me that she was from the East Coast, and asked,
“Why are you on Dapsone, given its health risks?”
I told her, “Dapsone is my last antibiotic option of the protocol, as my insurance has refused to pay for one of the medications ($2,000/month); another med was contra-indicated for me with my steroids, and I almost had another adrenal crisis; I am allergic to another of the medications; and, most recently, I had to change to Dapsone due to my liver and kidney bloodwork from my last set of medications.”
She asked, “Have you ever had the full month of IV Rocephin as part of the protocol?”
“No,” I said.
She said, “Well, we can have a picc line put into your arm in the morning and start IV Rocephin for you for a month.”
Had Shawn not been there, I would have thought this conversation had been a dream.
I looked at him and said (as soon as she stepped out for me to confer with Shawn), “Are they ACTUALLY recognizing and treating Lyme now?”
When the doctor returned, I told her, “Yes, I will stay and have the picc line put in, but may I have an IV dose of Rocephin now to ensure I do not have any side effects?”
“Certainly,” she said.
Within minutes, the med was placed.
I developed no side effects, and my headache miraculously disappeared, almost immediately.
I was ecstatic.
Shawn left to go home for some sleep, and he planned to return after my picc line procedure.
But then came SHIFT CHANGE.
The day-shift attending physician came in to introduce himself.
He asked about my Lyme diagnosis, and, using my Health Battle Warrior resource, I showed him my positive Lyme results.
He made no mention of the picc line and just said, “We need to do another EKG.”
I looked at him, quizzically, and asked (failing to mask my irritation), “Why?”
“Because of your chest pain. We like to do two EKGs to compare to the bloodwork we drew earlier.”
I said, “The first EKG came back fine, and I decline repeating the test. What is the status of my picc line?”
He retorted (both laughingly and patronizingly, I might add), “You don’t need a picc line!
I told him, “The ONLY reason I have stayed here was to have the picc line procedure.”
“We will have a physician from infectious disease come in to speak with you this morning.”
“Nooooooooooooo!” Yes, I did say this in my head. Sheer exhaustion, and I was still able to refrain.
Kudos to me! I’ve come a long way, Baby!
Yep, it WAS, in fact, The Twilight Zone just after midnight at the hospital—the show ended right at 7:00 a.m. with shift change!
I had been THIS close to finally having access to a medication that has been proven to cure neurological Lyme; instead, I was coming home empty-handed (That ONE dose of Rocephin, by the way, kept my headache from returning for 36 hours!).
These infectious disease doctors are the same doctors who had told me that my 10 year-old son did not have Lyme (after his pediatrician extricated the tick from his ear, I might add)—His bloodwork came back positive for Lyme a few weeks later, and he was on medication for seven months.
Yes, I did yell at these doctors.
These infectious disease doctors are the same doctors who told Shawn, when he was in the ER dealing with a systemic yeast infection from his Lyme antibiotics, that he had lupus—AFTER I showed them his positive Lyme bloodwork!
Yes, I did yell at these doctors again.
Given my adrenal insufficiency, I don’t yell very much anymore—I work to conserve my energy for self-care nowadays.
I did not want to yell at these doctors again; I just wanted to go home.
I called Shawn immediately after the physician left, and asked, “Did we really talk to a doctor about a picc line?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Well, all of that is out the window now! Can you come and pick me up?”
I called in my nurse and asked to leave, declining the visit from infectious disease.
The doctor came in shortly thereafter and said, “That is fine for you to go. They phoned and said, ‘We don’t recognize chronic Lyme.’”
SMH. SMH. SMH.
I am so glad I was able to conserve my energy.
I saw my Lyme doctor a few days later and told him about the ER visit and the IV Rocephin.
He said, “In the state of Michigan, I will lose my medical license if I prescribe IV Rocephin to you. The state needs to pass a ‘physician-aligned health care bill.’ They just did so in Utah. They have also passed similar bills in Massachusetts, New York, California…”
I contacted LymeDisease.org for more information about other states’ bills to protect Lyme-literate physicians that enable them to prescribe medication.
I don’t know why I keep circling back to politics, but if it will help others, I am willing.
I do think this is a sick joke, God, but I will put on my big girl pants and play the game.
Am I able, physically?
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Keep repeating it, like a mantra.
Please give me strength, God.
I am REALLY tired.
No one should have to go through this much insanity to receive treatment for Lyme.
Status Update: It has officially been two weeks since I have begun coursing electromagnetic frequencies through my body on a daily basis, and all I can say in my best Robin voice is, “Holy electromagnetic frequencies, Batman!”
This past week has been miraculous: I have officially and successfully cut my daily steroid dose in half (without triggering an adrenal collapse!), and I have biked over 42 miles around the island.
I am no longer taking any anxiety medication, AND
I am only using my pain gel medication on my swollen lymph, AND
I worked four days last week while standing on my feet, AND
I feel better than I have felt in over a year.
One year ago to the day, I collapsed; today, I am celebrating!
I am celebrating:
- Being alive.
- Overcoming insanely obnoxious obstacles.
- Having overwhelming faith.
- Finding God’s strength in my weakness.
Some days, even with all I have faced this past year, it is easier to feel sorry for or to minimize myself, especially when comparing myself to others and their lives.
Why do I do that?
I know it is human to do so, but, man, it sure sucks the air out of the room, right?
While I would love to be completely healed and be operating at 100%, I also know that God has me in this exact place at this exact moment for a reason.
It is only when I am not focused exclusively on Him and listening and looking for His guidance that I get swept up in the Tornado of Crazy, and up, up, and away I go!
These moments of self-doubt and self-deprecation are actually just gentle reminders from Him that I am veering off-track.
I simply need to do some course correction back on to the path He is laying for me.
It really is that easy to get back on track.
He redirects me in such funny ways, and now that song will be stuck in my head for the next several days!
So what do I need to say to be complete about the past year?
Usually, I complete this exercise with my husband annually on December 31.
We discovered this completion exercise from Tim Elmore, President of Growing Leaders, which is a leadership organization.
Check him out at Growing Leaders!
I am working on these nine questions now:
- “What are my fondest memories of this past year?”
- “What were the big projects I completed during the year?”
- “What were the defining moments during the last year?”
- “What did I procrastinate on and fail to get done?”
- “What books and mentors had the greatest impact on me?”
- “Am I closer to my friends and family from my activities this year?”
- “What will be my biggest goals as I move forward into next year?”
- “Where did I neglect to live up to the standards I set for myself?”
- “What am I committed to do this next year to fulfill my ‘Life Sentence’?”
This exercise is not about comparing myself to others; indeed, it is about being the best ME I can be.
This past year, I have had struggles, obstacles, losses, and “issues.”
While I may have missed the mark I set for myself and disappointed many people this past year, I need to acknowledge I have truly done my very best.
Life is not about comparing myself to others; it is about me fulfilling my purpose.
I am going to leave you with one of my very favorite poems, which was penned by Mother Teresa:
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Love one another!
See you next week.
People diagnosed with Lyme by a Lyme-literate doctor are fortunate.
Well, fortunate at least to finally identify the monster living within they must now attempt to kill.
Yeah, I do think that is the best way to say it, even though chronic Lyme is apparently only manageable, not “killable.”
AND even that can be debated, as, according to one of the best hospitals in Michigan, chronic Lyme disease does not exist.
This would be one of those times when I will not mention the name of the hospital whose staff laughs condescendingly at you and dismisses your intelligence if you mention you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease, even if you show the positive results of your bloodwork (I am certain most hospitals in Michigan have the same opinion, anyway).
We need not go in to that right now, as the argument I had with the doctors regarding Lyme was not pretty…
Let’s just say a legion of pit bulls came charging out of me.
This all happened when my husband, Shawn, was admitted into the hospital because he was dying from a systemic yeast infection from the antibiotics he was taking to treat his Lyme.
He did not die; in fact, he has lived to tell about it.
Yeah, not one of my better moments, but remember, I detest bullies, and I am a raging Mama Bear when it comes to people messing with my family.
I will not be running for office ever again, so I am not concerned if my raging rant was caught on tape.
When Shawn was diagnosed with Lyme, his main symptoms were urticaria angioadema and extreme anxiety.
My symptoms were horrific neck pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, vertigo, extreme anxiety, and a never-ending case of shingles on my optic nerve.
Same disease, different immune system response.
So, just how have I been going about trying to kill (aka. put into remission) my Lyme disease infection?
I have been on oral antibiotics for over six months now.
I have also received ten not-yet-approved-by-the-FDA ultraviolet light IV treatments (aka. “UVLRX”).
My bloodwork did not improve, though I felt significantly better afterward.
Following those treatments, my doctor started me on an anti-parasitic antibiotic, which seemed to be working well, but my insurance refused to pay for it after two months.
Why? Well, remember, “Chronic Lyme does not exist.”
Then I attempted a new antibiotic, which almost killed me.
Turns out, one of the side effects of that med is it prevents the steroids I take for my adrenal insufficiency from working.
Yes, I am a bit complicated.
That was when I became suicidal and thought, “Hmm, I am just going to let this med take me out.”
Yes, that thought went through my head, as I was in unbearable pain, had no time left on my short term disability, and did not see any light at the end of the tunnel.
My adrenal crisis last October brought about a quick journey into unconsciousness, so I was hopeful this med would lend a similar and speedy decline.
It was more like torture waiting to die, unfortunately, as I got weaker and weaker day by day but still woke up each morning.
I guess this is where my lack of patience actually helped me for once: I grew impatient waiting for the med to kill me.
There must be a zombie deep inside me, because each morning I still had just enough strength to stay alive and to mourn my existence.
I finally gave up and thought, “This dying crap is taking forever! I guess I should call the doctor.”
My doctor placed me on a new supplement, which has trace amounts of viruses and bacteria that serve to strengthen one’s immune system.
Yes, Lyme patients WILL try just about anything that might work (if we can find a way to afford it).
Surprisingly, I have felt quite well on the new supplement.
Though it is not cheap, thankfully it is available over the counter, so I am not threatened by insurance coverage issues.
My chiropractor, who practices kinesiology, also uses laser technology, which has helped significantly with my lymph drainage issues (my lymph gets clogged when the bugs die off and toxins build up).
Now, I am on to my next healing adventure.
I bought a Doug Coil Rife machine.
It is a super-powered machine with three large and heavy components; it basically looks like a computer from the 1980s.
I hold on to a copper coil as I set the controls on the amplifier to send energy frequencies through my body.
This freaky thing goes through bone, the blood-brain barrier, walls…
You must keep all electronics at least eight feet away or they could blow up.
I accidentally left my emergency alert bracelet on the other day when I started a treatment, which never touched the copper coils, but it got so hot it burned me when I took it off!
Have I noticed a difference in how I feel?
Look up information on the Rife machine.
It is fascinating how the FDA crushed it, making it illegal for doctors to use to clear all kinds of dis-ease.
Diseases like Epstein Barr, cancer, candida, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, HIV, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, depression, diverticulitis, gout, lupus, migraines, epilepsy, hypertension, and Lyme, just to name a few…
The list goes on and on.
I understand if a regular MD gets caught owning or operating one of these, he/she could lose his/her license.
I am not an MD.
If anyone reading this blog wants to come over to use my rife machine, let me know.
I like to think of myself as a Rebel With a Cause.
Maybe this is part of my new cause: to give people access to treatment they cannot find elsewhere, so we can get healthy and strong to live out our God-given missions together.
As for now, I have a ten-mile bike ride to complete before the sun goes down.
I quit my full-time job working for my church.
God told me it was time to do so.
God also told me when I began working for the church just under two years ago that serving in this capacity would heal me from the pit of despair I experienced working in politics where I was always caught in the crossfire.
I will just leave it at that…
Yes, I switched from working in politics to working for a religious institution.
Remember, this blog is about My Crazy Life, right?!
Seriously, God has a sense of humor with me that is absolutely nutty!
Is He only this bonkers with me?
He communicates with us in ways to ensure we get the message.
I require humor, a tad bit of irony, and a sprinkle of sarcasm, I suppose…
One year ago today, I shared a photo on my Facebook page that read,
“Dear Whatever Does Not Kill Me,
I’m strong enough now.
I shared this post just two short weeks before I collapsed from an adrenal crisis and mini-stroke and one month before my brother passed away.
And You brought me to the church to HEAL me, Lord? (Insert humor, irony, and sarcasm.)
This past year, I have been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, adrenal insufficiency, shingles, fibromyalgia, endometrial flares, and listeriosis.
I also went through a long spell of chronic dizziness, where I would fall into walls and/or trip constantly (this still happens, though with much less frequency).
I lost the ability to read and to mentally process words. (Obviously, this issue has resolved.)
I had constant migraines and severe muscle and nerve pain that made me suicidal.
And, to top it all off, I have lost significant hearing in my left ear.
Seriously? (Insert more irony and a hint of sarcasm.)
All humor aside (just for a moment), yes, I have healed significantly working for the church.
I have grown much closer in my relationship with God through this past year of life-threatening health issues.
I have learned to completely let go and to trust in Him.
I just had to come to the end of all of my mental, physical, and emotional strength in order to do so.
I could not win the battle alone.
I do not like to lose, but God did not want me to lose.
He just wants to do the fighting for me and for me to trust only in Him and His strength.
Now that I have done so, my entire world has changed.
My perspective on life and living have changed.
I am done doing it my way, alone, off the path He is leading me, wandering aimlessly, seeking the wrong goals.
I loved being able to unabashedly share the love of Jesus on a daily basis when I worked for the church.
I loved praying with people.
I met men and women who were ill, hurting, heartbroken, disappointed, angry, afraid, bankrupt, and exhausted.
I shared messages of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, and, in so doing, I have healed from my own past hurts, heartbreaks, disappointments, upsets, fears, exhaustion, and, yes, illnesses.
Even though my blood work does not yet indicate I am healed, I know that I am healing.
I feel it.
I have faith.
So, what is next?
I am working a few hours a week for a wonderful woman who owns her own spa.
Yes, a spa…where she sells facials, laser face lift packages, laser hair removal treatments, slimming procedures, and the best facial care products I have ever used.
The spa is pretty much a candy store for 40+ year-olds.
I love it!
I meet new people every day, and I treat them the way we all want to be treated: I love, cherish, and appreciate them.
I am patiently awaiting as God unfolds His bigger plan for me, but I also know that I am right where I need to be at this moment, watching and waiting for His next prompting.
When I get anxious about what He might call on me to step into next, I remember that “God does not call on the qualified; He qualifies the called.”
Honoring this, I anticipate each new adventure He has for me to begin, which always provides different scenery, people, circumstances, and, yes, unique challenges.
Whereas, I used to be tentative and question, “Is this REALLY you, God, talking to me?,” now I know His voice without a doubt, and I readily jump when He says, “Jump!” (AND, I even ask, “How high?”)
I now see my lengthy and complicated illness as a blessing instead of what I first believed was a curse: indeed, I see, hear, and sense God all around me, always here, and always protecting me.
There have been numerous events in my life that would be considered tragic: life-defining moments that shook me to my core and brought about significant changes in my personality, my willingness to trust people, and my overall sense of well-being.
Time has helped to heal the wounds once I stopped picking at the scabs to expose the raw flesh.
But, more than that, being with God and resting in His arms, being comforted by Him, and feeling and knowing His eternal love and protection surround me, have been the greatest gift and healing I could have received.
Had I not experienced each and every heartache, disappointment, loss, injustice, and health crisis throughout my life, I would not have come to know the amazing, blissful, all-encompassing love of God.
That’s the beauty that comes from the battle.
That’s where the warrior earns battle scars.
It is not on the couch or lounging by the pool.
It is in the gritty, dirty, take-a-stand moments that we come to know our power within does not come from us…courage and valor and power like that only come from God IN us.
Have you fought a “Take a Stand” battle like that lately?
A “Take a Stand” battle is one that is in no way driven by your ego; indeed, a battle like this is rooted in glorifying God.
Have you been blessed with a major crisis in your life from which a relationship with the Lord has blossomed?
If not, let Him know you are ready and willing.
He will take you on the ride of your life!
I eagerly await my next assignment, Lord!
It is football season in case you haven’t noticed.
Football season is NOT like hunting season.
When you are married to a football coach, football season unoficially begins in January and runs through March with numerous football clinics all over the state.
There is a short window between late March and early June when football schedules do not rule every decision in the household.
Then, in June, the players start meeting up with the coaches at the weight room to begin summer weight training to bulk up for the fall season.
The first game occurs before Labor Day (Public school begins the Monday following Labor Day in Michigan), and kids must be at practice on Labor Day, or else.
The official football season runs through October, or even November if the team is good enough to make the playoffs.
Is it bad to admit if I have prayed for a defeat?
I was just asking.
I am neither confessing nor denying…
Yes, I am married to a football coach.
My husband, Shawn, has either played or coached football since the age of nine.
He is 42.
Shawn and I met when we were sixteen years old in the summer between our sophomore and junior years of high school.
I figured if I wanted to date a football player, I needed to learn all about the sport.
This was in 1990, long before I could Google, “How to play football” or search for “Football Rules” on Wikipedia.
I learned by immersion.
I spent every Sunday watching the San Francisco 49ers play ball, and Joe Montana was H-O-T, hot!
He and Jerry Rice connected like magnets working together to get the ball down the field and into the end zone.
Once I understood how the game of football was played, I knew why my father would sit on the edge of the couch and scream at the TV.
It helps to yell, right?!
I will admit that I thought Shawn would outgrow his love for the sport.
I was never so wrong.
Once, Shawn’s dad joked, “If I aim a flashlight into your ear, I will see the laces of a football spinning around inside your head.”
I thought that was hilarious!
Shawn did not…
Shawn loves football.
Not just like in a friendly, “I love you, football!” way, but in an “I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you, football!” way.
I will admit this is the first year that his coaching has not made me absolutely irritated.
Last year, he and I participated in a program called Journey of Generosity with our church.
That program completely transformed my love/hate relationship with Shawn and football.
For the first time, I saw the impact that Shawn’s coaching has had on so many young men’s lives through the years, and I came to understand that he is one of the most generous people I am privileged to know and to love.
Shawn used to coach in a community where a significant number of the boys were growing up in one-parent households, and they were not receiving the love, attention, and discipline from their absent fathers that they so desperately needed.
With powerful words of encouragement, Shawn teaches his players about the importance of integrity, being your personal best, constantly working to improve, and becoming a leader.
Sometimes it is very easy for me to look around at our youth today and just shake my head (SMH, if you are text-savvy).
Kids are so immersed in social media and technology that I have wondered how they will ever become the future leaders of America.
Then I watch Shawn on the football field with the other coaches and the players, and I have hope.
Yesterday, our team played an undefeated team.
Our kids exhibited all aspects of a powerful team, and they took every setback in stride.
When interceptions, penalties, and fumble recoveries threatened their win, they held together and stayed strong.
The players demonstrated both camaraderie and healthy competition, and we won the game in the last four seconds with a touchdown and a final score of 16 to 14!
All of the fans were on their feet, and the kids were jumping and cheering afterward.
All at the same time, I can only explain their amazing win as refreshing, encouraging, and breathtaking.
I fell in love with Shawn again last night.
I love my football-headed husband.