Pineo-what? The newest diagnosis: I can’t make this stuff up!

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.

Very 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”

EVERY.

SINGLE.

TIME.

I must have somehow thought that was what the 7mm lesion was, but it wasn’t.

Nope.

Not.

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.”

Usually…

“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.

WTF.

No thanks.

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.

ALWAYS.

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.

I do.

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.

Time to Rebrand Myself!

Now that I am feeling so much better, I am on a new mission.

I am on an exciting quest to rebrand myself.

Similar to how Madonna rebranded herself from her Material Girl days to her bold Vogue debut, I declare myself fully emerged from my butterfly cocoon and in need  of a new and inspiring makeover (see my blog, Summoning Butterfly Strength, for more details).

For my debut (and because I have several free hours each day and LOVE research), I have been spending a ridiculous amount of time watching free webinars on Facebook discovering how to rebrand the new ME.

Yes, each of the webinars ends with an opportunity to spend hundreds to over a thousand dollars (No, I was not born yesterday; there is no free lunch).

Thankfully, I have taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, so I am pretty responsible with money, and I am not like a crazy QVC shopper with daily deliveries coming to my door (We paid off $72,299.24 in student loan debt and were debt free until my Lyme illness and the subsequent medical bills)!

I was about eight, free webinars in to my research when I came upon a webinar inviting me to Badass My Brand.

Bells and whistles!

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

Side Note: Even though I have always worked in government, education, or, most recently, for a religious institution, I have great respect for people who use bold cuss words well.

It is an under-rated art form.

Did You Know: People who cuss a lot are more intelligent.

It’s the truth! I read it on Facebook!

Even while working for the church, it was not unlike me to color up my communication within the church walls with a s***, d***, a**, or maybe even an F-bomb for appropriate emphasis.

Yes, I pray constantly for forgiveness.

Additionally, though, I do think God has a fabulous sense of humor along with His overwhelmingly generous willingness to forgive: I have 42 years of anecdotal evidence of this.

Anyway, this webinar got to me.

Five hundred dollars later, I am super-psyched and spilling over with enthusiasm about my new, badass self!

This course is supposed to take about eight weeks to complete, but I am almost 1/3 of the way in after three days.

Why?

I can only explain it as God’s leading and prompting.

I am officially rebranding myself as Karin LaMothe, Fierce Lyme Warrior.

Now, just to be clear: I am not letting my illness define me or own me; indeed, I am simply making peace with my new DNA and using it to provide hope and inspiration to other fellow Lymies fiercely battling this disease.

Must we be martyrs, lonely and without hope?

No, we need fellow warriors to give us hope and to share with us to keep our fears, hopelessness, and struggles from taking strongholds.

Little kids in hospitals get visits from super heroes.

Who is to say Lymies could not benefit from someone in their corner, as well?

Can you picture my caricature?

Yes, I WILL wear a cape, and, yes, it will be green (not sure which shade).

No, I will not require an eye mask to protect my identity, but, yes, my dream outfit is quite similar to Wonder Woman but in bold shades of green.

If the Wonder Woman theme does not work out, perhaps it will be like Tinkerbell but with a She-Ra/Ninja Warrior twist.

I may even have a green stripe in my hair. Not sure on that just yet.

I do not have many other details to reveal for now.

Will I speak, sell things, or visit sick people?

I am not sure just yet.

REMEMBER, I still have 2/3 more of my branding campaign left to go!

I am not feeling led to wear a super hero outfit for reals (except maybe on Halloween), but maybe that will change.

My sister sews amazingly well, and perhaps I will honor my inner super hero and sport it out to Lyme events.

Who knows?

What I do know is I feel more alive, creative, free, and happy than I have felt in years, and I thank God for that each moment.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying with and for me on this journey.

By no means is my journey or struggle over yet, but I am well enough to know it is now time for me to be helping others and paying it forward.

God bless!

Holy Electromagnetic Frequencies, Batman!

photo-1425009294879-3f15dd0b4ed5Status 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.

Woo hoo!

Additionally:

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.

“Follow the yellow brick road! 
Follow the yellow brick road! 
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the yellow brick road!”

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:

  1. “What are my fondest memories of this past year?”
  2. “What were the big projects I completed during the year?”
  3. “What were the defining moments during the last year?”
  4. “What did I procrastinate on and fail to get done?”
  5. “What books and mentors had the greatest impact on me?”
  6. “Am I closer to my friends and family from my activities this year?”
  7. “What will be my biggest goals as I move forward into next year?”
  8. “Where did I neglect to live up to the standards I set for myself?”
  9. “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;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

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.

My Next Crazy Healing Adventure Has Begun!

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?

Absolutely.

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.

Peace out!

God Doesn’t Call the Qualified; He Qualifies the Called

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.
Thanks!”

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.

Heal me?

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!

Pick a Fight & Take a Stand, Crazy Woman!

Who’s ready to RUMBLE?!

When we go ALL IN for God, Batterson tells us in his book, All In, that we are to Pick a Fight, but this is not in the usual sense where we start calling names and throwing punches.

Scrappy Doo with his signature battle cry, “Let me at ’em! Let me at ’em!” will not work for God.

Indeed, God wants something much bigger from us.

Instead, when we pick a fight, God wants us to get down on our knees and to pray fiercely, for we are picking a fight with Satan.

I really don’t like Satan.

In fact, I hate him.

Let me rephrase that: I mean, I loathe him mightily. (My mother did not like us to use the word hate when we were growing up, as if a more civilized word is ‘loathe.’ Ha!)

Satan is VERY threatened by me.

How do I know?

He has spent the past few weeks stirring things up everywhere that matter most to me.

This week, my All In book has gone missing. Funny, right?

I am supposed to be summarizing the book about Picking a Fight, Taking a Stand, and A Little Crazy. 

Because I do not want to misrepresent this book while summarizing, I am going to shift from completing the book summary to writing in my signature Karin-style.

In addition to the book now missing, my past few weeks have been filled with lots of physical pain from my fibromyalgia/Lyme inflammation, a new alarming health concern for my daughter, and significant attacks on my character.

This is reassuring!

Say what?!

It means I am up to something good for God. (Insert smiley face.)

I know this is the case because Satan rages like this and attacks me when I am gaining some traction and making some headway for God’s kingdom.

I have “been there and done that” when it comes to Satan and his vicious attacks.

You should have seen my life when I worked in the political arena.

Yeah, that is where A Little Crazy comes in for me.

It was a constant public attack in the local rag newspaper: one-sided garbage ruled the day, and it was only ever partially accurate.

So, in case you were wondering, I am an unsuccessful loser.

Don’t ever let me forget it!

Tons of fun!

I highly recommend public life if you would like to learn how to gain some muscle in experiencing personal attacks.

I was only one of 100+ victims through the years, but it was still personal and painful.

Yippee!

Whenever I would be contacted by the editor for a personal quote, I had the most amazing fun somehow finding a way to mention God to give Him all of the credit.

My friend Andrea and I loved keeping a running total to see if my God comments would make it into the paper.

We would text one another whenever I was under attack in the paper with the most recent running score: “God: 2, Satan: 3.”

Then, whenever my praise for God would get into the paper, the score would change in our text exchanges: “God: 5, Satan: 4. Woo hoo! Go, God!”

I can see the blessing in having been attacked publicly before because my muscles are so much stronger now when it comes to keeping Satan’s attacks from stopping me.

I have definitely picked a fight with Satan by starting my blog.

I don’t know if my inner strength is mixed with wisdom, or if my inner strength is mixed with reassurance that, “My Heavenly Father can kick your butt! Na na na boo boo! God: 1,000,000, Satan: 5.” Amen!

Either way, get over it, Satan.

Go back to hell where you belong.

I am not afraid of you.

My prayers are even more passionate and powerful now, and they make me stronger with every word I pray.

I will continue to pray without ceasing in order to be unstoppable on my mission for God.

I declare that with every breath I breathe in God’s mighty power and strength to overcome any vicious attack, and I breathe out any and all fear, dread, or disappointment.

Satan knows I am going to heaven because of my faith, but he wants to make it hell on earth for me.

The same is true for everyone who believes in and follows Jesus.

Hmm.

I am not frightened, because I am a warrior who has taken a stand–the Lord is on all sides protecting me and in my heart giving me courage.

Am I a little crazy?

My blog is about “My crazy life.”

It is kind of difficult to have a crazy life if you are not a little crazy…


 

 

 

Summoning Butterfly Strength

“If you cut (butterflies) out of their cocoons or help them out in any way, they will never fully develop the strength they need in their wings to be able to achieve takeoff. They have to struggle out in order to come into their own. Flight only comes after the fight.”
-Levi Lusko

I love to read.  Before my Lyme disease reached my brain, it was common for me to read three to four books at a time, switching between each book depending upon my mood.

Since I was a child, if I did not want to (in my best Mom voice) “Go play outside or downstairs (in the basement),” my mother would tell me, “Then go read a book.”

Reading is a great escape from reality.

When my Lyme was at its worst just a few months ago and I would try to escape the pain and anxiety by reading, I found I could not: I would look at the words on the page, but my brain could not process what I was seeing.

On better days, I was able to read the words on the page, yet my brain could not comprehend what I was reading.

Escaping into a book was impossible, and I felt trapped in the waking nightmare of my life.

The pain and anxiety took a stronghold, and my ability to cope came only by numbing the pain and panic with pain killers and anxiety medication.

Thankfully, I am now able to both read and comprehend again. YAY! This is an enormous victory as far as my sanity is concerned.

I just finished reading, and highly recommend, Levi Lusko’s Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain / Finding Incredible Power. The title is what hooked me, but I could not put the book down once I began to read it.

Lusko’s message evokes inspiration, hope, and peace in the trials of life, but what struck me right at the core was when he spoke of the butterfly, my favorite animal (or INSECT, as my ten year-old quickly points out to correct me).

What I like most is the cuteness of the caterpillar and the beauty of the butterfly, yet the true miracle occurs in the brown, hard, ugly shell of the cocoon.

The cocoon metamorphosis  is the time when the caterpillar is forced to be present and to remain still, for that is where and how God’s transformation takes place.

That struggle concept of the butterfly got me to thinking about my own battle with Lyme and how I keep wanting to avoid the pain with painkillers, escape the anxiety with medication, and beg God to take this horrible infection away from me…instead of seeing it as a gift from God, which only He can use to develop and transform me.

Funny how it took a struggling butterfly metaphor to get the gift in my illness.

Now I see that if God takes away my struggle, I will not develop to become the person He wants me to be.

The BEST thing for me to do right now is to simply be present and still and to wait and listen in obedience, knowing this struggle is serving a purpose.

His purpose.

God is strengthening me in this struggle, and I will emerge a beautiful, strong, healthy butterfly.

Lusko adds, “Suffering isn’t an OBSTACLE to being used by God. It is an OPPORTUNITY to be used like never before.”

A gift.  This ugly, brown, hard, shell experience is a gift!

My eyes are now opened, as I ask, “What opportunity is available to me only because of my personal suffering?”

“What gifts is He developing in me through this struggle?”

Lusko’s words are so powerful as I grasp hold of this new perspective when he proclaims, “You need to be actively on the lookout for every way you can redeem the hell you are put through by shining your light in the darkness…squeeze every drop out of your trial.

Let nothing be wasted.

None of your tears have fallen to the ground unseen.

God wants you to shine brightly…the only reason He has allowed you to be doubled over in grief is so He could pick you up and help you reach new levels of influence you could not reach otherwise.

God’s up to something!

He’s turning your mess into a message.

He’s turning your pain into a platform.

He’s turning your trial into your testimony.”

What’s my testimony?

What’s God’s calling on my life in amidst this struggle?

Whose Life is this, Anyway?