*Disclaimer: this post is LONG. I’ve written it mainly as a release and form of putting my thoughts somewhere. I want to be able to read about my journey, but my hand would physically be unable to write all of this with pen on paper, so I’m putting it here and hoping that those who read it will pray and praise God with me. It includes a detailed update of how I’m feeling physically and emotionally, what my body is currently doing, and what my symptoms are like right now; lots of details, lots of earnest words and heartfelt prayers. It’s filled with less-than-chirpy realities, but I don’t consider this post to be sad. I am in Christ, so I have joy. Please read at your own discretion.*
I’m not sure what it is about mornings, but I really struggle to get through my daily a.m. routine without falling apart and sobbing like a baby; not because I feel sorry for myself–I ask God to help me fight that temptation daily–but because every morning I’m faced with the daunting realty of my incessant struggles, and my freshly body hurts and is imbalanced and just wants to cry, and it’s so much out of my control sometimes.
April and May of 2016 have been really difficult (praise God that February and March were great!). My body is swollen and feels extremely painful all the time, around the clock. It’s like I have tiny, invisible bruises all over my body. I hurt. I also struggle with pain and bloating after eating, even after being on the strongest herbal antimicrobial protocol for 120 days straight. I feel puffy and I’m in pain. My joints hurt a lot. I can’t really open a bottle without severe pain, and my knees and fingers throb. My muscles feel like they’re electrocuted or something; I get a very uncomfortable tingling sensation in my arms, legs, chest, and fingers, and it just feels like my muscles are charged with some sort of lightning-bolt electricity. I’m tired and weak, and I have brain fog (though it’s gotten a lot better, so I’m deeply praising God for that). I’m struggling to make it through my days again without needing to constantly sit or lie down (praise God for the job He’s provided for me, where I can get through my days and work sitting down). I want to be able to exercise, because I know movement is so important, but my body flares up and gets caught in a flu-like cycle whenever I exert myself just a little beyond my day-to-day: I get a fever, chills, sore throat, headaches, shakiness and tingling in my extremities, brain fog, worsened joint pain, and immense fatigue. My hair continues to fall out in clumps. When I start to feel pathetic and worthless (lies from Satan) as I brush through my hair and feel the clumps in my hands, I remind myself that it’s all vanity, and that one day, I’ll have Goldilocks-like hair in heaven. I have a continuous post-nasal drip that has me hacking mucus up all day and leaves my chest feeling congested. I also have a ton of acne all over my face and back, which continues to boggle the mind of my doctor. The bumps and deep and cyst-like, and they hurt and itch all at the same time. There’s certainly something bacterial to be said about the acne, because they’re filled with thick, discolored fluid. Hey, remember that you chose to read this. Haha!
My bowels continue to struggle. I take three capsules of Motilpro, three heaping teaspoons of Natural Calm magnesium powder, five different probiotics, I am back to juicing, and am currently on a GAPS intro diet, and yet, still not much action. I perform a coffee enema daily, which I am ABUNDANTLY thankful to God for, because those are immensely helpful and soothing. I’m thankful for those magical little friends in the morning. The problem I’m noticing lately, however, is that I get very jumpy and jittery after administering and releasing the enema. This is likely caused by the caffeine in the enema, but that’s not a great sign because it means that my digestive lining is “leaky,” thereby allowing the coffee to enter into my bloodstream. I’ve worked incessantly to patch up my “leaky gut” for the past three consecutive years, but I’m not quite sure why we can’t seem to get it right.
In the midst of my struggles, I have nights like last night where I do think back to the days before I was very sick and struggling, and ask myself what happened. Where did I go wrong? What did I not do right? I mean, I understand that I made a choice to get married at eighteen and put myself through college with no money. I realize that I struggled with stress and anxiety during college (…which was also very much out of my control, whether people believe me or not. It wasn’t the kind of anxiety that the Bible talks about, in which a person stresses out about tomorrow and frets without trusting God. It was a genuine, I’m-going-crazy-what-in-the-world-kind-of-sick-feeling-is-this sensation. The jumpiness, paranoia, night terrors, overactive imagination, etc. strongly dissipated when I changed my diet and went 100% allergen free, so I know it was a direct result of the gut-brain axis being way off.). I realize that I lost sight of the majesty of God and started self-worshipping during a terrible bout with an eating disorder (which again, was part of that terrible psychological imbalance that was directly correlated with my out-of-control bowel situation). I realize all of these things, and I know that the chronic stress that I have endured as a result of my own actions is what has caused a severe imbalance in my body. The problem continues to be that my body is still stressed. It’s struggling, and so are my emotions, and naturally that causes me stress, whether I am able to perceive it or not. I cling to my Bible, so don’t get me wrong there, but when the body is working hard like this around the clock, it naturally affects the adrenal glands, which are responsible for releasing cortisol (the stress hormone). It’s all messy, and I can’t seem to figure out how to stop the cycle. Is this all my fault? If so, how do I fix it? Where do I go from here?
My doctor has tested me for numerous things, and we have learned a lot: We have found that I had (not sure if it’s gone) a severe case of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) which we attempted to eradicate with strong antimicrobials for several months; that I have an antibiotic-resistant staph infection circulating throughout my body; that I have a fungal overgrowth in the depths of my nasal cavity; that I have multiple markers showing that I have Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS); that my hormones and cortisol levels are imbalanced; but that through it all, I am strong, resilient, and continuing to fight boldly by the grace of God.
Next steps involve getting my home checked for mold (a very expensive procedure) and treating me with a pharmaceutical designed to bind neurotoxins (I’m a little nervous about this because it will be the first big pharma medication that I take, and I’m not sure what my liver is going to think about it). This is one of the steps of treating CIRS. My doctor thinks we should explore the possibility that the myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms could be very likely caused by mold illness (which is very probable considering my husband and I lived in a terribly moldy apartment for the first six years of our marriage). All of my markers show that mold could be what’s causing me to feel terribly ill. So, that’s where we’re at.
Have I mentioned that I have the MOST AMAZING HUSBAND IN THE WORLD? He is the biggest, most tremendous, most priceless blessing in my life. He has lovingly stood by me throughout all of this. He is the hardest working man I know. I pray so deeply that God will abundantly bless him with countless treasures in heaven. He is a man who loves me like Christ loves his bride; he sacrificially serves me daily by helping me be able to live the life I do. He makes my bone broths, he cooks for me, he cares for our dog, he makes sure we have enough money to pay for my treatments, he works twelve-hour-days at work, he always makes sure I have the right food to eat (and if I don’t, he goes above and beyond and out of his way to make sure I do), he prays with me, he comforts me, he gives me rubs when I’m in serious pain, he helps me prepare my coffee enemas when I’m in a rush, he checks in on me when I’m having an extra difficult day, and on and on. And the most incredible part about it is that literally, he never grumbles about it. He’s had it just as rough as I have, only in a different way, but yet, you would never know it because he never has a negative word to say. He is literally the most patient, loving, caring man I have ever met in my life. I am blessed to call him my husband. Thank you Lord for the blessing of my husband.
Today, I’m planning on reaching out to a local acupuncturist to see about starting some treatment. I’m praying that can help with the pain, systemic inflammation, and cystic acne. It would be amazing if it helped my bowels, too. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also so, so, so thankful for my incredible lymphatic masseuse, who helps drain my lymph system on a bi-monthly basis. Getting drained dramatically reduces the pain, and helps me get through my days a lot easier. I’m blessed to work for a wonderful doctor, who treats me using chiropractic care on a regular basis and makes me laugh at his silly dancing. I’m beyond thankful for the blessing he is in my life; truly, I have no words to express my gratitude towards him.
I am blessed beyond measure. In my challenges, God continues to lovingly provide everything I need and more. He is my source and my strength, and without Him I am reduced to a floundering piece of blubber. I praise God daily for the blessings around me. God is a mighty, loving, wonderful God. My trials are challenging, but God is powerful and is walking with me. I imagine myself holding my heavenly Father’s hand, taking comfort in His sweet, tender promises:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
I take great joy and peace in knowing Christ as my risen savior. He is my source and my portion forever! I can earnestly and thankfully say that my cup overflows with His love and goodness.
Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ, I can flourish.
My prayer is that God will use me to help others. I want to be useful to God and help others who are in similar circumstances, or who are hurting and feeling like there is no hope. My friend, there is great hope. Jesus Christ will wipe away every tear you’ve ever cried. He cares for you so deeply and so richly that He bore the sins of the world on his shoulders as He carried His cross, bloody and splintered, all the way up to Calvary to then be nailed to it for your sake. He loves you with a relentless, deep love, and that love is available to you right now. All we need to do recognize ourselves as the sinners that we are (we’re born with sin and we bottom line can’t help but be far removed from the holiness and purity of God because of it), repent and turn away from the life we once held onto (God will judge us if we don’t), and pray that Christ would be our savior, leading us each day and growing us to be more like Him.
This has been a long post, filled with so many thoughts. My bottom line is that I want to serve God and be useful for Him while I am on earth, even amidst my struggles. Whenever I feel pathetic and start to believe the lie that my life should be something different, I have to constantly remind myself that when I gave my soul to Christ, I became His. Whatever He wants, whatever He wills, wherever He leads me, that’s where I go and that’s what I do. I have been bought with the precious price of His blood, and I can’t fuss and whine over the fact that I don’t get to do the things I want to do. I just don’t have that option. I’ve struggled with that, because I don’t know how I can be used for Him when I feel like a wart, but God has used many a warts to fulfill His purpose.
So, with that being said, I pray, Lord that you will use me and the trial you have me walking to ultimately grow me closer to you, oh LORD, and to be the salt and light in this world, God. Help me, God, to know you more and seek you first. Lord, help ease my pain and my struggle, if it is your will. I know you are with me. Thank you, LORD, for you love and for your mighty hand in my life. Be ever near to me, God, and help me feel your presence always. I ask you, God, to give me the right words to speak to those who are hurting and in need, and I pray that you will soften and prepare the hearts and minds of the people with whom you place me in contact with. Be my strength, God, and help me walk firmly in you. Catch my tears when the fall, God, and use the pain of today to grow me more in love with you. Mold me into the woman you want me to be, God, and hold me tenderly as I continue to walk this journey you have me on. Thank you, God, for Jesus. Thank you Jesus, for your sacrifice. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the work you’re doing in my soul. Thank you God, for your might and strength and glory. Reveal yourself all the more to me as the day grows closer that I will stand in your presence. Please LORD, create in me a clean heart. I love you, LORD. Help me daily to walk as you would have me walk. Thank you, LORD, for the comfort you bring me in your promises and in your embrace. One day, God, I pray that you physically hold me and never let me go. Oh, to feel your embrace, God! I praise you, Father, for who you are. Your will be done in my life and on this earth, oh God! I am yours, LORD. Work me into who you want me to be, God. I praise for today. I praise you for this breath. I praise for you for everything, LORD, as I know it is all a gift from you. In the powerful, pure, holy name of mighty Jesus Christ I pray. AMEN!