Tag Archives: symptoms

Can I Quit?

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George S. Patton said to “Accept the challenges so you can feel the exhilaration of the victory.” I never knew I accepted any challenge until recently, and by recently, I’m talking within the past couple years. I remember weighing my options regarding this illness:

1. Give up.

2. Keep going.

The first “option” really didn’t seem all that appealing to me. I’m not a quitter, although I had to quit my job. (I also had to work on forgiveness for my former employer as no one, to this day, has ever once checked on me after I keeled over while working. That’s another post…maybe.) I watched as the pen I was using to write a speech therapy report fell from my hand onto the desk. It was a very surreal moment because I worked with stroke rehabilitation and if you know me at all, it takes a lot to stress me. I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” After a moment to get my bearings–whatever those are, I don’t even know if I have any—I got up from my chair, but only for a moment as my legs decided to stop doing what they were made to do as well. I collapsed to the floor. I don’t know how long I was there as I was in the office on a Sunday, (this is a red flag some of you may pick up on. I was working A LOT.) so I don’t remember many people being around, but I knew there were no other therapists. I had just graduated with a degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences as a speech pathologist and loved working on stroke rehabilitation with the elderly. I believe they have so much wisdom to offer.
After a while on the floor, I was able to get up; it was almost like my battery had recharged. I got into my car (in hindsight, this was not a good idea.) I drove for maybe 4 blocks and stopped at a car wash to cry and pray. My arms weren’t working well enough to hold the steering wheel and my legs didn’t seem to have the energy to press the gas pedal. It was the oddest sensation as I didn’t have the strength to make my body do what I wanted it to. I remember praying because it was a 25-minute drive home and I knew my husband was sleeping as he had worked third shift the previous night. (Maybe subconsciously this is why I detest that shift. Hmmm…)
I arrived home only by the grace of God as I don’t remember leaving that car wash. I remember wishing someone would stop, anyone to ask if I needed help. I was so scared, but I “do things afraid” all the time. Something in my spirit told me I’d be ok and I can’t describe it any better than that. You might hear Christians say that they “know that they know that they know” and this is how I felt. (The first time I heard that, I wanted to slap the person on the back. I thought they were stuck somehow.) Looking back, God had my hand in this journey all along and I am so very thankful for His mercy.

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A Headstrong Babe

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Headstrong. Motivated. Strong. Healthy. Positive. These are all words that I use to describe myself. I am currently “speaking” strong and healthy like it’s a lifeline thrown from a cruise ship I’ve fallen backward off of. For those of you who don’t speak “Christian-ese,” there are many references in the Bible regarding the tongue and speaking things as you want them to be and overflowing from the heart through the mouth.

Everything, and by everything, I mean physical symptoms including daily migraines, pain, fatigue, dizziness, distractions, my appearance, etc. has come against this goal of mine to be healthy and strong. Some might say that it’s because the devil heard me state my goals. And for those of you snickering, (as I often do) I’d challenge you to look your goals and your fears in the eye (I’m not sure you can do this at the same time. Try it and report back.) and identify what could be holding you back. Maybe the devil/enemy/adversary/satan theory is just the simplest escape to not chase after what you truly want. I just heard again yesterday that it’s not the fear of failure, but rather the fear of success that frightens us. The infamous “What if?” Many times it’s used negatively as in “What if the roof suddenly falls on my head?” But what if we decided to use it in a positive light? (See what I did there?) What if we decided to go for it? What if you learned Latin? What if you read 104 books in one year? What if you studied harder for that job you really want? What if you got out of debt? I don’t know what your goals are, but I do know when I’m slackin’ on my own. (Spellcheck is alerting me that I spelled “slackin'” wrong. I beg to differ. Slackin’ was a commonly used term in my house growing up.) “The hardest moments are a calling to something greater.” We were made for more. This life is about more than trudging. I refuse to trudge with a frown on my face, wishing things were better. Set some goals today if you haven’t already and chase after them with everything you’ve got and maybe even something you don’t believe you have yet. You very well might fail. Babe Ruth also held a record for most strikeouts.

Jolted

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My son burns my arms with fever, almost silently gasping for breath, and dark, yellowish rings form under his eyes right before mine. No one does anything. The crowded restaurant we’re in continues its constant motion. I see a friend with her son who was healed not long ago and shout her name. Again, I shout, holding my son, stripping his shirt off to alleviate some heat. She doesn’t hear me. She continues to talk cheerfully with friends and I lose her in the crowd as we leave the chaotic eatery. We’re headed to the ER but I fear not fast enough. I wake up, unable to catch my breath. This night’s sleep has been exhausting. I truly wonder if I had stayed up if I’d be more rested. Images flash through my mind, as I sit up panting. Visuals of my family distraught and distressed beyond repair. Shaken. Jolted to our very core. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a nightmare. I don’t know what you believe, but I believe it to be part of my own personal spiritual battle. I’m in a battle as I type. A battle where I learn to trust God with everything. Even my son. In Ephesians, we read that the battle is not physical and some days I’m glad. Glad because I feel very weak under this attack. God knows I need Him more than ever on those days. To make a long, prayerful story a little shorter, we decided yesterday to cancel our son’s appointment with the doctor. It seems he’s been sick since he was born. In fact, he was born sick. The enemy reminds me of this often. “It’s just the way it is,” I hear, and “What could possibly change your son’s condition? You’ve done everything.” It’s true. We have tried everything from oils to vitamins to supplements, even prayer. *wink It’s exhausting to have little ones ill as you struggle to fix it. I believe that’s why God is calling us out on it. We prayed about taking our son to the doctor…again…for the fourth time just within the past 3 months. The meds they gave us didn’t work and the meds they were going to give us most likely would have the same effect. This time, we felt more peace about trusting God to work it out. I wish I could say that about every situation and I’m getting there, but trusting someone else with your kids is HUGE. Turns out He loves ‘em more than I do. Whaaaaaa?

So just like I was jolted out of that horrific, stomach-turning nightmare, I think God is jolting us out of this lull of worldliness. This life is not our own. We are not to love this world. We are called to love the people He created and put in it. Stop doing what the world does. Stop trusting what your eyes see. Let God open the eyes of your heart like He yearns to do. Have some faith and start walking the path He puts before you instead of the one you paved on your own. Give God each day and He’ll jolt you out of this shoulder-shrugging apathy that we’re so accustomed to. Infuse your life with His will and watch as your situation changes for the best.

My son was happier than we’d seen him in a long time after we canceled that appointment. His symptoms came to a screeching halt. Sure, it doesn’t always work like this, but when’s the last time you trusted enough to see how long God’s timing would take? Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your faith or the faith-building “exercises” God Himself designs.

Always to the Left

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Well, in doing some mental calculations, carrying the one, then dividing by the year, and subtracting no symptoms, I come to the realization that I’ve been dealing with this illness for over 6 years. (I never was very good at math.) This is very discouraging to me because waaaay back in the beginning of my “diagnosis”—it is a “diagnosis” because a diagnosis usually has a cure, a treatment plan, and clear cut symptoms to rule out and pinpoint, but Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has nothing of the sort. I’ve always rejected that “diagnosis” and will forever put it in quotes to denote that I wholeheartedly disagree. Ok, , so way back when the doctor said this to me, he said it usually worked itself out in 5 years. At the time, I thought, “5 years? Who has that kinda time and patience?” As it turns out, I do.

It’s been over 6. I’ve seen everyone. Been everywhere. Had every test, including the one where they put a needle into muscle, then send electrical current through both to test conduction of nerves. I must say that was one of my least favorite. I’m not sure what my favorite is…that’ll be another article possibly. The doctor told my husband and I to stop trying to have kids after we obviously took a little longer to come to the conclusion to even have children. We decided our Bible said we didn’t have to. I’m so glad we stood in faith on God’s plan, not man’s. We have not one, but two amazing blessings thanks to Him!

I always hesitate to write about symptoms, but it is my hope and prayer that this will help someone. I’m a firm believer in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) but I also know what I deal with day in and day out. I’ve been healed since the beginning, but I’m certainly waiting (not-so-patiently) on the manifestation of that healing I guess. His thoughts are higher than mine…His ways are higher than mine…His thoughts are higher than mine…

So, here we go: symptoms I deal with on a daily basis, as this will be helpful to someone when I find my cure…

Dizziness, the kind where you try to blink to make it go away, but only makes your head spin more

Lightheadedness, a zoning out feeling making my head feel like it’s going to float off my body

Migraines, especially after I go to the work God has blessed me with

Falling to the left, always to the left (I appear to be the only one in the human race that finds this significant.)

Muscle weakness, an overwhelming feeling of unstrength in every muscle fiber

Utter fatigue, as in I can’t make my arms move anymore at times

Pain, in joints, but no particular one and in muscles, sharp, shooting, aching, dull, always a not-so-fun toss up of where it will be that day/hour

Susceptibility to other illnesses, a cold can take me down

Complete contentment at times with not breathing. This one may scare some, but it’s true. My body simply doesn’t have the energy to inspire at times. I stop, as though to give my body a break.

At one point, I had to call my husband, barely able to dial the phone to let him know that as I was driving to work, I pulled over because my body stopped. This happened at the very beginning of this journey when I dropped a pen while writing a report and couldn’t pick it up. The ambulance came and had to extract me from the vehicle, fully awake, just couldn’t make my body move. At least I’m different…*sigh.

I refuse to stop. I refuse to give up on this. After all, what choice do I have? I’ve seen specialists, taken up to 40+supplements a day, been on different prescribed medications, but in the end and through it all, I just need more Jesus. I don’t want to be the sick girl and I won’t be. I am the girl that Jesus healed because of her faith. I’m not sure what the plan is or how it will come about, but I know there’s coming a day on this earth, that I don’t have to deal with this. I know so many people have it so much worse than I do and for those I pray today because I have an idea of what it feels like, at the very least, to not have your day/life go as planned…

CFS/ME-Not Me

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Let me start out by saying, Bluh. It’s been a rough ol’ week. I have had quite a few symptoms come back on me and not to give anyone credit that doesn’t deserve it, but it seems he’s winning. (I know Who wins in the end. It’s the getting there that concerns me today.)

Myalgic encephalomyelitis is the new and improved name (or addition to the name) for chronic fatigue syndrome I hear. I wouldn’t know that except for the fact that I had to do some research as I’ll be trying the Paleo diet to improve my, uh, condition. I hate that it’s back to a condition, but it seems to be. I have muscle pains, headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, and extreme fatigue that renders my arms and legs useless at times. When this all began, I was at work, writing some paperwork, and I watched as the pen fell out of my hand and I was unable to pick it  up. This was right before I “passed out,” I didn’t lose consciousness, but I had what looked like petit seizures.
Here lately, I have been looking into blood sugar and hypoglycemia influences. If I take a few glucose tablets, which I bought for myself (I’m my own guinea pig) then my symptoms almost all but disappear and I am suddenly functioning like a human being again. I know nothing about blood sugar, but I do know that hypoglycemia can be caused by adrenal fatigue, which is what my symptoms look like, as the thyroid medication I was on never helped with my symptoms and made me “feel like a brand new woman” like the nurse promised. I’m on this journey and it is my prayer that I will know more within the next few weeks. It’s my goal to help someone out there with all of this, not to simply whine about symptoms.

The NRR

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So here I sit. This is one of my favorite ways to begin an article. I’m not sure but what I haven’t started out this way then removed the first line about 18 times. I feel as though I’m letting God down in that I am supposed to wake up early and write. I can’t seem to drag myself out of bed. 5:45. Before the kids get up. For one month. That was the deal. I am having issues with going to bed earlier or maybe the kids are having issues with going to bed earlier. Either way, I have a lot of excuses. It’s amazing how many I can come up with. My alarm rings at 5:45 and I shut her down. The body is weak. This body feels weaker than more than some. My spirit is thirsty for more God. Do you ever get that way? I just need more God. I need answers. I need secrets. I need peace. I need comfort. I need more reminders that it’s all gonna be alright. My shoulders dropped 2 inches away from my ears just typing that.

We go through trials. Some hard, some very hard, and some excruciatingly hard. Notice there are no easy trials? (That’s another thing I’ve been thirsty for…some easy ones.)

My body has betrayed me lately. I can’t do everything I need to do, much less want to do. The promise was given in 2009 that I was healed. I believed it then and I believe it now. Easy as that. Ha! Hilariously untrue! I have to battle each and every day to believe that God knows what He’s doing. Some days it just doesn’t look like it. The fact of the matter is I have to give up control. I once read that many people who have a fear of flying wouldn’t if they got to fly the plane. Having faith is anything but easy, especially when you’re the topic at hand.

Someone told me “it’s only symptoms, you’re healed.” This helped me for awhile. Every time I would get dizzy and have to grab onto the nearest sturdy object or my arms would go slack when I needed them most, I would speak, “These are only symptoms.” Maybe I’m wrong, but healing to me looks a whole lot like NO symptoms. What’s the point of being healed if the symptoms continue?? I could stay sick and the outcome would be the same.

I go about doing what I would normally do, if there is such a thing. I take care of the kids (2 under 3), clean the house, see a couple speech therapy clients, go shopping for items like chia seed, seaweed, flax and avocados, and then wind up sitting. Sometimes I sit with my head between my knees to attempt to stop the world from engulfing me. Many times, my arms will give out, meaning I can’t make them move. It’s like the signal from my brain to my hands has shorted. My battery has suddenly drained and I can no longer go. My face will stop working and I can’t smile, nor do I have the energy to speak much. I am dizzy and lightheaded and unable to get up by myself. (Lord, I pray this is helping someone because I suddenly feel naked in front of the class.)

My world goes on around me, mainly because of the love of my life and best friend, who also just so happens to be my husband. He takes care of the kids, makes PB sandwiches, gets down on the floor, and shows off some pretty spectacular dance moves to distract. My daughter will approach slowly, like sneaking up on a deer, and quietly ask, “Mommy, are you ok?” to which I reply, “Yes, baby, I’m ok,” followed up by, “Will you get me some juice?” I pray I’m done with these episodes soon and she doesn’t recall a thing.

After a few minutes of this reminder that I need God, I begin to yawn like I can’t possibly get enough oxygen where it needs to be. Then the pains come; sharp, shooting, sword-like pains move throughout any and all parts of my body, muscles, joints, head, anywhere. I don’t know where the attack will come, but it can sometimes take me down and knock the wind out of me and my spiritual sails. Which then causes me to ask questions such as, “Um God, where are you? What did I do to deserve this? When will this be over? How am I going to take care of my kids? Do you think a veggie pizza might help?”

After this, it’s to the NRR (New Red Recliner…I couldn’t let the acronym go. It makes me feel very hip and trendy…although now I’m questioning if truly hip people use the word “hip.”)
Nonetheless, sometimes I hear a couple dwarfs chanting, “I go, I go, it’s off to rest I go.” And I rest by taking a short nap. A lot of the time, I’m so much better upon waking. I get up and I can go again for a few hours, doing what I need to do. I refuse to let whatever this is beat me. I teeter on those words yet have to be careful not to push myself too far or I pay for it that day or the next. Someone called this the “push-crash syndrome.” You push too much then crash the next day.

Maybe this is part of my own personal therapy, but I have to be really honest, I hate sharing this. It seems weak. It seems self-loving. It seems ugly and it seems defeating. It is my honest hope that this helps someone to know that it’s not all sunshine and roses. There are clouds and storms and thorns a’ plenty.

French Vanilla-Glucosamine-Chondroitin-Iodine Enriched Cup o’ Joe

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Ok, I wake up at about the time I wanted, actually a ½ hour before, and realize that I have nothing to do today. Some might consider this to be a good thing. I hate it. I have had over a year of days where I have nothing to do. I make up things…i.e. Spanish lesson, CEU course, grocery list-making for when my hubby can go with me to help, blogging, you get the idea. So I go to walmart* for a few things (*I refuse to capitalize walmart, they are big enough already.) I am getting ready to embark on a new phase of Mission “Attack CFS!” by changing my diet drastically to see if I have any hidden food allergies. This idea, in and of itself, has put me in a bad mood.

I am already taking supplement after supplement (you should taste my coffee right now…not much coffee taste left in it.) in the hopes of finding a deficiency somewhere. I just finished one cleanse only to embark on another. This whole process honestly seems like something someone diagnosed with “an excess of energy” would proceed with. It definitely doesn’t seem like I should be the one, the one with a diagnosis of CFS, should be participating in. I’m the one who can’t walk through walmart without getting short of breath. I’m the one who can’t cook dinner without getting lightheaded and dizzy. I’m the one who must be near a chair most days if I feel as though I may pass out. I am the one who doesn’t take a pity party day very often, but it seems as though this may be the day!

Sooo, back to the diet…for some reason it scares me. I think, “Oh no! What if I want to eat something that’s not on my diet?” like I’m the first person to ever do or think this. I think, “Well, I’m sure I’ll survive.” Let’s be honest though: Who wants to survive if you can’t have coffee, chocolate, sugar of any sort, bread, or pasta? I can’t even have peanuts! I love peanuts with a fiery passion—I eat them at least 4 times a week. They’re a good filler. And what do I love even more than peanuts, but never buy, except on special occasions because they’re so expensive? Pistachios. Nope, can’t have those either. A friend told me to concentrate on what I could have and to this, I say, “Bite me.” I am beginning to think I am too old for all this changing of diet. After all, I have eaten this way since I was, say, 3. 4 maybe? I am thankful for all of you who listen however as I face yet another adventure in the wide, wonderful world of CFS. Stay tuned!