Controlling your hardships, instead of letting them control you.

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.—Isaiah 64:4
I know it is hard to imagine sometimes what God is up to in your life. You see a blank canvas, but God sees a finished painting. You see a piece of coal, but God sees a refined diamond. You see an untalented person, but God sees a mighty man or woman of God.

When I was pregnant with the triplets I used to say to hubby, “God must think we’re really doing a good job with Michael to give us three at once!” It helped me to stay positive and not stress over how we were going to handle our new normal. Same with the Autism diagnosis . . .  God only gives those children to the parents who can handle it. So, I knew that if God thought I could handle it, then he was right.

That’s not to say that it’s easy! But I know that He’s got my back. I’ll never forget one particularly rough day. I ran upstairs into my bedroom, closed the door and and just fell on the bed and sobbed. I cried out to God, “I can’t do this! I can’t do this! I need help!” Never in a million years would I have imagined what happened next. It was my first encounter with the Holy Spirit. I can only explain it by saying that God gave me a giant hug! I literally felt him hold me. Immediately I had an overwhelming sense of calmness. I had never felt anything like it before and have never felt it since then. I have no idea how long it lasted, but as it started to go away, I cried, “Don’t leave! Not yet!” and the feeling came back. A few minutes later it disappeared. I went downstairs and a neighbor reached out to me saying that her teenage daughter had just finished babysitting courses and wanted to know if she could come over some time and help me with the triplets. I couldn’t believe it. My prayers were answered immediately. It’s funny, because it’s not the answer I was expecting or looking for . . . but it was what I needed.

I “borrowed” this from Greg Laurie this week: God specializes in making something out of nothing. I wonder what He is doing with you right now? You are a work in progress, and He isn’t finished yet. If you are still alive and reading this, God has more work to do in your life! Most artists usually don’t like someone looking over their shoulders, trying to second-guess what they’re about to do. “Wait until I am done,” they will say, “and then you will see.”  So trust in the Lord during those times when it is hard to see what He is doing. Don’t allow the hardships you face to make you a bitter person. It’s time to let go of that. Rather, allow them to make you a better person.

I don’t know about you, but that’s something I have to focus on. I can’t let my hardships overcome who I am, rather help me to become the person God knows I can be.

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Happy Triplet’s Birthday EVE!

Apparently its been over an hour since I’ve moved, not counting the involuntary muscle spasms. I’m lying in fetal position in bed, strumming up the energy to simply roll to the other side to relieve the pain. The room is rocking back and forth as if I was on a boat, making my migraine even more intense. My skin feels like it’s burning from the inside out. Every muscle in both my legs is throbbing and aching. My heart is racing. My joints are screaming. My jaw pain is moving up to my cheek. My head begins to twitch. I finally get enough energy to move my foot away from the dog, only to find out that he wasn’t touching me. The sensation of bugs crawling on me is back. I spent my morning brushing hair away from my face with my hands, only to realize there was no hair there. This is what happens when the medication works. This is what happens to your body when the bacteria begin to die off. This is what happens when all of the awful things that make up the bacteria begin to flow freely through my body. Welcome to Herxing.

My baby comes in crying. He’s so sorry for making me sick. He thinks his fighting with his sibling caused the “flare up,” My heart breaks into a million pieces and we sob together. Your child is not supposed to see you like this. He’s not supposed to be afraid to speak or play too loudly, with fear that mommy might spend the rest of the night in bed. Tomorrow is their birthday. We have an amazing day planned . . . a trip to the beach, water park all day, rides all night. Is Lyme going to ruin that too? How much does it have to take away? How much pressure does my husband need to have on him? When will my children be able to have a worry-free childhood again? 

I can’t help to ask, “when is enough, enough?” So, today I come to you for the inspirational quote of the day, the bible verse that makes it all somehow seem better. Because right now, as the red tears stream down my face, I’m defeated. 

 

 

Multiple Mom Strikes Again!

hand of God

I’ve had a pregnancy where I carried ONE baby and then a pregnancy where I carried THREE babies. I also had a pregnancy in between – where I carried only one baby. With the first pregnancy I developed complications and developed Ovarian Hyperstimulation (there’s a 10% chance of this happening when you go through Invitro Fertilization). With my second pregnancy, I miscarried after a well visit (where I was told everything was fine – there was only a 16% chance that I would miscarry this far along). With the triplet pregnancy, the doctors convinced us to transfer three embryos instead of two (there was only a 1% chance that all three would survive). So when I learned that ticks can carry more than one disease, I should have known that with my history – I’d get the double whammy or possible the triple threat.

But for some strange reason, I was surprised when at my Lyme doctor appointment last night, I was told that the majority of my symptoms are now from the Bartonella bacteria – a Lyme coinfection. They came to this conclusion because immediately after stopping my fourth month of oral antibiotics, my symptoms came back hard core. The Lyme bacteria takes 6 weeks to reproduce, so if it was Lyme I was feeling, I would have been fine for at least a few weeks. So, since I felt crappy right away, it had to be something else. And my bloodwork initially showed traces of Bartonella.

So, here’s a little Bartonella 101 for all of us:

Bartonella is spread by bites from infected ticks and in utero and by dust mites.

Symptoms

  • stretch mark-like rash
  • Bartonella Rash
  • abnormal liver enzymes
  • encephalopathy (means disorder or disease of the brain)
  • endocarditis ( inflammation of the inner layer of the heart)
  • flu-like malaise
  • headache
  • hemolysis with anemia (destruction of blood cells)
  • hepatomegaly (the condition of having an enlarged liver)
  • high fever
  • immune deficiency
  • jaundice
  • lymphadenopathy (disease of lymph nodes)
  • myalgias (muscle pain)
  • myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscle)
  • papular or angiomatous rash
  • somnolence (sleepiness)
  • sore throat
  • splenomegaly (enlargement of spleen)
  • weakened immune response

Bartonella are bacteria that live within cells and find humans quite cozy. The Bartonella-Lyme coinfection is apparently  one of the most complex and troublesome confections (no! what are the chances?).

The infection grows once it reaches the bloodstream by using its tail-like flagellum to seek out and burrow into the red blood cells. There it replicates by releasing a molecule which helps produce more of its kind. (yay for me!)

An infected person with a healthy immune system may have minor symptoms that disappear in a short time, while the immunocompromised may have high numbers of bacteria that persist in the blood and tissues and cause ongoing symptoms. This is often the case with people who have Lyme disease and other Lyme confections. (that’s me!)

The difficulty in finding a suitable treatment protocol for Lyme disease co-infection Bartonella, comes from the fact that antibiotics slow down its reproduction process, but are unlikely to kill the infection. I also learned that Bartonella hides inside the erythrocytes or red blood cells. This, combined with an already weakened immune system, complicates treatment. I should also be on the look out for borreliosis, candida and HHV-6 other chronic-lyme-disease-coinfections.

All that being said, I’m on a new regiment of 15 or so pills a day. Two of them being brand new antibiotics aiming to kill the Bartonella buggers. As with all medication there are some side affects. One of them just so happens to be that all of my bodily fluids will turn RED. Urine, saliva, tears .  . . . apparently my eyes are actually going to turn my contact lenses pink!

I’ve always been optimistic, but I never thought there would be any reality behind the saying Seeing the world through rose colored glasses. 

So, I hope you learned a thing or two about Lyme and Bartonella by reading this. And if not maybe this horror story will make it worth your time . . . my hubby (renowned for teasing and busting chops on a daily basis) told me that he was going to tell the kids that the doctors made a mistake with my diagnosis.  I didn’t have Lyme disease after all, but it may be something else completely. But there would be only one way to know for sure . . .  if mommy’s eyes turn RED it’s not Lyme . . . she’s a demon!

I know! He’s the evil one! But anyway, what I have learned through this particular bout is that it’s okay to NOT be okay, that most of the times when it storms it’s dark and cloudy – it’s very rare to see a sun shower (in jersey anyway), and that no matter what, I am weak, but Christ strengthens me. I’m going to have good days and I’m going to have bad days. But I know that my husband, my friends, my family and my God will get me through it.

Ezekiel chapter 2. Verses 8 – 10
“Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” Then I looked, and behold,  a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. When He spread it out before me,  it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe. 
Jesus is just waiting for us to reach up and seek HIM. HE will feed us and lift us up. No matter what your struggle God is extending his hand to you and can give you the healing you need though his word and prayer. He’s just waiting for you to reach out.

This is my headline. (It’s been a rough week)

mountaintop_hike

Well, it has. I’m a Christian, I can’t lie.

It’s been a rough week and instead of spending time to trying to come up with a catchy headline that ties into the bible verse or the inspirational thought that I’m hoping pops in my brain as I’m typing, I decided to just go with it. I officially finished my third month of treatment last week. The plan was to have my check up AFTER I finished treatment to see how I felt once the antibiotics were out of my system. Well, considering the headline, I’m pretty sure we can all agree that it’s not over yet. The fat lady is not singing. And believe me, when I’m cured I will be singing from the mountain tops. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know . . . I’m not fat, I’m just squishy and comfy now.

So, in two days I go back to my Lyme Literate doctor to find out my fate (not my real fate, we know what that is – AMEN!) but rather the fate of the little brats that are destroying my body. Will they put me on another month or two of the oral combination antibiotic pill popping routine that I’ve come to hate? Or will it be time to hook me up to a constant flow of antibiotics? Either way it sucks. Yes hubby, I said it again  . . . it sucks!

But what doesn’t suck is having friends and family by my side through this journey in the deep, dark valley. My valley girls are right there for me, giving me the courage and support I need, to understand that I’m not perfect. No one on this earth is perfect, now, ever has been, or ever will be except Jesus. So, I can stop being so rough on myself, expecting to be the light and the ray of sunshine glorifying God in every little step. It’s okay to FEEL the pain and the suffering for what it is . . . .  a flare up of a brutal disease. It doesn’t make me a bad Christian for focusing on myself, while I struggle . . . . as long as I let the spirit lead me, and go back to what’s most important – the word of God.

As long as I continue to do that, it’s okay to have a bad day or a bad week. I will not put so much pressure on myself – yet I will take each day, each hour, each moment as it comes – good, bad or indifferent. And when all is said and done, I will come out on top of this Lyme Mountain that is in my way right now, and the fat lady will be SINGING PRAISE TO GOD!