Getting out of the Lyme pit!

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I had a great week. I ate well, got in several workouts – even an incredible spin class! In fact, my week went so well, I actually considered canceling my appointment at the amazing Cherry Hill Clinic. But, I figured giving your immune system a boost is never a bad thing.

I actually felt guilty walking into the clinic; like I shouldn’t be here anymore. I walked in, saw my name on my IV bag and a rubber glove, filled with warm water waiting for me. My veins have not been cooperating lately, so the caring nurse (Lovely Linda) always warms up my veins with a home-made heating pad ūüôā I had to smile when I saw this. It’s little things like this that make me feel at home at the clinic.

Once we got my IV started, Nurse Linda mentioned that Dr. Molly added something new to my Lyme Juice –Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), an all-natural, anti-inflammatory. It was music to my ears. Since losing the fight to that tick three years ago, I’m now inflamed from head to toe! The amount of symptoms that I suffer from has DECREASED dramatically over the past few months, but one of the few lingering symptoms still bugging me (haaa… bug – that’s funny!) has been my newly acquired asthma.So, the only downfall to having enough energy to work-out (if you can EVER complain about that) is the wheezing afterwards.

So, I was excited to see how I would feel after this particular treatment. I finished my Lyme Juice and headed into work. I immediately felt the benefits. My mind was clear. I was super productive and then during my lunch break, I grabbed my work-out buddy Colleen and we got started. An hour later, my legs were jello, I was dripping with sweat, but to my surprise, I was breathing just fine! No wheezing! There really is a first time for everything!

I started this journey with a laundry list of symptoms, no diagnosis and not much hope. In just a few short years, my life has completely turned around. For the first time in my life, I wake up early and start my day off in the Word. Before tackling breakfast, tangled hair and missing socks – I quiet my heart and spend a few moments with the Lord. For years, I tried to convince myself to do this, but I always chose 30 extra minutes of sleep over the Lord. I’m embarrassed to even admit it, but it’s the truth.

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.

No matter what time of slimy pit you’re in right now – depression, drugs, Lyme disease – cry out to the Lord. He will hear you. He will lift you out of your pit, just like he has lifted me from mine!

Love – the only qualification you need

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I was sitting at my desk when I was overcome with this bizarre desire to help someone. The strange thing was, I didn’t know who or what. So, I started to randomly reach out to people in my life . . . my spouse, a friend, a co-worker, no one needed me. Then I reached out to my pastor’s wife. To my surprise, she was just praying about a special needs program for our Sunday School. I was blown away with God’s timing and how very specific His message was to me. For years, I had been volunteering with my local Autism Group, raising money for Social Skills programs and coordinating the annual Autism Walk – but it never seemed to be enough.

It’s great to be able to provide much need therapy programs or respite for parents – but none of that compares to being able to give parents the opportunity to sit and listen to an amazing pastor teach God’s word. And having the confidence of knowing that your child is attending a Sunday School class, with teachers and aids that are equipped to handle their special needs – that’s priceless.

When the triplets were young, we tried several times to attend church. Packing diaper bags full of snacks, juice boxes and toys to keep them entertained, while we tried to pay attention. But, sitting in the “baby room” was just that . . . a room filled with babies. The distractions were¬†endless. No matter how hard we tried, we always walked away feeling more frustrated and never being¬†“filled.” Often times, we left feeling more frustrated than when we arrived.

Mike and I were both raised Roman Catholic. Our oldest had just made his Holy Communion and that’s when it dawned on us . . . how on earth were the boys going to be able to attend CCD? With the amount of services listed in their IEPs, we knew that a traditional CCD class would not work for our boys. That was one of the many reasons, we decided to start looking for other churches. After “test driving” many churches, we found our home at Calvary Chapel in Bellmawr (now Calvary Chapel of South Jersey).

A sound bible based teaching, Sunday school classes that were age appropriate, and now we are¬†going to offer a special needs program. It’s perfect. I’m so blessed to be a part of this church and this new program. I’m not a special needs teacher, I don’t have any experience in behavioral therapy. In fact, the only degree I have is in Marketing. So, what makes God think I’m qualified to raise not one, but two special needs children?

After one extremely challenging ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) melt down, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed. I pleaded to God and cried out, “What am I supposed to do? I don’t know how to do this? I’m not qualified to do this!” I wasn’t expecting what happened next . . . . He said, “Just love him.”

So, now matter what type of meltdown or crisis you’re dealing with right now. Remember the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples:

John 13:34-35New International Version (NIV)

34¬†‚ÄúA new command¬†I give you: Love one another.¬†As I have loved you, so you must love one another.¬†35¬†By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.‚ÄĚ

 

Snuggle Time

It’s sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it’s released when people snuggle up or bond socially. It’s also been called the bliss hormone due to its effects on behavior and love.cats-cute-snuggle-Favim.com-217652

I’ve been taking Oxytocin (no, not Oxycontin!) for about two months now and it has changed my life! ¬†For a girl who just stopped her anti-depressant medication after six years, Oxytocin has been a life saver!

Unlike your typical anti-depressant, it doesn’t chemically change your brain. It’s a natural boost of love! Other patients at the Cherry Hill Clinic have described it as, “The feeling you get when your kids run up and give you a big hug!”

I find myself snuggling up to my kids more often; being more affectionate to my husband; seeing joy in situations that may sometimes be stressful (Mary Had a Little Lamb over and over again from a first-year saxophone player).

Whether you need a little love in ¬†your life, or maybe you’re just curious and want to learn more, Dr. Molly from the Cherry Hill Clinic will be on Talk Radio 1210 this Sunday, answering your questions. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, be sure to tune into 1210 AM this Sunday at 8:00 am. Oxytocin might just be the boost you need! Couldn’t we all use a little more love in our lives?

 

Alert: You can’t do this alone.

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This post is not about Lyme. It’s not even about Autism or Alzheimer. It’s about life. And how you can’t “do” life alone. No matter who you are. At some point in your life, you will reach your breaking point. Life as you know it will come crashing down right before your very eyes. ¬†And there will be nothing you can do about it. You will be helpless.

Some of you reading this are there right now. You are in the midst of the most unimaginable trials of your entire life. If that’s you, I pray for you. I pray that you realize sooner (rather than later) you can’t do this alone. That you’re not supposed to do it alone.

Five years ago, I thought I could do it on my own. I was wrong. Dead wrong. My husband and I had four young children, a wonderful marriage, a white picket fence, the whole nine yards. But what people didn’t realize was that I was crumbling on the inside. I had taken on WAY too much and was afraid to admit it to anyone – especially my husband. I had promised him that I could handle everything on the home-front, while he went off to live the American dream.

We had just taken over a small business, we were both working full time and two of our boys were just diagnosed with Autism. Life was a bit hectic, but I promised him that I had it all under control. I wanted this to work. I wanted the business. I wanted us to be successful.  And the last thing I wanted to do was admit that I was wrong. After all, I was super-mom . . .  I had this.

Yet, the funny thing about life is that, you can only pretend for so long. You can escape temporarily through drugs, alcohol or even a double life, but eventually your cover gets blown. And then what?

Fight or flight. I chose flight. I was too weak to fight my battles – let alone fight my entire war. ¬†So I ran. I ran away from my reality as often and as far away as I could. But eventually reality caught up with me and the shell of the woman that I had become, came crumbling down. Pieces of me¬†would be found in the bottle of wine I just drank, or curled up in fetal position, behind my locked bedroom doors, hyperventilating – physically and mentally incapable of “doing” life anymore – or even pretending to do life.

My husband, doctors, therapists, babysitters, prescription drugs . . . they all helped. It took a village. But as we pulled ourselves up out of the pit that had become our life, it became very clear that doing things our way had gotten us no where. But once we found a church that we could call home; once we realized how wrong our priorities were; our entire lives started to fall into place. Everything became very clear.

God is the answer. He always has been and he always will be. He is the answer to whatever problem you are facing. Take it from me, there is nothing too big for God. I beg you tonight, please call out to HIM. He is there just waiting for you. He can take away all of your burdens. You just have to ask. Invite him into your life. I promise you will never regret it.

It’s time. Don’t make HIM wait any longer.

‚ÄúThe LORD waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for him to help them‚Ä̬†(Isaiah 30:18).

FIGHT LYME: LIKE A GIRL!

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It’s time to FIGHT Lyme Disease Like a Girl!

For the last three years, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit being laid up on the couch. Not because I’m a couch-potatoe, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I was literally debilitated due to extreme fatigue. “Debilitating Fatigue” doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you really break it down. We’re not talking about being really tired or even run down, we’re talking about fatigue that halts you in your tracks. Fatigue that drops an avid runner and self-proclaimed cardio junkie to her knees.

You can scroll through some of the past blogs for details about my really rough days. But here’s a quick glimpse into the Life of a Lymie: ¬†Really rough nights would be spent in bed, away from the rest of my family, with the pillow over my head, blocking out as much of the light and sound as I could. ¬†Shooting pain, dull pain and radiating pain would run rapid through my body from head to tow. Just the thought of muscling up enough energy to roll from one side to the next, was more than my sick body could handle.

My “good” days would consist of me being curled up in the fetal position on the couch, constantly asking everyone to whisper and turn down their tvs, laptops, or video games. The beautiful chandelier in the dining room would rarely be allowed on, because the bright lights would cause an immediate migraine.

After months of negative test results and numerous use-less appointments with specialists ranging from Oral Surgeons to Dermatologists and Neurologist, I finally decided to become my own advocate (as I had done for my children years ago). I did my own research and started to come to my own conclusions. Every bizarre symptom I had led to Lyme Disease. BUT an ER visit back in November 2013 supposedly “ruled out” Lyme Disease. ¬†When one receives a NEGATIVE test result for a Lyme Disease test, one would assume that one does NOT have Lyme Disease, right? Wrong!

I knew what the tests said, I heard what the doctors were telling me; but my mommy gut was saying something different. But it wasn’t until one night, after spending hours of doing more research online, that I literally heard the words, “IT IS LYME.” I didn’t hear, “I’m really starting to think this could be Lyme,” or “I wonder if that test could have been wrong.” I heard loud and clear, “IT IS LYME.”

It was then that I knew God was speaking to me. I shared my experience with Hubby and he whole heartedly agreed to dive into this Lyme Pool head first. After spending thousands and thousands of dollars, taking hundreds of prescriptions, suffering through hours of agony . . . there was improvement in my health and overall quality of life, but I never really had hope.

I was filled with bitterness and anger. I grimaced as I drove past runners on the side of the road and glared at people in work-out attire like they were the devil for being able to work-out and I couldn’t. But as the years have passed by, God made it very clear to me.¬†He had to chill me out. And Lyme would be the way he would do this.

Good days would come and go, but there was never any real hope that I’d ever get back to my “old-self.” For awhile I was okay with that. My competitive¬†runs, turned into slow walks with the dog, cardio workouts were replaced with an occasional bounce on the trampoline with the kids – but just when I thought I was okay with that, God dangled a little carrot in front of me . . . Dr. Molly and the Cherry Hill Clinic.¬†

Dr. Molly really is one-of-a-kind. It’s like she has her very own little missionary right here in South Jersey. Instead of traveling the world to save lives, she does it right here in her own back yard. I write this with the utmost confidence . . . doctors like Dr. Molly are FEW and FAR between. In my 40 years on this earth, I’ve never met a medical professional like her. ¬†She spends hours upon hours with everyone who walks through her door. She will not only go through your ENTIRE medical history with a fine tooth comb, but she will spend countless hours of her own time researching new, innovative ways to get you healthy – ways that your family doctor would never even consider.

Everyone in the clinic is “her favorite” patient (even though we all know, that I’m REALLY her favorite), hugs are given to anyone who wants one and she’s not afraid to give the glory to God when and where it’s deserved (which is all the time). ¬†The Cherry Hill Clinic really is a small piece of heaven on earth.

This morning I swung my the clinic, got a quick shot in the bum and then headed off to work. I opened up my office door, logged onto the computer, sorted through some important emails and then headed off to do something I NEVER thought I’d do again . . . ¬†I taught a kickboxing class! Now granted, I only taught a small portion of the class, but none the less I taught. Up on the platform, microphone on, music blasting . . . I, little, old, Lymie, Lisa led a Group Fight class! God is sooooo good!

Last night, while reading my One Year Bible, I came across Psalm 91:9-16. I literally came to tears when I read this:

 

If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.

For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.

You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

The LORD¬†says, ‚ÄúI will rescue those who love me.¬†I will protect those who trust in my name.¬†When they call on me, I will answer;¬†I will be with them in trouble. ¬†I will rescue and honor them. ¬†I will reward them with a long life¬†and give them my salvation.‚ÄĚ

With HIS help, I have CRUSHED this Lyme Lion! HE loves me so much that he brought me up out of my pit of darkness and gave me not only hope for eternal life, but hope for a joyful life while still here on this earth. Me, little old, Lymie Lisa . . . I have done nothing to deserve this, yet it is my gift that HE has given me! What a blessing.

Did you know that this gift is waiting for you too? All you have to do is what it says in that first part of the verse. Make the Lord your refuge – make Him number one on your priority list. That’s all! If you are struggling with your own LIONS and COBRAS don’t wait. Turn your life over to Jesus today. Because the Lord is already with you. He just wants you to call out to HIM.

Who Will Rescue You?

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Sunday night, I heard screams coming from the front of the house. Matthew was locked in the bathroom. I jiggled the door handle a little bit, got it open and boom – he was free. I went in after him, closed the door behind me and tested the knob once again. Only this time, I couldn’t get the door to¬†open. The kids ran around the house panicking, even volunteering to kick the door down to rescue me.

Mommy was stuck in the bathroom! Daddy was at the store! You would have thought the sky was falling! “I’ll kick down the door,” one of them yells! ¬† “No, let me do it!” ¬†I heard from behind the door. “No one is kicking anything down,” I said. I instructed them to go into the family room, put on the TV and watch America’s Funniest Videos (which by the way may air our “Mac & Cheese Eating Cat” video in the next few weeks!) and patiently wait for Daddy.

As the kids¬†panicked about what to do next, I plopped down on the floor, opened up the cabinet door and took out my nail polish container. “I could get used to this,” I thought, as I filed my nails. No one can disturb me, I have everything I need right here . . . . I see no dilemma.

About 15 minutes later, the car pulls up in the driveway and hear the rustle of bags. My Prince was here to rescue me! The kids bombarded daddy the second he walked in the door. “Mommy’s stuck in the bathroom! We need to kick down the door!”

He chuckled and reassured them that he would get me out, without kicking the door down. As he passed by the bathroom, he yells out, “You don’t mind if I eat first, do you?” Always the jokester! But to his surprise, I responded, “Take your time. I’m good”

A few minutes later, Hubby appeared with his tool kit and before I could finish my second coat of polish, he had removed the door knob and rescued me from my tower just like Shrek and Fiona.

What was interesting about this whole scenario¬†was seeing how frantic the kids became. Yet, I was completely calm and relaxed (even without my happy pills). It reminded me that as Christians, we can be like that. When life doesn’t go exactly as planned, sometimes we jump and react without thinking things through – we need an answer now – so we kick the door down. But in reality, we just kicked¬†a perfectly good door off the hinges, when all we needed was to adjust the knob a little. Waste of money, resources, and energy!

So, the next time life throws a curveball at you, instead of trying to kick down the door, for an instant solution, take your time. Seek out your true Prince, Jesus. He will always save you. Whether you’re stuck in a rut or in an addiction, He can get you out. He’s in the business of saving people ūüôā

God fixed me!

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Several years ago, I fell into a deep depression. I searched high and low for ways to escape the pain and difficulty of my own life. Like most people, I found temporary relief in alcohol, therapy, and prescription anti-depressants.

Once I got saved, I would tell people all about my testimony . . . . how God (with a mix of the right prescription and an amazing husband by my side) changed my life. I no longer needed a Girls Night Out, shopping therapy or any mini-escape to deal with what life was throwing at me.

I had heard about stories where God had delivered people from addiction or illness – but I felt like my situation was different. I could be totally filled with the Holy Spirit, just coming from an amazing service, surrounded by my fellow Christian friends at church and still feel overwhelmed by the chaos of four kids, triplets, Autism squared and ODD. It didn’t matter how much my cup was filled with GOD – my situation required a prescription.

UNTIL . . . ¬†a few weeks ago, while sitting in church listening to Pastor Harry talk about going to the bottle or your pill to find comfort – instead of going to the Lord. This is not the first time he’s made this type of reference and I’m sure it won’t be the last. BUT this time, it hit me personally. The Holy Spirit was tugging on my heart strings . . . ¬†it was time to let God take over (even on this very sensitive topic). I’ve surrendered everything to God. My life, my finances, my family . . . but this dependency I thought for sure was something that I still needed.

The tears streamed down my face, as I lifted my hands in praise and worship to God. At first, I was going to fill out a prayer request form and ask the prayer team to pray for me, regarding this issue. But as time ticked away and the service drew to an end, I knew it was time for action -not just prayer. I made my way up to the front and asked for a fellow sister to pray for me. My husband had no idea what I was doing and he was completely shocked as I shared what just happened. He had suggested for years that I cut back or stop the prescription, with hopes to someday, get “his wife” back. But every time I tried, I quickly fell into my flesh and became overwhelmed with emotion and stress.

I shared my experience with my fabulous Dr. Molly at the Cherry Hill Clinic, who was supportive as always. It’s a beautiful thing having a Christian doctor who know’s who the real physician is! She gave me a specific regiment to follow, to wean off the drug and I am happy to report that I am almost completely free of this drug and feel amazing!

To my surprise, I’m laughing more, crying more (which is a good thing!) and even whining more – which my husband actually missed! It’s feels good to feel . . . even if it hurts sometimes.

I know that every story is unique and no one can tell you when it’s time to stop a prescription that a doctor has given you – but what I can tell you is that God does deliver – anyone and everyone from anything! Including anxiety, stress, depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome – everything! But it’s all on HIS TIMING. You have to sit and wait for HIM to tell you when. But if you’re too busy with the hustle and bustle of life, you won’t hear HIM.

So, take it from me – a depressed, autistic mom, who battles everything from eating disorders to migraines – God is all you need! If he can fix this hot mess, he can fix anything!

Praise to JESUS!