Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Doctor Burnout"

"Doctor burnout" in E.I. language refers to the condition that develops in us as patients when we've had enough of doctors. We've "been there, done that" too many times with unhelpful doctors--we're burned out on them.

I can fully relate to this condition. I consulted more than 40 doctors in 8 states during my years of illness. Some of them actually made me worse with their "treatment" methods. Others were no help. A few were a little bit of help, but not a full answer.

Gradually I got to the point where my mom had to force me to try a new doctor. I was fed up, and I honestly thought there was nothing anyone could do for me. 

Thankfully, my mom never gave up. And in His mercy, God finally led us to some health providers who gave us real answers and started me on the journey of healing. But I admit I'm still a little "doctor-shy" in general.   

The reality is that those with chronic illness do need a "doctor"--that is, we need someone with greater knowledge and experience than we have. That person could be an MD or an herbalogist or a wellness consultant, etc. I've discovered there are people with real answers in many different health disciplines. 

I think the best thing is to get personal referrals from people who have received real help from their health provider. And pray for God's clear direction about which people to work with. 

Also, know that it's okay to make your own decisions about your health. Learn everything you can from your health provider, follow their instructions when you have peace about it. But don't feel guilty if you can't do everything they say. You know your body better than they do. They are not all-knowing. They do the best they can, but ultimately YOU are the one who has to live with the decisions you make. So listen, be open-minded, pray, and then do what you believe God wants you to do.

If you're dealing with "doctor burnout" right now, be encouraged! There really are health providers out there who are helping people. It make take a while for you to find the right person for you (or persons--I've worked with several, putting their various methods together for the complete program that I needed), but don't give up. Keep doing what you can, moving forward one step at a time. And remember that God is truly the Great Physician. Let Him guide your decisions and know He will carry you through the difficult days. 

Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
-Isaiah 46:4

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Can Party!

Yes, believe it or not, I can finally enjoy a good party again! 
(Of course, not in the "wild, uncontrolled party" sense, just in the "fun, silly, enjoyable party" sense.) =) 

Since my health crashed in 2004, I missed out on a lot of family parties, as well as friends' weddings, baby showers, etc. It was really hard to miss celebrating so many special occasions. Sometimes I cried. Other times I had peace even through the sadness of not being there.  

God didn't waste my pain though. He used those lonely times to make me more aware of His presence always with me. And I learned how to celebrate special days in new and different ways. 
(If this is where you are right now, I pray you'll find comfort in God's love for you. I pray you'll let Him fill your lonely moments with His sweet presence.)

Now, after all the years of missing out, I'm finally able to attend more celebrations, praise God! And I have a new appreciation for the value of a good party. =) 

Life can be hard, so when we have reason to celebrate, I think we should celebrate! =)

On Saturday I had a fantastic birthday party with my family! It was so much fun - filled with laughter, noise, silliness, hugs, and just the joy of being together. It was a wonderful time that will always be a precious memory for me. And I look forward to many more years of enjoying the fact that I Can party! 

Super E.I. Girl & Non-toxic woman ready for super-hero action!

Here's a photo from my birthday party.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Making Lemonade

You've probably heard the saying - "When life throws you lemons, make lemonade." 

Or there's my personal favorite, the Bible's promise that, "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28). 

I've certainly experienced some "lemons" in recent everyone does. But at this point in my journey, I like to look back and see some of the good things God has done, some of the "lemonade" He's given that has sweetened my life. =) 

So here's my "E.I. Travel Diary" in photos. Because of traveling the country looking for answers and seeing different doctors, these are some of the places I've seen and good things I've experienced.

Melbourne Beach, Florida - beautiful ocean & refreshing salt breezes.

outside Dallas, Texas - incredible horse sculptures that made my day. =)

Grand Canyon, Arizona - amazing site! It definitely helps put life back in perspective. (Pictures can't do it justice, but at least you can tell I was there.) =)

Coeur D'Alene, Idaho - breathtaking scenery and fun moose statues. =)

Yellowstone National Park, Montana - so much fun to watch buffalo roam freely and to enjoy the beauty of God's creation.

somewhere in Wyoming - bought a cowgirl hat in a western store, even had a horse statue out front. =)

somewhere in Nebraska - stopped to photograph radiant fields of sunflowers.

Not to mention all the family and friends I got to visit along the way, some I hadn't seen in years. 

Looking back, even though those days were incredibly difficult, I'm so thankful for all the blessings God gave along the way.

Yes, even with the sourest of lemons, God can still make lemonade. Praise His name! =)

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Can Serve Others

Last week my mom and I spent time helping our dear friends pack as they prepare to move. It was one of the first times I've been able to help out like that, and it felt great to do something to serve someone else! 

For so many years with this illness, I couldn't even take care of myself, let alone serve others. I was the grateful recipient of loving service from others--primarily my mom, but many other people as well. 

It's wonderful to be able to do things to take care of myself once again. But even better is the opportunity to serve others at times! 

I'm so thankful for all the ways God has served me through His people during the last nine years. And now I'm looking forward to more opportunities to be His servant to those in need.

Praise God that in His strength, I Can serve others!

Who would you like to thank for serving you in your difficulties?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Keep Learning

One of the most important things you can do for your health is to keep learning. 

There is so much health information available today, new research being done all the time, more people sharing their experiences with health struggles, etc. If we continue to seek knowledge we will be better equipped for living a healthy life in this toxic world.

Obviously, knowing which sources to trust and to spend time reading can be a challenge. But we shouldn't let that stop us from continuing to seek truth and wisdom for our health.

I know how tempting it is to think that I know "enough" to get by. But if we don't keep learning, we'll become stagnant and our health will suffer for it. 

I try to read at least one health-related book every month (or every other month sometimes). I've chosen a few health-related blogs to read regularly. And I've also joined a group on Facebook that's all about nutrition, health and wellness. From these sources, I continue to learn things that I've found helpful.

Right now I'm actually reading two books, that are both very good. The first is The Great Physician's RX for Health and Wellness. And the other is Your Mind at Its Best. Right now both books are on sale at for $2.99 each. 

You can usually find health-related books at your local library, or online for not too much money. Jordan Rubin is, of course, one of my favorite authors in the health field. Some other good resources include the Know This magazine and blog. The EI Resource website also has a lot of information and helpful articles, like this one on keeping a healthy immune system.

Of course, we don't want to spend all our time simply researching healthy living and not actually living. But I believe it's important to devote some time to learning new things and actively pursuing a healthy life. I hope some of these resources will help you in this worthy endeavor. =)

What is one of your favorite health resources - a book, blog, website, etc.? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Can Wake Up Early!

I've really enjoyed writing these "I Can" posts each Monday. =) It's good for me to celebrate all the things I'm able to do again, and it reminds me not to take life for granted but to be thankful for every little detail. 

I hope you've been encouraged by these posts as well. Today I have another gift to celebrate!

After years of sleeping until 9am or later, and then finally dragging myself out of bed, last week something amazing happened. I actually had 3 days where I woke up before 7:30! And I felt ready to get up and embrace the day! 

It's a beautiful thing to wake up early and actually feel like getting up! 

I still have some days of sleeping past 8am, but that's usually just when I'm detoxing another infection and my body needs more sleep. I think this waking up early is going to be my new "normal" very soon! I'm so thankful! And just think how much extra time I'll have if I start my day at 7:30 instead of 9am. haha =) 

Getting good sleep is absolutely essential to good health.The quality of my sleep has gradually improved over the last few years, and now my body doesn't need as much. With so much life to live, I'm very thankful that I Can wake up early!

(This article has some good general tips on how to sleep better.)

What can you do to improve your sleep? 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Perspective From Pain

I received an email from a friend last week with the following list, and I knew it was something that would encourage others. She gave me permission to share it here. 

What Lyme and paralysis have taught me...

1. A relationship with God means walking with Him along the same path, not walking towards or away. 

2. I am complete the way I am right now today. I am not what I once was, but that is beyond my control. Nothing needs to be added or taken away. No altering needs to be done.

3. Lyme and paralysis are my teachers and not my enemy. They teach me the depth of pain that others go through. Compassion, empathy, sympathy. It moves me to get into activism for others. To yell loudly for those who can't.

4. My purpose in life is beyond sickness, roles, or what others say. It's to help others with what I've been given. It is to bring honor and glory to God.

5. Acceptance of Lyme/paralysis does not mean I love it. It just means I understand it's a part of my life and I'm still going to live it. It does mean I will cry, get frustrated, mourn my lost life, but I will work through this by being open, honest and real.

6. My grandchildren will be more compassionate people because of my conditions. It will not hurt them as long as I don't let it hurt me.

7. I have a life and Lyme/ paralysis is a part of it and not all of it.

8. There will always be people who understand and help me through my illness and those who just don't have the ability to do so. I have to accept that.

9. There is no magic pill.

10. Taking pills, herbs, using heat packs, rifing and my hothouse, are needed to keep me going, and everyone needs some type of health regimine whether they are sick or not.

11. Humility is the key to every situation I find myself in. Anger gets me nowhere.

12. I have good days and bad days. I am grateful for the good ones, and I try to accept the help offered on the bad ones.

13. I had to get sick to value my health.

Thank you Anne, for letting me share this. I say a hearty "Amen!" to all these things.

Question: What's one valuable thing you've learned through your pain or difficulties?

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Can Memorize Bible Verses!

During all my years of illness, the Bible has been my lifeline. I read it every day for hope, strength and encouragement. But for years, as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't memorize it. 

With chronic illness, the body often goes into "survival" mode, which means it only focuses on truly essential functions (eating, breathing, sleeping). Things like concentration or deep thinking aren't absolutely necessary, so the body doesn't allot any energy for them. 

While in "survival" mode, you learn to just get through each day, not even trying to push yourself to think hard or do anything "extra." It's frustrating and difficult. Some days I would read the same Bible passage over and over, hoping to get one encouraging thought to stick in my head. Memorizing wasn't something I even attempted. 

Then about a year ago, after I'd been doing the DNRS brain program for a few months, I decided to try memorizing verses again. And I was surprised and delighted when it came easily for me!!! The words stayed in my mind, and I could easily recall them. It was amazing! 

For those of you living in "survival" mode, I totally understand. But I want to encourage you that as you continue in a healing process, one day you will come out of "survival" mode. You'll be able to enjoy life and thrive once again! 

Now I try to spend a few minutes every day memorizing, and I've found it's actually very good for my brain. I am so thankful that at long last I Can memorize Bible verses! 

Here's one I memorized not long ago that always encourages me: 

But our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control. will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.
-Philippians 3:20-21

Thursday, May 2, 2013

More Prayer Requests

Today I want to share a few updates on previous prayer requests and add a few new ones. Thanks for joining in the prayer effort, and please let me know if you have a prayer request you'd like prayer for. 

S & R (mom & daughter both with E.I.) are still struggling along, but I praise God for His faithfulness in providing for them in amazing and miraculous ways! R's intestinal problems are severe right now and she's lost too much weight. 
*Please pray for treatments that will bring healing instead of just managing symptoms. And also for strength to go on, encouragement, and provision.

S, N & K (twin brothers & mom) are still about the same. They recently came through some dental appointments okay, praise God! 
*Please keep praying they can get moved to a lower elevation soon. 

K.M. (young lady with FM, CFS, etc.) continues to suffer with chronic pain and other symtoms. She recently started the DNRS brain program. 
*Please pray for strength to continue the program and that it will help bring healing to her brain and body.

T & S are some new friends. T is 34 and suffering terribly with Lymes disease, in constant, severe pain. His mom, S, recently took him to a clinic that specializes in detoxing and treating Lyme's. I'm not sure if it's helping much or not. They expect to be there for several weeks, if not months.
*Please pray this clinic will be helpful, that God will bring healing to T, and strengthen him to endure the pain. 

And there are so many more...
A - suffering from the effects of years of Lymes
S - can't live with her family now because she needs a less-toxic house
C - battling RA, FM, diabetes, etc.
K - facing many health issues, family stress, and more
E - dealing with severe corn allergy that affects her entire life
M - recovering from severe depression, recently started the DNRS program
...on and on. 

It breaks my heart to see so many people with serious health battles. That's why I keep going with this blog. I hope that sharing information will make a difference, that my little contribution will help others in some way. But I also believe that prayer is the most important thing we can offer to others. I know it's made ALL the difference in my own life.

So here's a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all who have prayed for me and for my E.I. friends! You are a blessing!

Heavenly Father, I pray for all who read this blog post, that you will guide and direct them to answers for their health struggles, that you will bring good from their pain, and that most of all they will experience your great love more than ever before! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.