Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Forgiveness

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

I believe, on too many of occasions, we (myself included) sadly get caught up in believing what others say about us, how they present us, and the judgments of spiritual maturity based on physical struggles. Through those hurtful times, it can be hard to forgive, especially when one may not realize his or her fault in the misinterpretation of another. However, we must forgive those that wrong us or make mistakes that affect us, including the times that one does not realize the effects of his or her judgment(s). We must demonstrate the attitude of grace and forgiveness, just as Christ forgave the most appalling acts committed by man. We find forgiveness so extremely hard at times because, on the contrary, un-forgiveness is what is engraved in our human nature. This, I believe, is one major reason that the act of forgiving another is so extremely powerful. Through forgiveness, we will find freedom and healing. Christ forgave the murderer, the adulteress, the child-abuser, rapist and molester. And he extended that same forgiveness, love and grace on me...someone who makes mistakes daily, yet I strive to live a life of encouragement to others. I pray that others see my heart for ministry, my goal to inspire others through Christ's hope and joy that has radically changed my life....not as a means of human praise, but praise to my Heavenly Father for using even the toughest, oddest circumstances for His glory. I am absolutely nothing without my Lord, my King, my Precious Redeemer & Romancer. He has the power to turn every tear into joy...it may take a time of healing, but with God, all things are possible. 

Mark 11:25


And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”


Matthew 18:21-22


Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."

Lyrics to the Song
Forgiveness by Matthew West 

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word
Forgiveness

It’s always angers own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you’ve got a right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying, “set it free”
Forgiveness

Lord, show me how to love the unlovable
Teach me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

It can clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free


There is no end to what its power can do


So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of Grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
Forgiveness

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New Treatment Plan

Last Wednesday (April 23rd, 2014), I went for my monthly appointment with my specialist in the "big city" (1 1/2 hour drive from home, one way). I was prayerful and hopeful that there would be some more options put on the table for treatment of my newly-diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). (CFS was a diagnosis confirmed after the initial diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, stage III.) CFS also exasperates my chronic pain syndrome (CPS), fibromyalgia, and other neurological and pain conditions. It has also affected my mood...you can imagine how you would feel if your body forced you to stay in bed for the majority of the day, despite many needs that must be attended to.

I have been on the first step of treatment for CFS since I was diagnosed in late February. This includes a type of hormone therapy that attempts to re-format the functions of the adrenal process, which is the cause of the CFS. Patients that have this type of CFS (caused by adrenal fatigue in the later stages) really need to go through with an effective treatment for the condition. The consequence for not going through with an effective form of treatment is Addison's Disease, which is a more severe form of hormone and adrenal insufficiency.  When Addison's Disease plagues the body, you lose almost all ability to produce these hormones, which help you respond to stress (including illness, injury, emotional responses, etc.).

So my options were somewhat limited. We stuck with the first step of the hormone therapy and kept building up the dosage over time. It left me feeling even more fatigued as my body fought the purpose of the therapy, which meant that the treatment was working (fortunately). My doctor even warned me that it would be a difficult phase of treatment, and that I may have problems tolerating it. I did, indeed, have those side effects. The doctor said, however, that he had never heard of someone's fatigue levels sky-rocketing like mine had done during the course of treatment with this medication. I was hardly able to climb out of the bed in the mornings before treatment....it felt 10 times worse after we started this first phase of treatment of hormone therapy, and the fatigue lasted throughout the entire day. It didn't help that I had the responsibility of taking care of two little guys. My solution was to drink a lot of caffeine. I didn't feel like this was a very healthy alternative, but I did feel that I had to take care of my boys. Therefore, I did what I had to do. It is very common for fatigue levels to increase by a decent amount during the time of treatment; however, it is not common for fatigue levels to increase this drastically. The doctor took note of my extreme fatigue levels due to treatment and my concerns, and decided to add an additional medication to help with energy and begin the second stage of treatment (to move things along).

Once the dosage was built up high enough (2 months time), the doctor was able to add an additional form of hormone therapy to my regimen. He and I both were very hopeful that this would boost my energy to where I could begin to get out of bed more easily, stay out of bed during the day, do a few chores here and there, play with the boys (instead of napping in the floor while they play), and simply being driven to do a few things again. The medication was prescribed three times per day - two in the morning and one around noon to 2 p.m.

I got my prescriptions filled and was very anxious to get the treatment started. From the first dose, I noticed a difference in my pain and fatigue levels! Was it a coincidence? The next day came, and I took my dose of two pills in the morning and one around lunch time. Once again, I found myself able to get out of bed and stay out of bed! Over time, the dosage has built up and become slightly better. This week, I sewed the boys 2 super-hero capes, 2 super-hero masks, 1 doctor's vest, 1 police officer's vest. You have to be in this body to realize what a miracle it is for me to have pulled out my sewing machine and actually have finished several projects. And the act of sewing is so therapeutic for me.

I have felt more up-beat because I am no longer "bound" to the bed. I still have fatigue, and I still take my naps when I can. But overall, I feel like God has granted me a small miracle through this second medication in the process of hormone therapy.

Needless to say, there was initially a lot of discouragement down this road (for the last 3 months - up until this new treatment option). It may seem like a silly thing to some of you, but when you add this on top of my chronic pain issues and other medical problems, it becomes a much bigger issue. This is not a simple problem that a cup of coffee can fix (I've tried several cups...lol). My sweet Lord has been teaching me more and more about leaning on Him always. I've been utilizing a few verses this month in particular. Isaiah 41:10 is hanging in our dining room as a constant reminder - it's been a very useful tool and a timely reminder on many occasions. Romans 5:3-5 also serves as a great reminder that every hardship we experience in this life is for a greater purpose. I have definitely been learning further patience, endurance, and trust in my Primary Care Provider ;) (the Great Physician).

Isaiah 41:10
Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Romans 5:3-5

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
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*This is a post that is meant to inform friends & family of my condition and the facts surrounding my condition. Any information in this post is NOT meant to be supplemented as medical advice. 

Mental Illness and the Church