A New Symptom

>> Friday, August 24, 2007

A new symptom has set in and this time it's in the form of fear. Fear and anxiety is foreign to me...not something I've ever wrestled with before. It's gripping. Almost tortuous. Whether it comes from my brush with death this time last year and my current state of health has me scared of dying. Or my adrenal glands (the part of your body that helps us deal with stress) have gone awry and have my emotions out of whack...I don't know. Either way this is not normal for me. I've ventured out of the house a couple times this week and each time it has ended in either hyperventilation or dizziness, nausea and a gripping sense of fear. It feels almost like a sense of impending doom. It's hard to explain. But I know it's a sign that something is not right within me.

So what should I do? I could run back to all my doctors but I'll bet any amount of money they won't know what's wrong. They'll probably hand me a prescription for an antidepressant or the like. OR I could lift my eyes to the hills, from whence my help comes from. My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

When my thoughts turn to Him, it's amazing how peace washes over me, cleanses me. Immediately I feel some relief. I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord is my salvation. You can keep your antidepressants and your drugs...just give me Jesus. He is the best medicine.

However, I do believe that fear and depression are NOT something we should settle for. I believe they are God's way of signaling that something is NOT RIGHT within our bodies...they are symptoms just like a fever or pain. I am learning to pay better attention to my body. I am learning about the healing power of foods. And I am learning about the body's amazing ability to heal itself. If our bodies are out of balance then a whole host of things start going wrong. And as Americans (and I am very guilty of this!), we want quick relief. If something goes wrong we run to our doctors asking for the latest and greatest pill. What want relief and we want it now. There is a place for prescriptions in our society. I'm not denying that. But I want to take better care of my body than filling it with synthetic drugs. God gave us good foods...they are drugs too. And if we use them wisely they can heal even better.

I don't want to settle for being depressed. I don't want to just assume that this is part of the aging process. Something is NOT right within my body and I'm going to be responsible and allow it to heal and give it all the support I can in the meantime. I no longer want a quick fix. I'm in this for the long haul.

God keeps reminding me of the verse over and over again, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I don't see fear and anxiety, depression or even constant headaches anywhere within God's plan for my life. He is the giver of life. He is where my help comes from! He is my source of relief.


Season of Rest

>> Thursday, August 16, 2007

Initial testing for lupus was inconclusive. The tests were done while I was on prednisone so the results were most likely inaccurate. The doctor wants me to see a rheumatologist and I'm still waiting for my appointment. I broke out with strange little blisters all over my legs yesterday so that has me a little freaked out. And I'm still dealing with severe headaches off an on throughout the day. But each day is getting a little better. I'm still hanging on to hope that this is a strange reaction to the migraine medication I was on. The medicine is known to cause metabolic acidosis:

"Metabolic acidosis is a state in which the blood pH is low (less than 7.35) due to increased production of H+ by the body or the inability of the body to form bicarbonate (HCO3-) in the kidney. Symptoms may include chest pain, palpitations, headache, altered mental status, decreased visual acuity, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, altered appetite (either loss of or increased) and weight loss (longer term), muscle weakness and bone pains. Those in metabolic acidosis may exhibit deep, rapid breathing called Kussmaul respirations which is classically associated with diabetic ketoacidosis. Rapid deep breaths increase the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled, thus lowering the serum carbon dioxide levels, resulting in a compensatory respiratory alkalosis."

It's possible I didn't have pleurisy afterall but rather this rare side affect of this horrible drug. I'll tell you one thing...I've had so many reactions to drugs over the past year that I am VERY reluctant to put anything in my body that isn't natural. I'm also sick of going to doctors only to have them push one more prescription in my hands which only causes more problems and solves nothing. I am about to make some major changes in my life that will hopefully yield better results. In fact, I've decided over the next six months I'm taking time off all major commitments to commit to getting my immune system back on track. This is going to be my "season of rest". No fostering, no working, no commitments for the next 6 months. Only time dedicated to eating right, exercising, and well...resting. I'm excited to see how it goes. I just know my body hasn't fully healed from last year's trauma so I know this is what I have to do. I'm anticipating good things to come out of it.


Now What??

>> Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What is a day in the Ginn house without some sort of crisis?? The crisis this week is that I ended up in the ER last weekend for what seems like the 100th time in the last year. Surprised? But this time for a very new and unusual symptom. Last week I was thinking that I was having a bad reaction to my migraine medication and blogged about it. I had some very weird symptoms but also a horrible, horrible headache for over 5 days. The doc put me on a round of steroids to break up the headache due to "inflammation" in the brain. By day 6 my heart was racing, my chest hurt and I was short of breath. I thought for sure it was the effect of the steroids but I called the doc and he said to go to the ER right away. They did an EKG, blood work, etc. and to my surprise diagnosed me with...pleurisy. WHAT??? Where in the world did that come from? Pleurisy is an "inflammation" in the lining of the lungs. How did my lungs decide to get involved? Now, I've had a LOT of strange and unusual symptoms over the last 2 years but now we're starting to move into a whole other system of the body. What is going on???

Needless to say, I couldn't come home fast enough to start researching pleurisy (that is, of course after the pain killers wore off!). If it is not the result of infection (which it isn't in my case) then a lot of times it is the result of an autoimmune disease such as lupus. LUPUS??? Now, I've been to the Mayo Clinic and I've been to many specialists in town but this is the first time lupus came up. It has never been considered before. But in light of recent symptoms it makes me suspicious. But what's most interesting is that within ONE WEEK I've had TWO different inflammatory problems within TWO different parts of my body...brain and lungs. Maybe God is giving me another piece to a bigger puzzle than I originally pictured.

So how fast do you think I picked up the phone to call my neurologist on Monday morning? He agreed that it is indeed very suspicious of lupus and ordered blood work immediately. I don't think getting a diagnosis is as easy as a blood test. I think it involves many different tests/ specialists but the ball is rolling now. And finally the ball is rolling in a different direction. I should hear the preliminary results on Wednesday.

I'm certainly not anxious for a diagnosis of lupus by any means!! Frankly, I'm terrified of that diagnosis. But I am anxious for some closure. I would like a definitive answer as to what is going on in my body. After my trip to the Mayo last year I've never been 100% satisfied with their conclusions..everything didn't fit. And I've always kind of been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'd really like to get on with life, you know? Maybe God is ready to reveal more information. Or maybe not. One thing is for certain...God is enough no matter what. His grace is sufficient for me. I need His grace more than I need to know test results. More than I need pain relief. More than I need answers. And if He chooses to reveal lupus to me then I trust Him to give me the courage and the strength to face the journey ahead.


Funny Faux Pax

>> Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I've been waiting several weeks now for a call back from our lawyer. Tonight at dinner Claire said,

"We had a couple calls from Keller & Keller."

I thought, hmmm, they're not the law firm I called but who knows maybe that's the name that would come up on caller id. So I said, "Are you sure it was Keller & Keller?"

"Yes, Keller & Keller, well something like that."

So I started flipping back through the caller id looking for anything similar.

"Claire, was it unknown caller?"

"Nope, definitely Keller & Keller."

Still flipping I finally come across "cellular call". Claire looks at it and says, "See I told you so, (pronouncing the "c" like a "k") kellular & kellular."


Cleansed from Within

>> Tuesday, August 7, 2007

This verse came to me as I was driving to the zoo with my kids today.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalms 139:23,24

The last 3-4 weeks have been miserable. I started a new migraine medication a month ago that sent me spiraling downhill very fast. Almost from the minute I took the first pill I haven't been myself. I've been crying and depressed. My thoughts have been all over the place...uncontrollable, anxious, and offensive. Search me, O God. I've been doubting myself, my faith, and my abilities to do anything. I've been fatigued and barely able to get out of bed. UGH! What has this drug done to me? But what amazes me more is how quickly my mind and spirit can be persuaded. I'm sure the enemy loves opportunities like this to sneak in his little lies. But I'm reminded of another verse....

Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

Psalm 1:4

How is it we can be so confident one day and blow away like chaff the next? Scary. It reminds me so more of how much I need Him. I fall so short of the glory of God. But what amazes me the very most is how our loving God continually, time and time again forgives us for "blowing away" and takes us back. It's the purest definition of grace. Sing it with me...

Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all my sin.

This song came on our radio today. I couldn't help but smile when I heard it. I'm starting to wean myself off my migraine medicine now and I feel hopeful again. My body is being "cleansed" within of this toxin, just like God cleanses of our sin. God's grace gives us hope for the future because He loves us no matter what. Thank goodness for that!!


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