Stand By You

Okay I will admit it. I like watching shows like America’s Got Talent, The Voice, and American Idol. In the finale for America’s Got Talent a group of nurses performed the song Stand By You a wonderful Rachel Platten song.

As I watched the performance I thought about wonderful nurses I have had when I had surgery or had to see a doctor. I also thought about someone else.

I am so grateful that Jesus has stood by me through so many difficulties. He has been with me through health problems, financial problems and more.

Jesus promised such when he said in Matthew 28- and lo I am always with you.

Jesus is the one person we can count on to always stand by us. He will never fail us.

I loved this performance of Stand By me so I am sharing it today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday-Thoughts on Doctor Last Week

Last Wednesday I had a follow up appointment with my Rheumatologist. It went well and I was pleased with the appointment.

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Finding a good Rheumatologist who takes time to listen is so important for getting a diagnosis especially with something like Psoriatic Arthritis that does not show up on blood tests. I am grateful that after two previous Rheumatology clinics, I went to the one that is my current clinic.

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Getting a diagnosis for any chronic illness is like going through a maze. It can take years. For me it took five years after first seeking help. As I think back, I realize I had symptoms long before I sought help. For example, I thought I had dandruff when I actually had psoriasis on my scalp. Since starting treatment, it has cleared up.

It is so important to be our own advocates. We can do so by keeping a journal of symptoms, asking questions, and seeking a second opinion if needed. I think of the woman with the issue of blood in Luke chapter 8. She pressed in through the crowd to touch Jesus. Those of us with chronic illness need that kind of persistence.

A few more thoughts:

My blood tests came back with good results. I was worried because I did not study for them.

I realized I was born to be an optimist. My blood type is B Positive.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Conversations Yesterday

Yesterday one of my friends took me to my Rheumatology appointment in Omaha. We had a good time of fellowship on the way there and back. It was such a nice day that as we were driving back we had the windows open. We came to a red light and I noticed some construction workers on my side of the car.

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They were Hispanic, so I greeted them in Spanish. They looked at me like they were wondering who the crazy old guy was in the car. One of them responded, so I decided to continue with:

Necesitas comer tamales hoy- You need to eat tamales today.

He told me their work required Mexican power. I answered with Verdad pero necesitas comer carne asada- Truth but you need to eat carne asada.

Before we drove off I told him- Dios te Bendiga- God Bless You.

At the clinic there is a coffee shop. Yes I always find the coffee shop. While I was waiting for my order, I saw a woman from India. I greeted her with Namaste, which surprised her a bit. We chatted for a minute while we were waiting.

It is fun to greet people in their languages, One of my hobbies is to learn greetings in other languages. I can only greet in 30 languages so far. Doing so shows I respect them. It also opens opportunities to share Jesus at times.

The appointment went well yesterday. They even gave me my COVID booster, but no sticker or lollipop. Is that ageism? lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Doctor Day

Today is my follow up appointment with the Rheumatologist at the University Medical Center Nebraska. In June he diagnosed me having Psoriatic Arthritis and prescribed a medication. I have made a pros and cons list of the medication with the pros far outweighing the cons. Progress has been made. I am thankful for the progress and for Jesus getting me through the first months of treatment.

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So off we go into the wild blue yonder to see a doctor who actually doesn’t stress me out. When I saw him in June, after spending an hour with him, my blood pressure came down- A LOT. lol

A friend is taking me there. It will be a good time of fellowship before the appointment. I never know what will be done at the appointments, so an ounce of prevention kind of thing. Also I don’t need the stress of freeway and interstate driving right before the appointment.

Also Hello September my favorite month. I love September because my morning class starts and autumn begins. I would say college football but my once great favorite college team has been terrible in recent years.

So Happy Wednesday-Hump Day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- What I Won’t Miss

Yesterday I shared Jesus Will Come Back For Us. As someone who lives with chronic illness it caused me to think about what I won’t miss after Jesus comes back for those who believe in him.

I won’t miss morning stiffness.

I won’t miss chronic pain.

I won’t miss constant fatigue.

I won’t miss doctors.

I won’t miss flare ups.

The list could go on of things that I won’t miss. But I also realize what keeps me going through it all is something that I will miss. It is what gets me up and keeps me going. It is what keeps my attitude from going down. It is my motivation for my life.

What will I miss?

I will miss sharing the love of Jesus with people who do not know him. In heaven everyone knows Jesus. Everyone has experienced and continues to experience the love of Jesus in heaven.

There is one more thing I would miss. I would miss teaching English Second Language. I don’t think there will be a need for that in heaven.

What I won’t miss causes me to wish for the return of Jesus today. What I will miss causes me to hope for more years in this life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- If I Stay

Yesterday after a day of teaching online 12 to 2, having meetings at the school 2:15 to 4, running a few errands and teaching online 6:30 to 9:30, I decided to unwind with a movie. I watched If I Stay. It is a poignant movie about a girl in high school who is in an accident with her family. The scenes go back and forth from important moments in her life and in the hospital after the accident going back and forth between staying or dying.

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Memories of when I went through my health crisis in the 1990s came back. I will never forget that night when I was home alone and thought I was going to die. The pain was that bad. I was experiencing severe muscle spasms. It seemed the end was near for me after a two year ordeal. But then I prayed.

I prayed along the lines of, “if you want to take me to heaven, that’s okay but there are more people who need to hear about you and who need help.” When I finished praying, I felt the presence of Jesus come into my small apartment and a hand on my shoulder. The pain stopped. The next day I was at the doctor and finally got a diagnosis.

That experience gave me a whole new appreciation for what Paul wrote in Philippians 1.

 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

If I had died that night, it would have been great for me. I would have been in heaven. But in the 26 years since that time, Jesus has blessed me with touching the lives of many. I can see it was more necessary for others that I stayed.

Even now as I live with chronic illnesses, I can see it is necessary for others that I stay. It is in the Lord’s hands for my time of departure. Until then, there are souls that need to hear, fellow believers who need strengthening. and people to help.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Hangover? Me?

Yes each Friday I deal with a hangover. Are you surprised? I am a Christian blogger and writing about a hangover.. Okay I admit it. I am having a little fun with the post.

It is what those of us who take Methotrexate call the Methotrexate hangover. I take it on Thursdays, so each Friday even though I have thoughts of doing something, those thoughts quickly evaporate as I realize all I really want and perhaps can do is sleep and relax.

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I gladly put up with it because the medication has already improved some aspects of life for me.

And then there are those strange cravings. Chocolate ice cream with bananas, chocolate ice cream with Greek yogurt with any fruit, corn chips, but yesterday I did manage to include one healthy meal of chicken and veggies. 🙂

Saturday comes and I am ready for the coffee shop. Sunday comes and now I can stand during worship without back spasms. Morning stiffness is lessened, but I still require my morning coffee. 🙂

Speaking of Saturdays, due to school starting Fridays will become the day I take my meds, so Saturdays will be my new Methotrexate hangover day.

September 1st I will go see my Rheumatologist for a follow up. Hopefully no added meds. I do have some promising news to share with him.

Just a glimpse into my spoonie life-someone living with chronic illness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday-What Ifs?

None of us really goes through this life unscathed, but for some there can be hurtful memories from the past whether from family issues, abuse, trauma, job loss, health issues etc.

It is so easy to fall into the pitfall of the What If thinking. I have to admit at times in my life What Ifs have dragged me down.

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What If my father had not lost his business and found our he was diabetic when I was 12. What If he had not retreated in his vodka.

What If I had not experienced a serious health crisis and had to leave the school where I was studying for the ministry.

I know the What Ifs all to well.

But two scripture verses raise me up.

Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God is always at work in my life to bring everything together for my good.

Ephesians 2:10- For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God created me with abilities and talents to match what he is calling me to.

So how do I turn the What Ifs around when they try to raise their ugly heads?

What I do is change the What Ifs. Examples:

What If I had not had my health crisis 1993 to 1995. I would not have been led to what I do now.

What If I had not been through what I have been through. I would not have met the people Jesus has blessed me with meeting, sharing his love with, and helping.

What If my family life had not been so messed up. I would not have the empathy for others that I have now.

By changing my What Ifs, it keeps my focus on Jesus and his calling on my life. It helps to keep things like despair, self pity, etc out of my life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Progress Being Made

Currently I am halfway through my first prescription for the medication I take for Psoriatic Arthritis. The common wisdom is that it can take up the three months to see results. I am six weeks into taking it and have seen improvement already. I realize each person’s experience differs and at times a lot.

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When I first started it, I could barely walk across a room without having back spasms. Now I am walking four to six blocks a day which would be longer but that one knee ugh.

What really caught my attention was standing during worship as we sing at church. I had not done that for a long itme.

I still have cravings the day I take it and the day after. Chocolate ice cream with bananas is one. For some reason Fritos Corn Chips is the other. That one is surprising because I hadn’t eaten those in years.

My hope is to make so much progress that I resume my international travels next summer. 🙂 But I am also realistic knowing flares can come unexpectedly.

It seems longer ago than only seven weeks ago that the Chief of the Rheumatology Department at the University Medical Center I went to in June told me, “You present us with an interesting situation.” Words no one wants to hear from a doctor. lol

Whether more progress occurs or not, the main thing to me is to do as Paul wrote in Philippians 3:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Almost Missed A Blessed Sunday

Missing out on moments in life is a part of living with chronic illness. Spoonies, people with chronic illness, always want to be invited, but also know a flare up could hit at any moment or simply just have zero energy to do anything.

My weekly routine now is take my once a week medication on Thursday, relax on Friday and do a half day on Saturday, By doing only a half day on Saturday, I am okay for Sunday morning and church. But last Saturday I had a funeral in the afternoon and it was important for me to be there. That meant a full day on Saturday.

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The result? I woke up Sunday with no energy and almost canceled my Sunday morning group and stayed home from church. But then I prayed and did my self talk of , “Man up and go”, and got ready. I was drained but went.

Am I ever glad I did.!!! An American friend from church joined and helped with my Sunday class for the first which was spontaneous. The students were delighted. During worship after class, a young Hispanic woman sat next to me. We talked after worship and realized we knew each other from when I visited a Hispanic church when she was a teen. We talked about ways she can help with ministry. Then as I was walking in the church, a woman and two teens were talking. I know the woman and her husband speak Spanish, so I greeted her in Spanish. The two teens said, “we need a Spanish group in church.” That is something I have wanted to do for a LONG time.

After church I came home and enjoyed a three hour power nap full of gratitude for how the Lord worked Sunday morning.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.