Can You Guess Where I Went First Day of Break?

Today is the first day of Thanksgiving Break for me. I stepped outside to go to my car and saw a college age woman kicking a soccer ball against a cement wall next door. I told her that people get a kick out of soccer. She smiled. Then I asked if she knew that soccer is in the bible. I shared this verse with her from 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. 

Goal is in the bible 🙂 So I started the day off by telling 2 jokes. Awesome start. Then it was off to, can you guess it? Drum roll please.

I went to the coffee shop. Big surprise I know. They gave me a mug to use that best describes how I feel when I partake of that magical elixir coffee.

That feeling lasts until I stand up and remember oh yes I live with chronic illness. But the experience of being in the coffee shop on my first day off in a month is wonderful.

Later this afternoon I will pick up a flan dessert a friend is making for me and then it will be nap time. A whirlwind of activity necessitates a nap. 🙂 lol

How is your day before Thanksgiving Day?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Sleepy Weekend

Friday was cold and cloudy and add to that I was in the middle of a pain flare up, Friday evening was spent mostly laying down watching movies. Well sort of watching movies. I slept about 14 hours Friday evening/Friday night. Saturday afternoon it was time for a power nap. Just woke up this Sunday morning after sleeping 9 hours. Now I am ready to go to church, have burgers with a friend and perhaps go to a coffee shop. Jesus blessed me with feeling well enough to go to church. 🙂

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Such is life with chronic illness one never knows when a flare up will hit. Fortunately, I did not have big plans for the weekend. I did manage to meet with one student Saturday morning, but other than that my bed was a good companion.

I probably would not have crashed and burned so much if I did not power through a few days in the midst of the flare up. Dummy me. I have sick pay but don’t use it to take a day off. lol

So let me live vicariously through you. What did you do this weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful I Didn’t Kick The Doctor Yesterday

I receive injections in my knee trying to delay knee replacement. I will never forget the first time I had one. It was with my GP. When he started the injection, I had a reflex and would have kicked him, but he was holding my leg, so I didn’t.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Each time I get an injection, I wonder if I will kick the doctor unintentionally. Yesterday I went to the orthopedic surgeon for an injection and thankfully I didn’t kick him. I think it helped that he has me lay down whereas my GP does it while I am sitting.

It is the minor victories like that help me keep a sense of humor about doctors. 🙂

I don’t see a doctor again until February when I go back to the rheumatologist. Well, except for the eye doctor but they don’t poke with needles, draw blood, or any other things that make doctors visits a bit unpleasant.

My previous four injections his Physicians Assistant did for me, but yesterday the surgeon did it. He also checked my knee and spoke doctorese into some dictation thingamajig. I thought about asking what it all meant, but a meme I saw explains it well. The message was:

When I was a child my parents dragged me to the doctor. Now I avoid the doctor and hope I don’t die.

So I am keeping some intentional ignorance of his doctorese. Why? Because I figure if it was really bad, he would have told me I need tests. He only gave me the injection. So off I went to return home. 🙂

Moments like that and all of the moments of living with chronic illness make me selfishly long for the return of Jesus, so I can have a new body. 🙂

But then what about all of those who need to come to know him first. That thought along snaps me back to the right mindset.

Do you like doctors? Which is worse, the doctor or the dentist?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Matt Reaching The World

This is a picture I asked a student to take for me shortly before the pandemic began. For me the message of the picture is Matt reaching the world. The public schools system in my city has children from 157 different languages who have come here as refugees with their families, as immigrants with their families, or are children of people who have come here in connection with the university.

Jesus has blessed me with the opportunity to teach people from all over the world in living in my city. He has blessed me with opportunities to share the love of Jesus with people from all over the world living in my city.

He has also blessed me with opportunities to travel Brazil, France, Mexico and Romania for ministry trips. An extra blessing has been being able to visit Austria, England, Germany, Holland, and Switzerland as part of those trips.

All of this has been while living with chronic illness for thirty years. He has blessed me to be able to rise above the pain and fatigue to reach the world.

I am grateful that Jesus has given me opportunities to share his love with so many people from so many places.

What are you thankful for today?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Gratitude While Living with Chronic Illness

I used to hear the passage in every circumstance give thanks and think I needed to give thanks for the chronic illnesses I live with. It felt masochistic to me. In 1st Thessalonians 5:18 we read”

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Photo by Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Upon further inspection I realized we are called to give thanks in all circumstances. This may sound like I am debating semantics, but please bear with me.

There is a difference between me thanking God for psoriatic arthritis, Celiacs, hypothyroid, Fibromyalgia and thanking God for Jesus and for the blessings in my life even though I live with chronic illness.

I am grateful that God has given me strength to rise above the pain and fatigue I have lived with since 1993. I am grateful Jesus has led me to share his love in other countries and among the many cultures in my city while living with chronic illness. But I am not grateful I have chronic illness.

Whatever circumstance we are in, there is someone we can give thanks for- Jesus, and blessings we can be thankful for.

When Jesus spoke to his disciples in John 16, he told them:

In this world you will have trouble but take heart for I have overcome the world.

Jesus was telling them to focus on him in the midst of their troubles. The reason to take heart is because of Jesus not because of our circumstances.

So I am very grateful for how Jesus has given me strength these past almost 30 years of living with chronic illness. I am very grateful for how he has blessed me to rise above the pain and fatigue to share his love with the nations.

I am thankful for the doctors especially the ones at UNMC. I am thankful for my friends at church who have helped me.

Thank you Jesus.

What are you grateful for?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Friday Morning Routine

For me each Friday begins with coffee and worship/prayer, but there is something I do only on Fridays. Friday mornings are the time I inject my medication methotrexate.

I had actually thought about making a video of me injecting like I see some of my fellow chronic illness warriors do in Instagram, but my friend and pastor told me. “no one wants to see that.” 🙂

It is amazing that only half of the vial can pack so much punch. Thanks to this medicine I can stand for more than a few minutes. It is slowly helping me to reclaim parts of my life. But it also means coming home to take a nap after my classes on Friday because I am wiped out by that time.

Why put myself through that? Good question.

For me it comes back to the truth of Philippians chapter 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.

I want to squeeze as much as I can out this life, so I can share the love of Jesus with others. The daily pain and fatigue cannot compare with the glories of heaven. My desire is for others to join me there. For now, it is more necessary for those who do not know Jesus that I stay in this life.

So I will inject the medication this morning, go to the school and mooch some candy to get ride of the aftertaste, teach, and then come home for a nap. That is my Friday routine, so I can do things like have hamburgers with my friends from Bosnia tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Doctors vs Barbers

Just me at yet another doctor’s appointment. This one was at a dermatologist last Friday due to a rash that was spreading. Had to make sure it wasn’t a psoriasis flare. Next week will be an injection at the Orthopedic Surgeon’s office. Life with chronic illness is a never ending series of doctors.

You may have noticed a change from my post My Realization. In that post I looked like this

I finally paid a visit to a barber and now I look like this

I think I prefer the scruffy look. What do you think?

Visiting the barber is much more relaxing than visiting any doctor. Barbers deal with the part of my body that doesn’t hurt-My Hair. Barbers are better at small talk. Barbers cost less. Maybe I should see a barber for all of my health concerns. lol

Joking aside, I am grateful for the good doctors Jesus has led me to. The Rheumatologist at UNMC is excellent. The Dermatologist office has two good ones. The Orthopedic Surgeon is great. It is just the barber doesn’t stick me with needles, draw blood, or move my body to see if something hurts. I always wonder about that. For example, tell a doctor a knee hurts and the doctor wants to bend the knee. I mean really can’t they just take my word for it. lol

I will continue to go to both doctors and barbers, but I do prefer one to the other.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Invisible Illness Awareness Week

This week is invisible illness awareness week. Invisible illness covers a lot of illnesses that others may not see a person have. They include lupus, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, POTS, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many more.

The cartoon expresses the frustration people living with chronic illness feel when people say things like, ‘you don’t look sick’ ‘maybe you need to try yoga’ ‘do you take vitamins’ etc.

What people living with chronic illness wish friends would say are:

“Can I help you with anything?”

“I understand you can’t make it at times, but I like inviting you”

“Can I give you a ride to the doctor?”

“How about we chill out at your place and watch movies”

I am grateful that most of the time my chronic illnesses do not prevent me from doing what I want to do, but it has caused me to modify the things I do. For example, I used to love bicycling, but can’t anymore. I can, however, walk in an aqua track.

A special shoutout to my readers who live with chronic illness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

World Mental Health Day

Sunday was World Mental Health Day. As a follower of Jesus, it is my desire to show the compassion and love of Jesus to others. In Matthew 11, Jesus said:

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

When Jesus said-ALL- he meant ALL. If we struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or any other mental health issue, that is included in the ALL.

Jesus wants us to come to him with all of our troubles, problems, and struggles. His arms are open wide to us.

I will never forget watching the film Brain On Fire and how it helped me. I was hesitant about taking medication for depression. Years of living with chronic illness meant depression as a symptom. As I watched the movie based on a true story, I realized it was okay to take medication. The story line of the movie is a young woman doctors thought was beyond help until a psychiatrist did a simple test. He realized she had an autoimmune problem affecting her brain and started her on medication.

Our brains are part of our physical bodies, so they are interconnected. In my case, autoimmune problems caused my depression. There is still much to learn. We who follow Jesus can show Jesus to those who wrestle with mental health issues.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

World Arthritis Day

Today is World Arthritis Day. This is a club no one wants to be in. The club of the various forms of arthritis, rheumatoid, psoriatic, AS, etc. Being part of this club means going through a maze of doctors to get diagnosed, living with chronic pain and fatigue, and more.

It is a club I am a member of due to having psoriatic arthritis. It took six years from the first time I asked if I have psoriatic arthritis until I got diagnosed. I have been to ten different doctors, my GP and nine different specialists. I have been x-rayed to the point I think I should have some kind of mutant super power.

I am thankful Jesus has given me the strength to continue teaching and continue ministry. Some of my fellow sufferers have it worse.

So on this World Arthritis Day, I just want to give a shout out to all of my fellow Chronic Illness Warriors.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.