May Is Awareness Month For………………….

May is awareness month for mental health and for several chronic illnesses including :Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, Arthritis, Celiacs, and others.

Which ever chronic illness a person is living with, there are some things shared in common such as social life being affected, limited, or in some cases nonexistent. Doctor appointments seem unending and are costly. Some experience loneliness and depression.

One person who will never leave us is Jesus. I love the promises of Jesus and would like to share a few.

John 14:23-
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Jesus wants to be our roommate.

Matthew 28:20

 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus will always be with us.

I would also like to share a song that has meant so much to me. It is My Prayer for You by Alisa Turner.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Don’t Judge A Person by Their……..

You know the old saying don’t judge a book by its cover? A version of that has come to mind for me recently of- don’t judge a person by their title.

Four years ago I told my GP that I thought I had psoriatic arthritis because it runs in my family and I had a large red patch on my elbow. My GP said it wasn’t psoriasis. However, he referred me to an orthopedic specialist, who in turn, referred me to a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist diagnosed me with Celiacs but said I did not have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. A dermatologist said the same.

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Two years ago I was referred to a different rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and who also said I did not have psoriatic arthritis.

What did all of them have in common? None of them looked at my scalp.

In March this year I went to a different dermatology clinic because that red patch was back again on my elbow. It had been coming and going. But this time it was accompanied by pain in my elbow. I did not see the doctor. I saw the physicians assistant. At first when the appointment was made, I was concerned I could not see the doctor first. I was WRONG.

The physician’s assistant was the first medical provider who looked at my scalp. He was very thorough. When he looked at my scalp, he said, that’s psoriasis. The person with the lesser title was the person who was the most thorough.

Don’t judge a person by their title.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Why I Share about Living with Chronic Illnesses

The minute you tell someone you are sick you suddenly become the disease not a person

This line is from the movie Midnight Sun which is about a teen girl with a rare illness. While it is true that for some people once they hear about someone being sick it is all they see, when I heard that line it caused me to think about why I share about living with chronic illnesses.

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There is a bit of a back story. After the Lord intervened and helped me recover in 1995, I began to share with people, “I should be dead but I am not.” I did so to get their attention so I could share my story and by doing so share Jesus with them.

As Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

By sharing about my experience, my hope is that others are drawn to Jesus.

Another huge reason is to encourage others who live with chronic illness. My thinking is along the lines of what Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

I am not concerned with receiving sympathy. I am not concerned with what others think of me at this stage of my life. My one overriding concern is that whatever I experience, it is for Jesus and to share him. This life is so short. I am nothing like Paul and can only wish to echo his words to Timothy:

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Full Circle Moment with Doctors for me

This story from my life might seem like a weaving and winding road or better yet a maze or perhaps even a jigsaw puzzle,

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Four years ago I told my GP I thought I had psoriatic arthritis. He said the rash I had was not psoriasis but he wanted me to see an orthopedic specialist about my knee. I went to that specialist who told me knee replacement is in my future but he wanted me to see a rheumatologist to find out why I have widespread pain. I went to the rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Celiacs Disease. So we thought that was it.

Two years ago I had a mild ANA test, so my GP wanted me to go to a rheumatologist. I went to a different one but days before I went there I was put on steroids for bronchitis and the ANA test came back negative there but he did diagnose me with Fibromyalgia and Degenerative Disc in my neck.

So after spending a lot of money on specialists, ones I mentioned in this post and others, I decided at my age what is the point. I decided to stop seeing specialists for rheumatology.

My GP had me see an ophthalmologist late last year who diagnosed me with Sjogrens. I thought well that is enough no need to see anymore specialists.

Lo and behold due to a rash on my elbow that won’t go away I went to a dermatologist yesterday. He found psoriasis in my scalp. my elbow and other spots. The issue that started this winding road 4 years ago has come full circle. I was right, I have psoriasis and next I will go to Omaha to the University Medical Center to see a- you guessed it- rheumatologist. Only this time I will have a diagnosis or two, well five, to take with me.

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Such is the life of a spoonie-person living with chronic illness. We bounce around from doctor to doctor. I am once again a pinball patient.

What keeps me sane? (some may question that) One word- Jesus. If it wasn’t for my prayer time with Jesus I do not know how I would cope with it all.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My first real vlog! All about my new pain treatments and being authentic. It’s a must see! — Tracey’s World , Discover

Hi everyone! I promised that I would start vlogging… I have FINALLY gotten on the bicycle! I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to do the next one but …. I’m still learnimg to ride this bicycle 😆!!! Hopefully a year from more (maybe less) I will look back at my first vlog and […]

My first real vlog! All about my new pain treatments and being authentic. It’s a must see! — Tracey’s World , Discover

Wellness Wednesday- Women’s History Month- Part 4

Living with chronic illness has given me an appreciation for those who share their stories of life with chronic illness. During the month of March, I will share blogs by women who live with chronic illness for my Wellness Wednesday posts.

A purple butterfly is a symbol for some chronic illnesses such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia etc.

Wendi of Wendi shares about her multiple chronic illnesses and her life.

Vivi of She shares her faith and about living with the effects of TBI.

Lily of . She shares her faith. about llving with Friedreich’s Ataxia, books and more.

Tracey of She shares about living with Lupus and other chronic illnesses.

If you check out their blogs, you will find women with the courage to keep going as best they can while living with chronic illness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesdays- My New Glasses

This past December, I actually went for an eye exam with an ophthalmologist. Perhaps I should mention that for years my eye exam consisted of me going to a Dollar Store with a piece of paper and checking which pair of $1 reading glasses helped me read better. But I needed to get checked for Sjogren’s Syndrome and had a thorough eye exam.

After he checked my vision, he flipped to three settings and asked if they were clearer. To my surprise they we so much clearer. The result was me ending up with trifocal blended lenses.

It took about two weeks for me to get used to them perhaps because I kept using my $1 pair for working on my computer. But alas those broke forcing me to only use my new glasses. Now I love them.

Why is it that sometimes when it comes to things that will benefit us, we are reluctant to use them? We get used to what is not as good but helps a little and want to keep the status quo.

One thing my fellow spoonies, people who live with chronic illness, will understand is the thought of going to any doctor is stressful. That is due to many reasons such as doctors telling us everything looks good based on blood work, but we are in pain and have other symptoms, doctors not believing us when we talk about symptoms, and the whole maze of getting a diagnosis.

So I avoided eye doctors too. I kind of lumped all doctors together. My discovery was that ophthalmologists are not stressful. I plan to see him once a year.

I am still not convinced I will make the BIG appointment in a city one hour away at the University Medical Center with a rheumatologist. That is the kind of appointment where they poke, prod, do tests, take blood, and tell me they do not see anything. Either that or a diagnosis comes that is life altering such as when I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Hypothyroid, Celiacs, Fibromyalgia, etc.

I think for now I will just enjoy seeing better.

Thank you for reading. God Bless..

Wellness Wednesday- Our Limitations- God Opportunities

Living with chronic illness has progressively meant accepting limitations. Some have mostly accepting an adjustment in life such as eating a strict gluten free diet or using the elevator at the school where I teach in the mornings. Sometimes it has meant not joining activities like playing volleyball at a picnic. Due to fatigue being a constant issue, I always have to consider if I will have the energy. That has been on my mind as I think about visiting friends in Canada in July whether I should drive 11 hours or fly there.

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God can create opportunities for us that allow for us to live with in our limitations. At picnics with friends from other cultures, after accepting that volleyball was no longer a good idea for me, I began just sitting at the tables with whoever was there. Those moments often have been divine appointments to share Jesus with people.

At first I was concerned about explaining my need for gluten free food to my refugee and immigrant friends when they would invite me to their homes. I have found that when I explain why, they have been very willing to accommodate my needs. Not only that but by explaining about my life with chronic illness, it has led to opportunities to share with them.

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My prayer life is the key to living within my limitations. I have had mornings that I wake up, drink coffee, and while drinking coffee barely pray-“Lord I am so fatigued today. Please help me be a blessing to my students and fellow teachers.” Those are often mornings that turn out to be some of the best in class and in interacting with my fellow teachers. It has helped me to accept that I have limitations and give them to God.

I still have my moments such as thinking I could dig my car out of 14 inches. After 10 minutes of trying I realized it was not a good idea. So I am not a perfect role model of accepting limitations.

However, by inviting Jesus into my life with limitations, it has created many God opportunities. Paul wrote about his experience in 2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Jesus reveals himself through our limitations. Joni Erickson Tada is a classic example of this. After becoming a quadriplegic, God raised up so many ministry opportunities for her. She has written books, spoken in large meetings, had a radio show, and more.

So if you are living with a limitation or one is new to you, give it to Jesus and day by day see what he does through you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Dealing with Doctors

“I don’t know why while I take prednisone my joints feel much better and as soon as I am off prednisone, I have such intense pain.” I shared that with my then GP. His response was to ignore my comment and focus only on what he wanted to go over.

Photo by Alex Green on

That is called Medical Gaslighting. It is when a doctor downplays a patient’s concerns, ignores them, or tries to convince a patient it is imaginary or due to something else.

Anyone who has lived with chronic illness has probably experienced this at least once.

“I don’t want an autoimmune illness. I am not a hypochondriac, but these things run in my family. My older brother has M.S., my older sister has Psoriatic Arthritis, asthma runs in my family, I have relatives with Type 1 diabetes.” I told my current GP that a few years ago. After I told him that, he began to take me seriously.

An excellent book for anyone about dealing with doctors was written by a doctor whose blog I follow. Phoebe Chi is a doctor and her blog is Her book is Being Empowered,,,, for a healthy heart. Just the first chapter on being an empowered patient makes the book so worthwhile to buy and read.

After reading her book, I changed how I approach doctor appointments. I kept a symptom log including how often, when, triggers etc. I also began asking more questions during appointments. I became an informed and empowered patient.

Since 2017, I have seen 2 different rheumatologists, a gastroenterologist, two different dermatologists, two different orthopedic specialists, two different physical therapists, spent half a day being x-rayed, seen an ophthalmologist, had so many blood tests and more. In only 3 years, I have been diagnosed with Celiacs Disease, Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disc is my neck, and Sjogrens. That is on top of the Hashimoto’s Hypothyroid and asthma I already knew I had.

I share all of that just to let you know that I KNOW the frustration of dealing with many doctors.

What has helped me?

1- I pray before I go to a doctor. I invite Jesus into the process. This helps me to focus and also asks the Great Physician to come along with me.

2- I keep a journal of symptoms such as when I have a low grade fever and for how long, rashes, pain, etc.

3- I let each specialist know that various autoimmune problems run in my family.

4- I ask questions.

5- I read information from reputable sources such as Web MD, Mayo Clinic website etc.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.