Doctors and More Doctors

I think I will hit my insurance deductible by February. Here we go again. Well might as well get it out of the way. 🙂

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I started Physical Therapy yesterday. They hooked me up to some electric nerve stimulator machine. I had images of Frankenstein in my mind. I will have six more appointments.

In a few weeks, it will be back to the Orthopedic Surgeon for an MRI and a different electric nerve test. That one will involve a small needle. I may end up with an electric personality. 🙂

In February it is back to the Rheumatologist for a follow up appointment. I don’t think anything new will come out of it other than continue current treatment but one never knows.

After all of that I will have met my deductible, so future appointments will be paid 90%. Hey time to go for it with doctors off to the races.

One big downside to these appointments is they have to be in the afternoons due to my schedule. That means no naps until Friday. I got hooked on daily afternoon naps last semester. Hopefully I can make it. 🙂

Such is the life of a spoonie, person with chronic illness, go to doctors who send you to other doctors and they all want to do tests. They all seem to want to move the parts that you tell them hurt. For example, at Physical Therapy, he kept wanting to move my shoulder every which way.

One day Jesus will either return or he will take me home to heaven. Then I won’t need doctors anymore. For now, Jesus has work for me to do here in this life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Rooms

In thinking about rooms in my life and what rooms mean, I wonder what rooms come to mind for my readers. When I think of rooms, to be honest, some rooms evoke pleasant wonderful memories, but some rooms I would prefer to forget and leave millions of miles behind me even though they are etched in my mind.

There was a room that as a child was a place full of dread. It was the room I learned to feel I was less than human. It was the room where I was berated and the room where sleep could be cruelly interrupted by a drunken fist. It was a room that led to me never feeling I really belonged anywhere and would always be less than.

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There were many rooms after that but none that felt like home. Never a room that felt settled for me. Never a room where peace resided until one day, in a room, the light of the world welcomed me.

It was a room in a friend’s house. He had a visitor that day, a young woman. In that room, she told me that God loves me. God loves me? What? I am garbage waiting to be hauled way. God loves me? That room led me to a journey of discovery.

As time went on I learned about the Upper Room where Jesus told his followers one evening before he was crucified that he longed for that time to share the first Lord’s supper with them. That room had great meaning for people like me. Jesus longed for me to know him and to join him too just like his disciples.

I learned about how Jesus taught his disciples that in his father’s house there are many places and that if he goes, it is better for them because if he goes, he will prepare a room for them.

Jesus drew me into his presence in a special secret room for me. It was a prayer room in a church that was filled with his presence and where he taught me that I am not garbage. In that room, I learned how he felt about many things. It was so wonderful that I never wanted to leave that room, but he wanted me to leave that room so I could help others to know about the rooms in his father’s house.

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But some rooms after that were again rooms I dreaded where doctors told me things like my liver and heart were not working well until they found the cause that a pill each day would keep me healthy.

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All of these rooms led me to the room that is so special to me. It is a room that has connected me to the world, a room at my church. In that room people from numerous countries have come for help with English and many have heard about how Jesus wants all to have a room in his father’s house in heaven. Many have come to believe in Jesus in that room. Much laughter has occurred in that room and also some tears. Shared life among diverse cultures has happened in that room. It is this room that I am most fond of in all of my life. This room feels like my home away from home until I reach my final homeroom in The Father’s house thanks to Jesus.

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But those doctors’ rooms came back last year as I went from doctor to doctor to find out once again that I had another autoimmune problem. Such rooms made my blood pressure go up.

The question I try to ask each day is this- Is there room in my heart for Jesus?

What room is special to you? Or is there a room that Jesus can help you overcome as he did me?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Final Doctor Appointment for the Year

The look on the face of someone after being told he needs a cortisone shot in the shoulder. Yesterday I went to the orthopedic surgeon to have my shoulder looked at. He had it x-rayed, did an exam, and concluded we should try a cortisone injection first.

The good news is that I do not see him again for eight weeks. The bad news is that if things things don’t improve he wants to do an MRI. Fun Fun lol

When I walk in, the woman at the reception desk smiles waiting for a joke. Yesterday I told her that at the coffee shop they wanted to give me a coffee mug to use that had a picture of a cat, but I was afraid to use it because I am allergic to cats. 🙂

So that’s a wrap for doctors this year. Well except the eye doctor but no worries about blood tests, x-rays, etc etc at an eye doctor.

I wonder if I should set a limit before next year begins. Example- only 10 doctors’ visits. If I hit 10, then no more. 🙂

I did manage to do all of my Christmas shopping in five minutes. Yes, it was online. No, I won’t need to wrap anything. They will be delivered.

My evening class finished last night. After today, I will have five more days until Christmas Break. Then it will be 13 glorious days of no alarm clocks and nothing to do except drink coffee, blog, and of course spend time with Jesus.

After I finished this post and scheduled it, I found out that we have a day off from school. I logged into the website to check email for the school and saw the notice. We are supposed to have up to 75 mile per hour winds tomorrow and a chance of thunderstorms not snow. I think they wanted to give overworked and stressed out teachers a break. 🙂 So off to a coffee shop later 🙂

How is your midweek?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Depression During the Holidays

The songs of Christmas can cause most people to feel joy and look forward to the holidays. Songs like I’ll Be Home for Christmas or The Happiest Time of the Year. The problem with those songs is that they put the focus on the holiday as if there is something magical about the holiday.

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Toss on those overly romanticized movies where Christmas miracles happen such as finding true love and the whole thing is magnified.

The holidays can cause some short term sadness for some. But what about people who struggle with depression? When everyone around you is happy to celebrate holidays, it can make a person feel even more depressed.

As someone who has depression due to living with Chronic Illness, what has helped me the most is to focus on the person Christmas is about not about the holiday that is overly commercialized.

Christmas is a time to remember the birth of Jesus our Savior. That is what it is really all about. It is not some magical time of year where all problems are solved. The person Jesus said things like in John 16:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

That is so realistic. This world, this life, is full of problems. Jesus did not say he will wipe the problems away. Yes, he can do that, but what he said is to take heart because he has overcome the world.

Jesus also said in Matthew 11:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’

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He invites anyone who has struggles in life to come to him promising rest for weary souls. That would include those are feeling alone during a holiday, those who struggle with depression, and anyone who just plain is struggling in life.

So my only advice is to focus on the person Christmas is supposed to be about, Jesus, and not the holiday which has no power to do anything.

One more thing I would say is that if you are struggling, it is not only okay but important to ask for help.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Almost Done with Doctors for the Year

My early Christmas gift was seeing the dermatologist and finding out my scalp psoriasis was clear yesterday. So I asked her if that meant I could stop injections, but she said no. Well 1 out of 2 isn’t bad. Something about it was prescribed by the rheumatologist for arthritis, so I need to keep doing them.

Next week will be my last doctor appointment for 2021 when I see the orthopedic surgeon again. Then it is clear sailing until next year. 🙂

This year was relatively uneventful on the doctor front. I only saw the rheumatologist twice, the dermatologist three times, and the orthopedic surgeon three times. Oh and the GP I saw three times.

With all of that going on, I have not missed a day of work, so my sick pay is accumulating. I am thankful the Lord gives me strength each day.

So as the year is fast coming to an end, it has not been the worst year for this person with chronic illness. It has not been the best either. But thanks to Jesus, I have stayed in the game.

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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.