Question for My Doctor

Last Friday afternoon, I had a appointment with my cardiologist. I found out I was back in what he called heart flutter rhythm, which means I will have a minor procedure done in the coming weeks. It was not exactly the kind of news one wants to receive two days before Christmas, but at least as my cardiologist said, it is the best problem to have with the heart because it is easy to fix.

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My appointment finished in time for me to make it to the Ukrainian church to teach English for refugees. We had a good time together My plan was to go home after the class, but I found out that the children and youth of my friends in my class were singing in a Christmas program that evening, so I stayed to listen. It was a blessing to listen to them sing especially considering their children had just fled the war with them only a month or months ago.

Back to my appointment and a question I had when he told me I would need a procedure. My first question was about recovery time. I told him, “my concern about recovery time is how long it will take because I am helping Ukrainian refugees and need to know how long I would be away from them.” My concern was more about my Ukrainian friends and friends from other countries than it was about me. I was relieved when he told me I would be back to work a few days after the procedure.

Anytime I find out something medical that is one of my first thoughts. How will this affect the people Jesus has called me to serve?

Living with chronic illness has meant needing to make adjustments. Some are easy such as letting my friends from other countries know about my need to gluten free foods. Some are a hassle for me personally but do not affect them such as which day I inject my once a week medication knowing the next day will be low energy day for me. That has been my reality for many years. That is why one of my first questions was how long will the recovery time be.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Tug of War of Living with Chronic Illness

Living with a chronic illness means experiencing the ups and downs of it sometimes in one day. I can be fairly okay one day and the next day is a struggle. Add to that the fact that my personality is such that I do not want to give into it and do not want let it hold me back and the result is the pull of two sides one being accept it and adjust and the other being no way I will overcome it.

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Case in point is the temporary parking placard my doctor wanted me to have so I can use handicapped parking when needed. Upon receiving it, it sat there in my car not being used at all for two months. I know the stores I go to and the times to go, so the parking spot next to the handicapped spot is empty.

But last week in the midst of a flare up that caused me to have pain shooting down both legs from my back, I finally used it. I parked in a handicapped spot feeling defeated by doing so.

Since the first autoimmune problem hit in 1993, I have lived with a theme of I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. When someone would suggest perhaps I could not do something, I would stand on that verse from Philippians 4. Jesus has blessed me with eleven mission trips to other countries since 1997 for one example of Christ giving me strength.

Add in the fact that I tend to have an adventuresome spirit and it kind of complicates things even more. We had a large snow in parts of my state, but my city won’t have much. I was kind of hoping we would just so I could see how my small SUV does in the snow. As I work on finishing my book Jesus Understands Trauma, my hope is to travel to Brazil and Mexico to speak in churches.

But then there is that placard to handicapped parking that is in my car that I finally used last week. That is the push/pull of the two sides of me. This leaves me thinking it would be good to have Jesus return soon.

Such is life with chronic illness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Nurses-Wonderful Nurses

Several months ago I shared a post I Love Nurses. My recent hospital stay a few weeks ago highlighted for me why I love nurses. They are awesome.

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My nurses were the ones who took time to explain things for me step by step including the cardioversion I had. They were the ones who checked on me frequently. They were the ones who listened to my concerns. They were the ones who brought me chocolate ice cream.

The three nurses I had were also the ones who laughed at my jokes. Perhaps only to humor me. 🙂

Nurses help me feel calm. Doctors make my blood pressure go up.

Whenever I go a doctor, I enjoy talking with the nurses as they go over my medications and reason for my appointment.

So this short post of mine is a shout out to nurses. You are awesome. As a person who lives with chronic illnesses, my appreciation for nurses is high.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Small Change I Hope Will Make a Difference

In June 2021, I started taking methotrexate for Psoriatic Arthritis/Psoriasis. I read comments by people on Instagram who take it and referred to the methotrexate hangover, which is not feeling like doing anything the day after. So I took it on Fridays with the thinking that Saturdays can be spent at home if need be.

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The opportunity to help Ukrainian refugees on Saturdays is something I believe God is calling me to do, but then there is that methotrexate hangover thing. So I made a small change. I injected Sunday afternoon. My thinking is that this small change will allow me to help the Ukrainian refugees on Saturdays with worrying about being out of it due to the medication.

I tried it this past Sunday due to the holiday yesterday to give me a trial at it. My thinking is that Mondays I can teach in the morning, come home to rest, and then teach online Monday evenings.

Chronic fatigue is something I always have to factor into my decisions including the after effects of methotrexate. That is just part of life while living with chronic illnesses. I am so grateful Jesus gives me strength.

I am looking forward to this Saturday and spending time with my new friends from Ukraine.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Groaning But Keep Going

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

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This passage from 2nd Corinthians 5:1-5 came to mind yesterday after Craig of Poetic Perspectives at brocraigblog.wordpress.com replied to me asking how he was in my comment section, “I am about the same physically, but have lately felt more blessed and closer to the Lord, spiritually, which is the most important thing. He is ever faithful and loving toward His own and we truly cannot even begin to comprehend the extent to which this is true! Thanks for asking!” Craig lives with chronic illness as do I.

Yesterday I groaned a lot. I missed the bus that would have taken me the mile and half distance from the school where I teach to my coffee shop. Problem is the bus system here is terrible. The bus comes only one time each hour. So instead of waiting for one hour, I walked to the coffee shop. As I walked, my left foot and ankle reminded me that psoriatic arthritis has struck there. My right knee spoke up too not wanting to be left out. By the time I made it to the coffee shop, it felt like I had finished a marathon.

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Living with autoimmune issues like psoriatic arthritis and also with fibromyalgia means I feel like groaning all the time. I am looking forward to the day I am in heaven with no more pain. But to be here in this life, even living with chronic pain, means opportunities to share Jesus and his gospel with people from diverse cultures.

One of the first things I will do after I get a different vehicle, thanks to people being generous to donate, will be to join a club again that has an aqua track, It is a walking track of warm water, It is great for people with arthritis.

I will be more mobile again, so visiting refugees/immigrants will be part of my routine again too which is the best part for me. 🙂

So here is to more ministry even though I am groaning.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

D Day- Doctor Day

It is that time again to make a one hour trip to see my rheumatologist. Today my friend Scott, who is now part-time pastor, will give me a ride. He was the first pastor I connected with at my church back in 1994. I am looking forward to the fellowship even though it is for a doctor visit.

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So it is time this afternoon to get poked, prodded, x-rayed, and blood drawn.. In other words, a fun time. I have often thought to myself, “why do doctors want to move things I have already told them is painful?” Example- my left elbow is acting up, so the doctor wants to move my arm and bend my elbow.

Such is part of life for a spoonie, person living with chronic illness, but this clinic I go to once every three months is the best in the state, so I am grateful-once I am done. 🙂

Off the subject. Yesterday afternoon I rode the bus to go teach. A young woman from Saudi Arabia was on the bus. She was obviously a student, so I joked with her about homework and let her know I am a teacher. I felt led to share with her before I got off the bus that Jesus loves her and I will pray for Jesus to visit her in her dreams. Many Muslims have come to know Jesus as their savior after having dreams about Jesus. Please pray for her.

Also off the subject- I have an interview Friday afternoon for a different position with the school district and the program I am part of. If I get the position, I will be able to keep my health insurance.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Doctor Day- Annual Check Up

It is that day. You know the day. The day for an annual check up. The day that makes me feel like a kid being sent to the principal’s office in school.

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I miss the days before chronic illness when the annual check ups were mostly a time of being told everything looks good, see you next year. Now it feels like- you have been a bad boy and here’s why. 🙂

At least my appointment is in the morning and only a 15 minute drive to the coffee shop, aka my office, so after the appointment, I plan to treat myself to time at the coffee shop. I don’t think there will be any cupcakes because I had one when I went there yesterday and there were only two left.

I also plan to bring a book with me to the coffee shop, Anatomy Of The Soul by Curt Thompson. It is a interesting one to read. Of course catching up with fellow bloggers will occur as well.

It is that time of year in August that my daily activities involve going from one place that has air conditioning to another place that has air conditioning. That is basically my agenda today and for the next several days.

What’s on your schedule today?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

I Got Out Of Bed :)

This weekend the Cornhusker State Games are happening in my city. It is a week long event that has various sport events by age group. People come from all over the state to participate in things like 3 on 3 basketball, running, swimming, golf, tennis etc.

I participated in an open water swim during the games in 1989. That was my only time to participate mostly because in the summers after that I was busy with ministry in 1990 and 1991. Then there was whole getting sick, almost dying, recovering thing.

Yesterday in the games someone set a world record in axe throwing. I read about it this morning and thought, “well I got out of bed.”

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Saturday is the day after methotrexate for me. The day after is something those who use the medication refer to as methotrexate hangover day. One wakes up, gets out of bed, and the realization hits of- ‘oh not today.’

But I did get out of bed, spent time with Jesus, and now am contemplating a trip to the coffee shop. We will see. I have a new Chromebook to set up and try out. My old Chromebook kept getting messages of no longer supported, so I ordered a new. They are not expensive.

Got out of bed on a day like this sometimes implies I will get back in bed for a while 🙂

Images of a blueberry with a cupcake attached are in my mind. Each time I go to the coffee shop, I hope to have a divine appointment. I also have some new jokes to share. So perhaps I will make it. 🙂

I know a message like I Got Out Of Bed is not an inspiring rally cry, but it makes me smile.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Doctors and Doctors and Doctors- Oh My

In the movie Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tinman walk down the yellow brick road through a forest area repeatedly saying, “lions and tigers and bears oh my.” I understand the feeling but it my case it is doctors and doctors and doctors oh my.

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This month I have my annual check up, an endoscope, an appointment with another doctor and maybe an MRI. I was hoping my Rheumatologist forgot about the MRI since I saw him in May and no word, but that was wishful thinking because his nurse contacted me about it. lol

But perhaps after my next Rheumatologist appointment in August,, I won’t see a doctor again until December. That would be perfectly a okay with me. 🙂

One thing I always find a bit amusing is when they want to help me get up from the laying down part of the exam. The thought that goes through my mind is, “I have traveled by myself in Romania and Brazil, I think I can handle this.”

This morning I will go have blood drawn. By the way, I was born to be an optimist because my blood type is B positive. 🙂

Such is the life of a person with chronic illness.

By the way, the good news is that I found a channel on YouTube of people telling each other dad jokes. It is like finding a gold mine. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Doctor Day- Oh Well

Today is doctor day. It’s off to see a gastroenterologist for a consult. This whole doctor thing has become a monthly budget item. At least I have hit my deductible already. This appointment will be with a Physicians Assistant for a consult about stomach issues. So I don’t think any blood tests which is good because I have not studied for one. 🙂

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After the doctor, I think I will need to stop at the office, aka coffee shop. A doctor day means one is deserving of a treat, but sadly no more cupcakes with a blueberry on top. We will see what they have today. Yesterday I didn’t see anything gluten free but that doesn’t mean something won’t be there by the time I get there today.

I will bring a book to read, Anatomy of the Soul by Dr. Curt Thompson, and my laptop for blogging and writing. I am close to the point of publishing the two books I am working on, Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations and Jesus Understands Trauma.

This evening, if it is not too hot, I will join some people for a barbecue.

How is your Wednesday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.