Wellness Wednesday- 1 More Week

One week from today it will be time for my Rheumatology appointment at the University Medical Center in my state. This is the top hospital in my state and also happens to be one that has done world class medical stuff such as successfully treating Ebola patients.

Normally this is how I would feel about going to any doctor.

But I feel a certain peace about this visit. When I received an information packet, there was a form to fill out inviting me to part of a research project. When I first saw that, images of me running on a wheel like mice do came to mind. But it is only for anonymous statistical research.

I have been dialoging with a few people who have what I think I will be diagnosed with-Psoriatic Arthritis, It’s not just me thinking that but my GP and a dermatologist too. I have been educating myself about the various treatments as well.

A few humorous things occurred too.

When I was getting my haircut, I told the young woman cutting my hair that I have scalp psoriasis, so don’t worry if she sees red patches, She mentioned she saw one and pointed to where it was. I started scratching it, she said, “well don’t pick at it.” and laughed.

I had been trying to use a medicine for something on the bottom of my foot that I was mistaken when I self diagnosed it. The medicine did not help. It made it worse. I found out what I have there is psoriasis. So much for my medical career. I think I will stick with teaching and ministry.

Just a glimpse into the life of a spoonie-person living with chronic illness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- I Actually Want to See A Doctor

First off I waited weeks to see a robin. For those not in the northern USA, when we see a robin it is a sign of spring for us. I had not seen any until Monday and guess what? It was snowing on Monday. Yep, that’s right snowing on the first day I had seen a robin the sign of spring coming. 🙂

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Speaking of signs, there are a few signs that tell me as much as I dislike going to doctors, I actually want to see the Rheumatologist in June.

I had a flare up last weekend spending most of the day in bed Sunday. That is spoonie life.

Two of my fingers are beginning to curve but not the direction one would want them to.

A few more psoriasis spots appeared.

Hopefully that appointment in June will be decisive and not more of the pinball patient experience. lol

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Between now and my June appointment, my morning class will finish for the year and my summer break will have started. After this week, my morning class has three weeks left. Hopefully I can get answers in June and have a treatment plan started and in place before returning in late August.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday-Pinball Patient Again

The look on the face of a man who was just told he should see two specialists. Okay so I am overacting a bit in the photo. I actually took it before the doctor came the exam room. 🙂

This pinball patient will see a surgeon today about having something removed no big worry. In June I have my appointment with a rheumatologist.

I tried my own home remedy for a finger that is beginning to curve a little from whatever it is that I have. I bought a finger splint. Other than it causing pain when I put it on, nothing else happened. My flawed thinking was if I wore a splint, it would stop it from curving.

So much for my medical career 🙂

So what is a pinball patient? It is a person who is bounced from doctor to doctor kind of like a pinball in a pinball machine. I first wrote about pinball patient 2 years ago in- Pinball Patient.

Hopefully this pinball patient can be patient with the appointments 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. On Wednesdays this month I am sharing blogs by women living with or dealing with various health issues. The bloggers in today’s post deal with depression, mental health, breast cancer, and caregiving for a loved one with Autism.

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Mrs. Mariposa of alwaysajesusgirl.wordpress.com. She shares her faith and how God helps her with depression.

Eleanor of beurownlight.com. She shares about mental health issues and her faith.

Kel of seekellivewell.com. She shares about mental health and health and wellness.

Abigail of nohalfmeasures.blog. She shares her life with Metstatic Breast Cancer.

Patty of hesaidwhatks..blog. She shares her experiences of life with her Autistic adult son.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Being A Safe Place for Others

Yesterday I was talking with one of my colleagues at the school where I teach in the mornings. She is a young woman and does wonderful work with the children who have difficult lives. Her grandfather is elderly and in hospice care now. It is only a matter of days until he passes away.

As she was sharing with me, her eyes teared up. She apologized for it. I asked her to not apologize or feel she needs to hide her feelings. I shared with her that I understand what she is going through and if she ever needs a listening ear, just let me know.

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We all need a safe space, safe friends, a safe place especially now during this pandemic. Everything is heightened now for our emotions, stress, etc. We need safe places to land.

Jesus is definitely a safe person for us to come to and confide in about what we are going through. He invites us to do so in Matthew 11:

“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

My hope is to continue to be a safe place, a safe person, for others as we continue to go through this pandemic. We all need connection with others. I love this song A Safe Place to Land. Please listen to it and think about if you can be a safe place.

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 Wednesdays- Grateful for the Color Orange?

My city was in the red for severe on the COVID dial for ten weeks in a row. It was a long ten weeks of wondering when things might improve. The vaccine is being given to people but I am not in one of the groups yet. Hopefully next round. I want to have the vaccine, so I can return to a part of my ministry and work that means so much to me- visiting refugees and immigrants in their homes.

Yesterday we moved from red for severe risk to orange for high risk. Suddenly orange is a color I appreciate.

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So in honor of moving to orange on the dial, I will eat orange foods today to celebrate. I will eat an orange for breakfast and carrots as part of my lunch. I will buy a bag of oranges on my way to teach my morning class and give each student an orange and tell them why. I also plan to leave oranges in the teacher’s lounge for the teachers.

Sound silly?

Little things like that can help reduce stress. Stress is not a healthy thing to live under for prolonged periods of time. The past ten months have been stressful and where I live especially the past ten weeks.

I am not sure what to do when we eventually move down to yellow on the dial. Lemons come to mind haha.

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.

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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 phoebemd.com. 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.

Wellness Wednesday- Chosen Family

Today I am starting a new series Wellness Wednesday. My hope is to share about various issues regarding wellness whether physical health or mental health. The posts will be more along the lines of encouragement rather than advice. My first topic is Chosen Family.

Family issues are something I have experienced myself having grown up in a family with an alcoholic father and a mother who had mental health issues she never sought help for. What do we do when our biological family has severe problems or even just some problems? What do we do if the situation is toxic? I would always encourage someone to seek counseling of course.

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How do we balance what the bible says about honor your father and your mother with a situation like what I grew up in?

Jesus shed light on this when his own earthly family tried to interfere with his ministry in Mark chapter 3.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Imagine the scenario. Jesus our creator who came to earth to be our Savior experienced his mother and his half brothers coming to “take charge of him” thinking he was crazy.

When someone told him his mother and half brothers were outside, Jesus’ response was:

Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus shared that those who do God’s will are his family. This sheds light on something for me that has been helpful. Look to those who are part of God’s family when biological family is a problem.

What do I mean by that? How does this look in my life?

When my biological parents were alive, I did try to share with them, prayed for them, and remembered things like their birthdays. But I did not look to them for guidance, encouragement, or reinforcement.

Important Note- if you have been a victim of any kind of abuse please seek counseling and guidance. If being around those who abused you is harmful, please seek counseling.

When I was younger, I sought out people older than me in church who I respected for those important aspects of life. Now I am older, but I still think of my close friends at church as my chosen family.

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Chosen family are those people who we know truly have our best interest in mind, who we can healthy relationships with, and who can encourage us in our lives and faith. Friends can come and go in our lives, but there are some who I have stayed friends with for almost 30 years.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.