Tuesday, August 28, 2012

spotty

Ever since I was little I would get these little, bright pink "spots"....almost "pin-prick" looking spots on my torso and chest.  Not clumped together or in a rash, but just randomly here and there.  I would ask my mom what they were and she didn't really know and said maybe they were burst blood vessels but we never paid them any mind.

They continued to come and go throughout my life and to this day I still get them.

Last appointment with my LLMD clinic, I just casually tagged on a question to the end of my appointment.  I pulled down my shirt a bit and pointed to the little magenta pin-prick and said, "I get these sometimes...."  She interrupted and matter-of-factly said, "Oh, that's Bartonella."

"What?  Really?  I thought that was in streaks...like stretch marks?"

She said, "No, it can be, but I see patients come in all the time with those exact spots you're showing me.  It's Bartonella.  We see it all the time."

Still I said, "But just focused on my chest and tummy?  I never see them anywhere else."  I don't know why I was so incredulous, because, after all, I do have Bartonella.

The answer, "Oh yes.  A lot of people just have them located on their torso or chest.  Some have tons all over their whole front.  It is definitely Bartonella."

She wasn't concerned.  I mean, I'm on the right meds to deal with it.  But it really got me thinking -- I remember them from an early age and that definitely coincides with when I got my tick bite that resulted in a bulls-eye rash.  Ridiculous!!




Monday, August 20, 2012

filled

What if I don't have faith enough when.....

That seems to be a question a lot of people have when they think about the "what ifs" in life.  It can be a healthy person thinking about the possibility of getting seriously ill in the future, to something as simple as venturing outside the house with ALL of the kids at the same time :).

I'll tell you about my experience with this question.  Before I got ill, I honestly never really thought about it; mostly because, as most young people do, I felt fairly invincible.  When you have your health and youth, you don't really dwell on "what ifs" - you live in the moment and even with faith in God, you just don't consider much in the way of serious (I mean life-altering) trials.

So when I was slammed with a debilitating illness that had no name (at least until it was diagnosed!), there were so so many "what ifs" and a multitude of ways to question God.  Will I get better? Am I dying? Will the pain stop? Will I be able to care for my children? Is there a cure for what is ailing me? And so many more....

The question of "What happens if I don't have enough faith to make it through..." never crossed my mind in the beginning of my disease.  I KNEW God was with me, I knew that He orchestrated my life from beginning to end and this was a part of it.  I didn't know WHY, but I knew who God was and His character and that He wouldn't abandon me even when I felt the most helpless and in the most pain.  I grew a lot - God GAVE me the faith and molded it and shaped it and raised it up during those awful years of unexplained illness. He used friends and family to come around us and help with all the physical things I just wasn't able to do.

Then I was diagnosed and commenced with treatment.  Treatment can be just as awful.  New pains and  ugly symptoms arise and while you KNOW you're getting better, it's hard some days to put the pills down the hatch.  Lyme disease is such a WICKED disease.  This is when the "What if I don't have the faith to....'s" started for me.   I had tasted glimpses of feeling good only to be plunged back into yuckiness and I had 2 young kids now instead of one so each day my mind would play wars as I psyched myself up to roll out of bed. What if I just can't make it today?  What if my girls grow up thinking their mom never did anything for them?  What if my girls only remember their mom laying on a couch?  What if my girls only remember their mom being grouchy?  What if I NEVER GET BETTER?  These questions were all due to my lack of faith that God was taking care of me and that He KNEW my girls would have a mom like this during these years of their life.  When I paused and looked, I COULD see His grace in my life and theirs and that for sure they were being cared for in just they ways they needed.  And I saw many times that God allowed them to NOT need me in ways other children their age usually needed their parents.  He allowed me to spend those years "on the couch" without doing "damage" to my little ones.

I don't think there will ever be a time on earth when we stop wondering about how much faith we'll have when trials arise, but I know we can get better at it.  In my own life, I find that I go through many periods of trusting God through harry times and then have a few moments of slipping, only to be reminded that God has ALWAYS been faithful and is so much bigger than any of my "what ifs".

So take heart and take courage, and have faith that in any and all situations that you might find yourself in today, when you ask, "What if I don't have enough faith for ______________?" - God is able to GIVE you the faith you are lacking.  Rest easy in His embrace and cast your anxieties on Him.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

moved

On the plane ride over, my daughter colored a picture for her Lyme doctor. And then she asked me to help her write a note to her.  She asked me how to spell the following:

"Dear (Doctor's Name),
I don't like the yellow medicine.

Love, Georgie"

When we arrived for our back-to-back appointments (mine with one P.A in the clinic and hers with the pediatric P.A in the clinic), Georgie gave the beautiful picture to the doctor.  She giggled and said, "Georgie, I love this.  And I'll take this into consideration."

And then commenced the appointment.  I have been very impressed with how much improved my little girl is and so are the doctors.  BUT, it turns out my little girl doesn't complain much about pain.  In our house we don't badger or nag or tell her to tell us every little symptom.  We watch and observe so that we can get the best gauge on a five-year-old's symptoms.  I know my girl and if I told her to tell me every time she had an ache or pain, she'd start being hyper-vigilant about it and I want to just see when she feels it necessary to tell me about symptoms.  And she does!  But she doesn't do it completely we found out.

But this is fine -- this is what the doctor visits are for.  We found out she has some symptoms (we knew about) more often than she's mentioned and also some constant joint pain in her little wrists.  But thankfully no where else!! This is big!  Her first complaints were joint pains in her legs and those are gone!

She gets one more round with the "yellow" medicine and then she's done forever with that!  It seems that Babesia didn't really react to anything so maybe she doesn't have that infection.  Hooray!  Now we are going to focus on the Bartonella and then in January the hope is that she would be taken off the meds.  We are so excited.

My appointment with my doctor went well too!  We thought a few months ago that this appointment would bring the long awaited "maintenance" med routine.  But then some stressful events showed us that my body is just a bit more fragile than we originally thought.  Stress can cause flares if your body hasn't ridden itself of all of the bugs and mine just showed us that.  So while I viewed it as a "setback", the doctor viewed it as a gauge that there's still some infection present that needs attention.  It was quite a relief to hear that.  The Dr. reminded me that my stress reactions have become less and less pronounced and that shows progress and when I asked if stress would always flare me up, she said, "Absolutely not."  Once we finish treatment, and theoretically rid my body of the yucky disease, I shouldn't have any abnormal reaction to stress (than any other normal person).

We are stepping down my protocol (yes!!!) and hopefully in January, we've set our sights on getting to the maintenance med protocol (although we have to make it through the stress of Christmas before that appointment so we'll see how my body does!!)

It was a way more encouraging appointment than I expected. Onward and upward!!