August 22, 2017

Rejoicing in Misery?

When you feel lousy – you feel lousy. When your body feels sick and tired and blah – then your spirit feels miserable and cranky and, well, blah. Anyone who’s ever been sick can relate. You see, the body and spirit are so interconnected that when you fight a battle in one area, it gets fought in the other one too. When your energy is being spent fighting sickness of some sort, that’s energy that is not being spent fighting bad attitudes and low spirits. It’s hard to fight on both fronts at the same time. It’s challenging. Sometimes it feels impossible. But I don’t think it is impossible. Why? Because we have commands in Scripture, and we are expected to obey those commands [...Read More]

Touching the Hem: A Biblical Response to Physical Affliction

As humans, we are bound to suffer physical affliction on this earth. But as Christians, how should we respond to that affliction? Material abounds on the subjects of faith healings, the purpose of trials, and the practice of faith in the believer’s life. But where is the book that covers all of this? Where are the resources for today’s Christians regarding the whole subject of sickness and healing? I began a search for such resources when I was diagnosed with a long-term illness in 2007, which is treatable but not curable. Suddenly the topic became very personal, and I was overwhelmed with the desire to study it in depth to discover what my response should be. Touching the Hem: A [...Read More]

My Life with Chronic Illness (Wegener’s Granulomatosis)

Life with chronic illness is an adventure. Not a fun one, but a long and challenging one that is constantly changing and evolving. It's filled with doctors, tests, medications, a bit of guessing, some experimentation, and a whole lot of prayer. I should know -- I've been living with chronic illness since 2007. I was diagnosed with Wegener’s Granulomatosis, also known as "Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis," the year after graduating college. It's a rare auto-immune disease that is mostly "invisible" to the outside world. Other than looking really tired (bags under my eyes and all that), most people wouldn't guess that I struggle with life-changing effects on a daily basis. It's been a hard [...Read More]

Things I’ve Learned from Chronic Illness (4)

In honor of Invisible Illness Week, I’m sharing some things I’ve learned along my journey with Wegener’s Granulomatosis. So far, here's what I've shared: 1- Recognize the body/spirit connection 2- See opportunities, not limitations 3- Realize that good health is not everything   Lesson #4: cherish the time you have Life is uncertain. We all know that. Scripture describes our life as a vapor that vanishes, and as a flower that withers, and as grass that fades away. We cannot count on next month, next week, or even our next breath. By the time I was diagnosed with Wegener's, over half my blood had disintegrated. It was gone. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was very [...Read More]

Things I’ve Learned from Chronic Illness (3)

In honor of Invisible Illness Week, I'm sharing some things I've learned along my journey with Wegener's Granulomatosis. Read the last two posts here and here.   Lesson #3: realize that good health is not everything Our bodies start decaying the moment we're born. Things grow and regenerate for the first few decades - but even then, we're still starting to degenerate. And yet, we spend so much time and energy trying to relieve symptoms and increase energy and just plain feel better!  But is it really worth all that effort? I have a hard time with this. Wegener's is fatal if left untreated. And a flareup, or even a regular cold, could land me in the hospital (or worse). So it's [...Read More]

Things I’ve Learned from Chronic Illness (2)

In honor of Invisible Illness Week, I'm sharing some things I've learned along my journey with Wegener's Granulomatosis. Yesterday I shared about recognizing the body/spirit connection. Lesson #2: see opportunities, not limitations It would be so easy to compare my current life with how I lived before Wegener's. It would be easy to feel sorry for how much I can't do anymore. And I admit, I do sometimes struggle with what I'm missing. I wish I could still run and hike regularly. I wish I could be at church more often. I wish I could see my friends more frequently. I wish I could volunteer for more activities, help out more often, "be there" more consistently. Anyone who's ever been sick [...Read More]

Things I’ve Learned from Chronic Illness (1)

Today kicks off the start of Invisible Illness Week. It's not something you want to celebrate... but for some of us, it's an opportunity to share how we deal with chronic "invisible" illness, and help raise awareness for the diseases we fight every single day. It's called invisible, because to the average bystander, everything looks fairly normal. I'm not in a wheelchair. I'm not hooked up to oxygen or an IV bag. I don't have any major skin problems or injured limbs. But I do have a chronic illness called Wegener's Granulomatosis. {Read more about my illness here.} And this week I'd like to share with you some of the things I've learned along my journey with Wegener's. Things that are [...Read More]

My ‘Invisible’ Illness

I discovered this morning that last week (Sept 11-18) was designated Invisible Illness Week. For people like me, who suffer from chronic illness but often hear the words "you look so normal." Or something like them. I have an "invisible illness." It is actually quite visible to my doctors, in the blood tests and other labs I regularly have to get. It is usually visible to those who know me well. But to the random stranger in Walmart, the new family at church, or the friend of a friend I meet at a cookout, it remains invisible. [...Read More]

Taking a Deep Breath {FMF}

Time for another Five Minute Friday. This week it's about ... Deep Breath Thinking about breathing reminds me of time not too long ago when breathing was a rather difficult thing for me. From December 2007 through October 2009, the times when I could breathe freely and fully were rare and sporadic. I had at least six surgeries during those 23 months to enlarge my airway... At first the doctors didn't even know what was wrong with me. I tried specialist after specialist, medication after medication, and nothing helped. I couldn't breathe. Simply getting out of bed in the morning made me huff and puff for air. Making the bed and showering was like running a marathon. Playing the piano was [...Read More]