Wrapped in Hope

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For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25

Tomorrow is the big day. I’m still stuck in the amazement of how God orchestrated all of this. While I was dragging my feet to make an LLMD appointment for almost a year, God was working on my heart and arranging the puzzle pieces so they would all fit just right. I worried – not only for how we would be able to afford the appointment cost, but the treatment that is looming on the horizon. I also feared the time I was going to have to wait. I made the appointment in December and April 24th seemed like years away. Now that my primary care doctor stopped treating me, I am getting all of my symptoms back. The longer I go without medicine or antibiotics, the worse my condition becomes. The day I let go of some of those worries and reservations and made the appointment – God replaced the fear and doubt with hope. Money landed unexpectedly in my lap – almost literally, due to the love of friends and even people I have never met. Then my appointment got changed to January 29th because of a cancellation. As I was finishing up the paperwork for the doctor, I turned a page and there in black and white, he asks permission to pray over me before my appointment. He is a believer and believes in the power of prayer. The mere fact that I know about this doctor at all was a total God thing. I know those are not coincidences. I obviously am supposed to go to this Lyme doctor!

I would love to tell you that these obvious and continual “hand of God moves” in my life have made me less fearful of the unknown and that I don’t worry at all about tomorrow. But that would be a big fat lie. Today, I woke up with more fears and doubts…new ones. I am human and I am slow to learn. Sometimes it seems I hardly even have the faith of a mustard seed, but my Father is so patient with me. He knows I struggle and thankfully, his grace and his mercies are new every morning.

Every single day, I have to try to let go of the fear and just rest in his grace. But the last few months have been so hard. I was beginning to lose hope and that played into my fear. The fear was beginning to control my every thought. “What if this doctor can’t help me?” “What if treatment will be too expensive or too difficult?” “What if I will have to do antibiotic IV treatments longterm?” What if? What if? What if? Those questions were zapping my strength and my hope. My focus shifted to my circumstances instead of what had been getting me through this journey all along – hope and the belief that God can use this illness for good in my life.

Saturday evening I was helping out in the bookstore at our church – my favorite place to be – and I saw a friend who, along with others at our church, committed months ago to pray for me daily. After a long hug and words of encouragement, she asked if I would help her pick out a scarf. Our church sells these gorgeous scarves and bags that are handmade by Burmese refugee women and the money goes to help the women start new lives in the U.S. I picked out a couple of my favorites for her to choose from and then got pulled away to help a customer. She came to the register with two scarves. I rang her items up and was about to tell her goodbye when she draped one of the scarves around my neck. With boldness she said, “Wear this scarf to your appointment on Tuesday and know that you are wrapped in prayers and in hope. You and Ryan will be completely covered in prayer. Don’t lose hope.” She said more prayerful words and with tears in my eyes, I mustered a quiet thank you. Her words echo in my heart. “Don’t lose hope.”

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My “hope” scarf among all the paperwork for my appointment tomorrow.

These words have also been echoing in my heart today. . .

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Whatever your struggle is today, do not lose hope. Do not lose heart. Wait for his renewing hope, with patience and confidence.

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We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:2-5

Categories: My Journey With Lyme, Writing

RIP Sandy the Squirrel

Last weekend we had amazing weather for January. It was sunny and warm-ish, so naturally my girls were outside all day – riding scooters and playing with friends. Ryan or I would check on them every few minutes but they know not to go too far away from the house so we were letting them be kids. After about ten minutes of not checking on them, my mommy “Spidey sense” went up like crazy. This was probably in part because I couldn’t hear their laughter and loving voices, ie: yelling and arguing. As I peeked my head out of the door to check on them, I had that feeling that it had been five minutes too long. It was.

I will never forget the scene that played out next. No parenting book could ever prepare you for this. I was involuntarily screaming and freaking out. I know I should have kept my motherly calm so as to not scare my child but it was honestly a knee-jerk reaction and I had absolutely no control. It’s not everyday that your six year-old daughter comes running up the street cradling a very large, very DEAD squirrel in her arms. She was crying and carrying on about how this poor dead squirrel must have gotten hit by a car. All that was going through my mommy brain were stories of kids getting the Bubonic Plague after touching dead squirrels. I lost it. I am sure our entire neighborhood heard my frantic yelling for Ryan to come get this squirrel so I could get Cammie in the bath. I guess after seeing her crazy mother flipping out and loosing her mind, Cammie realized it probably had been a bad idea to cuddle with the flattened squirrel so, she plopped it down…on our front step. At this point I could tell that it had been dead quite awhile because it was stiff as a board, like rigor mortis stiff…which, for my health obsessed self meant that if it had diseases, they were even more contagious. Yay!

Of course, we had a friend on her way to drop off her daughter to play with the girls. I could just picture her stepping over our lovely road kill on the doorstep. “Sure, we will watch your daughter! We will let her play with dead rodents and ride her bike in traffic without a helmet. We also let our kids run with scissors and swim during lightning storms! How long can she play?!”

Thankfully, Ryan double bagged the squirrel and disposed of it in our trash bin before they got there. This was after a couple of minutes of us trying to decide what we should do with it. I mean, what do you do with a dead squirrel?? We were afraid of burying it because Cammie might go dig it up and try to resuscitate it and we couldn’t exactly toss it in the neighbor’s yard. I don’t think we have ever encountered such a dilemma in our almost 10 years of marriage. And, yes, it is still sitting in our trash bin in the garage this very minute. Needless to say, I’m thankful for freezing temperatures and I’m super excited about trash day this week. Come on Friday!!!

Obviously, Cammie is for real about wanting to be a vet when she grows up. She loves animals. I mean looovvees them. She has asked if there is such a thing as a vet that takes care of pets but also helps wild animals in Africa. She wants to take care of zebras. Uh…I think I’m just going to tell her no. I have a fear that she will be like those weirdos that keep wild animals for pets and then are surprised when they get mauled by their “pet” tiger. Loving on a dead squirrel proves her deep love for animals on a whole different level. I probably freaked her out a little, but maybe that was a good thing. I think she needed to see a “mommy freak-out” otherwise we may have had this incident again in the future…and I really don’t want to have to dispose of dead cats or dogs.

Fortunately/unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of this event. I’d like to think it’s because I was more concerned with my child’s safety. The thought of getting my camera did not once cross my mind. I am not like these parents…Warning: this may make you want to vomit–> Girl With Dead Squirrel

I am not one to judge anyone’s parenting but seriously?! I just can’t see how a parent can video and laugh while watching their child roll a dead squirrel around on her bare chest and face and not tell her to stop. The original clip of this video is much longer, the child rubs the dead squirrel on herself even more. It is incredibly disturbing to my OCD self. Maybe I’m over protective or maybe it’s because I have a disease that can be transferred from ticks on rodents but I was more than a little preoccupied with disinfecting my child. After dropping the squirrel, she smoothed her hair out of her face with the same hands that had just been lovingly wrapped around stiff Sandy the Squirrel. Yummy. All that to say there is no visual record of this hilarious memory for Cammie to look back on when she is a vet. I have no doubt in my mind that this girl will, in some way, work with animals in her future. I just hope it’s not with squirrels.

photo credit: http://thelifeofjamie.wordpress.com

photo credit: http://thelifeofjamie.wordpress.com

Categories: Mommy Musings, Random Thoughts

Health Forms and 6 Year-Old Drawings

I am sure I have filled out hundreds of forms for doctors in my lifetime but the massive packet I’ve been working on for my Lyme appointment has caused some “a-ha” moments for me over the past few weeks. When the details and health history of Lyme is written down and checked off, it is obvious to me just how crazy and serious this illness really is. This symptom list about Neurological Lyme, in particular got my attention.

I didn’t have any “No’s” on the entire list. It was scary but oddly comforting to have a packet of information in my hands from a Lyme specialist who KNOWS that these are Lyme symptoms and wants to help. Not only does he believe Late Stage/Chronic Lyme exists, but he has dedicated his entire practice to Tick-Borne Disease to help those who have been outcast by other doctors who don’t know what to do with such symptomatic patients. It hurts to read these forms and see my symptoms laid out in black and white. It almost makes it too real. But to have it validated in such a strong, defining way brings comfort and encouragement.

These pictures were in Cammie’s school folder last week and they also bring me comfort and encouragement. When I asked her about them she said she was worried about me that day and wanted to tell her teacher about Lyme Disease.

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She said this is the bacteria in my body.

And more...

Here is a real slide of the spirochetes (the wormy looking things around my blood cells.) I think she did a great job!

She told her teacher that I take a lot of antibiotics for Lyme. Her teacher wanted to make sure I knew what she had written. :)

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This says, “I am sorry that you are sick.”

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It makes this mommy upset that my Kindergartener thinks about all of this when she is at school, but at the same time I love how it shows her overwhelming empathy and love. She has watched as I have been passionate about spreading awareness and education for Lyme. She has been with me in doctors offices who didn’t believe me and in turn, witnessed the days when I was forced to be my own advocate. She has heard me teaching others about this disease and here she is at school being an advocate for me and teaching her teachers about tick-borne disease. If only we could all learn to be this way for our family and friends. I learn so much from my girls. They inspire me to be a better mother, a more thoughtful friend and a more caring person. I am challenged to be more.

Who can you be an advocate for today? How can you be more in your life?

Categories: Mommy Musings, My Journey With Lyme, Writing