Those of you who know me best (or who don't know me at all, but have been following the blog long enough to observe a trend) know that when I'm not feeling well, I stop blogging. Not in the form of a sputtering slow down. Nope, I come to a screeching halt.
Partly because, being an All or Nothing kind of person, when I feel yuck...I feel YUCK. With a capital Gross. Just keeping up with my little Energy Bunny of a child and getting out of my jammies is an ambitious exercise in You-Can-Do-It, Kristy! During times such as these, it's pretty much all I can do to just get from point A to point B. (A being "getting out of bed in the morning" and B being "getting back into it at the end of the day".)
And partly because I'm one of those people who is a weird combo of: Bare-My-Soul and Locked-Down- Tighter-Than-Fort-Knox. When it comes to medical stuff, or more accurately MY medical stuff, I fall into the second category. I don't know what my deal is. ...Well, actually, I do. I don't want to seem pathetic, or weak, or needy, or crazy, or annoying, or...the list of unflattering adjectives goes on and on.
But recently it occurred to me that's it kind of hard to ask people to pray for you when they have absolutely no clue what's going on. And I've reached the point where my desire to feel better is greater than my desire to not look like an idiot.
Most of you know the past several years haven't been easy for me - medically-speaking. I go through these debilitating flare-ups, which can last from several weeks to several months (fatigue, nausea, weakness, balance problems, headaches). I've been tested out the wazoo (including a not so cheap trip to Mayo), which contributes to the whole feeling-like-an-idiot sentiment, as well as to the don't-want-to-talk-about-it mentality. On the one hand, I'm thrilled they haven't found anything significant yet. But on the other, until they determine the source of my symptoms, it's pretty darn hard to treat them.
Lately (as in: for the past several months), I've been dealing with overwhelming nausea, abdominal pain, gastric "unpleasantries" (for the sake of all, I refrain from going into detail) and retching. Spontaneous retching, to be more specific. (Which, in case the "spontaneity" part of things makes it sound all festive and fun, let me tell you, it isn't.) The trashcan and I have been close buddies throughout the day, but mornings and in the middle of the night have been especially hard. When my stomach is empty, the pain and nausea are just excruciating. The gnawing and burning, despite being on Prevacid, are just agonizing. I keep crackers beside the bed, for when I wake up feeling like I'm going to yack. (For those of you wondering if Russ enjoys the sound of Saltines at 3 a.m., oh, yes indeedy, he surely does! That and rolling over into crumbs give him a special kind of thrill.)
Let's just say we are giving our vows a work-out.
The good part of all of this is that I've figured out something about myself. Something pretty major, in fact.
I struggle with fear.
(*Those of you who know me best, please pause for a respectful "Really?")
It's definitely my besetting sin. Especially when it comes to illness. I remember as a child being so afraid of getting sick. If someone in the family caught a stomach virus, they were all but dead to me. I'd barricade myself in my room or set up camp at a friend's house until my mom had time to thoroughly disinfect all of the bathrooms and everything else Sickie had come into contact with. It's a super neat trait that is pretty much in direct opposition to my spiritual gift of helpfulness. I've always enjoyed helping others who are down - making them feel better, getting them back to a place of "well". But when it comes to a "catchable" illness, nuh uh, buddy, you're on your own! It's funny, I've never really been a germ-a-phobe (in the classic Howard Hughes sense - I don't scrub my hands raw, I don't obsessively clean, I don't carry hand sanitizer in a holster on my shorts); I've always been more a sickness-a-phobe.
I've never wanted to get sick. I spent LOTS 'o effort trying to avoid getting sick. ...And here I am: sick.
Clearly, God has a sense of humor.
Actually, I know that's not true. I mean, I know He's not laughing at me. I know He cares for me. But I also know that He wants those who claim to trust in Him to practice what they preach. And I know that He sometimes uses unpleasant circumstances to draw His children back into fellowship with Him. Here is where I pause to shout, "Thank you, Lord, for the valuable lesson! May I please stop learning now?!" Hee.
For the first time in my life, I've really been trying to actively deal with my fear. It isn't easy. I'm in the middle of being tested for some conditions that I really don't want to have. Conditions that are hard to diagnose, that can lie dormant for many years - until they become "bad" enough to detect. Conditions that...eeee. Ain't good. But beyond that, now is the fear - not of what they will find (as scary as that potentially is), but that they won't ever figure this mess out, and I'll be stuck feeling like this forever. In combination with the almost-constant pain and nausea, it's hard to feel like I ever "get away" from my fear.
I'm trying to refocus my thinking. To, even in the midst of the symptoms, redirect my thoughts to my Heavenly Father. To spend time in His Word, reading Scripture and praying. To be able to find joy, in Him, even when my physical state prevents me from feeling happy.
It's really hard for me to openly admit this about myself. (Understatement.) I'd so much rather just bask in the compliments of the last post - where you guys showered me with praise about my strength and faith in the midst of trial. I'd much rather just be That Girl, and never show you This Girl. Confessing that I'm not strong...that my faith is often weak...that my happiness is often wrapped up in my circumstances...that I'm still such a baby Christian when it comes to facing adversity the way our Heavenly Father wants his children to...well, it's pretty ugly and humbling.
But I feel like it's what God wants me to do.
To reach out to fellow believers in a genuine and honest way, even if it means looking like a weak little toadie.
Specifically, I ask if you would pray for two things:
(1.) For wisdom for the doctors in determining what is causing my symptoms, for clear answers in the tests, and for complete healing and renewed strength.
(2.) For a peace that surpasses my understanding and a calming of my fears, regardless of my circumstances.
Thank you, my friends. :-)
P.S. In perkier news: I found out today that I'm one of the five finalists for Nickelodeon's Parents Connect Best Parenting Blog. Woo! Come on lifetime supply of Toot and Puddle toothpaste!! (Voting ends Sept. 1st, and you can vote daily if you'd like. Thanks, bloggy faithful 'o mine!)
Nominated for best parenting blog. Vote now!