Friday, September 24, 2010

Go back to bed!

Today for some reason I feel so sore that I just want to lay down and never get back up. It is better when I don't move or breath deeply. Every rib feels broken.

How can I handle this kind of pain? Sometimes, no matter how much you want to get done, or how much you want to be up and around - the only thing you can do is go back to bed - or lay on the couch. I have heard so many people critisize people who lay on the couch and (heaven forbid!) watch TV. And I have been pulled into that feeling at times. I don't think it is right even for those of us with chronic pain to just give up and lay around all the time watching TV. I think that it is a struggle for us to get up or even to read or do something "productive" like pray etc. when we feel bad. But I do think that at times, the best thing we can do is just go back to bed. I think I (and we) need to be very careful of using our pain as an excuse to be lazy. BUT I also think that I (we) need to be careful of becoming so intent on choosing life and being proactive about living in pain that we forget that sometimes the best thing is to rest. It doesn't mean we're lazy, it means we're wise. It takes humility to say that you can't do the things that the world (and yourself) want and expect of you. Each of us needs to judge for ourselves when and what we can and cannot do.

And sometimes the best choice is just to rest.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Faith Healing

Today I received a sweet card and book in the mail from a friend. The letter talked about how God has healed her of some health issues that were plauging her life. Ever since I first became quite sick (although I was never a healthy child)at age 16 and then even worse at age 18 - I have been in a continual study of how Christians handle illness in general. The vast difference between beliefs about healing, God's will, why people get sick, how to handle illness, when to use or not use doctors ... It has been an interesting study - but not always easy. Like the time when I was making copies in my college library (a Bible College mind you) ... a guy that I didn't even know well walked up and said something like: "So you are the girl who is sick - I am sure that you are possesed by a demon and that is what is making you sick."! Wow. I don't think that I even responded to him. But it did get me thinking: what makes a believer in God sick? Is it a lack of faith if I don't get well - is it a reflection on some sin in my life? Is it testing?

So - I wanted to get your feedback on illness in a believer's life? What about healing? It's a facinating subject and one that I would like to look into a little more again with the help of my blog friends! If you want to email me privately my email is

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Social Situations 2

I get sad when people find out that I am "sick". It's funny because when I enter a new group of people or see people that I have never really met - I feel almost like a different person. I feel free from my pain if just for a moment. I feel like these people's view of me is wide open - they aren't seeing me with the narrow lense of my pain. I find myself longing to hold onto that first meeting - that time that I was just "Ali", or "Josh's wife" - not "Ali - the one with health problems". I feel like it helps me believe that I be more than just my health problems, that I have something to give other than being a living demonstration of "strngth in illness". I hate it when people tell me that I have more suffering in my life because of my constant battle with pain than anyone they know. I hate that people sometimes think of me as someone who has the market cornered on pain and illness. I hate it because it isn't true. EVERY person has some kind of pain or suffering in their lives. EVERY person. I hate self-pity, and I think when others pity me it makes it harder to fight against. I want to be more than just this!

BUT - all that said, I know that "this" is part of my life. That illness and physical pain are something that God has allowed in my life. I know that because of that it isn't something to be ashamed of - it isn't something to hide. God wants to use me just the way I am - sickness and all - to bring glory to HIS great name. Not to draw attention to myself at all - but to show people that I serve a good and strong God. I want to be willing to be that light in the world that God has called me to be - that God has called EVERY one of His children to be.

So - social situations should keep me on my toes. I should take every new meeting with someone as an opportunity to share the love of God into their lives. I guess the challenge that I am facing is how to be honest with the world and yet not just have the world hand me a label and think that I fit into a box. I want people to give me a chance - to give God a chance to show Himself.

Just some of my thoughts today ...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Job 6:10

"But it is still my consolation, And I rejoice in unsparing pain, That I have not denied the words of the Holy One. " - Job 6:10

Resently, a young friend sent me a message with this verse and told me that he wasn't sure how I did it, but that this verse reminded him of me. This is a verse in the classic Biblical story of Job - who was tested by Satan to deny God by causing all kinds of horrible circumstances in Job's life. He was given terrable boils covering his body - I have heard that these are extreamly painful - to the point where you cannot find a comfortable possition. Job had friends come and try to give him advise, Job's own wife told Job to, "curse God and die". Job wanted to die - but he was committed to not denying the God he had chosen to worship.

This historical character has gone on to give hope and challenge people all over the world to trust God and to not deny Him even when life hurts continually and doesn't make sence.

I certainly desire to be like Job. God give me the strength to rejoice in pain even though it never ends.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

healthy and yummy!

Back to my healthy living tips:

Tonight I had something so yummy and SO simple that I wanted to share with you all. First of all: many people with inflamatory disorders cannot eat nightshade veggetables like potatoes and tomatoes. I for one REALLY miss potatoes because they have always been such a comfort food for me (until i realized that they hurt my joints to pieces!). The wonderful thing that I have found is that sweet potatoes and yams are not related to potatoes in the same way and so at least for me they don't affect my joints! Tonight I was in a hurry because i was busy organizing the home (I have been trying to get as much done as I can since the cold weather is coming and I may be laid up soon with swelling around my heart). So I just took one sweet potato and one yam and washed them. Cut them into pieces and popped into a corningware casserole with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Baked at 350 for about a half hour and YUM! I served them with butter and salt and they were so so so yummy! I have found that sweet potatoes are also yummy with butter and brown sugar or honey for breakfast. I am always happy when I find yummy and simple meal ideas. Just thought I would share!

Hope all of my friends with chronic pain are having a lovely day! keep on looking to God for your strength!

Monday, September 13, 2010

some days are just no fun ... BUT I still hope

Today all I have wanted to do is cry. I woke up to the feeling of chest pain: my pericarditis is acting up again. I got my husband off to school and laid back down. Soon I was up again to begin a list of things I needed to accomplish for my self-employed job, and my job as wife. One thing after another and it seemed that nothing was easy today. The computer work took way longer than it should have and I had to quit several times to attend to other duties. Eating was a challenge. I had a tiny bowl (more like a small handfull) of dry cereal. I put laundry into the washer. Then a needed trip into town - this took 2 hours. When I finally got home there were groceries to unload and put away - and my husband was home from school. Time to make an early dinner for him before he went to work at the restaurant. By the time he was ready to head off to work my chest was screaming at me so I tried to lay down. But that didn't last long as my duties called once again. Phone calls with people needing help. Phone calls with people wanting to plan get togethers. All i want to do is cry but there is no time or place. So now finally I am done with most of today's chores (except the dishes which somehow miraculously pile up every time I do them), and the laundry that is still in the dryer (oh well that can wait until tomorrow). Everyone has bad days. Those of us with constant pain in our bodies have to know that it isn't JUST us who have bad days. Pain can set the stage for a bad day - but again, some of my happy days have been days when I was in a lot of pain too. It's the ups and downs of life. I want you all to know that i am a very "normal" person who definately has bad days. I also have better than good days. I don't know how I would get through days like today without the knowledge that there is a bigger picture and that it will all be good one day in heaven. I don't know how I could survive without God. The reason that I can have hope and be happy even on days when I don't feel like smiling much at all, is all because of God. Hope makes the darkest day bearable. God makes life worthwhile.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Social Situations

I was in a full room - of strangers. When suddenly I knew that I NEEDED to take a pain pill. There are times when the pain is just too much and suddenly I realize that if I don't take care of it right then it will ruin the entire day. Thankfully we had brunch so I had a glass of juice in front of me. But we were in a small group that had broken off the bigger roomfull and we were sitting in a circle. First day in a new Sunday school class - a married couples class. We resently began attending a new church since we moved away from a church we had been attending for 20 years ... so I want to start out my time in this new group with my health NOT being the only thing people see about me. I think maybe I am sensitive to not wanting that to be "who" I am because for so many years I have been surrounded by people who know so much about my health because they have been instrumental to caring for me - my old church would bring me meals, drive me to doctors, visit me in the hospital, even give money to help cover doctor bills, and most importantly pray for me. It's not that I don't appreciate all that these dear friends have been in my life, it's just that I want people to know me for other reasons first.

But today I had to take a pill. So I quitely and quickly snuck into my purse and slipped out my pill bottle and took the pill. I honestly don't think anyone thought anything of it. Maybe they did, but hopefully they didn't. I made sure that no one could see the label, and I didn't make eye contact with anyone during that moment. In hindsight, I should have put the pills into a mint container and it would have just looked like I was taking a breathmint! I need to learn to be discrete and find ways to not draw attention to my health status. Being is new social situations can be stressful, and it can make me very self-consious that people won't just see me as "the sick one". I want to develope relationships with people first before I let them into this intimate part of my life. I don't think there is anything wrong with this. I think it is normal to want to be "normal". It isn't that I don't accept that I have cronic health conditions and pain that will possibly be part of my life forever - it's just wanting there to be more to me than JUST my health.

What are your thoughts on this?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Live Another Day

I still remember like it was yesterday. Waking up to a phone call: my friend's boyfriend calling to tell us to turn on the news. My friend and I were visiting family of mine in Canada. I sat in shocked silence as the pictures rolled across the TV screen. Pictures that I couldn't believe were real. I didn't understand what was happening. And when I did all I could do was cry. I think I cried for 3 days straight - well trying not to show it but tears kept escaping. It felt so ... wrong being in a different country when my Country, my home was under such horrible attack. I just wanted to get home. I just wanted to rewind and say it never happened. So many emotions. So much anger. I was angry at people who would throw away God's greatest creation: human life. I was even angry at my our Country for making enemies. I wanted in those moments to take their place. I wanted to give my life so that someone else could live.

But, life went on. And today I sat with my wonderful family all around me - celebrating the soon to be birth of a new little life. A little boy. I watched my brother and his beautiful wife unwrap gifts .. a soft blanket to welcome their baby into the world. Cozy jammies to put him into. A stroller to take walks with this little baby boy. Life does go on. New like is around us every day - and we have the choice to live in stunned silenece ignoring those blessings, or we can choose to enjoy and believe that there is still beauty even in a world that has endured so much that is ugly and horrible. The birth of each baby is a reminder to me that God does still smile down on this earth. That He still loves us, and that life does go on. In hearing stories of many of those who died in the attacks we remember today, I believe that they would agree with what I am saying. Not to forget the memory of their lives, not to forget the sober events of our past .. but never to allow the terror of what happened blind us to the beauty that still exists. In allowing the memory of this day to shape up into better people, more loving, more humble, more thankful for every moment we have. If we don't - then aren't we allowing the terrorists to win?

I guess this is a lesson for those of us with physical pain or ailments. Sometimes we are faced with the feeling that going on is impossible. That even death would be better or easier than life. We don't want to live in a world that hurts us constantly. We don't want to live in a body that hurts us constantly. But if we can remember that life goes on, that God still smiles down on His creation; well, maybe we can find the strength to wake up tomorrow and live another day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Curry - YUM!

We were gone all weekend in Portland at a friend's wedding which was lovely. We did all the decor and flowers for the event (did you know I was a wedding florist before moving? I have been contemplating getting back into it). It was a very packed and busy weekend. It was wonderful to be with friends. It was also very tiring. After getting stuck in the holiday traffic on the way home we finally pulled into the driveway. I thought i might just toss some corndogs or something in the toaster over for my husband. I didn't want to cook. Then he said the words that most women wish their husbands would say: "Let's have something healthy". At first I was not very happy because I honestly just wanted to skip eating all together and flop down in front of the TV and do NOTHING. But instead I told him to go take a shower (to buy myself some time and figure out what to do). Then I pulled out some veggies which were longing to be eaten: carrots, broccoli, kale, onions, and garlic. I tossed them all into a big pan (after cutting them up) and started cooking. Then I tossed in a can of coconut milk, a leftover carton of chicken broth. Hmmm - it was starting to look interesting. I topped it off with a couple tablespoons of curry paste, salt and pepper and a few leaves of fresh thai Basil - and yipppee! A delicious yummy curry! I searched it over rice.

But the curry story gets better and better! Tonight - 3 days later. I am tired again and don't want to cook. So I added an extra can of coconut milk, a bunch of lentils and more water. A soup!

Just thought i would share - this was too easy and so so yummy! You could put whatever veggies you have into the curry - you could add some chicken meat - the options are endless. It is great frozen and can be pulled out whenever you need a quick meal!