31 days of a new normal {day 29} the long, boring one where i tell you what the doc said

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

Today. was. FABULOUS.

  • I had the pleasure of taking the kids to school.
  • I enjoyed a whole day to myself.
  • I received quality care from a doctor and his staff.
  • I ate (gluten-free) chipotle salmon, rice, & steamed broccoli for lunch.
  • I  purchased birthday presents at the best big box store that ever was.  (Target.  Duh.)
  • I rifled through piano sheet music in a warehouse for a couple of hours and bought a huge stack for 70% off.  Some of it was even for me!
  • I had a peppermint hot chocolate.
  • I came home to a huge box marked “heavy.”
  • I attended a school book fair, and…

I didn’t hurt today!

Way back when, I set a limit of 200 words on each post for this series.  Then I spent more time editing than I did writing, so I upped the limit to 300 without even telling you.  So sneaky am I. Muah ha ha ha. Now I don’t even care about a limit, but here is the shortest worthwhile synopsis of the fascinating conversation I had with Neuro Doc #2…

ND2 explained the Lyme results to me, and I understood some of it.  He was glad to hear I will to be seeing an Infectious Diseases doctor but recommended I do my homework before I go.  He is glad to get me in ASAP with one he feels confident in if I don’t like my guy.  I asked him outright where he stood on the Lyme controversy, and he sidestepped the question a bit.  He worked with Lyme patients a good bit when he practiced in the Northeast and feels it’s very unlikely that I have it.  Simply put, “Lyme patients get worse, and you’ve gotten better in the last two weeks.”

He was quite interested in the skin sensitivity that I experienced for about two weeks and did a quick skin test.  I had no unusual sensitivity today, and he mentioned that shingles are a possible explanation.  Apparently they can affect the nerves without showing up in the skin.  It seemed to be a “I’m throwing this out there so you’ll know we’re covering the bases, but I’m not pursuing this one” kind of thing.

We talked again about my prior MRIs, and something in the way I described the symptom that prompted the neck MRI caught his attention, whereas last time it didn’t stand out.  We scheduled an MRI to look at the whole spine, because Multiple Sclerosis is still an option.  I’m finding that my obsession with word choice is an advantage in this journey if I allow it to be.

ND2 confirmed that fibro is on the table, but we’re not ready to label it as such because “it’s a diagnosis of exclusion.”  Yeah, me and all 4 of my readers know about this.

The gluten-free diet was of little interest to ND2.  Maybe it’s working, maybe it’s coincidental.

I’m so encouraged by today.  I’m a week away from an ID doc appointment and an MRI, and that’s two steps closer to an answer.

In other news, my mom is awesome.

That’s a lot of g-free, y’all.

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31 days of a new normal {day 28} i think a change will do you good

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

Leaving the pocketbook, forgetting the deadline, needing to have the dorm room re-keyed 3 times, losing the password, “OH!  Oh my gosh!…” These have all, unfortunately, been staples of my days.  If my mom could have put the word “focus” on repeat in my bedroom CD player while I cleaned up, she would have.

I am not naturally neat or organized, but I’ve come so far!  Ask my husband.  The only time I lose my keys anymore is if it takes extra-long to dig through the trash and receipts in my pocketbook to find them.  I really need you to believe that I’m not a hopeless case, because I’m about to dish more embarrassing dirt.

My bedroom most frequently looks like 10-year-old-me lives in it.  I know I’m not the only one out there, and I know 98.4% of those people want to change.  Here comes help:

We don’t have to do it all at once.

Ohhhhhh snap.  She just got profound and unbelievably original.

English: view into Grand Canyon from South Rim...

Over the phone I related to my sis, “I have to get rid of half my stuff.  Of course it’s messy when there’s not a place for it all!  The problem is, the times when I get energy and the times when I’m free haven’t collided yet.”  Can I tell you how lovely it was to hear my sweet sister say to me tonight, “Well, I’m going to call you out on this one in love, Lauren.”  [OH, MAN.  HERE IT COMES.  SHE’S GOING TO TELL ME I’M A SLOB.  I HATE MYSELF.]  “You don’t have to do it all tonight.  Just pick up 5 things off your floor and choose 2 to give away.”  [Oh, right.  I don’t hate myself.]

We all have our battles.  One of mine is fatigue.  Whatever yours is, be reminded of the tortoise and the hare.  Be reminded of Edison changing that filament out 1600 times.  Be reminded of the Grand Canyon.

My sister, butterflies, and even God Himself are into change over time.  It must be the way to go.

31 days of a new normal {day 16} crazy

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

For several months, I fought the is-this-really-happening-or-am-I-crazy-enough-to-subconsciously-be-making-this-stuff-up battle.  My second neurologist thinks I have vertigo that is a separate issue from the rest of my little medical wagon full of weirdness.  Vertigo will definitely make you think you are crazy if you can’t explain it. 2002 - 2004 Wimbledon doubles champion, Todd W...

Also, when your elbow is buzzing like you just smacked your funny bone on a metal pole, and then an hour later you think you could win Wimbledon with that elbow… That will make you feel crazy, too.  (And not just because I haven’t played in about 2 years.)

So after spending a lot of time debating myself on whether not I have something worth spending thousands of dollars to diagnose, you’d think I’d be pedal-to-the-metal, gung-ho, go git ’em boys READY to attack this thing every day.  You don’t fight that battle for nothing, right?

Yeah, today, I just really want to ignore it.

That is all.

31 days of a new normal {day 14} effects on our marriage – part 1

Recap: Something is wrong with my body, and I haven’t received a diagnosis yet.  Doctors have ruled out a lot of things, and we are now peering down the microscope at fibromyalgia.  I’m writing a post every day (ahem, sorta) in October to help me process the fact that whatever this thing is called, it’s very likely here to stay.  It’s my new normal.  You can read the rest of the posts here.

Well, then. Didn’t intend to miss another day of this series, but we were on a really long road trip and I left my laptop in the car and I was too tired to go get it and I’m not into typing a whole post on my phone {thankyewverymuch, Brian G} and yadda yadda yadda…

About a year and a half ago, my husband said to my pregnant self, “Babe, I think we’re done.”  He was referring to having more children — not our marriage.  I said with a grin, “So you’re saying I’m difficult?”  He said with a smaller grin, “Ummm… I’m just saying that I don’t think we can survive another pregnancy.”  I think he was referring to the marriage at that point.  I don’t know when this medical malady started, but I know that my husband has borne his share of the load plus most of mine for a long time.  We kept waiting after Nate was born for me to feel a little stronger.  There was always some reason that seemed to explain my fatigue, but now I look back and think it was more than just the baby not sleeping through the night.

…to be continued tomorrow…

31 days of a new normal {day 8} weakness

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

I’m the oldest of three girls.  The third week of December will mark a) the 10 year anniversary of our wedding, b) the 1 year anniversary of my youngest sister’s wedding, and c) one month until the wedding of my middle sister.  No June brides in this family!Youngest and I gave Middle and her fiance a party tonight, and I’m still bouncing off the walls from all the love that was shown to them.  Okay, I’m bouncing off my mental walls, and my body is recovering. This post should really be 4,000 words about the awesomeness of friends and family, but I am doing a series about learning to deal with a chronic illness, so…

Why is it that I can “turn it on” when I have to? Especially when it involves other people, I can somehow dig down and find a reserve of energy and will that doesn’t seem to be there when I’m sitting alone at night in front of a pile of [insert school or home duty here.]

Even though I can think of possible medical explanations, it frustrates me that I can’t command my body or my mind — or the connection between the two — at all times.  It makes me feel weak.  I think it’s going to take a while to process this from (2 Corinthians 12) in a fresh way:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

31 days of a new normal {day 7} something to look forward to

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

A few weeks ago, we turned the sanctuary piano around so that I’m now facing the congregation.  Sometimes, that can be a bummer.  It’s kind of hard to lose yourself in worshiping immortal God when you’re looking at people who look depressed by their own mortality. I’m just sayin, y’all.

PianoToday, being able to see the congregation was the most amazing, worship-inspiring thing I could have asked for.  An elderly woman who’s been struggling with her health for months was wheeled into the sanctuary, and her family parked her right in front of the piano.  I asked her daughter if it would be too loud.  (I get a little, um, happy sometimes.)  “Nope.  Mom asked to be put right here.”

Have you worshiped alongside someone who was dying?  Have you listened to a 91 year old man preach about what awaits us on the other side of death?  Have you whispered prayers during a funeral or sung that it’s well with your soul after you just talked about the times “when sorrows like sea billows roll”?

I’m not eager to leave my children without a mother, nor my husband without a wife.  I have plenty to look forward to in the many years that I hope I have remaining here, but tasting a little bit of continuous pain and fatigue has made cherish in a new way all those old songs about heaven.  I cannot wait to see Jesus and be totally undistracted in my worship of him.

31 days of a new normal {day 6} foggy

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

I made a plan.  I called neurologist #2 and made an appointment.  Er… rather, I called and was informed I already have a follow-up appointment scheduled for October 29th.  Well, that should give us something interesting to talk about the last few days of this series!

Sometimes I want to blame incidents like that on brain fog, because, frankly, I know that there have been periods in the last couple of months where I’m running on a Pentium II instead of whatever’s really in this headdrive. LeBron James (Like that?  I like making up words.  My husband does, too.  The best one he ever accidentally made up (while in the pulpit!) was “satisfication,” and then LeBron James used it in a press conference.  I’m still hearing about that one.)

This morning we missed my daughter’s soccer game, because I put the wrong time into Google calendar.  Is that brain fog?  Is that stuff that happens to everybody? Is that typical Lauren?  Don’t answer that, Dad.  I am so much better than I was fifteen years ago.  No doubt.

It used to make me feel so much better if I could justify my reason for messing up.  Now I just want to get better.  Perhaps that’s part of growing up.  In the meantime, I’m so grateful for the gracious attitudes of my family and especially, in more weighty soul-matters, the continuous grace of my Savior.

31 days of a new normal {day 4} HA!

This post is part of a month-long series.  You can read the rest here.

LIKE, SERIOUSLY?

Yes, Mom.  I said ‘like’ unnecessarily.  But for reallies, what the crap is this lady saying?!  (And Mark A. – I really liked that post you tweeted the other day about profanity, but I gotta pick my battles.)  So anyway, back to the crap this lady is saying.

The rheumatologist’s nurse is saying that all my bloodwork is “normal” and that I’m to make follow-up appointments “as needed.”  Yuh-wha-wha?

I had to keep her talking while I figured out what she meant.  After she repeated “as needed,” I realized my awesome new doctor who drained my blood dry has just dumped me.  This is not fair.  We’re not even in a Twilight book.

It’s like they expected me to know already that they don’t do fibromyalgia.  So I just asked.  Turns out, I should go back to my PA or my neurologist for an actual diagnosis.  (Thoughts?  I seek education.)

And that, my friends, is why everybody who’s done any long-term medical stuff keeps saying

YOU MUST BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!

Know what I’m grateful for today?  That I have a lead!  I believe that doctor was really just trying to help me out, though fibro isn’t her specialty.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about leaning on those who’ve been there and done that.

31 days of a new normal {day 2}

This post is the first in a month-long series.  You can read the rest of the posts here.

If you missed yesterday’s post, I kicked off this series by announcing that my “new normal” may be called fibromyalgia.  Karen has a great post on her blog that explains fibro from a sufferer’s point of view, if you’re needing education like I did.

While I’m waiting on that phone call from my doctor regarding all the blood tests, it seemed like a good day to talk about my symptoms.

In February of this year, I began having dizzy spells and felt more exhausted than I thought I should.  In March, I started having pain/tingling in my left arm.  From there, it has progressed to wide-spread muscle and joint pain, an achy, flu-like feeling, weakness in my hands, unusual skin sensitivity, light sensitivity… Good times, y’all.  All these symptoms come and go randomly.

I started with my general practitioner, saw a neurologist, then another neurologist, and finally, got to a rheumatolgist yesterday.  I think I’m in the right place now, and the point is that whatever the diagnosis, this condition isn’t going away, save a miraculous healing from God.  (And who would turn that down?!)  My job is now to fight with all my might while learning coping skills to adjust to life as it is.  What a dichotomy.

i have everything i need

I haven’t posted in at least a week, but I’ve thought about it every day.  I haven’t exercised in at least a week, but I’ve thought about exercising every day.  I even watched the CrossFit games on ESPN.  One time I heard that your muscles make tiny movements as you watch dancers, so imagine the benefits of watching women smaller than me push cars and houses and elephants 3 miles down the road and deadlift ponies 45 times in a row.

I haven’t done a lot of things that I need to do to keep the machine running smoothly, because I’ve been tired and in pain.  Much of this year, I’ve been experiencing odd symptoms which have yet to be fully explained by a doctor.  If I gave you the details, you might change the address in your browser or offer up another “have you thought about this?” diagnosis, and I don’t really want either of those.  What I’d really like is to share with you the encouragement that was passed on to me in the last 48 hours.

Yesterday, the hubs preached about being satisfied.  Not complacent — satisfied.  As in:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

(I love typing that from memory.  Again, I say, get your memorize on, y’all!  It brings about unexpected blessings.)

Then this morning, I seewhile I’m waiting for my preschooler.  I look it up and find

and I think, “Yes.”

I have all that I need, even though fatigue has had me coming up short in so many areas.  When my lesson plans stink, grace is what I need.  When I’m raking piles of crumbs off the bottom of my feet every time I cross the hardwoods, I need grace even more than a broom.  When I’m hissing empty threats through my gritted teeth at a preschooler, I most desperately need grace.  And grace abounds.  I know, because I feel it.  I see it in action.

I’m too tired to make the words come together for every example, but here’s one:  Any teacher can tell you that a good lesson plan is the crux of the classroom, so walking in every day with a flimsy plan is asking for disaster.  You should also expect the superintendent to come in on those days.  I should have counted how many times in the last month I’ve heard, “Those who fail to plan plan to fail.”  There have been days when it was all I could do to get together a pitiful outline, but my classes have gone remarkably well, despite the fact that I won’t be receiving instruments or resources for a few more weeks when our funding comes in.  Somehow I still have everything I need to serve my purpose well, and I’m strangely satisfied in a non-complacent way.  (Lord, I look forward to serving this purpose in more consistent excellence and with great energy!  *Ahem.*  Amen.)

If you don’t know Jesus in a personal way, what I’m saying might sound like crazy magic. It sort of feels like that sometimes.  It probably felt like magic to his disciples during that whole (fish+loaves)÷multitudes=abundance episode, too.  How did that end anyway?

And they all ate and were satisfied.

 

Have you seen God’s grace in your life lately?  Please share.  I love those stories.