Friday, May 8, 2015

A May health update: prayer requests

Hi Friends,

Lots of you continue to pray for me. Thank you. There have been many times when I've come to the end of my rope and have been tempted to despair but have instead been filled with inexplicable joy. In those moments I think, "Wow. A lot of people must be praying for me."

I'm thankful to have found some Chinese herbs that have provided some relief. I started taking an herb blend a month ago and have since added another blend. The herbs have generally lessened my dizziness, although I still have regular dizzy episodes in which I feel like my central nervous system is going haywire. It doesn't feel like the herbs are addressing the cause of my dizziness, but they have lessened it enough that I can finish the semester teaching. My other symptoms remain unaffected by the herbs.

Having stretches during which my dizziness is lessened has allowed me to more closely observe my other symptoms. The more I observe and collect data, the more convinced I am that this isn't an inner ear autoimmune disease like one of the doctors wondered, although I could certainly be wrong. Other diseases seem like more likely culprits.

Right now we have two significant pieces of data to make sense of as we try to crack this code: 1) the test results indicating my central nervous is being attacked, and 2) my body's responsiveness to the Chinese herb blends. Because the respective sets of data are from totally different schools of medicine (western medicine versus eastern medicine) none of my current doctors can synthesize it to make sense of it all. I need a doctor who's trained in both western and eastern medicine. Thankfully, in June I'll meet with a doctor in Washington who has an M.D., N.D., and a degree in Chinese medicine. I'm also getting some other tests done this month that will hopefully help him to put the pieces together. You could pray for this doctor if you think of it. He has stage 4 cancer but is still practicing.

This periods of physical relief I've experienced lately are a tremendous blessing, but the support of my community lately is a greater blessing. This week I'm praising God for so many acts of compassion:

  • For the single mom who invited me to stay with her and her kids so I'd have care on my sickest days.
  • For the friend who has put work and school on hold the last year as he undergoes cancer treatment, and who offered to help me pay for a particularly expensive test, despite his own limited finances. 
  • For the friend who offered to drive me six hours north to a lab that does the testing I need.
  • For the friend who asked how she could help me, and got out her notepad and pen of paper to record my response. 
  • For the people who have gone out of their way to gather and pray for me. 
  • For the friend who searched for new housing possibilities for me when I was sickest.
  • For the stranger from my church who has offered to clean up and sell my old car for me. 
  • For the family members who have sacrificed time, resources, and loads of energy to help me navigate this. 
  • For the friends who continue to text, and call, and text some more, even when I'm too tired to respond.  

There are lots of ways God transfigures the darkness into light, and the sweet compassion of of his Body in the midst of difficulties is one of them.

I have more prayer requests this week for those of you who are praying:

 1. Patience. A friend of mine sent my recent test results to his doctor friend to get another perspective, and the doctor responded with a couple of diagnostic possibilities as well as a bit of encouragement: diagnosing a rare disease, if present, can take time. Sometimes it can be a very long process. In the meantime, some of my symptoms continue to progress and I find myself getting frustrated with how slow this process is.

2. Peace. I'm anxious about what's going on in my body and I worry about how it will affect me long-term as it remains untreated, whatever it is. I worry that I won't find the right doctors or get the right tests in time. I also struggle with regret as I wonder if I could've somehow prevented this.

3. Provision. I'm hoping for revealing tests, incisive and insightful doctors, and effective treatment.

4. Power. To get through the day, to complete my responsibilities, to follow through on rather tiring doctors appointments. I'm very weary.

4. Healing. In God's time, in his way.

5. Wisdom for the future. Whatever's happening in my body is pretty incapacitating and I often wonder if I'll be able to continue with my vocational and educational plans. Orange County is where my life is — I have a wonderful group of friends, job, church and school here — but if I don't seem some significant improvement in the next few months then I'm going to have to rethink where I live and what I do. I'd sure love to be able to continue with my plans. I feel such a strong calling to be at Biola teaching and studying.

6. That I'll be able to sell my car quickly. I'd like to get up to my parents' house as soon as I finish teaching this month so I can rest with the support of family, but I can't leave until I sell my car.

7. Housing. It's still looking like I'll have to move, although I'm not sure when. Finding housing in this area that works with my rather specific health-related needs is pretty tough. I also don't feel like I have the capacity to move right now.

8. Fruit. I want God to use this season for good, somehow in some crazy way. I hope he'll use it to make me like him, to encourage the Saints, and to complete his Great Commission. I'd like to be more attentive to the good work he is doing right now.

Thank you, my friends. Praying for you, too. Let me know how I can.

Cheering for ya, Skillets,


© by scj

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