I have a lot going on in the next few weeks, and I covet your prayers as I navigate it all.
Prayer request #1: Supernatural wisdom for my doctors. A definitive, accurate diagnosis. Effective treatment protocols.
This week I have three doctor's appointments that I'm hoping will shed some light on what's going on in my body. Tomorrow, I'll see Dr. N., the doctor I've been waiting to see for five months. He specializes in lyme disease and, since my recent lyme test results were equivocal, I'm hoping he can lead me toward a conclusive diagnosis.
Prayer Request #2: Wisdom as I decide what tests to run and what treatments to try.
On Tuesday I'll see a neurologist. Since I have so many neurological symptoms, I imagine he will need to see some brain scans, so I have an MRI scheduled for the following week. I feel nervous about this MRI for a number of reasons: 1) my neurological symptoms make tight spaces rather miserable and can make it hard to keep my head still for more than a few minutes at a time; 2) I've read many personal accounts of people with lyme whose symptoms got MUCH worse after getting an MRI. If I do have late stage lyme disease, then I fear the MRI will make me sicker than I already am. Concern #2 is the scariest. I'm hoping next week's doctors can give me guidance on this front.
On Wednesday I'll see an internist who comes highly recommended by some friends. He is the associate dean at OHSU's medical school and isn't accepting new patients so it's rather amazing that I get to see him. I'm so thankful for the friends who pulled strings to get me into him.
I've also continued to see the N.D., Dr. V., I saw the beginning of July. Thus far, every treatment idea he suggests aligns exactly with what my intuition and research are telling me to do.
I've had so many lab tests run over the last several months that I now have a stack of tests results so thick it could be a Russian novel complete with long, hard to pronounce names. Little by little, these tests give us pieces of the puzzle. The most recent tests he ordered confirmed that my immune system is working its butt off fighting something. They showed a number of other things, like impaired pituitary gland function, very low cortisol levels etc. So we're discovering more puzzle pieces, we just need to figure out what is causing inflammation, making my immune system work so hard, impairing glandular function etc.
Prayer Request # 3: Housing: wisdom regarding whether or not I should move, provision for a suitable place to live, and stamina to make the move.
Last week Dr. V. wondered if mold could be causing my health problems. Apparently, mold-related illness presents like late stage lyme disease so it can be hard differentiating the two diseases, especially since late stage lyme can be very difficult to conclusively diagnose. Our next steps will be to try to conclusively determine the role of mold in all this. I'm not sure who long this will take.
You may recall that I first wondered, back in January, if hidden mold in my apartment was the culprit for this host of new symptoms. I decided moving would be wise, just in case there was mold, so I spent hundreds of hours last winter and spring pouring through classifieds pages, networking, looking at housing options, meeting potential roommates etc. I couldn't find anything because I live in a college town that has very little housing available once school has started. I'd actually been looking for a new place to live for 18 months, due to the myriad problems I've had in my place, with no luck. Southern California is expensive, there are few Christian singles my age in my town with whom I could live, and my health problems really limit the kind of housing in which I can live.
For a number of reasons, last April my parents and I began to wonder if mold wasn't the problem after all and I decided to come home for the summer without a housing plan of attack. I was, frankly, indescribably physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted and had no stamina to move. I still don't have stamina to move and would rather not if I don't have to. So my prayer for the next few weeks is that God would make it so clear if I need to move and, if I do need to move, that he would provide the perfect place about which I feel a deep peace. I've been looking for places this summer without much luck and once school starts on August 26, it will be even harder to find a place.
I've agonized all summer over whether or not I should return to teach part-time in the fall. I've prayed fervently and sought the advice of my family, counselor, and doctor. Last semester was the hardest semester of my life physically and emotionally, and there were many times when I found myself standing in the front of a classroom teaching and silently begging God for stamina to make it through the end of the class without collapsing or having to rush to the doctor. I don't want to do that again. And yet, being without part-time work this summer has been exceedingly hard. Work is so good for humans. So, so good.
All of the older, wise people in my life, including Dr. V., think that returning to work part-time is absolutely the best thing I can do for my physical health. Dr. V. said that having a reason to live is essential for getting better. Deep in my spirit, I feel that it is best for me to return to work part-time the end of August. Teaching at Biola is my joy. So I've been trusting that, when the time comes to work part-time, God will enable my body to do what it hasn't been able to do this summer.
And yet, there's this whole housing debacle. It's hard returning to work when I'm not sure whether or not my house will make me even sicker. I fear getting sick beyond the point of return which makes me feel like I should just quit my life and stay with my parents in Washington. But if I did that, I feel like I would be doing the wrong thing. So please pray for peace, discernment, and provision. Please also pray that God would give me special grace and power to trust him while I wait.
Thank you, my friends. I told my mom last night that I feel like the paralytic in Mark 2 who needed his friends to tear the roof off the home in which Jesus was teaching and lower him before Jesus for healing. I think this is a lovely picture of prayer: prayer is bringing the sick, needy person before Jesus so he can work his miracles.
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. So many times I've felt like I've absolutely come to the end of my rope, and then I've opened my inbox to find encouragement from you and assurance that you're praying for me.
I pray for you throughout the day. Do tell me how I can pray if you have specific requests.
Much love to you all,
© by scj