Jimmy & Rach ~ Valentine's Day 2007

Jimmy & Rach ~ Valentine's Day 2007

Were we young, or what?

Were we young, or what?

Joshua & Meghann

Joshua & Meghann
I've got some good looking kids!

17 January, 2009

It's late but I just wanted to ask anyone who reads this to please be in prayer for Joshua! He's here at home. He's going to spend the night and go to Church in the morning. Praise the Lord!The devil's running after him becoz he wants to go to Arkansas to be at Brother Weido's Church. I prayed with him a bit ago. He's restless and worried. Please pray for him to get a good night's sleep and pray for us to be able to strengthen him in seeing the will of God for his life! I know he spoke with Pastor earlier and I've been praying for continued conviction. When he's like 'this', I feel as though I fail him so much! Pray for us all, will you? Thank you, we love you!
Yesterday was awful! I felt so bad physically! I got maybe 2 hours sleep the night before, and the same the night before that. I finally got up at 5am after tossing and turning and my body was hurting. I was so nauseous. Bless his heart, Jimmy wanted to stay home with me, but he had a safety training class all day. A couple of hours later I was throwing up. I tried to be strong, but I have to say it was hard! I hate being by myself when I throw up, always have!

The medication the doctor prescribed makes me so sick to my stomach, and too, I cannot sleep! Even with the sleeping pill. Of course, insurance played a role in the type of medication, and I had to have the generic sleeping pill first. The doctor told me this might not work and it didn't. So she had to call in the brand name and medicine for my stomach. I got a little more sleep last night but it really wasn't what I needed. All in all, I've probably had 6 hours of sleep since Wednesday, until last night. I feel so tired and my body is hurting! I took some Aleeve last night and it helped a little.

I cannot imagine, to be truthful, having to take this medicine for even a week, much less possibly 4 months. I feel overwhelmed. In prayer time this morning, I prayed that I would seek the Lord's strength in my weakness. Sometimes, you know how when you get so sick, you're not even coherent enough to pray. That's the way I've felt. But I know the Bible tells me that the Holy Spirit will intercede for me with groanings on my behalf! Thank you Lord Jesus!

I guess I'm feeling down, and being physically tired does not help my emotions.

I did want to say though that I've been encouraged by the way this has all played out. First off, the Lord really laid it upon my heart to talk with my friend Joan, the P.A. back in late October or November of '08! I wrote her a letter, describing all my symptoms and asked for her advice. I sent the letter and didn't hear from her for maybe 3 weeks. I could have called and asked her, but I truly felt God holding me back from doing that and then one day she called. She said she'd just found my letter. She guessed that it came the week she had gone on a trip and didn't see it till now. She felt so bad. She referred me to a Rheumotologist! Well, I called the doctor's office and they couldn't get me in until March of '09! I made the appointment but I sure didn't think I could wait that long! I got online and looked up Rheumotologists and found one at Seton Northwest. I like the hospital, so I decided to call to see how soon I could get in. They could get me in on December 23 but with the Nurse Practitioner. I told them that was fine. I figured that would be better than waiting till March.

From the first I liked the NP, T.J. Allen. She was so kind, and she is smart! She took half my blood and ran all kinds of tests, and then called and had me set up a muscle biopsy. When they did the muscle biopsy they went ahead and did a biopsy of the rash. It came back with this finding of Dermatomyositis. (Still can't say it)! The muscle biopsy results came in this week too, and they confirm the diagnosis. It really all came about a lot faster than I had thought it would! If I had waited for the other doctor, I still wouldn't even have seen a doctor yet. As I said before, when I made my next appointment, they told me T.J. would no longer be there and I knew in that moment that becoz I relied on God's timing and was patient, HE put her in my path for just the exact time! Isn't that a blessing, from the very start? It's awesome to feel God working in your life that way.

And so, if I believe that, then I know that HE is continually working in my life, even with these bad side effects! HE's here! I just need to stay close to HIM and not separate myself from HIM, no matter what! HE won't move, but I might! I pray I don't! Pray for strength for me please. I need it!

15 January, 2009

This morning I awoke feeling pretty good. I didn't sleep as well as I did the night before, but I feel rested. I decide to make some plum jelly, after prayer time. So I got all the stuff out that I'd need and got it set up. I ate breakfast, took my medication, and got ready for my prayer time.

I went outside with my coffee and my electric blanket throw but it was too cold out there. I came back in and got set up in the den. When I finished, Joshua came by to visit. He ate some venison stew I'd made the other night and we talked a bit. He didn't stay long. My prayers are forever with him. He seems so lost. It hurts my heart! But I know God's working on him!

So, I started making the jelly. Got the juice and the sugar measured. Started washing the jars to put them in to boil and I heard a 'clank', but I ignored it. These jars are tough, so I'm sure it's all right. I put everything on to boil and got it all started. Making jelly always remind me of Aunt Lou in the Seasons Series book by Janette Oke. I enjoy it tremendously.

Everything was going fine. The jelly was ready and I got the jars out and started putting the jelly into them. And all at once I saw liquid everywhere! There was something all over the cabinet. I don't remember having a glass of water on the cabinet, but Joshua was here, so he might have left it. I put my finger to it and to my shock, it's the JELLY! Yikes!!! It was going everywhere! Sticky, HOT jelly! I thought, now how stupid can I get! But I couldn't find the culprit! I looked all around the pot, the dipper even. I looked at the jars and none was coming out of the ones I'd poured up. So I grab another jar and start filling it, just to save the jelly you know, and out it pours onto the cabinet. Apparently I had already filled it once! It had a hole, but it was just a small hole!

It's going everywhere! All on the cabinet, down the cabinets, down the front of the dishwasher, onto the floor! What a mess! Have you ever tried to clean up hot, sticky jelly? It ain't easy. Thankfully, I had Bounty paper towels. I used all of them. Got the old Fantastic out and I finally got it cleaned up, but I lost a jar and half of jelly, dog gone it! So, my cabinets and floors are clean anyway!

But I was thinking. The Lord must really get a kick out of me. At least I'm not boring! I can just hear Jesus telling God, 'hey, she's making jelly today, let's go watch'! I knew when I heard that 'clank' I should investigate. I ignored it! So in choosing to ignore it, I sure made a mess of things.

How many messes in a day do I make in my spiritual life? My heart can get a 'small hole' in it and everything starts dripping out...knowledge, help, love, hope, etc.! I need God all day long, all night long to repair me over and over again! But how many times in a day do I ignore the Holy Spirit nudging me and I choose to ignore it? Many! I pray that He will nudge me, but I sometimes forget to pray that I'll heed to his calling!

And even after all that mess, I feel really good physically. I kind of got a kick out of myself. Maybe that's what the Lord intended. To lighten up! I could have gotten really mad and aggravated but the Lord let me see the humor in it!

The message last night from Brother Wiggins was a blessing! 'What Satan Saw'. I sure hope that ole devil sees me looking to God for everything! I pray that God will see me looking to HIM, (I know HE sees me), and will give me grace in my moments of despair and weakness, and ward off harms and troubles from me. I know HE will! I pray that ole devil knows and sees that I am devoted to God, that I am dependent upon God, that I am diligent in God, and that I am declaring the glory and faithfulness of God! AMEN! The song special, 'He Looked Beyond My Thoughts and Saw My Needs', truly touched my heart also. Last night was just so good!

I'm glad that God is all powerful and can and will fix things in my life. Thank you Lord for loving me!

14 January, 2009

My life seems to be full of peaks and valley's. I'm always praying that the Lord will bless me in the valley's to remember that He is there too! The God on the mountain is still God in the valley!!!

I slept like a baby last night. I don't remember ever feeling so good about sleep before as I did when I awoke this morning! I started with the sleeping pill last night, which is part of the regimen from the doctor for this autoimmune disease!

I also started with the steroids today. It's awful. Already I'm doubting! It's not even 4PM yet and I'm wishing I didn't have to do it. Yesterday, I was so positive and I said I'd do what it takes, but at this moment, I ain't feeling it! To top it off, I have a sinus infection!

And, get this! I cannot take a nap! Me ... the nap lady! Me, whom if I don't get a nap, you don't want to be around me. I like to curl up with a good book at around 2pm and fall asleep for an hour or so! But nooooo! This medicine is making my heart race to where I can hear it and feel it! It's driving me nuts and the FIRST day isn't even over with yet! I don't feel good enough to get some stuff done on my to do list and so I find myself bored! I'm hungry too, all things which the doctor explained to me yesterday would happen!

So, I sat down here to talk to myself through this blog! I said, 'SELF, whatcha gonna do'? I'm an ABC kind of person. If there's an answer to a problem, I'm gonna do it, so I just gotta feel all of this out about the medical stuff and let it not overwhelm me!

God is so good, and I need to remember that, above all else. I need to involve myself in other's lives and needs also. It always makes me feel so good to help someone else! Yes, I need to take care of myself too, but sometimes I've got to get my mind of myself!

By the way, a shout out to DottyWotty! Thanks for listening! I love what you wrote about Bailey yesterday! So endearing! She's beautiful! I thank you for your prayers and concern, they truly do mean a lot!

So tomorrow is gonna be a new day. I'm gonna sit right here and make me some plans on how to beat this thing, and how to glorify God in the process. I sure ain't gonna do it by just sitting here, bored and eating my way through the pantry! My whole schedule is gonna have to change. And some of my thought process!

Philippians 4:6-9; 'Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you'.

How absolutely encouraging! Thank you sweet Jesus!

13 January, 2009

I awoke this morning feeling pretty good considering I hadn't slept much last night or the last few nights. As I was getting dressed for my Rheumatology appointment this morning, I thought, my face looks so bright today. How can that be with no sleep? I was still moving a little slower due to the muscle biopsy done last Thursday and the cold weather seems to make me even more stiff.

Yesterday had been such a hard day ... in the beginning! I kept reminding myself of 2nd Timothy 1:7; 'For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind'. And God blessed Jimmy and I yesterday in a way that was even a surprise to us. Just something that the both of us will know for now.

Even in that blessing with the struggles and the suffering, I still wasn't feeling good physically and last night's inability to sleep didn't help me any. Or so I thought. I got up even earlier than the alarm had been set. I started preparing tonight's supper and then got dressed and all the while I thought, 'have I been sick'? I know I sound a little cuckoo, you should live here!

Then I started on my way to my appointment. I didn't even have to go back into the house becoz I forgot something, that's unusual. Jimmy is going to meet me at the Rheumatologist's office becoz we're hoping to get some news back on the biopsy of the rash on my chest. I get there first and wait in the lobby area of the hospital, and when he walks in, he's smiling and he's exclaims on my bright face. I was embarrassed and too shy to say, 'hey, I thought the same thing this morning'.

So we've written a list of questions for the NP that I'll be seeing and I made notes about the rash I got over the weekend due to antibiotic after surgery and we're all prepared. I say that, but really, I was prepared to hear about some more 'hurry up and wait'! When the NP comes in, her first words are, 'we have the preliminary results in'.

I was terrified and excited all at the same time. She starts off saying that the rash is not hives and no, I'm not crazy! Yea!!! She is diagnosing me with 'Dermatomyositis'. This is what she first thought it was in the beginning. The vasculitis that the podiatrist is going to check and the inflammation in my eyes are all part of it too. I don't have lupus, which was a relief. She's so smart! Naming off so many things and I'm thinking, how can she retain that kind of information so easily. But she has a bedside manner that few people in the medical field have any more. She's so down to earth and kind.

The bad news is the treatment. Steroid treatment and other things that may come up after we get the results from the muscle biopsy. It's important to rest, but also to build up my muscles. It's a rare autoimmune disease and she thinks I probably got it after the illness in 2006 and my immune system was so low.

I feel so blessed! This NP is not a regular in the Rheumatologist's office, she was just filling in while one was on maternity leave. When I went to make my next appointment they mentioned that she wouldn't be here anymore becoz the doctor will be returning. My first thought was that God put this sweet, intelligent woman here at this time just for me! There's not a doubt in my mind!

I have been so blessed to have Jimmy by me and also to have Meggie. She has been such a help to me these past two years with all the accidents and sicknesses I have had.

As we left the doctor's office, Jimmy was beaming coz he knew these last two years have been hard on me, hard on him too. I was tearful but joyful! We were both so giddy! And still are!

Psalm 91:2; 'I will say of the Lord, my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust'.
God has seen me, He does see me! I thank you Lord Jesus!

What is Dermatomyositis?
Dermatomyositis is one of a group of muscle diseases known as the inflammatory myopathies, which are characterized by chronic muscle inflammation accompanied by muscle weakness.Dermatomyositis’ cardinal symptom is a skin rash that precedes or accompanies progressive muscle weakness. The rash looks patchy, with bluish-purple or red discolorations, and characteristically develops on the eyelids and on muscles used to extend or straighten joints, including knuckles, elbows, heels, and toes. Red rashes may also occur on the face, neck, shoulders, upper chest, back, and other locations, and there may be swelling in the affected areas. The rash sometimes occurs without obvious muscle involvement. Adults with dermatomyositis may experience weight loss or a low-grade fever, have inflamed lungs, and be sensitive to light. Children and adults with dermatomyositis may develop calcium deposits, which appear as hard bumps under the skin or in the muscle (called calcinosis). Calcinosis most often occurs 1-3 years after the disease begins. These deposits are seen more often in children with dermatomyositis than in adults. In some cases of dermatomyositis, distal muscles (muscles located away from the trunk of the body, such as those in the forearms and around the ankles and wrists) may be affected as the disease progresses. Dermatomyositis may be associated with collagen-vascular or autoimmune diseases, such as lupus.
Is there any treatment?
There is no cure for dermatomyositis, but the symptoms can be treated. Options include medication, physical therapy, exercise, heat therapy (including microwave and ultrasound), orthotics and assistive devices, and rest. The standard treatment for dermatomyositis is a corticosteroid drug, given either in pill form or intravenously. Immunosuppressant drugs, such as azathioprine and methotrexate, may reduce inflammation in people who do not respond well to prednisone. Periodic treatment using intravenous immunoglobulin can also improve recovery. Other immunosuppressive agents used to treat the inflammation associated with dermatomyositis include cyclosporine A, cyclophosphamide, and tacrolimus. Physical therapy is usually recommended to prevent muscle atrophy and to regain muscle strength and range of motion. Many individuals with dermatomyositis may need a topical ointment, such as topical corticosteroids, for their skin disorder. They should wear a high-protection sunscreen and protective clothing. Surgery may be required to remove calcium deposits that cause nerve pain and recurrent infections.
What is the prognosis?
Most cases of dermatomyositis respond to therapy. The disease is usually more severe and resistant to therapy in individuals with cardiac or pulmonary problems.

12 January, 2009

Today I am suffering with many things. I feel so burdened. Yet in the midst of my own, I see Jimmy in his sufferings also. The willingness he has as a servant of the Lord is always present but he struggles also. I pray that the Lord will bless us through these difficult days and will help and strengthen us through them.

So many problems around the world, in our lives, in other's lives...everywhere. The only thing I can stand on at this moment is love. God's love, Jimmy's love for me and mine for him. Our love for our children.

In yesterday's sermon, the Pastor spoke about standing up for faith. He also spoke of how Jesus sees us. He sees us joyful. He sees us crying. He sees us afraid. He sees us hurting. He sees everything. I was so touched by these sermons and I needed to hear them aloud.

Thank you for seeing me today oh Lord, in my pain, in my tears. I know that You are with me. I know that you are with Jimmy and in that I find great strength. You are all we really have in this world to lean upon. I thank you for the path that you led us on to one another. But most of all I thank you for the path that you directed and led us on to salvation, to love, to You.

25th Wedding Anniversary!

25th Wedding Anniversary!