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Posts Tagged ‘fibromyalgia’

I have been home since Monday evening. I cannot remember a time when I was more exhausted than I was on Monday night. My meager post-surgery strength did not match the demands my body required of me. That night I deeply second-guessed coming home instead of going into rehab. I could barely move, much less properly engage the specific mechanics required of me to consistently keep the weight off my right leg.

My week was filled with focus, practice, adjustment, and caution. I had little to no pain in hospital, but as my previous painkillers worked their way out of my system and I reduced the amount of new painkiller I was taking, my pain increased slightly. Was this a bad sign? Was I doing something wrong? Should I cut back on physio? Increase it? More meds? Less? Not sure.

The surgeon wanted to see me two weeks after my surgery. After returning home I called to make the appointment. I discover that the ortho clinic will be closed two weeks after my surgery, and closed for the entire week. My follow up is now 3.5 weeks after surgery. Will this be ok? Will my dressing last? What about my staples?

As the meds work their way out of my system, I struggle with fatigue, ennui, enervation, and depression. I hesitated to write about this, but it is my reality. When we share what is going on in our lives with the body of Christ, we do not share only the blessings, but also the struggles. The love and prayers of God’s people are a great encouragement in times of struggle.

Slowly I am seeing improvement. I am better able to hop using my walker and keep most of the weight off my injured leg. I discovered I tend to hold my breath when I am concentrating. I need to talk myself through the steps. Remember to hold in my abs, breathe, hold my arms straight, and move forward, keeping my foot barely on the ground for balance. And again. And again.

How did my appliance fail? How did I go so long without knowing it? Did the doctor do something wrong? Was it something I did wrong? Am I doing something wrong now? Is it even possible to find the truth about this?

Why hadn’t my hip itself hurt? The last month before the x-rays I felt crooked and was unable to stand straight. I felt the tightness in the muscles of my back and in the thigh of my right leg, but when I poked the hip area, nothing hurt. I thought it was my fibromyalgia. I now realize that not every muscle pain is fibromyalgia.

I become aware of many others who are struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I pray for them. Sin has touched and cursed us all. We all need Christ and His truth and His salvation. We need to speak truth to each other in times of sorrow and in times of joy. We are family. We rejoice and we weep with each other.

Today as I heal and continue to work to strengthen, I am enjoying some special blessings. My family has arrived from China and I get to hold and talk with my grandchildren, listen to their dreams, join in their imaginings. This morning my grandchildren picked the first of my garden peas to share with me. Well-formed, sweet and delicious, they are consumed with gratitude and satisfaction.

I am abundantly blessed through this ordeal to have my daughters living nearby ready to sacrifice to help in any way possible. God has also blessed me with many children of the heart who visit and write and stop by to help. They bring their little ones, my ‘adopted’ grandchildren, to visit Purple Grandma and hand me sweaty fistfuls of flowers or grasses or other treasures selected just to cheer me.

Truth is, just like many others who suffer unexpectedly, I may never know why this happened. God chose it for me for His glory and my good. I do not understand what that looks like right now or how it helps me and the body of Christ overall. I struggle to rejoice in infirmity. I struggle against self-focus and negative thinking. I struggle to rejoice in the Lord always, but by God’s grace, I am not content to be disobedient.

The prayers and love of God’s people are very precious to me. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for me and continues to pray with me. I pray God will bless you for your love and concern.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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I’ve been sick this past week so this post is quite late. It’s not Friday. But you know that!

Susanne hosts Living to Tell the Story and encourages others to share blessings of the week on Fridays. Here are a few of mine from this week.

Pictures from the past My mom went to be with the Lord almost 14 years ago. This week a friend sent me some photos of my mom enjoying fellowship at a Sunday School class Christmas party from fifteen years ago. A bonus that I didn’t notice at first was a partial shot of my dad in the corner of one of the pictures. Thank you, Beth. Your kind gesture blessed me and made my day.

My wonderful Mom

My wonderful Mom

Supplement sale One of the supplements I take that seems to help my fibromyalgia is a bit pricey. This week I found it on sale for about half of what I normally pay!

Medication provided Our doctor has put my husband on an expensive new medication, and it is helping him. We were praying about how to come up with the $300 + extra a month to pay for it, and God provided several months’ worth at no charge to us!

Answers to prayer Parenting adults is not like parenting juveniles. We no longer ‘control’ the decisions of our offspring, nor do we want to. But this does not mean we are no longer affected by the burdens and concerns of our children.

This week one of our daughters who has been diligently searching and praying for a better job, had a promising job interview. Is this job God’s answer for her need? I don’t know, but I am praying with eager anticipation, waiting to see how God will meet her need and other needs in the lives of all my children.

On the mend I have been dealing with an exhausting cough for over seven weeks. My primary source of nutrition has been the myriad cough drops and green tea I’ve consumed to try and soothe the persistent coughing fits! However…the last couple of days I seem to be getting better. Yay! I’m thankful for good doctors, helpful treatments, and the Great Physician.

No new photos this week because I wasn’t feeling well enough to go out in frigid temps to take pictures. I found a few more favorites from several months ago as I was organizing and backing up files this week.

Grandson 'modeling" Cows Canada sleeper

Grandson ‘modeling” Cows Canada sleeper

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park Clouds lifting

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park misty peaks

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Banff National Park cloudy cap

Here are this week’s Valentine cards from Purple Grandma Designs.

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

Friends in ministry We had a leadership retreat for the church this week. It was wonderful to spend time together with the other pastor and his wife in prayer and fellowship and making plans for the future of our church.

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Mountain splendor

Help with fibromyalgia My fibromyalgia has been in a flare lately and I have had more trouble than usual with muscle spasms and pain. One of my daughters came over and worked on the muscles in my neck and shoulders to provide some relief until I could make it to the massage therapist. Her help was a particular blessing to me.

Garage When we first moved from Calgary to Edmonton, we converted the garage into an office for my husband. He now has an office at the college and the garage has been made back into a garage. I enjoy observing how much pleasure and satisfaction my husband gets out of being able to park his vehicle in a garage. It’s especially nice not have to scrape ice and snow off the car before heading to work!

Yummy food My husband and I split a delicious steak dinner this week. Everything from the asparagus to the mushrooms to the steak were all scrumptious! (And gluten free!!)

Cards and Photos I made a special order card this week and finished up some fall-themed cards for my Purple Grandma Designs ministry.

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Special order

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From the fall collection

I’ve been trying different things to capture the effects of the sun in landscape photos. Here are some pictures from this past week.

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Behind the storm

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Sunset glow

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Burst of light

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Swirling mists

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Shrouded peak

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Alberta prairie

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View from the balcony

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FFF spring

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Family time The past few weeks have been full of family time adventures. Our son and his family have returned to China and my husband is back to teaching as well as preaching. Fall is definitely in the air here and soon I will have to harvest my herbs and pull out the rest of the garden. Summers here tend to be short, but seem even shorter when you have to travel during part of it.

8-28-15 Canmore (298) c in a kids ride Sarah

2. Meeting important people Our second daughter is in a serious relationship with a godly young man. I had the joy of meeting Tim’s mother last Saturday and my husband and I will meet both of his parents tonight.

3. Gardening lessons Bud and I have learned some more things about gardening this summer. Things like don’t plant all your potatoes and onions in a 10 square foot planter and throw in a butternut squash and a Jenny Linn melon then edge it with green beans. You master gardeners scoff at our ignorance, but hey, we’re novices and won’t make the same mistake twice. Bud pulled the potatoes and onions at the end of July (all small because *ahem* they were so crowded), moved the beans to pots, and transplanted a zucchini to share space with the butternut and melon. Voila! The butternut and zucchini thrived, but it was too late for the melons for this year.

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4. Continuing health journey I head back to the surgeon in a few weeks for a one year check up on my hip replacement. The knee they said would have to be replaced next has been acting up since our trip this summer so we’ll see what they say about that. I may be the bionic woman before it’s all over! The airport scanners certainly think I’m something out of the ordinary, and flag me for a pat down every time. My overall ‘listen to your body’ plan is working well, though I have found it challenging to maintain equilibrium in my plan to manage fibromyalgia with our ‘new normal’ schedule these past few months.

5. God overall Spiritually these past few months have been a valley time for me. God is so kind, gentle, and patient, and has taught me to know His peace and comfort even when life’s circumstances inflict sorrow and pain. But I have also been the recipient of many joys and blessings over these past months. Our sovereign and loving God often intersperses joy with sorrow while weaving the tapestry of our lives. The result, by God’s grace, is conformity to the image of His Son.

6.  Taking pictures My husband and daughters have indulged me in my mania for taking pictures of broken down abandoned farm buildings. I love experimenting with light and shadow and learning what trying different settings will produce in my pictures.

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(Ok, so I can’t count and actually have 6 things this week. I’ve missed quite a few Fridays this summer so today’s is a bonus offer: 6 for the price of 5!)

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

My daughter’s surprise visit is almost over. Early Monday she heads back to Shanghai and nursing school. Barring any other surprises, we won’t see her again until 11 months from now.

Sometimes I wish I was not such an emotional creature. I am not fond of goodbyes and am not looking forward to that aspect of Monday morning. Anticipating this goodbye is a reminder to me to focus on the time we have been able to spend together with our youngest these past 5 weeks. We dedicated each of our children to the Lord when they were born, not to do our will but to follow His will. Our blessing now is that our children do love the Lord and are following what He has set before them to do, even when that takes them far from us and the comforts of home.

1. Our kids are a blessing to us All of our kids have been, and continue to be, a big help to us in multiple ways. Having Emma staying with us these past few weeks meant she willingly took care of some of the physical stuff that I still need help with after my surgery. That has been a blessing. Thanks, Em!

2. Good report from the surgeon Last Thursday I saw my orthopedic surgeon again. The hip joint has healed well and I don’t need to see him again until October. My muscles are still slow in getting back to normal due to a flare of fibromyalgia. I just need to be patient, listen to my body, and slowly return my physiotherapy exercises as my flare subsides. I hope to be able to retire my cane by the summer!

3. ‘No charge!’There is construction all around our area. This week when Emma was driving she picked up a small bolt in one of the tires. Our local Fountain Tire repaired it without charge, which was an unexpected blessing.

4. Fun with my kids The murder mystery event was lots of fun! It took me a while to ‘get’ my character and to ask the right questions of the other participants, but I eventually caught on. It was nice to meet some new people and spend time with family and friends. (No, I wasn’t the bad guy. They had to kill my character off so I could go home early!!)

5. Thoughtful husband Several times a month my husband surprises me by bringing home a Starbucks’ green tea latte fixed just the way I like it. I love that he does this without me asking, just because he knows I like them.

Oh, I’m going to throw in a lagniappe blessing this week. While shopping this past week I came across a $5 rack and was able to buy a spring coat in my new size for just $5!  Though it may not be the favorite coat I’ve ever owned, it will carry me through the spring and hopefully into an even smaller size in the fall!

 

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FFF tulipsI’ve missed a couple of Fridays but wanted to make sure to post today.  Thanks to Suzanne at Living to Tell the Story several of us have taken up the offer to post five blessings from the previous week.

1. Family arriving!  I am very excited that our family from China begins arriving starting tonight.  Our son will be teaching a block course at the college starting on Monday and is due to land here in the wee hours of the morning.  Our daughter follows on Monday, and our daughter-in-law and grandchildren will come at the end of the month after spending time with her family.

2.  Wonderful warm weather The weather has been warm, with long days and lots of sunshine and my raised garden has taken off.  New this year for me is a yellow zucchini plant, which is growing so fast it looks like it is taking over the garden!  The tiny yellow squash are developing nicely.  DSC09277DSC09276

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  New ministry website Several colleagues and I have launched a website aimed at encouraging women in ministry.  If you’d like to check it out it’s http://www.picturesofsilver.wordpress.com.

4. Improved health  God has granted me good health the past few weeks.  It’s hard not to think there is an association between the warmer weather and relief from fibromyalgia and arthritis symptoms.  I’ve also been very careful to avoid any known food intolerances which likely factors in to improved health.  Plus, now that my thyroid issues have evened out I’m losing weight again.  Yipee!!

5. Waiting for surgery On of the prerequisites for hip replacement surgery is to be all caught up with dental cleaning and repair.  I’ve visited the dentist several times over the past two weeks and am good to go.  Now I’m waiting for a specific surgery date.

Happy Fourth to my American friends and family!

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Over the years I have had many people ask me, “What exactly IS wrong with you?”  My family all love that question.  “How much7-16-10 Yew tree near Ormiston 9 time do you have?” they joke.

My rheumatologist tells me I have fibromyalgia.  Some people, mostly well-meaning people, tell me fibromyalgia is not a real disease.  Well, something has been wrong with my health on and off for over thirty years.  The same set of symptoms have waxed and waned throughout this time.  My current family doctor calls these ‘on’ times flares.  I’ve been in a flare now for two years.

I think it’s sad that most fibromyalgia sufferers have trouble speaking up for themselves. When you feel so sick so much of the time it’s hard to clearly verbalise what is going on in your body.  Some of the best advice I ever received from a doctor was, “You have to advocate for yourself.”  It’s true.  I don’t need a psychiatrist, and I am not making up my symptoms nor am I looking for attention.

Frankly, I don’t care what they call it.  Over the years I have been told I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, colitis, IBS, and allergies.  I’ve been tested for Celiac multiple times, all with negative results. When a flare would end I was told I must not have really had the diagnosed disease, until the next flare which would bring a new label.

Right now no one definitively knows what causes fibromyalgia.  Hopefully in the future research will discover that it is caused by SOMETHING specific:  a vitamin or mineral deficiency, microwaves, a hormone imbalance, a parasite, global warming, Tupperware, vaccinations, dental fillings, barometric pressure changes, or space aliens – SOMETHING. I don’t care if they decide to call it bibbity bobbity boo, snicklefritz, Jabberwocky, or Persimmon’s disease.   My symptoms are real and something is causing them.

Learning to advocate for myself has required a leap of faith on my part. When you have minimal energy you can’t afford to chase down everything which may possibly help you. I have been greatly encouraged this past year by going gluten-free, taking magnesium supplements, and having allergy and food sensitivity testing done.  I have learned that specific foods, preservatives, and additives cause me to have a violent physical reaction and I have learned to avoid things which are obviously poisonous to my body. Right now I’m also working on shifting to a more alkaline diet.

I have also become a label-reader to make sure I am avoiding the foods and additives that I know cause me to throw up, have pounding headaches, or suffer from severe gas, bloating and the runs.  I lived almost thirty years of my life with serious digestive issues and accompanying nutritional deficiencies. Having relief from that downward spiral has been liberating.

My muscles feel achy, weak, and sore when the weather is cloudy or when it rains or snows.  Restful sleep, a regular schedule, and proper nutrition help me to be more productive, even in times of flares. I also have moderate to severe osteoarthritis and am waiting for a hip replacement.  Sometimes it’s hard to separate the fibromyalgia symptoms from the arthritis symptoms. Maybe there is an organic connection, maybe not.

Friends and even acquaintances share ‘causes, cures and remedies’ with me.  I really don’t mind; they might be on to something.  But honestly, there is no way I can even begin to afford buying and trying everything suggested to me.  If I’m feeling half decent I’ll do some research and make a decision about trying something new based on that. If I’m feeling very ill with a flare, I’ll say thank you and wait to investigate until a time when I am stronger.

Next time:  a little more on my background and the beginning of the symptoms.

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