Thursday, February 20, 2014

a great mystery

"I'm googling that."

Let's be honest. I think we say this on a daily basis.  Lately, we've been reading up on multiple sclerosis, lyme disease and treatment options. Fun stuff.

Back in February 2013, I tried electrodermal screening for the first time. (Read about it here and here and see what you think. Check out my EDS technician's company too and read her testimony.) Certain parasites and viruses were found in my body though, and in May, Lyme disease had surfaced, along with 'leaky gut'. Oddly, I was a little excited that Lyme had surfaced. Apparently, Lyme can be misdiagnosed as MS and vice versa. Add leaky gut into the mix too (symptoms of MS can be brought on by a leaky gut). You're killin' me smalls. Maybe I didn't have MS after all?

I'm currently taking DesBio therapy drops (borrelia-babesia and candida plus). They seem to be helping with my energy throughout the day. Caffeine and my diet drastically affect my energy too. I do notice that I'm not as tired during the day (and less prone to get sick) if I'm taking my drops consistently. At my check-ups, my parasites and bacteria have been clearing out too.

A few months ago, I sat down and tried to recall how and when symptoms occurred. When I first started having symptoms, I found it helpful when I read stories of other people who went through the same thing. It reassured me that I wasn't losing my mind when I would trip or lose balance ;). I hope that recording my progress could be helpful to someone who might be going through the same thing.

A side note: I think it's easy to read too much about medical conditions and not consistently pray about it. Sometimes, I read stories that were extreme (and rare) cases of MS. It would be easy to get discouraged or worried by these, but I had to remember that every case, person, and opinion are different.

Time flies.
Summer 2008 - November 2009
Tingling sensation in left hand and foot. Left foot and hand weakness; can't pop or move toes around. Left ankle weakness ('drop-foot'); tripping and ankle easily rolls.

Would go running and trip from foot weakness. Walking up stairs or wearing heels to work was difficult. (I found this out the hard way when I bit it in front of my students at school. Not cool. No more heels.) I'm more likely to trip if I rush and am more cautious as I step with my left foot; unable to walk in any shoe with a high sole. After resting, walking barefoot is easy. When working in the house or out venturing, walking barefoot can be difficult.

*Went to the chiropractor for a few months for readjustments and electrotherapy. Tingling sensation stopped, so we thought the problem was solved. Put testing/diagnosing on hold because I became pregnant.

November 2009 - June 2010 (Mae is born.)
Heat triggers a "relapse" with hand and leg weakness (weather, running errands or showering). It might be difficult to raise my hand or do something simple, like cutting food, opening a bottle, blow drying hair, or pushing the stroller. Suppressed symptoms from pregnancy? Preeclampsia (high blood pressure) towards end of pregnancy.

July 2010
More testing. Had a brain MRI and spinal tap. P.S. I'm 86% sure I'd sign up for another C-section over a spinal tap any day? Worst 3-day headache ever.

August 2010  
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Started Betaseron treatment, but stopped January 2011 when I became pregnant.

Summer of 2011
Started physical therapy to strengthen hand and leg. Got an AFO brace before Deacon was born. I rejoiced not only in the birth of our beautiful son, but also over God's provision in giving me a brace. My parents graciously bought it for me too. Those unattractive pieces of foam and plastic are muy expensive and my insurance wouldn't cover it. Thank you God, I could walk again.

Fall/Winter 2013
Left eye vision is sometimes funky in hot, sunny weather or when running errands outside. Off balance; running into wall corners and veering to the left. No running or jogging. Cold weather causes leg spasticity (tense or 'stalled' movement).

Same ol', same ol'. Similar symptoms, but sleeping better (homeopathic drops?).

It's encouraging to read through this timeline again and be reminded of God's provision through it all.  I never want to define my life by my illness, but it has definitely affected my thoughts and attitude over time (in positive and negative ways).  I tend to have that "If I could run…I would..." or "If I were healthy… I could" mentality and that's not trusting God with what's set before me. The truth is that I'm blessed and thankfully, I don't have to rely on my flesh to pull through this life. And that's easier said than done most times.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

great promises

Rejoicing in this truth today.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.   
2 Peter 1:3-10

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

surpassing worth

Every day, whether we perceive it to be a "good" or "bad" day, is controlled by a powerful God.  In trials or on days when I seem to be doing good, God is perfect. Comforting? Absolutely. Do I believe this? Most days, it's tough.

It's very easy for me to doubt God's hand in things, especially if something I love is at risk. Comfort. Loved ones. Time. Pride. Sleep. Health. Control.

Me: When you whine and argue with mommy, it's disrespectful and it doesn't show me or God that you're being grateful. You weren't being patient when I was trying to help brother.  Mommy doesn't have patience sometimes and I did get upset with you earlier….     

Mae: Yeah. Mommy, listen, you need to have self-control.  

Self-control. Check. Thank you Holy Spirit.

Little things like this show me the importance of being real and honest in front of our kids.  Do we lay down the earthly things we love for the sake of knowing Christ? Control over my health is a big one for me.

I recently read over John 9 again and was reminded of God's power when he gives sight to a blind man. Jesus says, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." It's difficult to be joyful or understanding with health at times, but I should trust that God is molding me more into his character. It's hard to be humble in front of our kids when I mess up, but I should trust that they will see grace and forgiveness through Christ.  

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  Philippians 3:7-8

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Princess Sofia

"Grandma is sending me a Princess Sofia doll because I stopped sucking on my finger."

::cue Hallelujah chorus::

You might not be able to tell, but this little gal's teeth are straighter.  It's unbelievable how quickly her teeth adjusted after a month of not putting her finger in her mouth! Since she was a wee baby, she has sucked on her index finger, and she has the callous to prove it.  We were shocked (and thankful) to see her give it up so easily.  It would have been okay if she wasn't quite ready to give up that comfort, but we felt like it was time to at least try moving her in that direction. 

With the help of Thumprincess bandaids, pediatrician advice and motivation from family members and princesses, Maevri slowly started to notice the finger sucking.  "Dr. Vanessa said to not suck on my finger any more. It's not good for my teeth too. When am I getting my Sofia doll?"

Got to love the little accomplishments. Way to go Mae!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Toddlers + Activities = Fun

Being at home with the kiddos has challenged me to be on the look-out for quick, easy and entertaining activities, whether it be at Wal-mart or in our own closet. Here are a few that our kids have enjoyed. A couple of these activities could be moved inside too once the cold weather kicks in.

Treasure Hunt
Lately the kids have been fascinated with coins. We bought the kids their own piggy banks to start collecting change that they find. Towards the end of the month, they can buy a treat with their saved money. (Since the change is mostly pennies, we just use our handy debit cards for treats and recycle the change. We'd be hated by many ice cream servers if we dished out pennies...)

My grandma gave the kids a bag of change that she had been collecting, so we've been using this for our treasure hunts.  Once in a while, i'll take change and "hide" it around the living room in piles for the kids to collect. If it wasn't obvious, the game would last hours. And hours.

Macaroni Box
The first time I took this out, Deacon played with it for 45 minutes. Forty-five minutes. Our rambunctious boy rarely keeps still for that long.

We took toys around the house and threw them in the macaroni for the kids to dig up with their bowls and spoons.

Window Paint
These can be put onto table tops too, but it was a little easier for the kids to see their art against the window.

We squirted a couple different colors into a gallon-sized ziploc bag, and stuck it to the door with contact paper. I taped the bags up first to make it easier.

It is spill-proof, but you will probably want to take it down after a day or two anyways. We left ours up for too long and the heat thinned/melted the paint.

Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles
Who doesn't like a good puzzle?

Well, I didn't like one.
Suggestion: Don't buy those kid lenticular, 3D puzzles that change images when turned at a different angle. They look fun, but it's a headache waiting to happen.

Birdhouse Decorating
We found good deals on birdhouses and paint supplies at good ol' Hobby Lobby. Use their 40% weekly coupon and it's even cheaper.

Happy playing!
Have any suggestions for an easy, at-home activity? What have you found that your kiddos enjoy doing?