Monday, December 8, 2008

All Things Work Together For Good

As I was preparing this year's Christmas newsletter, I re-read last year's. It brought to the surface my memories of all the challenges we had experienced from 2007 through early 2008 Truthfully, I was struck with a sense of amazement that we survived it all and I gave thanks that so many things had changed and worked together for good. Romans 8:28 came to mind: "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord."

In Feb. of 2007 we had to postpone a move to our new home in a new town where my husband had accepted a call to a new congregation. Even though we had spent time and money fixing tghe house to accomodate my needs, the house had a chemical smell from new flooring and also from something else we could not identify.

All things: Joel's new church is close enough he can commute and in the coming weeks we discovered a subtle gas leak in the furnace of the new house. It would have caused my health to spiral and what else for both of us?

In March 2008 I developed polyneuropathy overnight. It was very difficult to deal with and caused me a lot of stress. Other things were going on within my body, too, and in a short time I lost 30 lbs. and had a constant thirst, chills, and other unusual symptoms. I started to have anxiety attacks from trying to cope with the constant nerve ending pain, and it was difficult for me to be home alone.

All Things: These new symptoms sent me to my doctor who told me she could no longer help me....her words and those of a friend who had been diagnosed with chronic lyme after having CFS for 20 yrs., brought me to the conclusion that I needed to see a lyme doctor. As the neuropathy continued to cause me emotional and physical distress and I researched Lyme, I talked with my friend's doctor in NY and he gave me the name of a CFS and Lyme specialist only 3 hrs away. After an extensive and expensive 4 hr. initial appt. I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme and 3 co-infections. The CFS and MCS are a result of the Lyme.

In April 2008 we moved to the new house in the new town...but the house still had a hidden chemical smell that made me sick along with a varnish smell. After spending a month in a 9x10 room (with a special foil covering the floor), in the van, or outside, we knew had to return to our former home. This was extremely difficult for us.

All Things: Our other home had not sold ( it sold at first and that fell through) so we could return to a safe place for me. Many people helped us get a small trailer full of necessary things back to our home. It was very helpful for me emotionally to no longer be confined to a small room.

In June of 2008 we were in a terrible accident. A fully loaded pick-up pulling a trailer and with a snow plow hook on the front hit our van from behind going 55mph. We were trying to avoid hitting a family of skunks on the highway and were slowing down. He was following too close. The van was moved far ahead and the front of the pickup was so embedded in our back of the van it took the jaws of life to get us apart. Responders were there within 5 minutes and we rode together in the ambulance to the local hospital.

All Things: We were NOT injured except for Joel having a stiff neck and back that needed chiropractic treatment for several months. My doctor had just put me on a muscle relaxer which the dr. said kept me from having a huge flare of my pain and muscle problems. A member of our new congregation borrowed us a car for the 6 weeks we needed one. 1 year later the insurance company of the other driver offered us a settlement. We did not ask for a settlement and would not have sued, but they did not trust this and wanted to give us a settlement. THIS paid for us to put siding and windows on our house that we had purchased 3 yrs ago but had to wait to have it put on. Our house is much heathier and warmer now.

In July of 2008 I started treatment for Lyme. The initial die off was intense and I had alot of die off in my brain causing me to have crying jags, mood swings, a return of the anxiety attacks, and alot of brain fog and confusion, besides the high pain levels and heart symptoms.

All things: Joel was able to take 10 days vacation and stay with me as the doctor recommended. My doctor is so great ~ she talked to me quite often and could reassure me that this was "normal". Joel was my security and kept me going when I wanted to quit.

In August of 2008 we realized we could not move back to the new house and put it on the market.

All things: Our children came and helped Joel move most of our things back~ we had been "camping" for 2 months in the house :)

The end of August of 2008 Joel, who has recurrent corneal erosion, had both eyes tear at the same time causing exreme pain, and blurry vision. The top layer of the eyeball actually rips off with this illness. He ended up having to travel to Mpls. MN to have emergency surgery on his one eye that would not heal.

All Things: His dear friend, a fellow pastor, came and got him at 3am and took him to MN for the surgery and brought him home. I had the strength to help him as he went through the days before surgery and after. Strength that came from a power greater than my beat up body! The eye he had surgery on is the BEST it has been in years.

In January of 2008 I had several mammograms and then a breast biopsy.

All things: First of all everyone at the outpatient clinic was so nice when I had the biopsy and accomodated me with my chemical sensitivies. Everything was benign!

From the strange way I had to lay on the table for the biopsy, my back went out and then a few weeks later when I was bending over something went out and for 3 weeks I had to use a walker to get around the house while in alot of pain.

All things: We finally called a chiropractor to come to the house and he was able to help my back immensely. He also helped me with detoxing my body from the antibiotics and bringing my body back into balance. He lives close by, so he still comes to my house when I need him to.

All things: Along with all these blessings we have also experienced amazing financial blessings that have helped us get through a couple of challenging years. These gifts have humbled us, bringing us to ur knees with thanksgiving many times.

Romans 8:28 has carried us through many challenges in our lives. The 14 mo. I wrote about were some of the most difficult, but also carried the most blessings. God is faithful. He is always with us. He keeps his promises. All things do work out for good......

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