Thursday, March 26, 2015

I Want To Be A Hat

"It's like all my life everybody keeps telling me that I'm a shoe. You're a shoe, you're a shoe, you're a shoe! But what if I don't want to be a shoe anymore? Maybe I'm a purse, or a hat... I don't want you to buy me a hat, I'm saying I am a hat! It's a metaphore, daddy!" 

This quote is from the TV show 'Friends'. Rachel was explaining to her dad why she's wanting to get a job and doesn't need his money anymore. She had just left her fiancĂ© at the alter and had never had a job or done life on her own. 

I can relate so much to this. 

There have been a few changes in my life recently and it has kinda freaked me out. All I know is being the "sick one". I know basing all my decisions off my health and how I'm going to feel. I know pills and making a schedule for food/pills/IV infusions/sleep. I know physical pain and mental torture. I know how to be sick. 

But that's not who I am anymore. I'm not in a wheelchair. I can take showers on my own and get dressed alone. I'm not in constant mental and physical pain. I'm capable, confident, and independent. 

I feel like I'm rerouting my brain. Figuring out what I like and what I don't like. And finding my limits and trying to push them. I've relied on things and pills and people for so long I'm learning my strengths and capabilities. 

Sometimes I feel like a fish trying to climb a tree. I haven't really done life healthy before. Basically I was constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop and not knowing how long it would last before it did drop. 

But that's not who I am anymore.
I'm not that person. 

I'm not defined by sickness or disease. I'm not wasting away. I'm not stuck at a red light or watching life pass me by. I'm fully capable, confident, and getting healthier by the minute. My life is not controlled by my health.

Seriously, this is the craziest concept to me. I look at pre treatment Rebekah- nope I'm not her. I look at during treatment Rebekah- I'm nothing like her. I'm a whole new person. 

And I like the new me. Funny thing is I'm still learning who the new me even is. 

I've been having to fight through fears and anxieties with continuing to be healthy, medical bills, and coming back into the world. I hate medical bills. It amazes me how we get bills almost 6 months after the ER visits. 

Some nights ago I was worrying about bills. I was closing off and wanting to hide in my own world and focus on the problem. Tanner was praying with me, trying to get me out of the apartment for a date, and being super encouraging. But I just couldn't get out of the stressed out cloud. 

When finally it hit me- is this really how I want to live my life? Do I really want it to be moments before Jesus calls me home and look back and see all the time I stressed and feared? Look back in my life and think "Rebekah, you should have trusted God more. Claimed more peace. And rested in God's promises. Instead you let anxiety ruin time with your husband. You let fears stop you from creating wonderful memories. You stressed instead of living the abundant life." 

Someone I know's mom died a couple weeks ago after a long, hard battle with cancer. She truly is the definition of a warrior. She went to be with Jesus at too young an age. I hate cancer. My Granny went to dance with her Savior at a young age because of cancer as well. She's an inspiration to me. I also recently read a post on one of my Lyme Awarness pages were someone lost their son, 19 years old, to Lyme Disease. This hits too close to home. I hate Lyme Disease. 

For some reason I'm still here and I'm still kicking. Lyme Disease didn't take my life. And now I want to live well. I want to enjoy my days and not rob my husband of a joyful evening because of stress. I don't want to take good memories from my family because of fear. And I don't want to steal evenings filled with laughter and friends because of anxiety. I want to live well and soak up as much of life as I can. 

For Sue. 

For Granny.

For my fellow Lyme Warrior. 

Don't let feeling inadequate in your daily journey, and being uncertain of the days to come, and feeling crushed on all sides ruin your moments. Don't let it steal your joy, laughter, memories, and relationships. Life is too precious to let fear, anxiety and stress rob us of the beauty around us. 

As I enter back into society I'm going to give myself lots of grace. I'm also going to remind myself that I've come so far from where I used to be. I'll remind myself that stress won't get me anywhere, but laughter gives good memories. And I'm not going to force myself to climb a tree if I'm a fish. But maybe I'm not a fish, maybe I'm a lion. Or an eagle. Or a leapord. Either way I'm going to enjoy finding out. 

|Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in one pretty and well preserved piece, but to slide across the finish line broadside, thoroughly used up, worn out, leaking oil, and shouting GERONIMO!!!|


Friday, March 13, 2015

Something Beautiful

Sometimes I'll go a majority of the day and realize I haven't eaten anything (yay for having abdominal pain and no appetite). But I drink water like my life depends on it. I love water. I'm pretty sure I dream about water. And when I can't eat, all I want is food and all the food in the world. Bad food and good food. 

Why in the world am I telling you about my addiction to water and feelings towards food? 

Cause I'm crazy. 

For real. 

Naw, I'm kidding. But not really ;) 

I'm having a couple ultrasounds done today and can't eat or drink for 8 hours. I'm literally sitting here on the couch, typing away, thinking about water and what I'll eat around 3:45 today, after my appointment. 

I still have a lot of upper and lower abdominal pain and rib/chest pain. I also deal with too high of testosterone and too low of progesterone. I get nauseous/lightheaded/fatigued pretty easily and too often. 

So I'm getting some tests done to see what's going on. It could be my body still recouping after Lyme Disease or a whole different problem. I'm hoping its a different problem. A fixable, easy, painless problem. 

I think a lot of Chronically Ill folks can relate to the desire of wanting something to come back on medical tests. Like being told "everything looks fine" is discouraging. If you can't relate to this just imagine being in pain 24/7 and no one knowing why. Or better yet, imagine being in pain 24/7 and being told you're disease-free, but you're body is still working something out. So just wait it out. 

It's discouraging to say the least. 

I hate being in pain. Along with water, I also dream about not having a medical symptom for 10 min. Don't get me wrong, I'm WAAAAAY better than I was a year ago. Heck, I'm better than I was 6 months ago. But, I'd rather not live like this. 

My hormone doctor did some blood work and it came back "good". And now we are going to try some ultrasounds. I see my LLMD on Monday and I'm
sure he'll be able to help me. 

I'm really struggling with where I am in life right now. I absolutely adore living with my husband in our apt, where I can touch all our wedding gifts and enjoy one another. But this still isn't where I wanted to be at 24. Chronically ill, not able to go to school or hold a job and living in an apt with my cat and husband with medical bills coming in, what feels like every other day. I had this perfect image in my head of being a missionary either in a 3rd world country or on the streets of NYC. IF I got married I wanted to have babies early on in marriage and have so many I'd forget their names ;) but not really.  

I'm not saying any of this for ya'll to feel bad for me or for a great deal of sympathy. I just want to be honest and I know others deal with the same thing. I want someone to read this and, even just for a moment, know they are not alone and their feelings are shared. 

You see, I know God will be glorified in and through this. I know my pain and suffering isn't in vain or a waste. I know this fight isn't for fun or God making a joke. I know there is a reason. There has to be a reason. Sometimes I just wish the reason could be seen now. Because being young and sick - the kind of sick that takes over your life for months and years- sucks. And is depressing and lonely. 

One of my favorite songs ever is "Something Beautiful" by Needtobreathe. My favorite band in the whole world. Part of the Lyrics go like this: 
"Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful to touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful" 

I'm waiting. In hope and in desperation. I'm waiting for my something beautiful. And while I wait, while I breathe, I hope. I know God will be victorious and I am more than a conqueror. 

It's not that I'm not living somewhere crazy. It's not that I'm not a mom. It's not even that I didn't finish my bachelor's degree or that I don't have a job. It's that I'm here, on the couch, with a heating pad... 

But you know what? My story is not in vain. My pain has a purpose. And my life is of value. I'm part of a world many don't get to experience. I'm part of a community of some of the toughest fighters on the planet.  

I was just telling Tanner last night how now that I've seen I'm responsible. How spoiled am I that God blessed me with a big mouth and heart and dreams. He made me mighty for war. And even though I'm currently fighting my personal battle and getting through this dirty mess... One day I'll be able to be a bigger voice for the people fighting their personal battle. 

My something beautiful is knowing that even as I wait... I'm still an advocate. 

This isn't the life I dreamed of or what was "supposed" to happen. But how sweet of Jesus to give me hope. And how sweet of God to see the bigger picture and know my current battle is going to be worth it. My suffering isn't a waste. Your suffering isn't a waste. Our suffering isn't a waste. We are part of a story much bigger than ourselves. A story that's totally worth it. No matter how it ends. 

~ My heart will stay steadfast, I know that You are good.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Moving On

I can't believe we are moving tomorrow morning. As I'm attempting to pack up the little bedroom Tanner, our cat, and I stayed in over the past 17 months I can't help but cry. Happy tears, sad tears, overwhelmed tears... Lots of tears. 

17 months ago Tanner and I moved in with my parents because he was applying to be a state patrol and we overlapped 3 months of our lease being up and state patrol school starting. Little did we know Tanner would decline his acceptance because I was going to become extremely ill. 

I remember the week of us moving like it was yesterday. I was having health problems a couple weeks before we moved. We moved on a Sunday and the Monday before I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. The day we moved I sat in the corner curled up in a ball- sick as a dog. 

Tanner had to make the hard decision 3 months later to decline his acceptance into state patrol. He did this because he wanted our marriage to be first and to fight for me. Who knew 3 months of waiting turned into 17 months of sickness. 

I'm so thrilled to have my own space with my husband- but I'm also terrified. I mean the last time I tried moving out I moved back in and stayed there cause I got so sick. I'm worried about relapsing. But I'm learning I can't make all future decisions based off fear of the unknown. 

Lyme Disease is something I've lived with and I'm going to live with. I believe Jesus healed me. Does this mean permanently or just for now? I don't know. I know relapsing happens and isn't uncommon. But I also know God is good and is going to take care of me. He always has and always will. 

Tanner and I lived with my parents for 17 months and lived on our own for 16  months... We have had quite the journey in almost 3 years. I love my husband more than words can express. 

My parents are the most incredible people. How many people take in their daughter and son in law and bless their socks off for a year and a half? The fact that they were able to help us amazes me. I'm so beyond thankful they were in a position to help us at our lowest point. I have absolutely no idea what we would have done without their support and love. We needed them and there they were. My parents served us and took such good care of us. Made an awful situation a tolerable one. They made us laugh when death felt tangible. They cried with us when we couldn't find hope. They stayed up super late to make sure I was okay. They did our chores and cooked meals and did laundry. They prayed with us when life was too hard. Drove me to Dr appts and made sure I ate and took my meds. They were never too busy for us and put us first. They may not have known what exactly to do... But they did it. They kept me alive. 

My parents were Jesus with skin on and we couldn't be more thankful for their generosity. They deserve lots of jewels in their crowns in heaven. 

I feel like I'm leaving a season of life. I'm still grieving it though. Trying to learn how to deal with feeling better, but not 100%. Trying to learn my boundaries and keep my health #1. Trying to fight for peace and be content with where I am. 

I feel like the demon of Lyme Disease stole a chunk of my days. But Jesus is restoring 10 fold and showing me the beauty in the life I have. 

~ Life takes us to unexpected places, but love brings us home.