Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's Okay Cause I'm Alive

"My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned, and that's okay."

When I pinned this quote on Pinterest some time ago I don't think I understood how hard it would be to say "and that's okay." Some days it's easy to say it's okay. And some days my heart says it's not okay.  

It's easy to say it's okay when I'm laughing with Tanner as we hike 5 miles then get a lift down by strangers. It's easy to say it's okay when people hear my story and say they're encouraged. It's okay when I look back and see how far I've come and how God hasn't abandoned me. 

But when the music fades and I'm dealing with a migraine because of the atmosphere pressure change (I wish the rain loved me as much as I it) alone in my apartment, it's hard to say it's okay. When I get a call to answer questions about a friend who put me down as a reference and the gal on the phone asks where I work, the okay feels pretty distant. When I get to hold all the precious babies in my life I get a little sad (side note, don't stop letting me hold your babies. I think the more babies I hold the quicker my hormones will catch up). Seeing people have jobs they love and decorating their first home and going on beautiful vacations makes me a bit jealous. 

I guess that's my problem: jealousy. "Comparison is the thief of all joy" is so true. But it's hard to not think about pre-diagnosed  Rebekah and where she was hoping to be and where she is now. I'm not living in NYC, working at a random coffee shop, hearing the most dirty and beautiful stories from the most interesting people. 

Maybe contentment is my problem too. Paul found it. He found contentment in prison! So why can't I? He had so much peace and joy that no matter what life threw at him he was going to be okay. Why? Because the God of the universe loved him so much that nothing could rock his boat. Nothing so bad could happen to him that would change his foundation. If he lived he had the opportunity to share God's hope and glory. If he died he'd be with his Saviour. That's contemptment at its finest, folks. But you have to believe it to your core. 

This past weekend I spent a lot of time processing and thinking about where I was a year ago. I was dying and could have cared less. Today, a year later, I'm walking and talking and leaping and dancing. I'm capable and confident and victorious. I'm alive. I see the beauty of life in the Colorado mountains, in the many people placed all around me, and in God's goodness. I'm alive. 

I'm a fighter. Always have been and always will be. Expect for a year ago when others had to fight for me. But as a fighter I, for the most part, know I'll make it through anything. The first year through treatment when I could hardly breath I knew I'd make it. Call it stubbornness, pride or faith, it got me through. But with that thinking though, I lose sight of how amazing it is to be alive and how I can't take it for granted.

All that to say, this past weekend I got a new perspective shift. Instead of seeing how life didn't turn out how I planned, I'm seeing how it did turn out. Because no matter how many babies I don't have or where I live or what I do all day- I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I made it. Through God's grace and kindness and complete mercy I made it.

And no matter what I don't have or where I'm not I can still say I'm alive. I get to experience laughter and pain. I get to go on walks and watch the clouds change. I get to sit with my family and share memories. I get to watch sunrises and sunsets. I get to eat yummy food and drink Redds. I get to hold my husband's hand and remind myself of how blessed I am to be called his wife. I get to experience the good the bad the ugly and the beauty of life, cause I'm alive. 

I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive. I'm alive! (Name that David Crowder song)

And so are you. No matter what life throws at you, your world will not change. No matter what does or doesn't happen, you're loved by Jesus Himself and nothing can change that. 

Let's stop playing the "it could be worse" game. That's not encouraging someone to be thankful, that's cutting their feelings down. Your hard may not be my hard, but your hard is real to you. Don't feel guilty and pressured into being grateful because you have more then those people or your situation is not as bad as that one. Be grateful for your life because you're alive. 

Now go smell a flower and soak in vitamin D. Stare at the mountains. Eat good food. Cry with those you love. Laugh with strangers. Hike the physical and metaphorical mountains in your life and dance at the top. You're alive. 

My life has not gone as planned at all. But that's okay because I'm alive. It may not have turned out my way, but I'm here and it did turn out. 

~ "I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift." - Shauna Niequist 


Friday, October 2, 2015

Death's Door: reminiscing one year ago

It feels like fall today in Colorado. I'm sitting on my bed looking out the window where the sky is cloudy, air is foggy, there's rain marking the ground and it's a bit chilly. I just finished some mini wheats, and am wrapped up in my soft blanket with my cat keeping my toes warm. I like mornings like this. All is well. 

But I can't help but tear up thinking about the hell I started to walk through a year ago. After being sick and in pain for 22 years I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease and coinfections (babesia and bartonella) two years ago and the first year was pretty tough. Dropped out of school, unemployed, in a wheelchair, with the PICC line controlling my life. I pretty much stayed in bed all day everyday, sick and in more pain than imaginable. But the pain I had felt all my life could not prepare me for those 3 days of torture. 

A year ago I was at bible study. I couldn't tell you what we were talking about because I normally sat in the corner and prayed I wouldn't get too sick and make a scene. The few days leading up I was having these episodes where my body would go completely numb and I felt like my body was shutting down. I would stare into space and either unable to respond or I'd talk gibberish. I remember reminding myself to breathe because breathing felt like a foreign concept. I was going in and out of those during group. 

After group everyone was talking and I started having awful chest pain. My chest was burning and piercing. I felt overheated too. People were concerned but I chalked it up to an anxiety attack or allergic reaction. Both were completely normal for me. People started dispersing and I felt myself getting weaker and weaker. Tanner ended up carrying me to the car while I apologized to all those around me for "making a scene". 

Mind you, this was my normal. 

We got home and I was getting ready to clean and flush my PICC line. I pulled the sleeve down to see blood coming out of the site. After completely freaking out Tanner and I decided to get it checked at the ER. We rolled into the ER around 10pm with PICC line issues. The doctor told me to call my home nurse and have her check it in the morning. Probably just placement being off. So we left. 

About halfway home Tanner turned the car around and brought me back to the ER. I was in tears because of the chest pain. I remember thinking it wasn't an anxiety attack anymore something was not okay. 

Back at the ER I was given pain meds and had an X-ray done to find out my PICC line was coiled. The line should go right up your arm and straight across your chest and stop next to your heart. Mine looped in the middle of my chest. What should have happened next? It should have been pulled immediately. But, because I'm an overachiever with medical, they had no one there to pull it. Meaning I was sent home to talk to my home nurse in the morning. 

We got home about 430am and Tanner attempted sleep as I cried in a ball wishing I had morphine to push in my veins. Tanner rubbed my back and prayed over me till 6am came around. He got ready to go to work and put me in the care of my mom till my nurse could tell me what to do. 

I curled up on the couch with my mom, feeling completely alone and terrified to my core. The pain level wasn't even unbearable anymore, it was almost numbing. I ended up going into complete shock. As I was convulsing on the ground my mom put my shoes on to take me back to the ER.  A different hospital this time. 

I was instantly brought back to a room. I was poked and given medicine which helped just enough to get me out of shock.  After finding out my PICC line was coiled they brought a nurse in to pull it out. The doctor explained the PICC line was coiled, but not just that, it was also pulling my veins and heart up towards my neck. Hearing the doctor tell my mom "I've never seen this before. It's medically impossible" was not comforting, to say the least. 
    Good-bye PICC line! 
So how does one recover from veins being pulled and inflamed you might ask. Relax, rest, and let it heal. In case you're wondering, it's not that easy. I slept most of Friday. Saturday I talked to my LLMD who sent prescriptions in for me. I was taken to pick those up and saw my chiropractor. But the pain wasn't lessening. It was actually getting worse. I ended up back in the ER because the pain was too much. I couldn't do it alone. 

The fourth time in the ER was me basically pleading for help. I wanted to be admitted. Maybe even put in an induced coma. The nurse asked my pain level and I said 10. Mind you, I've never said 10 before. I always knew my pain could be worse so I was "saving" the 10 till I really thought the pain was going to kill me.  

After more tests the doctor came back saying my veins are being pulled and  inflamed. I needed to calm down and breathe, let them heal. But I pleaded for him to not send me home. I couldn't be alone. I needed monitors and wires. I needed to constantly be watched. I couldn't be alone. But they had no real reason to keep me and sent me home. 

Then it was Sunday. I sat on the couch and watched football. I cried, screamed and zoned out. The pain was the worst thing in the world. There was no sign of it stopping either. If I were to stop fighting  for my life it was going to end. I couldn't do it anymore. The pain. Hopelessness. Fear. Anxiety. I was past the end of my rope. Where was He? Why wasn't God showing up? Why did He leave me to die from my very own veins? 

My mom saw the life being sucked out of me and how I was giving up. She knew what I was thinking and feeling without me saying a word. "Tanner, call someone. A pastor. A friend. Anyone! She's giving up. She's going to die if we don't do something now."  

I was brought to my pastor's house where another pastor and his family were too. We interrupted their dinner. I was wearing pajama bottoms, no deodorant, and a bird was basically living in my hair. I sat on their couch and cried. I sobbed and sobbed. I was afraid and scared and in more pain I thought was possible. I was weak and exhausted. And I didn't care if I was going to live or not. 

And they prayed. And they worshipped.  And they cried. They fought for me. 

One of the pastor's sons came up to me (I believe he's 7) and put his hands on my knee and prayed. He said, "Jesus, you have to heal Mrs.Bekah or she's going to die." The son who's a couple years younger prayed the same thing. Then they curled up in a chair and fell asleep. 

Us adults kept going for four more hours. 

I left feeling just a little better. My mom drove me around town till I fell asleep.  


The next morning I woke up feeling better. YES, better. Not drugged better or faking better. Actually better. And I kept getting better and better and better. I believe with all my heart that those kids childlike faith healed my heart and veins. I haven't used my wheelchair since that night. No talk about another PICC line has been brought up. I started hiking and walking again. I walked a 5K on Thanksgiving. Then three months later my LLMD told me he couldn't find Lyme or one of the coinfections in my body. 8 months later I did a Spartan race. That night, on October 5, 2014, I was part of a miracle. God used two precious little boys to heal me. I was, I am, a walking miracle. 

I believe in miracles. I believe God is Healer. I believe that God works all things together for my good. A year ago I stood at death's door with no fear of walking through it and today I couldn't be more happy to be alive. 

Hang in there. Whatever you're walking through please don't lose hope. This isn't wasted time and God will redeem that which was stolen from you. Where there is no way, God makes a way. 
    My first hike :)

      First 5k