This recipe comes together quickly and has a small list of ingredients that pack a spicy punch.
This recipe comes together quickly and has a small list of ingredients that pack a spicy punch.
I guess I forgot to tell you... I'm on a short sabbatical. Just for a little bit, I needed a rest.
You realize, of course, that when you decide to write a 31 day survival guide on surviving chronic illness your own body is going to revolt. At the very beginning of the series my hormones went south, which made writing for 31 days straight a lot harder than it should have been; then my back started acting up which lead to last weekend's total dependence on Vicodin. It's all a blur.
So the past couple weeks and for the next few days I am in the middle of editing the 31 Day series and formatting it into a PDF so everyone will be able to download it, print it, share it, add it to their favorite e-reader, etc. I'm also designing a special page on the site just for Chronic Illness. I want you to be able to find the resources, whenever you need them.
I'm also writing a guest post for one of my foodie-friends that will be posted later this month. I'll let you know when that happens. Oooh, and another friend is releasing his e-book any day and yours-truly contributed a couple sentences to that.
So while it may seem there's not much going on here, there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Check back soon, we're just getting started!
We made it. 31 Days of traveling together down the road of chronic illness, sharing advise and hope. It was my greatest wish to give you content that would be helpful, no matter where you are at in your journey. So where do we go from here?
We keep moving forward. If you are still looking for a diagnosis, keep knocking on doors until you find someone who can help you. If you have a diagnosis and are trying to find the strength to live through another day of sickness, I hope you will take the time to practice some body & soul comfort. If you are in a spot in your journey where you are having more good days than bad ones, I encourage you to find someone else who is suffering and lend them a hand.
This 31 day series is over but my compassion for you is still going strong. I will continue to periodically post articles on health, wellness, faith & hope. In the coming weeks I will be transcribing all these posts into one document that will be available for download, free of charge, so you can remind yourself of the content or share with others. Of course, the individual posts will stay available here as well and I will put a special tab or button on the home page to help you find them.
Thank you dear readers, thank you contributors, thank you for those who were praying for me during this mission of mine. I thank God for all of you.
During this 31 Day Series on Chronic Illness I have briefly mentioned some health/wellness resources but as promised here is a list of books, websites, podcasts and other information that might be helpful for your journey through chronic illness.
Some of them are very general, meaning they will apply to anyone. Others are more disease specific. This list is ever-growing, I just jotted down the ones that came to memory but I will be adding more and more resources to it as time goes by and this list will be readily available from my home page.
If you have any resources to share feel free to comment here or email them to me, we're all in this together!
This month we have been privileged to hear from 3 guest writers: Beckie Miller, Chris Morris, Amy Sandvos. Each writer shared from their experience, they've been there. They have experienced struggles and they have seen victories. One more thing they all have in common: they still suffer from chronic illness, disease or pain. Beckie's husband still has Parkinson's disease, Chris and his daughter still suffer from seizures, Amy's son will likely deal with the effects of chemotherapy his entire life.
They, and I, still have bad days. In fact, for the first 3 weeks of this series I suffered a relapse, I was barely able to get through each day. So despite my great improvement from 13 years ago, my body is still broken. I was preaching to myself this month. But time and experience has helped me gain some wisdom, some perspective, some tools to get through the bad days and that's what I hoped to pass on to you during this 31 day series.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon is known as one of the most famous preachers in England during the late 1800's. He was known for preaching to crowds numbering in the tens of thousands and has the nickname "Prince Of Preachers." What many people do not realize is that Spurgeon was no stranger to chronic illness. He himself suffered from gout, kidney disease, "rheumatism", and depression. His wife was also frequently ill. Here is what Spurgeon has to say about his affliction with depression:
One Sabbath morning, I preached from the text, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” and though I did not say so, yet I preached my own experience. I heard my own chains clank while I tried to preach to my fellow-prisoners in the dark; but I could not tell why I was brought into such an awful horror of darkness, for which I condemned myself.
On the following Monday evening, a man came to see me who bore all the marks of despair upon his countenance. His hair seemed to stand up right, and his eyes were ready to start from their sockets. He said to me, after a little parleying, “I never before, in my life, heard any man speak who seemed to know my heart. Mine is a terrible case; but on Sunday morning you painted me to the life, and preached as if you had been inside my soul.”
By God’s grace I saved that man from suicide, and led him into gospel light and liberty; but I know I could not have done it if I had not myself been confined in the dungeon in which he lay.
I tell you the story, brethren, because you sometimes may not understand your own experience, and the perfect people may condemn you for having it; but what know they of God’s servants? You and I have to suffer much for the sake of the people of our charge. . . .
You may be in Egyptian darkness, and you may wonder why such a horror chills your marrow; but you may be altogether in the pursuit of your calling, and be led of the Spirit to a position of sympathy with desponding minds. (An All Round Ministry, 221–222)
My question for you is this: What do you have to share? What have you learned on your journey back to wellness? Who can you encourage today? Who can you empathize with? Who can you be an advocate for?
Despair and self-pity have a way of creeping in when we become too focused on our own pain to realize that there are hurting people all around us. Those co-sufferers need to hear your story. They need to hear your wisdom. They need to know that they are not alone.
I want to encourage you to take a look around your circumstances and see who you can be a messenger of hope to. They're out there, waiting to hear what you have to say.
"You find out who your friends are, somebody's gonna drop everything. Run out and crank up their car, hit the gas, get there fast, never stop and think 'what's in it for me,' or 'it's way too far.' They just show on up, with their big ole heart. You find out who your friends are." - country song by Tracy Lawrence
Whenever the above song comes on the radio I get a little choked up. Happy tears, actually. I have the world's best support team behind me and I have no idea how I could have made it to this point without them; from being unable to walk down to the mailbox to writing a 31 day series on how to survive chronic illness.
Some of you are very hurt right now. Not just physically but emotionally. Because the very people you thought you would be able to count on, the people you thought would walk every road with you, left you behind. And you just can't understand how they can be that insensitive, that uncaring. Didn't your friendship mean anything to them?
Let them go.
And I don't mean that in a "What-eh-ver, you don't like me? Fine, I don't like you!" kind of way. We want to believe that our current set of friends are the same friends we will have for the rest of our life. But the truth is, friends come and go. And sometimes they come back again. Each person enters your life for a season, to share life's joys and teach you something about the world and yourself. Embrace those people in your life today. Savor every smile, every laugh, every tear. But when that season is over and it's time for them to leave you...
...let them go.
When you're suffering through chronic illness or pain, there are a few reasons why "friends" may disappear:
I think most of the time friends disappear it is a unique combination of the above but no matter their reason for being absent or for walking away you have a choice to make. You can lash out, call them out on it and verbally attack them for your perception of their behavior. Or you can sit and stew about it, allowing the bitterness and resentment to fester and ferment which will only prolong your emotional and physical suffering.
Or you can let them go.
Be grateful for the time you spent together as friends. Remember the fun times without any hint of resentment for the present situation. In your heart, thank them for their friendship then release them to live their own life, their own journey. Understand that they may need to leave in order to allow space for someone else in to your life that can better aid you along your road to wellness. And if their path should bring them back to you someday, welcome them with gratitude, no resentment or revenge.
Then let them go. Let the hurt go. Let healing in.
Today is an incredible guest post from my soul-sister Amy Sandvos. I have shared Nolan's story with you before but if you're new you can read it here. Amy has graciously shared her thoughts and personal battles with us and I feel so blessed to know such a strong, honest soul.
I'm here coming from the perspective of the caregiver. We had a 3 year battle with cancer, which my son Nolan won last April!
So, you get your diagnosis. Cry. Pray. ( Try and make your deal with God.) Go online. Mistake. Go offline. Pray. (Give God your newest proposal.) Listen to everyone's theory on "why". Then forget everything they just said, because 90% of it is crap. Cry some more.
For me, shock turned me into a machine. Fight or flight right? I'm not sure if I was fighting or trying to fly away into an alternate reality. The one where there are bluebirds and rainbows and babies do not get cancer. I was go go go all the time, at the births of new babies, blood draws, birthday parties, IV chemo, play dates and spinal taps.
Then, everything slowed way down. Shock began to fade. Exhaustion. So exhausted, and there was still so far to go. Depression. Asking myself, "Is this what depression feels like?" Despair, self pity and sadness settled in. "What do I do with all of this?" I didn't know what to do, so I did what any exhausted sad person would do, I stuffed it all away because I couldn't handle it.
Que chest pains.
Hello anxiety. That's the thing about emotions locked away in a hidden cupboard behind your boxed up secret love of Katy Perry. They'll remind you that they are there, and they want out. They will scream and yell and make a scene until you embrace their ugly little faces, and stare into their eyes.
What did I do to cope? What I loved, what saved my sanity... a little class at the gym called XBike. Dark room, music pumping. Lungs burning, legs screaming. Mind racing. Then, things start to focus, emotions bubble to the surface, things line up. Endorphins kick in and do their job. The gym became my therapist, my medication, my escape.
What should I have done differently? I should have taken the time, that good 10% of advice, and found someone to talk to. A PROFESSIONAL. I made excuses, valid excuses. "it's too expensive, I'm not ready, I don't think I have the time". I'm pretty sure I was just scared. Scared of the pain that sifting through all the emotions would unearth.
I had to make the choice to save myself.
I had to unlock the cupboard and let those little uglies out, stretch their legs, then we cozied up for a nice long chat. I don't lock them away anymore and they come to visit often. When I look into their eyes, I'm no longer scared.
Carey again: If you find yourself in need of counseling your medical professional can direct you to a licensed therapist. If you cannot afford therapy many churches (such as my church Bayside) offer reduced rate or even free counseling for those in need. If you are in the Sacramento/Roseville area and are a cancer patient or family member of a cancer patient Amy recommends Wellness Within.
When you've been sick or in pain for long periods of time your emotions become a tad unreliable. Something that wouldn't have bothered you back in your "healthy days" may send you over the edge now. You are more inclined to be hurt or offended by people, whether they have bad intentions or not, whether they actually did something wrong or not.
You can easily become overly sensitive to emotionally charged situations, especially if your condition effects your hormones. Any hormones.
So it will be very important for you to learn to "check" yourself before responding to a person or situation you feel was unfair or offensive. I'll use myself as an example:
I am normally a pretty unemotional person. I don't have high-highs or low-lows, I usually maintain at a steady pace right in the middle somewhere. That is until I started suffering from chronic illness. Suddenly I found myself irritated and even angry at people or situations that normally I would have just shrugged off. It took me a little while to catch on, but once I realized just how impatient and annoyed I had become I decided that I would have to run my grievances by one of my non-sick friends before I went out with my sword drawn. Either that or let a few weeks pass by and see if it was just me letting my hormones get the best of me.
And on those days when I just cannot change my attitude, no way-no how, then I sequester myself away until it passes. Just because I feel something doesn't make it right. Or real for that matter.
At the end of the Hunger Games Trilogy Peeta has traumatic, reoccurring dreams or memories and he has to stop and ask his friends, "Real or not real?" I find myself asking that question before I take up an argument, "Real or not real?" It has saved me a lot of apologizing.
When you find yourself getting all worked up, especially during a "bad spell", take a deep breath then let it out slowly, and make sure it's a real emotion and not just the pain or sickness talking. Your friends and family will appreciate it!
Keeping your spirits up is just as difficult as keeping your energy up when you have chronic pain or illness. So it's a good idea to have a few resources up your sleeve to help give you a little boost when you need one. Here are a few online cheer-uppers for you to try:
If you have a favorite inspirational site feel free to share it with us here or on the Facebook Page!
If you're looking for Day 25 or Day 26 please standbye. I'm just experiencing some technical difficulties... And I'm babysitting my 2 yr old nephew so some things just aren't getting done tonight! I'll get the posts caught up tomorrow, I promise I didn't give up.
We are in the homestretch, last week coming up! Thank you for sticking with me during these 31 days!