This is My Fight Song (A Health Update)

About a month ago I turned 29.

Between my last post and the day I turned 29 I went off the rails a little bit. I dealt with my grief, a different type of grief than I was expecting, in old ways that didn’t fix the hole in my heart. I did not handle it well. I did not do August or September well.

So when 29 rolled around and I had a little bit of a panic attack, I made vows and promises and plans. About 4 days after I turned 29 all those plans got smashed to smithereens.

On a Monday afternoon I noticed my scar was itchy and raised. Within about an hour I started breaking out into hives. Another hour went by and the hives spread, adding terrible body aches and a high fever to the mix. I felt like I aged 60 years in the span of an hour. I saw my doctor the next day and he was stumped. He ordered a whole bunch of tests, referred me out to a cardiologist (to follow up from a disease I had as a kid), and sent me home with the unfortunate news to wait and see.

I spent the next 6 days barely able to shuffle from the bed to the couch. Fighting off the fever and trying to keep the hives at bay. Pain would radiate throughout my body every moment of the day, nothing taking the edge off. My incredible parents either caring for me at their house or hanging out at mine. The first round of tests came back with one notable positive — an elevated rheumatoid level, an indication of an autoimmune disease. I went back for more tests. And was sent home to wait.

Almost two weeks later I got the diagnosis of nothing. Nothing showed up on the panel. My doctor suggested more tests because clearly I was still sick, very sick —  I was still having hives, horrible pain, and fatigue.There was a mixture of disappointment and relief. Because there was no clear enemy to battle but no devastating news of a life long unwelcome companion.

My theory (and my doctor is in agreement) is that I do have another autoimmune disease (Celiac and Insulin Resistance have autoimmune disease components) but it hasn’t fully presented itself yet.

Guys, I’ve had a tough two and a half years.

I quit a job, moved back across the country, found out I had Insulin Resistance, changed my whole life, lost my beloved grandfather, walked into new territory of skin cancer, dated three men and had four break-ups, moved, changed jobs again, traveled an insane amount, and wrestled through loss and disappointment and frustrations.

I’ve also had incredible joy and laughter and happiness and growth through it. There has been such good that has come from these past two years. But it’s been alot of hard. Alot of stress, alot of too much, alot of fighting for others, alot of tears, alot of questions. Alot of the messy part of life.

So when these hives started I thought maybe just an allergic or stress reaction.

But it’s starting to slowly sink in that I’m sick, like actually sick.

To have your body completely turn against you in a way you can’t get control of is frightening. I want to give it a name so I have an enemy. But I don’t have one so it feels like my body is the enemy.

I’ve asked my doctor to give me about a month or so to try some dietary adjustments to try and get the hives and pain under control. He agreed under the condition that if it doesn’t improve I’ll refer out to a rheumatologist at the end of it and we’ll continue to search for the culprit. I’d like to believe I’m being given a shot to get this disease, whatever it is, under control before it turns into something so bad it actually shows up on a panel.

Friends I’ve decided to focus 100% of time and energy on being well. This means my lifestyle is totally changing for the immediate future. I’m saying no to 90% of invitations (but please keep asking because it might be the 10% I feel well!!), I’m cutting out dairy, alcohol, nightshades, sugar, and most gluten free grains, I’m taking high doses of supplements and probiotics, and at some point I’m hoping to start swimming and other low-impact work outs.

Saturday I went to the grocery store and pushed a cart for 45 minutes. I sat in the car sobbing after because I was in so much pain. This is not normal and I refuse to spend my life this way. There is too much to be accomplished and too much life to live and there’s too much to be done for the Kingdom.

These past three weeks have been some of the most humbling times of my life. I’ve had to ask for help, I’ve been pushed in a wheelchair (twice), I’ve been unable to be the one who can do it all. I’ve had to literally stop. It has stripped me bare.

But if there is one thing I’ve learned the past two and a half years of hard it’s that often times the most hated soil produces the most loved crop.

Jesus has been meeting me in my moments. When I beg for miraculous healing I hear Him gently tell me that sometimes He’s most glorified not by a miracle but by the steadfastness through our suffering.

I’ve had alot of very broken moments and I expect many more to come. I know I don’t walk it alone and I am so grateful for you, my sweet friends. Your prayers and your encouragement and your offers for whatever I need. To be surrounded like that is to feel the heart of Jesus.

So many of you have asked what you can do — right now the main thing to do is to pray. Pray for wisdom to listen to my body and give it what it needs, pray for the doctors treating me, pray for my family who is supporting me in big and small ways, pray for my energy to return, pray for my mental and emotional well being. I have alot of time to get lost in my head and I’ve been re-living alot of painful moments from the Jock and the Missionary.

And finally, and most importantly, pray that I may glorify Jesus in every single moment of this journey. That others would look at this chapter of my life and not see me or sickness or a time when I was defeated but only the radiance of Jesus, the sweetness of the Spirit, and the strength of the Father.

I’m hoping to keep writing through this season, so if you’re more interested in my love life than you are my health life, you may want to take a break. No promises on when THOSE stories will come back, though 😉

Thank you friends, for praying and fighting and journeying with me.

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