A Bruised Heart – Fragility of Life

Tags

,

Sometimes I feel defeated in this old world. My body is tired and fatigued, my joints are painful and I feel I’m getting sicker and weaker, not better. Moreso, I have a bruised heart, a fragile state of being. I feel alone sometimes, without the hope of my own family and spouse. Being divorced and childless is not all cracked up to what it implies. It means more independence, but it also can be full of lonliness and solitude.

I have found in my older adult years, that life can still be difficult. I’m blessed to be alive; I get it. However, I would rather be healthy and have a better quality of life. My last nine years have been full of ups and downs, like many of us. Yet, my journey in life has produced a sad outcome for me. Does the physical pain and suffering ever go away? I ask God when is He going to heal me. Sometimes I get an answer, sometimes not.

Doctors seem reluctant to perform surgery due to my autoimmune condition. I’ve seen several doctors in the past that tell me I’m a complicated case. I would be a high-risk candidate for surgery or the surgery might fail to work. I saw an orthopedic specialist at Emory last week about my feet and ankles. The surgeon told me he could do surgery, but not without risks. It gave me some hope, at least. I have an appointment with another orthopedic surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital in two weeks. I wanted to get a second opinion before considering any surgery.  My fears are that the surgery will not change anything and my feet will invert back due to the neuro-muscular issues.

My neurologist at Emory is adding more treatments this month. That is what the Augusta neurologist in my medical study advised six months ago. I’m hoping and praying it will improve my quality of life, as well as my overall health. So, I will continue to pray for my healing and a miracle, but I haven’t seen too many miracles lately. I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic at this point. I do pray that I can sort this all out in my head and make a final decision. Five years ago, I came to the conclusion to not have surgery on my feet.  I wanted more time to think about it. Now it is almost inevitable as big calluses are painful on both feet due to pressure, especially on my left foot.

Please pray that I make the right decision and let God select the right surgeon, if that is the case. My health and maybe even my life hangs in the balance. A frightening, but a legitmate concern of mine. A time to reflect back on good times and memories of the past.  I feel very blessed to have support of friends and family. I feel grateful to have this blog to express my feelings and emotions; to reflect on my writings.

Good Things Happen to Good People

Tags

, ,

It has been a remarkable week. First, my father is building up his strength after suffering a stroke in the early part of December. His several weeks of recouping from his illness have gone well. Truthfully, it will take months for him to recover for a man at his age. My brother-in-law had two surgeries this past week. According to my sister, he is doing all right, just in pain right now. My mother has healed from a broken hand and my fractured ribs have mended over the last few months.

I have been looking for transportation to Emory whenever my sisters can’t take me. It is a lot to ask them and interrupt their schedules; however, I’m getting where I’m afraid to drive to Atlanta now. I found someone this past week and it is a blessing. The charges are very reasonable and she lives close by. More importantly, God provides our needs if we ask Him. In addition, on Friday I was approved home visits for infusions. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The doctor is increasing my treatments next month. The IV-Gs will be added two days monthly, as well as continuing chemotherapy for the autoimmune condition.

There are ups and downs with a chronic illness. I realized that I used to identify with the disease, but I’m working on changing that. It was my ego getting in the way. I was in a dark place. I didn’t want to get out around others or socialize for awhile. My health had worsened this past year. I was getting weaker and very depressed, as I was getting more home-bound and bedridden. My quality of life was getting very poor, but the good thing is that I still maintain hope and optimism.

I find encouragement and balance through my writing. It is therapy to me. It gets me out of my depressive state. People don’t seem to understand that it is my livelihood, my passion toward life. Sometimes, I feel discouraged by others’ comments, especially when they tell me to stop publishing books because of printing costs. When I received the derogatory remark about my books a few weeks ago, it first pierced my heart. In retrospect, it helped in publicizing my books on social media. So the person actually helped me instead of harming me. A good lesson to learn.

I hold on to faith. It is easier to give up and let this disease take over my body without treatments. A decision I was thinking about at one time. But I still resist; I still fight for life. I believe God has plans for me. If it to only encourage and inspire others, then so be it. I am amazed by His everlasting love and wisdom. I’m beginning to understand more of myself. God is good and with Him beside me, I feel comfort and determination.

 

 

 

 

Slander

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Someone tried to attack my name and writing on social media two weeks ago under my author’s name, Anne R, Murray. It is slander; I refute all wrong accusations. If they had bothered to read my novels, they clearly state that some of the events and dates are fictitious. Facts do manner, but they need to get their facts straight.

New Year’s Resolutions

Tags

,

Yesterday, I met one of my New Year’s resolutions. I lost down to 120 lbs. I reached my target goal one week before the new year. Although barely 5’2″, I hope to keep the weight off.

Things I have been thankful for in 2018:

  • participating in a research medical study of LEMS (sutoimmune).
  • finding alternate treatments (botox) for feet and ankles to enhance mobility.
  • changing infusions to a new medicine. There were pros and cons to this.
  • enjoying writing and another book written last spring.
  • having financial needs met.
  • a new van to drive.
  • a loving and wonderful family.

These are not necessarily in order, but goals I want to achieve in 2019. Some are more important than others. They are:

  • a closer relationship with God. Make peace with Him.
  • my father regain strength and health, as before his stroke. Complete healing for his heart. May he be able to come home soon.
  • my mother stay strong and active. Complete healing for her hand, b/p and heart.
  • healing for brother-in-law and all removal of abnormal (potential pre-cancer) cells above his eye.
  • complete restoration of personal health (including ribs and bladder) and regained strength. Straightened feet and ankles, so I can walk again. A cure for the autoimmune condition (LEMS) and no return of cancer anywhere in my body.
  • keep weight loss permanent. I feel good at this weight (120).
  • find a mate (spouse) for life. An equal partner to share the rest of my life with happiness, love and joy.
  • that my sisters’ families stay healthy, happy and loved.
  • welcome a new great-niece to the family this summer. May she be beautiful and healthy. Let her know she is loved.
  • make financial needs stable and available if needed.
  • new housing that best suits my physical needs. My parents also need new housing.
  • more written books with 100% royalists and selling well. A play script for a series, Saga of the Ages. My desire to make this into a movie production one day.

Maybe I ask and hope for too much. But I mainly want good health and happiness for family members and myself. God bless everyone and stay strong and positive. Wishing everyone best wishes for the new year!

Merry Christmas

Tags

, ,

I have been amiss for a couple of months, I admit. This has been a weird month with many events. They say everything comes in threes. I can tell you that is more true than imagined.

After a fall that left me with four fractured ribs in mid-October, I recovered almost fully. A lot less painful. It is as if no injury occurred at  all. Last month, my mother fell and broke her hand in two places. She is doing better, but her hand is still a little painful at times. Can these falls and family health problems be coincidental? Clearly, our family has had their share of health issues this season.

My father entered the hospital the end of November, with mild pneumonia and fluid around his heart. Three days later, he suffered a stroke by a blood clot that traveled to his brain. The surgeon removed the blood clot and my father seemed to be recovering well. His speech was a little slurred at first, but after surgery, he started to regain his speech and is doing better. Thank God he is not paralyzed. One saving grace of his illness and the fact that he is still alive.

He still has a way to go, as his heart is still weak. His body is weak, yet, he stands as a testimony of faith and hope. His courage to persist with daily challenges. I am proud of my father for his determination. If a 92-year-old man is determined to live and regain strength from a weakened state, just think what others can do.  It gives me hope to go on, to continue to fight my health issues.

More importantly, remembering that today is the Lord’s day – the reason for this Christmas day. May we always remember this date as a day to share with loved ones, to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He is our savior and lives within our hearts.

I saw goodness today with family and loved ones. It was more than goodness, it is love. Enjoy each day as today and forgive those that have wronged us. Sometimes that is easier said than done, but with God’s help, we can continue in peace and harmony. Staying strong in His word is the key to successful living.

Merry Christmas and wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Here’s wishing best wishes that 2019 is even better than 2018.

Stumbling Blocks – Fractured Ego

Tags

, , , ,

The last few months have been eventful, to say the least. I find myself quite elated, yet, cautious at the same time. My new infusions have brought my autoimmune disease “under control” this year. My neurologist is pleased with my progress there. I will be seeing an orthopaedic physical evaluation specialist within two weeks for botox treatments on my feet and ankles. I’m hoping treatments will improve my mobility issues. In addition, I will be seeing an orthopaedic surgeon specialist next month to evaluate my feet to see if I am even eligible for foot/ankle surgery on both feet. Past visits with specialists have revealed no solutions, as the neuro-muscular problems lied in the autoimmune condition itself.

Two weeks ago, I slipped and fell hard on my left side. After several agonizing nights, I went to urgent care. The medical doctor sent me to the hospital to get chest x-rays. They didn’t have the facility to x-ray my type of injury, as I couldn’t stand without support. A trip to the emergency room saw me several hours under a morphine iv-drip. My x-rays came back conclusive. I had four fractured ribs. They were all the middle (5 through 9) ribs and in back. Ouch! I have never cracked a rib before, much less four in a row. No wonder I was in pain!

While reading the Bible and mediating, I pondered on a Bible verse of a book, Jesus Calling*, my sister Janice had given me to read. Who knew that such a little book would have so much impact on me! It was meant to be given to me. I’m 100% certain about that now. Then the Lord spoke to me. “You can not solve your problems alone; let Me intervene and be the Healer.” I prayed that day and repented to release these burdens “stressors” off me. That I had a great deal of anxiety and stress already and I needed resolution in my heart.

The mistake that I made was that I tried to resolve the problems myself, but I couldn’t. I’m neither strong enough physically or emotionally to resist any stress coming my way.  I allowed it inside me and it upset me. My psychological ego “fractured ego” got in the way of healing as well. From Hebrews 11:6; John 4:23-24, I was allowing those thoughts damper my relationship with Jesus Christ. Remember, in my previous post, I said God is a jealous God. He wants everyone to focus their eyes on Him and not to please others. That is not easy for me. I’m a people-person and do not like or want to hurt others’ feelings.

Within days, I have never had such peace of mind. It is like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m not just writing about this, but I feel it in my heart. I was experiencing a spiritual warfare. One that could have very well gone the other way, but God won in the end. He is magnificent. I was weak due to medical and physical health issues. I was weakening, but God is the source. Jesus Christ can see us through anything and remove those roadblocks, if we allow Him to enter our hearts.

I’ve been enduring continuous treatments/infusions and procedures for several years. My journey seems endless, at this point. But I feel assured that Jesus Christ will get me through these “stumbling blocks” along the way. I ask Him to remove the blocks, that I can not do it on my own. I’m progressing in areas of science that were merely ideas seven to eight years ago. I see myself being well: healthy, full of energy and vigor, and walking. Yes, I said walking. I know it is just a matter of time.

*Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young.  Daily devotions for every day of the year.

 

 

Keto and Intermittent Fasting Diet

Tags

, , , , , ,

I was introduced to a new health diet early last month. It was a concept by Dr. Eric Berg to reverse autoimmune diseases. Some might be familiar with the Keto and Intermittent Fasting diet. Both are important facets of the diet. It is designed on consuming high fats, low carbs and no sugars or grains. Dr. Berg’s concept is that the body will start attacking the animal fat cells instead of one’s own cells. It is a process of decoying the body’s own defenses.

My sister Janice has been sending me links of videos on Youtube from Dr. Eric Berg. He is known internationally for his concept of Ketosis and the adrenal glands of the liver. He talks about high insulin levels around the stomach and how it relates to belly fat. That is my problem area too, especially my sides. You can find information on the Keto and Intermittent Fasting diet by clicking https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3w193M5tYPJqF0Hi-7U-2g

FYI, I have lost several pounds within two months, ever since beginning the diet. It is not only designed for autoimmune disorders, it is for those that have other medical conditions (e.g., cancer, arthritis, kidney, thyroid, heart) or want to lose excess weight. I’m not advocating to try the Keto diet. I’m not a medical doctor nor can I give medical advice. I only know how it makes me feel – better and more energy. I usually fast 15 to 18 hours three to four days per week for the autoimmune illness. I never go past 20 hours fasting at one time, although I might try it soon. You can have some liquids during this fasting time (e.g., black coffee, tea, water, bone broth or unsweetened almond milk). The longer the body does fast without food, the more the body begins to heal itself.

DETOX: Dr. Berg recommends detoxifying the body of impurities and toxins daily. It also hastens the healing process and promotes weight loss as you diet. His focus goes for a 21-day cycle, however, I do it daily. There is a mixture of one glass water (filtered or tap), one tbsp apple cider vinegar and one tbsp lemon juice to drink three times a day.

FOODS TO AVOID: While enjoying various foods, there are foods high in carbs and sugar to avoid, such as bananas, kiwi, apples, pineapple, and peaches. For a list of restricted foods, please see the 14 worst foods to eat on a Ketogenic-diet at http://health.facty.com/food/nutrition/the-14-worst-foods-to-eat-on-a-ketogenic-diet/

Dr. Eric Berg also has a pamphlet that explains the dos and don’ts while on the Ketosis diet. Amazon offers Kindle as well. Please see https://shop.drberg.com/checkout/cart/ for any questions you might have.

Plus, Dr. Berg offers many products on his website to take daily. I especially like the nutritional yeast (powder). It comes in two forms: pills and powder. I am allergic to pill form and the powder tastes just like cheese. It takes two tbsp a day sprinkled on food or mixed in a drink and it also helps headaches. Two more supplements I take is Keto MCT Oil Powder – available unflavored, vanilla and chocolate. I love the chocolate – tastes just like cocoa. One big scoop is good with a eight-ounce glass of almond milk. It is delicious. Also, I take Electrolytes with MCT daily. It comes unflavored and one small scoop taken per meal.

Please be advised that the weight will take time to gradually come off. But it will eventually start coming off. Mine started around 4 weeks and now at my sixth week, I am really starting to lose weight. Be patient with it and yourself. You want to lose weight slowly instead of fast to prevent sudden (quirks) weight gain.

Several months ago, I weighed 145 pounds. I went down to 137 to 139 pounds a few months ago. Getting on the weight scales this morning, I weighed 129 pounds. I will continue to lose a few more pounds to cushion myself and then maintain a balanced diet. It is a lifechange and a lifestyle diet, not just a temporary diet. It is not designed for quick fixes, like losing weight for a class reunion or a social event. I’m on the diet not only for health reasons, but to save my life. I’m fighting for my life and to become healthy.

There’s Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

Tags

Time itself seems to stand still. I feel daily challenges and experiences lead to two things: they can either hurt you or help you. My journey in life in chronic illness started eight years ago. Sometimes I wonder how I ever kept my sanity through the cycle. During this past month, especially this past week, I have been talking to God and realize I’m not in a good place. I need to cleanup somethings in my past and in my present. I lead a stressful life already and there were somethings very stressful interfering with my life. Things I didn’t want or need in my life, but I didn’t feel I had the strength or readiness to deal with them until now.

But I give no excuses, they were things I did to myself. I had “road blockers” that distracted me from doing what I was meant to be doing, what I was purposely supposed to be doing. I haven’t worked on my latest manuscript for a couple of months or wrote. It is time to put worldly “mundane” things to the curb and get on with life. Today, I attempted to get rid of some of those “stressors” and say “Amen” to that.

For the first time over the last few months, I feel I need to do what’s right in my heart, not my mind. God has really been working on me. He wants a relationship, but he is a jealous God. He wants me to concentrate on Him, not external forces. I failed to put my concentration on Him. But He is a loving God too.

And, yet, I have come to understand that what has been delaying me and blinding me is fear itself – it’s my own fears and insecurities that blocked me from moving forward in my own life. I have periods of darkness, of depression from chronic illness, of denial from disappointment or rejection over the years. It sounds like a broken record, but I was at my wit’s ends. I was to the point of succumbing to the disease handed me. It seemed nothing was working. The treatments were making me ill and feeling worse. I was over-medicated and home bound. My quality of life had the beginning of being very poor. I was almost bed-ridden, couldn’t get out of bed some days and felt awful. My hands shook badly often. I was a walking time bomb, about to explode!

We are all fearful of failure to some degree. But mine were deeply rooted as a child. Born with muscular weakness in both legs and feet, I had multiple painful surgeries as a child. I struggled to walk as normal healthy children did. I spent many summers hospitalized in leg casts and pain. Some would describe it as bone deformities at birth, while some describe it as hip dysplasia, where the hips dislocate from their sockets. Others describe it sort of like cerebral palsy, a permanent birth injury that penetrated the neuromuscular regions of the body.  In actuality, my parents told me that the doctor that treated me at infancy through childhood and adolescence, said I had no signs and symptoms of  one actual disease. Yet, the walking and mobility problems remained.

I did get better and I continued to improve until I walked fine (well, almost normally). But, in the back of my mind, other children laughed and made fun of me, as I walked. Until I was eight years old, I wore big white orthopaedic shoes, which I was ashamed to wear out in public. They looked like big baby shoes. Coming home from public school, crying to my parents that others were looking at my feet strange, I had surgery on my right foot (ankle extension) in June, the month before my eighth birthday. Again, another surgery on both feet (this time) in June, before my tenth birthday. Surgery had to be done when I was out of school for the summer and when the surgeon was available.

When I was a freshman in high school at 14, I fell somehow and broke a bone in my left knee. I had to stay out of physical education all during my sophomore year of high school. At 15, I had surgery again in June. I also had ankle surgery on my right foot. Don’t get me wrong; it was all painful. I had to wear a splint on my left leg for nearly two months and a cast on my right foot at the same time.

Last week, I got away for nearly a week. I desperately needed a break; a break from ordinary life and to reconnect with God. I was in a safe getaway, a place where I found comfort and safety for a while. During that time, I fell and broke four ribs on my left side. Now, I’m in constant pain. I’m more irritable and moody due to pain and inflammation. It has been very painful, at the least.

The positive side of this story is that I’m starting to make progress in the disease. Receiving botox treatments on my feet and ankles next month, looking into possible surgery for feet and seeing a surgeon next month also. The wheels are spinning in motion. I’m also going to a specialist next month for the fractured ribs.

Please note that I’m not asking for sympathy or prayers. It saddens me that people can only say that they will “pray” for me. I need more than that. I want to get my story out to others, to let them know there is hope and that God is a great Healer. Pity, especially self-pity, doesn’t help anyone, especially me. If you want to pray for me, please say in unspoken words. I would feel better and more comfortable with that. I have remained strong emotionally and mentally over the years. You have to be strong to be a survivor. I’m proud to say I am one. I survived breast cancer eight years ago and I will survive this. And, yes, I do have faith. Faith to be healed and well someday….

 

 

Great News

Tags

,

This week, I have gotten comments about autoimmune diseases and many people reading my last two posts. It certainly is an interesting subject. Autoimmune is not an easy topic and one that still defies medical scientists and doctors. It is a mystery to all, especially their causes and sources. One advise is to keep plugging away at research. I keep seeking answers to questions. It is only until recently, that I feel I have made a little progress in this area. There is much to be learned in this area of medical science. I’m told by doctors that not enough research has been conducted in stem-cell studies.

This week, I have cut sugars and processed foods out, and placed myself on a high protein diet with some fats and oils, low carbs and gluten-free diet. It isn’t so much cutting calories, its eating healthy, nutritional foods. It’s also losing the excess weight and shedding a few pounds along the way. My diet consists of mostly green vegetables, some fruits, but not a lot. I eat organic pasturized-fed eggs for protein, organic tuna and grass-fed (no antibiotics) beef, chicken or pork high in muscle, as Dr. Berg suggested in his video on autoimmune diseases.

It is important to treat your body well. I get that it is not only fighting for getting healthy, it’s fighting for one’s life. One has to buy good health; it does not come freely. In addition, it is important to add minerals and vitamins daily. I added turmeric with black pepper extract to my daily diet. You can also get with ginger extract. I drink organic tea with ginger root to fight inflammation and joint pain. I’ve also added Vfitamin K2, Potassium, Selenium and cod liver oil to my daily diet. Cod liver oil comes in liquid form too, but I prefer the capsules. Make sure you take Vitamin B and Vitamin D3. The normal healthy person can get by with 1,000 to 2,000 units per day. The doctor recommended I take 5,000 units daily.

On the brighter side, I got the blood work results from Emory yesterday. Everything tested was normal. There is not a secondary autoimmune disease. I am very much relieved. I’m going for a MRI on my cervical spine and also been referred to an orthoedic specialist for treatment on my hands, legs, feet and ankles. Please continue to feel free to comment. We need to support each other. If you have any suggestions, advise or information to offer, I would love to hear from you.