Appreciating Communion

I struggle to find the right words to share with you this beautiful day. I know my words cannot fully explain the depth of all Jesus has done, but I pray that you will be encouraged in some way.

Holy week is a time for reflection. Reflecting on Jesus crucifixion. Reflecting on God’s love. Reflection on our lives; on our relationship with Christ.

Holy Thursday gives us the chance to refocus our hearts on the events of Holy week. A time to remember the first communion. We are also reminded that Jesus came to serve others as well as give his life for our sins.

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One way Jesus remains close to us is through communion. Communion is more than just bread and juice. Every time we receive communion Jesus becomes a part of us. Communion is an outward remembrance of the inward presence of Christ.  This is the personal presence of Jesus in the world today. Communion can be a very powerful experience.

However I can recall a time as a teenager when I was just going through the motions with communion, I didn’t stop believing in it, but it didn’t mean a lot to me. I had stopped appreciating it. It was just something that happened right before worship was over. On our journey home from Taize (which is similar to a retreat) experienced the most powerful communion in my life. It’s something I can’t completely put into words. The pastor who was severing it made it completely personal to the group of teens I was with. She didn’t just read words from a piece of paper, she spoke from her heart. I don’t remember everything she said however I do remember feeling completely overwhelmed and breaking down in tears. That moment I remembered how much God loves me and that He sent his son for me.

It’s not enough to merely go through the motions.

 

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Gastroparesis

In my personal option rare diseases do not get enough attention so anytime I have the spoons and time I am delighted to blog about any of them. Many doctors are not educated enough about them. Education for us all makes a huge difference.

Gastroparesis is considered a very rare disease but some argue that doctors are just not educated enough to diagnosis it. It can overlap with the trio overlapping illnesses including  Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. For anyone who has taken note of the fact that I have the trio I do not know for a fact if I have it and do not think my doctor would identify it. Furthermore, it is too difficult to tell on steroids and I’m allergic to part of the test.

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According to the found Gastroparesis is a GI track mobility disorder. In further detail they explain:

“Normally, the stomach empties its contents in a controlled manner into the small intestines. In gastroparesis, the muscle contractions (motility) that move food along the digestive tract do not work properly and the stomach empties too slowly.

Gastroparesis is characterized by the presence of certain long-term symptoms together with delayed stomach emptying in the absence of any observable obstruction or blockage. The delayed stomach emptying is confirmed by a test.”

Symptoms vary from person to person.

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • A feeling of fullness after eating just a few bites
  • Vomiting undigested food eaten a few hours earlier
  • Acid reflux
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in blood sugar levels
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss and malnutrition

 

 

I recently saw a story that is a ray of hope in a cloudy sky of chronic illness and would love to share with you to encourage you.

In 2009 I was diagnosed with severe Gastroparesis and another auto immune disease. Gastroparesis is damage to the vagus nerve which doesn’t allow your stomach to empty its food contents properly. So your food can literally sit in your stomach for days instead of hours. It’s pretty miserable. Worse, the few effective medications available to help ease the symptoms were not an option for me due to an allergic reaction to them. In severe cases like mine there is the option to get a pacemaker installed in your stomach, but as I already have a pacemaker/defibrillator I was once again left with no solution to help me. Most recently, I was rushed to the ER because of hypoxia (low oxygen) that saw me admitted to the ICU for three days. I was told that all of my medications, heart related included, had built to life threatening toxicity due to the blockage directly caused by my Gastroparesis. I was in the hospital for another 5 days and taken off all my medications to detox my entire system. I used that “blank slate” to try a vitamin system (I know it sounds crazy, right?!)  which helped greatly with both my chronic and fibro pain. I’ve found through all this that doctors prescribe medication often, because they have no other solution. We don’t think about the life we lose because of the medications prescribed to us or the life the side effects take from us because we think that it’s helping us. For me, the medications that were supposed to help me almost took my life. I needed a balance like most of us of medications and natural elements.

If you would like more info on what this lovely lady did to improve her health please comment your e-mail. (I ask people to do this so that I can respect their privacy and provide ALL the information I have on hand possible pertaining to their illness. If you have an illness I have I have additional tips I would love to share with you).

Need more info on Gastroparesis check out this video

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What does Mayo say? 

Learn more from other patients on The Mighty

Why Her?

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Comparison is the heartbeat of feeling like one does not measure up. It is a timeless issue.  Additionally, it is a struggle most encounter at an extremely young age. This struggle plagues women in a unique way. We compare ourselves to the woman who “has it all together” or to the media. Regardless of how hard we try we just do not measure up. At times, we allow ourselves to ask, why does she have God’s favor and I don’t?

The enemy desires to separate us from Christ and embed doubt into our minds.  Comparison is one of the battles in the war fought for a woman’s heart. This struggle is found in women in all walks of life, but today I want to focus a little on the woman battling chronic illness.

Having a “broken” or “malfunctioning” body causes one to feel inadequate. When you are drained from the pain, symptoms, emotional break downs, changes in your physical appearance, dealing with insurance, and doctors it is easy to into a comparison trap. It may be tempting at times to run away from God. One might become angry with Him question what she did to deserve this.

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We look at the healthy woman. It must be nice to get out of bed in the morning rested. It must be nice living pain free. It must be nice to have a job and be independent. It must be nice to go out on a whim without planning according to your symptoms and not be stuck in bed for a week after. It must be nice eating whatever you want when you want to. It must be nice brushing your hair without chunks falling out. It must be nice…

Perhaps, at times you have envied other women with chronic illness. The woman who has a prestige medical team, a husband who supports her, friends who check in, or has made substantial progress. Other times, maybe you envy your old healthy self.

Because of chronic illness your dreams have been shattered. You lost the woman you were before this illness plagued your body. It has altered every relationship in your life.

Why does she get to live the life you always dreamed? Why are you trapped in your own body? How do you move forward in a way that honors God?

You were made to bring honor and glory to Christ. You were created, precious friend to live an abundant life. You were crafted for thanksgiving not for comparison.

It is possible to overcome comparison one moment at a time through the strength of Christ. Being rooted in Christ is vital to survive life with a chronic illness. Drinking in His presence while resting in His arms. Allowing His Word to consume you until you overflow is essential.

Let’s leave comparison in the past and begin living in a way that honors God. I want to invite you to join in a Bible study about overcoming comparison. We will dig into God’s Word in inspiring ways as we study Rachael and Leah. Click here for additional information. Online Bible study is an essential tool if you are chronically ill.

“In her new book, Why Her?, Nicki Koziarz uncovers six truths we need to hear when trying to measure up leaves you falling behind. Because truth, like always, will set us free. And free women don’t have to measure up to anybody. Not even her.

In this 6-week study of Why Her?, we will use Nicki’s powerful message to help you:

  • Conquer what comparison can do to your self-esteem by applying six powerful truths to your everyday life.
  • Start thriving in your own skin again as you battle the ever-present “must be nice” syndrome.
  • Apply what the Bible says about comparison to your own situation as we learn from two important women in Scripture.” Proverbs 31 Ministries

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A note from Nicki:

“Yes, #WhyHerBook is a book on how to battle comparison with Truth. And we all need Truth. But there’s so much we can learn from the story of Rachel & Leah.

Maybe you’ve studied the story of Rachel & Leah before but perhaps not like this. One of the things I’m most looking forward to with the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies is to study Genesis 29-35 in depth through the teaching series.

You’ll meet Jacob, Laban, Rachel & Leah in a new way. You’ll learn about how Jacob wrestled with God and how that led to the resting place with God.

We’ll discover how to discern if something someone says about God in the Bible is true or not. And what to do when comparison tries to compromise the wellness of your soul.

 

I hope you’re signed up for the totally free Online Study beginning April 9th!”

 

1 John

 

1 John is an incredibly rich book of the Bible that is overlooked many times. God uses His faithful vessel, John to teach His children many lessons. John emphasizes fellowship with Christ, various aspects of sin, and living in the fullness of God’s unconditional love. At the heart of the letter, Christ aims to bring you into relationship with Him or enable you to grow in your relationship with Him.

“What we are telling you now is the very message we heard from Him: God is pure light, undimmed by darkness of any kind.” 1 John 1:5

“If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins.” 1 John 1:7

” But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done.” 1 John 1:9

Anointed By The Father

“You have been given an anointing, a special touch from the Holy One. You know the truth…Let the good news, the story you have heard from the beginning of your journey, live in and take hold of you. If that happens and you focus on the good news, then you will always remain in a relationship with the Son and the Father.” 1 John 2:20 & 24 The Voice Translation

There are many days that I feel damaged. Furthermore, I feel like I don’t measure up. I hear the lies on repeat like a broken record not good enough, unworthy, and unlovable. Life is chaos. I start my day well meaning and focusing on God, but somewhere along the way I get side tracked. Before I know it, I am consumed with anxiety and overwhelmed to the point of tears. In those moments God can feel so far away. How do you handle moments like these?

You were compassionately and thoughtfully created by your Holy Father. He anointed You for a calling unlike anyone else’s on the earth. He has confidence in you to complete the calling on your life with His help. He anointed You, sweet sister setting you apart as His daughter. Jesus traded heaven for earth to suffer an incomprehensible death so that you could be with Him for eternity.

He called You good the day He created You. In Him you are righteous, sanctified, and holy. You have received a special touch, a kiss from heaven, from the Holy One. He sees the beauty He placed in your heart. Beloved. The apple of God’s eye. Forgiven, He has made every wrong right. Masterpiece. Priceless.

You know the truth, moreover, you know the good news. Allow it to continue to grow in your life. Let the roots be strengthened and be made new. This will be evident to all. Life in Christ isn’t easy, as you know, but it is worth it. He will equip you for the journey providing for you in each moment.

Guard your heart against the enemy and His lies. Be intentional in strengthening Your relationship with Christ. Never forget where your identity lies.

Abba, Daddy,

I feel inadequate to serve You. Unworthy and unequipped. I can see the lovely gifts You have graciously given others, but I struggle to see my own. You know I am damaged from living in a fallen world. I feel like my flaws are listed on my forehead at times. I desire to keep You first in everything I do yet I quickly lose focus.

My heart’s desire is to serve You though I feel as though I have nothing good to give. I surrender my little gift knowing it is more than enough in Your mighty hands. Equip me to serve You in amazing ways. My confidence is purely in You. I know You are faithful. You are the source of all I need.

Help me to take time to pause. To breath in the chaos and simplicity of everyday moments. Enable me to give the people in my life the very best. Help me to invest in others. Allow me to bring them closer to You. Allow me to freely give as I have freely received from You. Help me to love when it is inconvenient for me. Mold my heart to reflect the beauty of Yours.

I cherish Your living and holy Word. It is more valuable than money or earthly pleasures. Sweeter than the finest cuisine. Help me walk in the way you commanded. I desire to be obedient. Please give me a deeper understanding of Your word. Let me desire Your Word more day by day.

All Honor, Glory, and Praise belong to You now and forevermore.

Amen.

Treatment

What doctor can treat migraines? A few different ones can, but it depends on each individual and their experience. In some cases a primary care doctor treats them. Moreover, a neurologist or pain management may be reccommened.

Mayo Clinic offers some helpful tips to prepare for a doctors appointment:

  • Write down symptoms you’re experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to your migraines.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you’re taking. It’s particularly important to list all medications, as well as the dosages you have used to treat your headaches.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Treating migraines is a complex task. Many factors must be considered when considering a treatment plan.  There are a wide variety of options ranging from avoiding triggers, to medications, to lifestyle changes. The best outcomes usually come from constructing a well-balanced treatment plan and sticking to it.

Medications

There are two additional groups of medications pain-relieving and preventives. Over the counter medications are used first. These include Motion, Tylenol, or Excedrin.

Ergotamines according to WebMD, “narrow (constrict) blood vessels in the brain. It is not clear how they work to stop a migraine. ”

Triptans, assist people within two hours if a person takes it at the first sign of a migraine.

Anti-nausea medications such as Zofran to prevent vomiting and ease nausea.

Opioid medications are carefully used to treat migraines. For example, Codeine, Hydrocodone, often combined with acetaminophen in Lortab and Vicodin, Meperdine,  Oxycodone with acetaminophen in Percocet, Dilaudid, Butorphanol Tartrate (very addictive), Hydromorphone, under the brand name Actiq and Tramadol – Ultram. Mirgaine.com reports, narcotics work to relieve pain by preventing the release of the neurotransmitter Substance P in the nerves. This helps reduce the way migraine sufferers perceive pain in the brain. It is also sedating and cuts down how emotionally upset the migraine sufferer feels as a result of the pain.

Glucocorticoids prednisone or dexamethasone usually used in an emergency room or for a migraine that is out of control.

Medications for migraine prevention include Cardiovascular drugs, Antidepressants, Anti-seizure drugs and  Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox).

Clinical trials are another option which may be for relievers or preventive medications. Almost all need a doctors approval.

Natural Remedies 

Natural remedies are usually best when paired with western medicine. Gluten-free diets are helpful in some cases.  Depending on the person tea such as Pu-erh, Green, or Black tea. Furthermore, caffeine can either help immensly or make it worse. Some people find relief with peppermint and lavender Essential Oil.

 

Chiropractic care, acupuncture, biofeedback, massage therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and reflexology are additional avenues of natural treatment. A few vitamins that may be helpful include magnesium, riboflavin, feverfew, coenzyme Q10, and melatonin.

Some individuals find ice packs helpful during a migraine while others find relief with heat.

Lifestyle Changes

As with any chronic illness lifestyle changes are essential to preventing and treating migraines. It is vital to eat a balanced diet without skipping meals, to remain hydrated, get adequate sleep, excerise, and manage stress. Additionally, it is important to keep track of migraines to have the best treatment plan possible.

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Dorthy’s Migraine Story

I was a rather normal twenty-year-old young woman and becoming a mother in six months when I was in a high-speed rollover accident. Needless to say, I had whiplash. In addition, I struggled with a headache for a month.

 

About, seventeen years later I had mild rear-end collision on the freeway. However, I did not feel any different after this minor encounter. One month later another rear end hit-and-run collision occurred. That is when I encountered the worse head pain which radiated down into my neck accompanied by spasms in my neck. The pain was unending. A few weeks with the head pain turned into a month which swayed into six months.

 

2010 marks the beginning of my journey with chronic pain.  Shortly after, in 2010, I lost my 15-year employment as an RN. I diligently worked in a hospital, specifically, as Telemetry Surgical oncology renal failure inpatient unit. I worked as a charge and floor nurse.

 

After trying various treatments, in 2014 it felt like the headaches were controlled. I attempted to as home health RN but could not keep up with the flow so was let go while in the middle of an assignment. The triggered a chain of events; losing my rental home and nearly went bankrupt. If that wasn’t enough I began a difficult martial separation. Due to my separation, I lost the support of my church family because they were in disbelief. Furthermore, my health declined a bit more than I went in for a major abdominal surgery. The connection I once had with coworkers disengaged before my eyes.  My support system was shattered along with my social life.

 

The debilitating pain was out of control. I struggled with keeping up with daily activities.  Even though I desperately desired to work it was no longer attainable. I had no income for two years. Finally, social security grated me finical assistance for intractable migraines without aura and without status migrainous.

 

Today I am entering into the end of a divorce. In addition, I am still striving to improve financial stability and trying to create a new social support system.

How I cope? I didn’t at the beginning. I was depressed but denied it as I had my personal stigmas against having such a diagnosis. I did not want to be seen as weak. Losing my job in 2012 was a big blow to me as I loved working in the hospital. I had dreams and aspirations and those were ripped from me.

I lost spousal support. I was exhausted. I became suicidal. For the first time in my life I reach out and asked for help from counseling services but did not find supportive care. The depression continued to worsen. I fought it through denial.

Than 2014 when I lost my second job and lost my housing I encountered an ultimate low. I reached out again and this time I found good services. Began to come to terms that I had depression.

In 2016-2017, I was quite depressive. Counseling alone wasn’t working. My pain levels were out of control specifically the pain in my head. I was exhausted. We tried a new antidepressant. I was on triple antidepressant medication management and became worse. My blood felt like it was on fire and I became filled with feelings of anger.

I Reached out to my doctor. Very quickly I was mandated to go to the ER and was admitted into a psychiatric recovery inpatient unit for 2 weeks. It was the best treatment done for me. I learned that behavior & pain are separate. I can’t control my pain, but I can control my behavior through the power of choice. I have the power to choose to be happy or not despite pain. No longer does sadness rule me. So how do I cope? Choice, God, Prayer, Rest, Grocery delivery, Online shopping, Communication of symptoms so friends & family know, no longer a people pleaser. It’s okay to say no to an event and not let people’s reactions be personalized.

My motto

Keep keeping on chin up shoulders back now March forth with a smile