Friday, October 30, 2015

Managing Chronic Illness and What My Doctor Misses

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

I may be a card-carrying AARP member (recently qualified, thank you!) but since “50 is the new 40,” I like to think of myself as pretty young, with many good years ahead of me. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t always agree with me. And when I’m running back and forth to doctor’s offices, with this and that wrong with me, I remind myself more of a retired elderly person than a working mother of an 11-year-old!

The problem with managing multiple chronic illnesses is that they often are running on parallel tracks. I think sometimes I should hold a conference so that my rheumatologist can confer with my dermatologist, who can then consult with my neurologist, and so forth and so on…oh yes, and so my primary care doctor would actually have a clue as to the total picture.

Those of you in my shoes know that’s not the way the world works, though, is it? We shuttle back and forth from our general practitioner to our various specialists and hope that somehow we can keep it all straight: The appointments. The blood tests. The scans. The meds.

Occasionally, the tracks do come together, however, but not always in the best way. The trains on the tracks collide, leaving us in a real mess, trying to figure out how to make things work together.

Such was the case in my life this past week. When, in the midst of several months of chronic migraines, I was given medicine for my chronic cough that made my head – as if it weren’t hurting enough – feel like exploding, every single day. It flared up my rosacea and then began interfering with my thyroid and RA meds too, leaving me as a red-faced, head-pounding, fatigued, joint-aching mess.

Finally, today, I said “ENOUGH!!”

It’s not as if I have all day to deal with this. Did I mention that I work and have an 11-year-old? And that tomorrow is Halloween?

I thought about it. What about all of those well-meaning people who have been offering me supplements and essential oils for my various ailments? What the heck, I thought. I’ll give it a try. I put out a cry to help on my Facebook page and by noon, I had numerous people offering advice. Whereas I had rejected their advice before, today I felt nothing but gratitude.

Take this. Try that. Drink this. Stop drinking that.

Feeling more open to new ideas than I ever had, I decided to adopt a few. Meeting with someone who had been in my shoes was wonderful. She described being on six medications for just one ailment, and how they had adversely affected her, which she finally replaced with an essential oil. Voila! It wasn’t prescribed but it wasn’t “witch doctor” science either. The bottom line is, it worked. I’m open. I’ll try it.

I tried yoga this week too. It’s something I’ve always hated, maybe because I wasn’t good at it, but I had bought a Yoga for Arthritis video awhile back and so I thought perhaps this time would be different. It was. I was open. I tried it. And it felt great!

I’m even trying things that feel really hard. Like giving up my Diet Coke. And cutting back my coffee. Ouch! These two beverages are something I really enjoy! But do I enjoy them enough to be miserable, if they are in fact the cause of my chronic cough and headaches. No, today, I don’t think so. So once again. I’m open. I’ll try it. And we’ll see what happens.

What I’ve realized today is how easy it is to get lost in the pharmaceutical jungle. There are some meds I must take. They are the foundation for keeping my more serious illnesses under control. But like so much in life, they are just a small part of the bigger picture.

I am more than a patient. I am a whole person!

As a whole person, I have to remember that my recovery has to be holistic as well. I have to apply what Aristotle said, that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” If one part of my recovery is missing, then my healing won’t be complete.

I need more than just medicine. I need healthy food. Regular exercise. Social engagement. Spiritual connection. I need the whole package.

I write a lot on Spring Sight about how to have a spiritual connection with our Heavenly Father. Do you have that connection? Do you realize how important it is as part of your recovery? Perhaps you already do, but like me, there are other parts of your self-care that have been missing. Whatever it is, be gentle with yourself. You can only do so much. But remember, just a little bit of effort in each area of your life can make a big difference when you put it all together.

I’ll keep you posted on how my journey to wholeness is going. How are you doing on yours?

Managing Chronic Illness and What My Doctor Misses originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins. Click here for more posts. Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Many of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Crystal Storms' #IntentionalTuesday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp,, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Life Questions Answered - What Gives You Hope? (+ 7 Promises...)

I am thrilled to have Deb Wolf on Spring Sight today as a guest blogger, talking about an important life question: "What Gives You Hope?" and offering seven promises to give you hope when life is hard. 

Deb is the author of the book Sarah's Garden, a parable that tells of the struggle in each of us to flourish in our strengths, rather than persisting in to our weaknesses. She is also a speaker and author of several inspirational blogs including Counting My Blessings and Faith 'n Friends. She is a fan of babies, puppies, coffee, and chocolate (in that order) and loves conversations filled with laughter. 

Life Questions Answered - What Gives You Hope?

If hope is defined as…

     The belief that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Then, I wondered…

     What gives you hope?

I began with a Google search – What gives you hope? And found the following answers:
  • Not much.
  • Knowing that things could always be worse.
  • An inspiring person with strength and courage.
  • Belief that things will get better.
  • The determination and will power to improve whatever is wrong or overcome what’s going on.
  • When a child smiles.
  • Believing that dreams come true.
  • A sense of humor.
  • Optimism
  • Do you want hope that lasts?
Then I went to my friends on social media and asked. Here’s what they had to say:
  • God’s love and His Word.
  • God’s grace and forgiveness. That no matter how many times I mess up, what Christ has done has already cleaned up. The Grace of God in Christ alone gives me hope. 
  • Knowing that God is in control in my life on earth and for eternity….and that He operates only motivated by love.
  • Encouraging songs quotes and scripture that reminds me that God is in control He loves me wants the best for me and is faithful and will keep His promises. That gives me hope
  • God’s grace
  • Knowing that I am Jesus’ little lamb and someday I’ll live with Him forever.
  • Testimonies of people who were changed and saved by God’s mercy, grace, & love.
  • Knowing God has everything under control when to me it looks like nothing is under control.
  • Faith that makes it possible to take things one day at a time.
  • Remembering God created me, sent Jesus to redeem me, and calls me to be His own. Nothing happens outside of God’s control!
Earlier this week I wrote about the ways I find hope in God’s promises. Promises reminding me of His love and grace. Today…

7 Promises to Give You Hope When Life is Hard.
  1. God loves you. – For this is how God loved the world (you): He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
  2. God will meet your every need.  – This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
  3. God’s grace and forgiveness make you free. – Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. Romans 6:14
  4. God will protect you in temptation. – If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 1-:12–13
  5. God cares and is with you everywhere always. – Keep your lives free from the love of money. Be happy with what you have. God has said, “I will never leave you or let you be alone.” So we can say for sure, “The Lord is my Helper. I am not afraid of anything man can do to me.” Hebrews 13:5–6
  6. God is always working for your good and His glory. –And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (And when it works together for good its bring Him glory.)
  7. God promises a home with Him forever and always. – I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me. John 10:27–28 and “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. John 14:1–2 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again— my Savior and my God! Psalm 43:5

Let’s keep the conversation going. What gives you hope? (Share your comments below)

Life Questions Answered - What Gives You Hope? by Deb Wolf originally appeared on Counting My Blessings.

For more Spring Sight blog posts by Linda W Perkins, click here. and get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and TwitterMany of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Crystal Storms' #IntentionalTuesday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp,, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Four Truths for When You Reach the End of Your Rope

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)

Calgon, take me away! I thought to myself. I am not sure if I can handle one more single thing!

It had been one of those days. And weeks. And months. You know the kind. The period of time when the stress of life piles on and on and on, until one moment, you just snap and exclaim, “I am truly at the end of my rope!”

Sometimes, that moment rushes in quickly. You wake up late, break the heel on your favorite pair of shoes as you’re racing out the door, spill your coffee in the car, and try not to yell or show your embarrassment as your child hugs your leg tighter and tighter at the daycare drop-off. As you pull away, your boss is calling on your cell phone, while in the rear view mirror you can still see the tears running down your little one’s face, while screaming “Mooommmyyyy!!!” Within just a few hours of waking up, you’re already tearing your hair out, dreaming of making a speedy escape from it all. Perhaps Bermuda would be nice this time of year, Triangle and all.

While days like that can be over-the-top frustrating, most of the time I reach the end of my rope gradually. It’s like playing the tower-of-blocks game Jenga. One little piece at a time is moved – taken away or put on the stack - until finally, it becomes too unstable and everything comes crashing down with a bang. Like it did the other day.. When, after a growing sense of pain and pressure from a variety of circumstances, I totaled my car. Yep, that’s right. Totaled it.

I had felt it coming on for a while. My body has a pretty good warning system. Joint pain. Fatigue. Daily migraines. A quick temper. I should have known it was time to take a ”mental health day,” and yet, while I can call in sick at work, I have yet to figure out how to do that at home. Heck, even this article is coming later than I had planned, because just as I was writing it, my daughter came in and announced she had lice! There went the next six hours. Ugh.

Sometimes, it all just gets to be too much.

I’m lucky to say no one was injured in my accident…oh, and $300 (and loads of laundry) later, my daughter no longer has lice. But regardless of the outcome, my nerves feel a little frazzled, to say the least. It’s that feeling of being overwhelmed, drowning in a giant ocean of obstacles and challenges, and trying to just keep my head above water.

I may say to myself, “Just breathe…it will all be OK,” but actually doing it is another thing all together.

Whether we’re drowning in the everyday details or we’ve just been whacked upside the head with a big traumatic event, God encourages us in His Word to let go of our own rope, when we get to the end of it … and instead, reach up to His. And in doing that, we can hold on to four key truths, based upon 1 Corinthians 13:7.
  1. God is the support system you can’t live without. When God says “love bears all things” that is a description of what He wants to be for us: a loving Father who supports us when we are weak. When we can’t carry our load of life struggles, He is there to bear the weight for us.
  2. God believes in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. God says He is love, and love believes in all things … including you! No matter how much you may think you can’t do this, or perhaps you’re still beating yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made, God sees the very best in you and knows you can do this!
  3. God wants you to keep living in hope. When we trust only in the chaos and confusion of life circumstances, it’s hard to remain hopeful. God wants us to trust in Him, the author of hope. The hope we have in Him is not circumstantial, but rather is steadfast during difficult times, because we know that in His bigger plan that we can’t see, He works all things for good.
  4. God is your strength for the long haul. Life may feel at times like a series of sprints, where you’re running as hard and as fast as you possibly can, but the reality is that it’s a marathon. And as any marathon runner will tell you, just finishing the race is an accomplishment in itself. It takes training, patience, perseverance, and commitment to get to the finish line, along with a solid supply of high energy nutrition and life-sustaining water. Without a regular supply of Daily Bread (Scripture) and Living Water (the Holy Spirit) that Jesus offers, we can’t make it through this life. We need His strength for the endurance we need.
Today, as I look back over the circumstances that led me to the “end of my rope,” I see God in the midst of it all. He was there as I grieved over the death of a friend, while reconnecting with another who sat next to me at the service. He was there in the comfort and grace I received from my husband after my accident, and the gratitude I felt that my precious child was unhurt. And yes, He was even there in the middle of my lice crisis, which led me across town and into the path of someone who needed help in that very moment. As I see Him there, ever present, I can relax. Life can get crazy sometimes, but God’s got it all under control. My part is to trust. Let go of my rope. And hold onto His.

Have you reached the end of your rope? If your life is filled with frustration and pain, let go of your own rope, and reach up and hold onto the strong rope that your Heavenly Father has sent down to save you. Then remember, when things get a little bumpy, just keep holding on! 

Four Truths for When You Reach the End of Your Rope originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins. Click here for more posts. Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Many of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Crystal Storms' #IntentionalTuesday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp,, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday.

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