Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

When I started this blog, I had a mish mash idea of what I was hoping to accomplish.  That’s typical for me.  One thing I knew for sure: I wanted to  take some of my heart ache and write it out.  That helps me.

From the onset, I had Eddie’s permission to write about him.  He told me that he was okay with me discussing his “illness”.  But, then he decided he wasn’t okay with it, so I stopped.   If his “illness” gets to be a schizophrenic shrew, we do too.

Right now, Eddie is a healthy kid.  He’s at wrestling camp this week. He’s started feeling better after the wrestling season ended. He has been wrestling every chance he gets, ever since . Every chance.  I’ve never really seen a person like something as much as Eddie likes wrestling.  I’ve suggested he marry it.

He is feeling good. The sun is shining. The kid knows how to make hay.

The other day we had the opportunity to be interviewed on camera.  Our church is putting together some “man on the street” type of interviews.  It’s a new thing.  Folks at church are going to tell their stories on camera.  Real people explaining what happens when life’s crapstorms meet faith in Jesus Christ.  That isn’t exactly how our pastor explains it, but you get the idea.  Have I told you about all the cool things that are happening at our church lately?   A LOT of cool things.

Eddie, Scott and I participated in the interview.  None of us were overly excited to do this, but there isn’t really another choice.  Scott and I have both promised God more than one thing over the years.  We have told God that if He would give us the strength to endure, we will use our trials to help others. To glorify Him. We’ve told God to use us as He sees fit.  There’s a good chance God remembers us saying that.  You don’t really want to lie to God.

He asked to do something. We did it.

I am glad we did.  Eddie said some things I liked hearing.  One thing he said is that he is NOT a sick kid.  He is a  wrestler,  a brother, a son and a friend.  He’s all those things, and he also happens to get sick.  But he was very clear about one thing.  He is NOT a sick kid.  He will not define himself that way.  I won’t define him that way either.  I’ve learned more than one thing from Eddie.

Eddie said being sick is behind him.  So, it is.

We only have this moment to live.  Our next moment is not promised to us.  We won’t fret over moments that haven’t happened and we cannot control.

I have a friend who I have never met in person.  Several friends I HAVE met introduced me to her.  She has Lyme Disease, and my friends thought I could help.  I couldn’t help.  I have had a lot of people introduce me to people who have Lyme Disease, or love people who have Lyme Disease.  Caring people want me to be of some use to these people who have had the cruddy luck to meet Lyme in person.   I wish I could help.  I can’t

I’m happy for the introduction to these people, because I care.  I really, really do care.  I hope it helps these people to know that I care.  But, I really don’t know how to help, practically speaking.

The ridiculous truth is that I do not know how to make Lyme Disease  go away.  It’s a wicked little nightmare, and I don’t know where the exits are.  I don’t even know if Lyme Disease  is our only problem.  Can you believe that?  You would think that I would know SOMETHING!  I feel like I don’t.

How you could study and study, and research and experiment, only to find out you feel less confident about what you know than when you started.  We started 11 years ago.  I’ve always hated mysteries.

So my friend that I’ve never met is a mom.  She is married and has two sweet, kind and precious young children.  One day she was minding her own business, homeschooling her kids and doing triathlons. The next day she was fighting for her life.

Like our family, she decided to go to a special clinic in Florida.  The folks at this clinic know a lot about Lyme, and they have great ways of fighting it.  My friend has a blog. She has been writing about her experience.  I have read every word she has written.  The other day she had a heart attack during her treatment.  I keep crying about that.

It’s weird, because I really don’t know this friend.  We have  talked on the phone once, and we message each other on Facebook.  I love her though.  I love her family too.

I don’t know how to fix my friend, but I know how to love her.  I feel empathy like I have NEVER felt before.  I didn’t know that when we were fighting to get Eddie’s life back in a special clinic far away, God was giving me something too. Empathy.

This week my friend posted that she needed some extra prayers.  Her mom immediately posted, “We are always praying.”  Do you know that just telling you about what my friend’s mom said is making me cry?  You know why?  Because supportive parents.  Those guys there just crush my heart.   I’m so happy my friend has parents who love her, and who would give their own lives to get hers back.

I know JUST what is going on with this family in a way I wouldn’t if I had a different life.  I know what it’s like to look at your parents’ faces and realize that all the fears and anguish inside of you is inside of them too.   You feel badly about that, but it is also such a comfort.  When you’re in the middle of a frenzied nightmare you don’t realize just how MUCH comfort that is.  It’s like the sanity sustaining type  of comfort.  It’s everything.

It isn’t until things settle down.  Until you read about someone else’s precious parents.  That’s when it hits you.  That’s when you start bawling like a baby, because you realize you are so grateful for what God gave you.

I remember when my parents went with Eddie and me to a clinic in Kansas.  Our community had raised a LOT of money to help us with the first two weeks of our stay there.  That money was used up on our first visit.  Eddie felt better after our first visit, but that didn’t last.  We decided to go back.

I remember that somewhere in the back of my head was a place where I worried about how we would pay for this trip.  It was easy to put that worry away.  I could quickly distract myself with bigger worries.  Worrying about whether Eddie was going to keep living made bankruptcy seem like a problem that could be solved.

Scott and I had always lived within our means.  We didn’t carry credit card debt.   We decided now was as good a time as any to start.  I was going to do something I had never done before.  I was going to pay with a credit card, knowing the money was NOT in the bank.   The money wouldn’t be in the bank any time soon.

When it came time to pay, my dad suddenly pushed in front of me.  He pulled out HIS credit card.  He said, “we’re paying for this.”  Now I can’t see what I’m typing.  I’m crying again.

I know this a random post.  It’s going lots of directions you didn’t see coming. I didn’t either.  I just wanted to write my heart out, and say that I love this new friend I have.  Every word she cares to write is landing in my heart.  I’m praying for her and her family, and I am experiencing a form of empathy I didn’t know existed.  I’m walking around Costco with my sunglasses on, because I can’t seem to stop shedding tears for her.  This is empathy.

Maybe you’re getting your butt handed to you right now.  I hope you get to the other side.  I hope you can stay loose and soft through your trial, and that you resist bitterness and anger.

Faith helped me stay pliable.  I asked God to show me how to do that.  I asked God  to show me how to grow and be stronger.  I asked Him to show me how to use our struggles for a better purpose.  I didn’t know he answered all those prayers.  Now I see he did.

God is showing me that through my friend.  He’s showing me that I have new and deeper ways to care about other people that I never would have had without our struggles.  He’s showing me that if He cares enough to show me these things, then He just plain cares.  If He can give me a heart full of compassion, than His heart must be full of compassion for me too.

Here’s a song my friend’s little daughter put on my friend’s play list.  My friend’s daughter thought this song would encourage her mom.   I’ve never met my friend’s daughter, but she and her brother look like some of the nicest kids I’ve ever seen.  I have a feeling that when they’re grown ups they will know how to care about others better than most.  I can tell they’re special:




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