10 Things I’ve learned about living with invisible illness

I have been living with invisible illness {diagnosed} since 2008.  Chronic pain, fatigue and bizarre symptoms are part of my everyday life.  Statistics tell us that 1 out of every 2 Americans lives with a chronic illness {diabetes, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, etc.}   I know I am not alone.  So, why do I often feel that way? 1.  Invisible illness is isolating. Let's face it, people get tired of hearing about your "aches and pains", tired of having you cancel at the last minute because you suddenly feel like you've been hit by a truck, etc.  At least, I think they get tired of it so I withdraw, not wanting to be a bother.  Loneliness is a frequent companion. 2.  Invisible illness is unpredictable. I can go to bed feeling fine and wake up, unable to get … [Read more...]

Miscellaneous Melissa

Remember when I said I wouldn't fall behind on posting for Toni's 30 day challenge? Ahem...yeah. So, anyway here I am playing catch up again {days 15-22}.  Bear with me, mmmk? Day 15: Show your dream home If this question had been posed three years ago, my dream would have materialized quite differently.  However, since reading Radical and going on a journey with God {as a family} our view of our future and our desires for that future have changed.  No longer do I want to move to the mountains to a log cabin with my hubby.  I don't need granite counter tops or hardwood floors {although I'm not opposed to either}. In fact, we made the decision to downsize in December 2009 to a house half the size with a lot an eighth of the size and have not regretted it {except for the days I long … [Read more...]

A true gift

It is just a box you check on your driver's license. I have never given it much thought, until this week. Monday, I received a gift from a woman I will never know. Part of her knee was grafted into mine so that I will be able to walk again without brace, cane or walker. ACL reconstruction is usually done by taking your own muscle from somewhere else {a hamstring, etc} and literally reconstructing the ACL that was torn in my fall.  However, because I have MS and other medical conditions the surgeons agreed that donor tissue was the best way to go. And, on Monday they attached the ACL of a fifty year old woman into my right knee.  I don't know the details of the tragedy or accident that took her life.  I just know that she had a giving heart because she chose to give of herself, even … [Read more...]

The Great Physician

I am not used to good news from the doctor (and when I say doctor I mean any of the dozens of "ologists" I see on a regular basis). This recent liver problem was discouraging to me and the prognosis and outlook were dismal each time it was discussed with any of the "ologists". BUT GOD! Yesterday, I had my two week follow-up with the gastroenterologist to go over all the tests he subjected me to over the last few weeks and to (supposedly) decide on treatment options. Instead, he had good news... Here is an excerpt from the email I shared with my family and friends after the appointment: Just wanted to update you on my appointment with the specialist yesterday...GOOD NEWS! He was amazed and said he couldn't explain how I went from such an acute episode to normal in 2 weeks but my liver … [Read more...]

The Radical Experiment- Part Four

Step Four: Give of our time in another context. Pre-Radical: We have taken our children to serve in soup kitchens and nursing homes over the years.  It was something to do together and our thought was to give them a glimpse of how blessed they are and to introduce them to the concept of giving back. Currently:  It is no coincidence that during the time we have been reading Radical as a family, friends and fellow bloggers like Kristen, Jennifer and Lisa Jo have traveled to other contexts, like Africa and Guatemala, and brought back their words, their experiences and their heart for the rest of us.  Deep reservoirs of compassion were tapped in my heart just living vicariously through them.  Then, there are friends like Stephanie that travel to parts unknown to rescue discarded children and … [Read more...]

Medicare and Privilege

Yesterday, something came in the mail for me. It looked like this... Many emotions swirled in my mind and heart.  Most of them related to self pity about my disability(s) and the seeming prematurity of needing Medicare. I loathe self pity.  So, I turned to God for an attitude check.  He is always faithful in providing those for me. God brought my thoughts around to the children helped by Reece's Rainbow, including the little boy I pray for, Blake (you can find a link to donate to his adoption fund in my side bar). Children with down syndrome and other "disabilities" in the Ukraine and other parts of the world are discarded to orphanages, where they can live until 4 or 5 years old.  If they have not been adopted by then they are transferred to an institution where many transferred … [Read more...]

Legacy of Caring

I was recently in NYC for a blogging/social media conference.  Johnson and Johnson was there and requested some bloggers to make videos describing something that they care about.  Naturally, those living with chronic illness are frequently on my heart {although I had to quickly decide to talk about that OR foster care OR human trafficking OR the bazillion other things that I care about and pierce my heart}. I chose to speak about how living WELL with chronic illness is something I am passionate about. It is easy to get depressed and caught up in the negative aspects of illness.  I much prefer to focus on the blessings{and I think it is ultimately better for my health that way}. Here is the clip of my interview: What is an issue you care deeply about?  I would love to know so please … [Read more...]

Silent Inflammation- Interview with Dr. Sears

Yesterday, I had the privilege to interview Dr. Barry Sears (MD), author of several books including New York Times bestseller, The Zone.    As someone that lives with autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus), which have been linked to chronic inflammation, I had a lot of questions for the doctor and looked forward to hearing his perspective.  Other common illnesses with a connection to chronic inflammation are diabetes, heart disease and cancer. I started by thanking Dr. Sears for voicing the theory that the mantra of "eat less, exercise more" does not work for everyone when it comes to weight loss and living a healthier lifestyle.  Instead, Dr. Sears believes that an anti-inflammatory diet is the key to being healthy. He talked about the cultural attitude that those … [Read more...]

Listening to the still, small voice

I have been having some (not so fun) issues with my left leg in the last few weeks.  My doctor(s) attributed it to my MS and put me on a steroid dose pack.  While that reduced the swelling on the MRI, it did not resolve the problem.  What is the problem? Muscle atrophy. Atrophy (according to Wikipedia) is the partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body (in this case my left leg). God has a whole post about atrophy in His body (the church) swirling around in my brain.  But, that will come at another time. This post is about how God speaks to us.  He didn't just speak to people in Bible times and then stop.  His Holy Spirit lives in us and guides us- if we listen. Yesterday, returning from the doctor I was not in a happy place.  Trying to digest the fact that my muscle is … [Read more...]

Flowers fade

I am not a gardener. I am pretty sure both my thumbs are black. When we downsized and moved in December, I didn't pay much attention the landscaping on our new home's lot. I was so pleasantly surprised a few weeks ago when pretty pink bushes bloomed out front.  A luscious purple bush in the back, with a perfect view from the screened in porch. And then, my favorite, the bluish purple flowers that are weaving their way up our lamp post in the front yard. I am not a gardener. I don't know a chrysanthemum from a forsynthia but I do know pretty when I see it. I appreciate the beauty of the flowers and at the same time I realize that under my lethal eye, those plants probably won't last long. My flower has faded these past few days.  Withered in pain and fatigue from an illness that is … [Read more...]

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