Monday, October 10, 2016

A Time For Everything

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favourite holidays. For one, I love all things Autumn; the colours, the chill in the air, the scented candles and the cozy decor make me supremely joyous. Also, the heavenly smell of the turkey roasting and the stuffing warming in the oven just charms me. This was a weekend that I was undoubtedly looking forward to. 

Sadly, this magnificent holiday ended up a little tainted for me when I woke up on Sunday in miserable pain. You see, Sunday was the day our company was arriving and Monday was the day we were to have our real Thanksgiving celebration and dinner. I tried to stay positive and festive as I lit my Spiced Cinnamon Pear candle and got ready for the day ahead; though as I sat at my vanity and applied my makeup, I wrapped my body in the comforting warmth of my trusty heating-pad to get me through the morning. And immediately following I went upstairs to locate my pain killers because I knew that without them I'd be crawling back into bed in a matter of hours. The excitement of seeing my darling niece kept me up and awake until the arrival of my brother, sister-in-law and my favourite person in the world (my niece, of course). The rest of the day went well and we enjoyed the company of family, laughed at how big of a personality could be in such a small person (also, my niece), ate a nice dinner and started to watch the Bluejay's Game like the loyal Canadians we are.

A few minutes into the game I started to abruptly feel more ill. The pain intesified and spread all the way from my ribs to my knees and everything inbetween. I began feeling delirious and woozy because of the pain. I decided that I just needed to lie down and just be alone for a while, so I took my laptop into another room and tried to get comfortable. Finding a comfortable position quickly proved to be impossible as my pain increased and my heating pad helped less and less. Eventually I gave up on trying to get comfortable on a bed and headed to the bathtub instead. My good old bathtub always gets me through these times of my body waging war against me. I even treated myself to a lavender scented bath bomb to help with the pain and grabbed a book to distract myself. I sat in the bathtub and read The Devil Wears Prada until I couldn't stand the heat any longer and decided to get out and go to sleep.

Oh, but sleep did not come easily. Now, I'm not intending to brag or anything, but I'm a tough cookie when it comes to pain. I've experienced plenty of different kinds of pain in my life due to chronic illness, lyme disease and various injuries. But I'm just going to say for the record, that by far, the worst kind of pain I have ever experienced is the pain that comes along with my menstrual cycle because of my gynecological disease that I was oh-so-lucky to develop somehow. My doctor has described the pain that I feel as likely exactly the kind of pain that woman in labour experiences. And people wonder why I avoid getting my cycle by using back-to-back birth control. Anyway, back to the story. I had gotten out of the bath and dried off, gotten into some comfortable sleeping attire, set my heating pad on the highest setting and crawled into bed. I tossed and turned and switched positions trying to find a position that would alleviate some of the pain and none did as I had hoped. Eventually, I ended up texting my mom from downstairs in my bedroom because I wasn't sure if I could actually make it up the stairs to go talk to her.

We were trying to figure out why my pain seemed to be even worse than usual. I was honestly considering whether or not I could have accidentally overdosed on my pain killers (I didn't, thank the Lord). At this point it felt as if I were in labour, having my guts ripped out and torn apart and also a like someone was taking a searing hot knife and stabbing me repeatedly with it. Not a fun way to spend Thanksgiving in my opinion. We debated going to the hospital; but we've done this in the past and I always regret going because the doctors can do nothing to help the pain except pump me full of morphine as I sit in a freezing cold hospital room on an uncomfortable bed being poked and prodded at. So, I chose to stay in my comfortable and warm bed and endure the long night ahead. And a long night it was, indeed. I'm actually not sure whether I fell asleep or passed out from the pain but eventually I woke up to a new day ahead. I always wait a while to move when I wake up after a night like the one I had just experienced. I never know if the pain will come rushing back or if it's done it's thing and gone away. I slowly began to stretch to the side to grab my iphone off of the bedside table when the harsh pain returned in full force. I laid my head back down and admitted defeat. Though I ended up making my way out of bed about fifteen minutes later because I could hear my niece laughing upstairs and she always puts me in a better mood.

I made my way upstairs; heating pad in hand, pain killers already ingested and pajamas still on. First thing I did was plug in my heating pad beside my favourite chair and turn it on high and then I headed to the kitchen to brew myself a pot of coffee. Two things that I often need the most: my heating pad and a pot of freshly brewed coffee. After what felt like an eternity of waiting for my coffee to brew; I sat down and curled up with my heating pad, in my pajamas to drink my coffee and watch my niece run around the house getting into everything that she shouldn't get into. I probably stayed in that position for about four hours because I was in too much pain still to move. Eventually, the pain lessened and my enthusiasm for Thanksgiving grew as my mom prepared the turkey and the stuffing and my sister-in-law prepared a homemade pumpkin pie. I went to my room to get dressed and immediately knew that pants were out of the question considering the pain I still felt; so I settled on a flowy dress and leggings. And hey, I looked all dressed up though in reality, I just loathed the idea of wearing a pair of pants.

My pain wasn't gone but neither was my gratitude for the life that God has blessed me with. I choose each and every day to celebrate and find joy in the little things. And this weekend, even in extreme amounts of pain, was no exception.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Wishing you all many blessings and joyfulness and leftover turkey and stuffing sandwhiches. 

xo,

Coral K.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Big Faith

It's a good thing that over the past couple of years I've learned to roll with the punches because life is a never-ending series of changed plans and things not working out how you thought they would. And I'm okay with that.

God has thrown me a few curve balls in my life. A couple of them have been huge and life-altering, some are tiny things that change day-to-day and others are medicore -- not life-changing, not necessarily day-to-day little things; but more like things that just make you feel stumped. That's how I've felt the past few weeks. Stumped. I'm not going to make it sound pretty because it isn't always pretty; I have on more than one occasion over the past month, sat and silently wondered, "God what the heck are you trying to do here right now?". Life can be really freaking confusing. Even if you have immense faith that God is working; it's still confusing, it's still hard.

I have a habit of proclaiming my trust in God and then, naturally, I end up making my own plans and not including God in the decision making. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that. We pray and we say, "God, give me the knowledge and wisdom to know what you want me to do. Lead me. Be here with me, show me the way you want me to go. I trust you." And then we go about our lives, planning, stressing, worrying and then we get frustrated and confused and annoyed and disappointed when everything doesn't work out. The thing is, God doesn't want us to trust Him just during that one moment of prayer. God wants us to trust Him and look to him for guidance in those big moments and in the small moments. I used to think it was so trivial and immature to pray about little things. There was someone in my life that used to drive me crazy because I would ask them a question, and instead of answering me, they would say, "Let me pray about it." About literally, the smallest decisions. 

I hated it. I didn't get it. All I could think was, why can't you just make your own decisions? God isn't going to change something in the next ten minutes of your life. Can't you just give me an answer?

And I didn't get it, until very recently. You see, my family has always credited me with "big faith". My brothers never understood why I didn't go through a "rebellious teenage phase". I went to church, I went to youth group, I volunteered, I went to bible camp, I read my bible, I went to discipleship school.. And I loved it. I had big faith in God. I still do. It is in fact, one of my spiritual gifts I have learned. But, I have faith in God in the big things, the overall picture. As someone who tends to focus more on the big picture rather than the details; I tend to trust God with that big picture. I just trust that it'll all turn out the way God wants it in the end. And that's something I'm really thankful for that God has blessed me with. But, I struggle immensely with trusting God in the moment. Do I ever get asked to do something and pray about it in that moment? Hardly ever. I overthink, I worry, I research, I stress, I ask people's opinions.. But I don't always think to go to God with it. And that should be my first instinct. It needs to be. 

Now, you might be wondering where all of this is leading.. I guess where it's leading is to a challenge that I have given myself. A challenge to trust God in the day-to-day happenings of life. Which is really hard for me. Some people take it day-by-day and it comes naturally but they stress about the future. I have peace about the future but I stress about the now. So I am challenging myself to stop worrying and stressing and planning it all out for myself and to turn to God in the little things.

To clarify why I wrote this specific message after my last blog post had my feeling like my life was falling into place.. Things changed. And it was one of those medicore curve balls that was just downright disappointing. But, I'm choosing to see the good. I'm choosing to trust God in the daily moments where I feel stressed and like I have to figure things out for myself. And in that time, I'm embracing the freedom God has blessed me with. The freedom to develop new skills, revisit old hobbies, create new hobbies, spend time with loved ones and embrace life and to embrace God's blessings.

Just remember, that God wants you to trust him in ALL things. Not just the big things and not just the little things. In all things.

Monday, September 19, 2016

God Came Through

Today I'm sitting back and enjoying the things that the good Lord has blessed me with.
(There are a lot of things by the way)

Something I like to do in the fall is to focus on having a grateful heart and expressing gratitude. Whether that be to God for all that he has done for us or to friends and family for all that they do and all that they are. With Thanksgiving coming up it always pops into my head that we have so much to be thankful for in every season of life, and it's silly that we only think to express that thankfulness one day of each year.

So today I'm feeling thankful for a lot of things but here's a few that are standing out to me:

- good coffee
- the opportunity to serve in my community
- the amazing summer I had
- God's love
- supportive friends
- my cozy bed
- my new job (!!!)

Segue into... my new job!

This morning, I had an interview and got hired on the spot. Heeeeyyo, thank the Lord. As many of you know, I spent the last year focusing on figuring out my health problems and I ended up quitting my job in September of 2015. So it's officially been one year since I quit my old job and took a solid year to figure out my health. Which ended up bringing me some real answers about my illness and some serious mental and spiritual healing. So many blessings.


Anyway, something that I struggled with in my time off work last year was feeling that my life was really empty. Spiritually, I was in a really rough place and felt really hopeless and lost my faith in God's plan for me. I also was mentally in a really dark place and was struggling with severe depression. And physically, I was obviously in a lot of pain and dealing with a lot which was why I had quit my job in the first place. I felt hopeless, lost, inadequate, unable, undependable, useless and completely and utterly alone. Not a good way to feel. Nevertheless, God came through. And I know that I've said that a lot lately. I say that phrase when I write about my transformation over the past year, I say it when I speak my testimony, I say it when I experience little miracles and moments of faith. But it's the best way I know how to say it plain and simple; GOD CAME THROUGH. He always will. You can trust in that.

What I'm getting at is that even though my physical suffering is still existent, the healing I experienced emotionally, mentally and spiritually has positioned me on a whole new playing field. I no longer feel hopeless, lost, inadequate, unable, undependable, useless or alone. I feel hopeful, found, capable, able, dependable, useful and loved. And this, my friends, makes all the difference. After spending a year feeling that my life was so empty; turning to God and letting him heal me and speak his truth into my heart filled me up more than any thing on this earth could ever fill me. I know that only God can satisfy the heart; because he made it. He designed it. He's got the key to unlock your fears, your insecurities, your doubts, your lack of faith. He's got you. You just need to let Him in.

And I say that so nonchalantly even though I fully recognize how hard it is sometimes to just let God in. It invovles the ultimate act of vulnerability, giving up your own desires, trusting completely in something that you cannot see and laying out all your broken pieces on the table in hopes that God will take your brokenness and make it beautiful.
And He will.

A year ago, I had no idea what my life woud look like now. If I'm being honest, I wasn't even sure I would still be alive. I figured my life was over as I knew it and wondered what the point was in trying to improve upon a hopeless situation. And now.. God is doing really big things in me. God has transformed my heart. God has given me opportunities that I never thought that I would have. God has blessed me with people to love and to care for and to enjoy life with. God has provided me with exactly what I need. God has given me a job that is literally the most perfect fit for me at this stage in my life and most importantly, God has shown me that even in my sickness and in my suffering I can still have a life.

One year ago I was basically bed-ridden and barely left the house and today I'm full of hope, full of faith, I'm laughing again, I'm volunteering, I'm working, I'm serving the Lord and I'm full of joy.

God comes through.
Trust me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

this summer was #blessed

How do you debrief a summer that was full of new friendships and new experiences, amazing memories, life-changing God-moments and sweet ministry? No idea. 

But I'll try.

This summer was #blessed .

But in all seriousness, God did really cool things in my life this summer and provided me with so many opportunities. My faith was strengthened a lot and I learned to continually depend on God and lean into Him for my strength; especially on the days when I was so tired that my eyes burned just from having them open for so long and my feet ached from standing and my brain was so foggy that I could hardly manage a simple conversation. God provided me with the strength I needed. He lead me and brought peace to my soul in every situation and challenge I faced. 

If you're reading my blog, you're likely wondering about how my health was this summer because that's usually the main topic of this blog. The non-sugar-coated, brutally honest truth about living with a chronic illness. I would say that overall, I felt quite a bit better than I have in a long time. Probably because I was a lot more active which I realize now was super exhausting while I was doing it but was really beneficial for my muscles and joints. They ached a lot less at the end of the day or at random times during the day when I stayed active. I also continued my gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, peanut-free, pistachio-free, plum-free diet (with the exception of a few cheat days so I could indulge in all things cheesey like poutine and nachos). In the process of this diet that I started back in April to manage my Lyme Disease symptoms; I have actually lost 25 pounds! And my digestion has improved drastically and I have a lot less symptoms when it comes to stomach pain. So praise God on that one!

There were a lot things to celebrate about my health this summer and a lot of little victories that I am thankful for. That's not to say though that there wasn't struggles; because there definitely was. As someone with a chronic illness, even if we are feeling overall "pretty good", that mostly just means that we are feeling like we aren't in constant-unrelenting-pain. There were a few days in particular this summer where I barely got out of bed and I did make a few hospital trips (three, I think). I came down with a bad stomach flu once, had two really bad Lyme flare-ups and ended up in the hospital because of an ovarian cyst that is still giving me a lot of problems right now. Thankfully, my bosses and friends at camp were extremely understanding and supportive when it came to my illness so shout out and thank you's to everyone at camp who helped me out this summer by getting me things I needed, finding me bath tubs to soak in, driving me to the hospital, preparing my special dietary restriction food and for all the prayers that were said for me and my health. I wouldn't have had such an amazing summer without all of you (You know who you are ;)).

*****

And now, I am back home, settled in. I've been purging through my bedroom bit by bit and I am hoping to put together some care packages to donate to local families or people in need. If anyone is interested in helping me out with this, please let me know! You can email me at coralkahler@gmail.com or message me on facebook if you know me personally. Also, if you know of a specific family or individual that is in need I would love to talk to you about finding what they need to help them out.

Thanks for taking the time to catch up on my summer! Looking forward to hearing about all of your summers. Sending prayers and love your way. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What Time Is It? Summertime.

Today is the day. I'll be packing up my belongings and heading to camp for the summer. Of course, I'll be attending a doctor's appointment before I go but today is the beginning of what I'm hoping is going to be an amazing summer.


It's funny to me that this job kind of just fell into my lap and the timing was absolutely perfect. I was searching for something to get me out of my slump and was certain that I didn't want to spend another summer at a boring job or stuck inside feeling sick; so I started looking around. I remembered a camp that my friend used to go to and looked up their summer positions. I was searching for something that I could do while still being able to manage my health problems. Crafts. Sounded perfect. Except I was late to apply and assummed the position was already filled. I applied anyway. And to my surprise, this camp really needed a crafts coordinator and I was ready. 


This is just one of the many ways God has come through for me over the past few months. I have been working hard at challenging myself to stop depending on myself, but to put my trust in God. Through prayer and devotions and constant reminders; I have truly been placing God in a place of authority and guidance in my life. I want to be obedient to His plans because I trust that His plans are better for me than anything I could plan myself. This summer at camp seems to be part of His plan for me and I'm sure that soon enough, I'll realize why.


Anyway, I've been spending the last few days packing and honestly, I have my worries about living at camp with my illness. But I'm going for it anyway. I'm trying to calm my worries and remind myself that this is going to great and I am going to be okay. It's funny the way that an illness like this can change your persepctive so drastically even for things you are excited about. I am really excited about camp but I'm also insanely nervous. Not about the new place, or people, or anything like that; just about me and my health. It's scary to be somewhere totally out of your comfort zone when you live with health problems. But again, I am trusting in God for this one and although I'm nervous, I'm also very excited to begin.


So I just wanted to write this last blog post before I head out for summer; and hopefully, I'll find some time to update you all on how camp life is going! I hope to be posting my camp adventures on instagram so if you want to see what I'm up to or how I'm doing; please check out my instagram! @coralkahler


Thanks to all of you who took the time to check this out. I hope you all have an amazing and blessed summer. ♥

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Resurfacing

Today I realized that it has been weeks since I wrote and that there is something that is so not normal about that for me, but then I also realized that it's kind of super exciting at the same time. Why is it exciting that I've been forgetting to update my blog? Because I feel great.

I FEEL GREAT. Did I just say that?

I did.


Over the past year or so that I've been writing this blog I often found myself writing in the midst of a flare that left me in bed for days on end or after a tough day when I felt like I just needed to get it all out. The thing is, I haven't had one of those days in a while now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not healed. I still have symptoms that I deal with every day but I feel better than I used to. I feel happier. I feel more and more like my old self every day. Not even just my old self though; it's like the good parts of the old me are resurfacing and the good, stronger, wiser parts of the new me are here too and they are mingling and turning me into someone who is happy and excited about life. And I have missed that feeling so much more than I can describe.


Something that a lot of people who deal with chronic illness or pain live with is the feeling that their life and who they are as a person has been stolen away from them. We end up having to leave our jobs, spend less time doing the things that we love, spending more time resting and dealing with our health problems, cancelling plans and putting our lives on hold. All of this leaves you feeling so empty and so hopeless. It leaves very little to be excited about or hopeful about in the future. 


My last few years were spent dreading the future because I thought the future included feeling worse and worse for the rest of my life and never having an answer as to why I felt so horrible. I missed the person that I used to be. I missed going out with friends and actually enjoying it and having the energy to keep up with them. I missed having the patience and energy to spend time with my younger siblings and be there for them when they needed me. I missed laughing, feeling happy, being excited about something. I missed feeling useful and like my life had a purpose. I missed feeling hopeful. 


The last few weeks though have been full of new and exciting things. I have been getting out of the house more than I have in years, I have been pursuing new experiences and looking into my many, many options for the future, I have been laughing and smiling and feeling excited about life again. It's amazing to me to look at the way I felt a few months ago and compare that to how I feel now. I was stuck in a pit of depression. I felt alone, useless, hopeless and ready to end it all. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. And now, everything is different. All I can see right now is light. I can see the good. The good in every day and the good to come in the future. 



God comes through, guys. He always come through.




Monday, May 2, 2016

A Change Gonna Come

First of all, I want to make a little anouncement..
Because of some recent changes and answers (finally!!!) things are going to be changing a little on my blog. I'm going to be expanding! I haven't got the details all sorted out yet but I'm hoping to open a few new pages with recipes, treatment plans, etc. And I'm really excited to be able to continue to share my journey with you all and maybe give you some useful tips to help on your journey as well.


As some of you may already know if you're a facebook friend of mine, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease a few days ago. It has been overwhelming and a huge relief at the same time to finally have an answer as to why I've been so sick for the past few years. Honestly, I don't have a ton of new information yet as to what I'll be doing for treatment because I've got a few weeks until my appointment to sort that all out but there are some changes that I'm currently working on. Those changes include cutting out all dairy, gluten and a few other things from my diet. Which is a huge adjustment for me. I could literally sit and eat cheese and bread all day long so it hasn't been easy so far.


Anyway, I just wanted to inform you all that I finally have an answer and I'm looking forward to getting treatment and hopefully healing. Although this has been an overwhelming and emotional time for me, I actually feel very joyful and blessed. God has provided me with so many wonderful people that have supported me and shown their love and I have been soaking it all in and praising God through this time. I'm feeling very positive and excited to make these changes and get on the path to healing and wellness.