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.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Unashamed



I stand here unashamed.



                                                                                                                



I spent last weekend at a woman's retreat and I came out of it thanking God for many different things. Going into this weekend, I must admit, I was not at all excited. I was anxious and tense. But it was one of things that I knew was good for me, I knew I needed it but did I want it? Not even a little bit.

But now, I am so glad and so thankful that I decided to stick it out and participate in this woman's retreat. Now, for those of you who don't know really what a woman's retreat is, in this case the retreat was a bunch of Christian woman from a couple different churches and a passionate speaker from down south who had come to share her thoughts with us. It does kind of sound intimidating when you think of opening up and being vulnerable with a bunch of people you don't know and taking serious look at yourself and realizing the things that you maybe need to work on and change.

The theme of our of sessions was 'Free and Unashamed'. Honestly, I ended up getting a lot more out of it than I had expected to. I came to realize that there were actually multiple things in my life that I have come to feel ashamed of. Everything from the way other's might see me, mistakes I've made in my past and biggest of all my chronic illness and how it affects my life. The last of all being what I'm going to focus on in the post. 


I've tried very hard to be open and honest when it comes to talking about my illness and my health problems. I see no point in hiding it or keeping it to myself when it it such a huge part of my life. Writing my blog definitely helps me to feel a little more empowered when it comes to living the life of a chronically ill person. Turning to God absolutely helps even though, if you've read this blog over the past year, you'll know that I've been through some very dark times of depression and doubting God. Even through all of this I ended up realizing that I don't feel free and I don't feel unashamed. I used to think it was my illness that made me feel like I couldn't be free. I used to think it was my illness that made me feel ashamed. I can see now that it isn't my illness that makes me feel like I need to hide who I really am, it's the way I view my illness and the impact that has on my life.


I doubt I'm the only person living with a chronic illness who feels this way, but I have a tendancy to feel extremely inadaquate. I doubt my abilities, I doubt myself and I don't have a lot of confidence when it comes to accomplishing my goals. The main reason I struggle with this is because I constantly compare myself to others. I compare myself to all the other people that are the same age as me. I constantly feel like I am not doing enough, accomplishing enough, being enough, giving enough.. I never feel as though I am enough just the way that I am. I feel this way because I expect my life to look like the lives of everyone else. My expectations of myself are so high and I often feel like if I don't meet those expectations that I am not only letting down myself, but also my parents, my family and God. 


Even though I have days where I can't make it off the couch and I have weeks where I don't even leave the house because my fatigue and my pain are so intense; I still feel ashamed that I have not accomplished all of the things that I have expected myself to  accomplish. 


Just for kicks, let me make a little list of the things that I expect of myself in an ideal world:

- Good health
- Fit body
-Healthy diet
- Avid reader
- Daily time spent in prayer
- College Degree
- Full time job
- Future plans
- Serious Relationship
- Good friendships


And those are just the big things. Not even the little things that we expect of ourselves each and every day, like: getting out of bed, brushing our teeth, getting ourselves ready, showering, preparing and eating healthy meals, housework, laundry, work, spending time with friends, exercising, etc.


I have finally come to realize how insane it is to expect all of this from myself. Especially considering the current state of my health. I have finally been able to see that I do not have to be ashamed. I no longer need to hide who I've been in the past, the mistakes I've made, the struggles I've faced and the person that I am now.


Something that really stood out to me over the weekend was a quote that went something like this, "untangle your need for approval from other's with the challenge to live for an audience of one." That audience of one, being God. If you're a Christian, your job in life is to please God, to love God, to bring glory to him, to share him with others and spread his love. You do not need to change who you are because God made you just the way he wants you. God created you and called you wonderfully made and beautiful. God loves you and he's got huge plans for your life. God has you in the palm of his hand and if you let him, He will use you to further his kingdom and to save the lives of those around you. When we learn to live in a way that is pleasing to God and not focus on pleasing those around us, we will see how easy it is to live free and unashamed. Because, God forgives even our worst sins and our biggest mistakes. God has forgotten. God doesn't need or want us to keep recalling the mistakes of our past. God does not want us to be ashamed of what we have gone through. God wants us to SHARE OUR STORIES. God wants us to use what we have gone through to save others and to bring others to Him. 


All of us have the power to share our stories and maybe in the process, change someones life. 


"Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your

 greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will 

come out of your deepest hurts." - Rick Warren

Friday, April 8, 2016

A Waiting Game

I've been struggling with deciding whether or not to write a post about my first lyme disease specialist appointment. Mainly because things still are not confirmed. Although I already feel as if things have changed. Where we're at now is that we are officially waiting on my results from the igenex testing to search for the bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi; which causes Lyme Disease. The process of testing my blood over in the states will take a few weeks so within the next 3-4 weeks I will know for sure whether I have Lyme or not. 


After meeting with the specialist I had my first experience of actually feeling like my illness and my pain was valid and real. I've always known that I experience pain and illness but it so often is dismissed when a bloodtest comes back showing nothing out of the ordinary or your doctor can't seem to find anything "wrong" with you. I finally was able to tell my story and actually feel like I was heard and understood. After our assessment this specialist informed me that she does believe I am suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease. We of course need to wait on the results to be sure but she believes that is what has caused my issues over the past few years. Either way though, positive or negative results, she is confident that she can help me to better manage my symptoms and pain. Which is one of the most comforting things to hear for someone in my position. 


I've already started three new natural supplements to help with my symptoms. A digestive enzyme, a probiotic and a natural anti-inflammatory. A test is also being run to see if any food sensitivities or allergies can be found in my blood. I think the stress of all the appointments I've had lately and the waiting for results and the over-thinking has caused me to flare up because it's taken all I have the last couple of days to roll out of bed and hobble around the house. 


Over the next few weeks I would really appeciate some prayer as I wait for my results. Thank you all for being so supportive of me throughout this journey. I love you all!


e9de168939d3ca074692b2ff8ef02d1a14961528be240341ee

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What's New? I'll Tell Ya

I'm sitting here sipping my tea while half asleep unsure of what exactly I want to focus on in this post. Mind you, it's 3:13 pm so I shouldn't be half asleep and I don't usually drink tea anymore but I'm cutting back on coffee and I need some form of caffeine right now. I might as well start by giving a bit of an update on the last post I wrote which addressed a job offer and my pending decision. 

Alright, so..

I've accepted the job and I'll be heading off for the months of July and August on a fun little adventure because of it. Which I am really looking forward to.

In other news..

My doctor perscribed me a sedative to help regulate sleep pattern again because my insomnia was getting out of hand. The first few nights were amazing and I had never felt so rested in my entire life. The last few days have been quite the opposite. I'm sleeping and that's the good part of it but I'm waking up much earlier than I am used to (which is kind of the point) but it has its consequences. I'm getting a major caffeine lag late in the day and it's making me super tired like I am now and causing me to get a headache every afternoon. But I'm pushing through!


Also, I had an appointment last week with my gastroenteroloigst (a physician who specializes in diseases of the digestive system, also called the gastrointestinal tract) who informed me that he'd like me to have yet another colonoscopy. I've decided against it for now because I'm trying some other new things that I hope will improve my well-being and colonoscopy prep is one of the least enjoyable things to do ever. Trust me. He also mentioned the idea of trying a low FODMAP diet which sounds insanely hard and not at all like something I'd like to do although it would probably help a lot. Which, as far as I can tell would mean that I would have to cut out almost all gluten, dairy and sugars and some other random things. So, I'm not feelin' it.


The last bit of news I have at this moment in time is that I FINALLY have my appointment with a naturopath who specializes in Lyme disease tomorrow. My appointment was supposed to be last week but ended up getting cancelled because of a personal emergency. So I've been anxiously awaiting this day for a while now and am really happy that we're finally going to start the process of testing for Lyme disease. So my dad and I will be heading to Burlington tomorrow for the appointment and to head to the lab so they can take many, many viles of my blood. 


As for physically how things have been going for me lately, things seemed to be going really well for the last few weeks and now they are kind of plummeting again unfortunately. I tend to think that it's from a combinatilon of switching up my sleep routine, the weird weather changes we're having here in Ontario and also the fact that whenever I feel good physically, I over do it and end up crashing later on. So I've been pretty go-go-go the last few weeks having outings with friends, running errands, going to appointments, getting taxes done, babysitting, visiting family, planning for my new job, looking into new opportunities and a million other things and now I'm crashing. I decided to give myself the day to recharge a little but it seems to only be making me more tired. But I guess that means its a really good time to head to the naturopath tomorrow! Some of the symptoms that I've had lately that are the most prominent are a headache that lasts 3+ hours each afternoon, fatigue, hand tremors, extremely dry and sore skin on my upper arms and sudden sharp pains throughout my body. The last of which is definitely the worst. 


ANYWAY, I'm sure that after tomorrow I'll have many more things that I'd like to fill you all in on but for now, I'm going to finish drinking my tea and rest up because I've got a busy few days ahead of me.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions..

Like a lot of people, I am the kind of person who does not like to make decisions. Especially decisions that need to be made under a time constraint or when I feel like I don't have enough information at the time of the decision making. So, the last couple of days have turned me into a ball of stress because decisions need to be made. Decisions, decisions, decisions...


Over the past month as I've been working on my happiness, I've considered a few options of what I could potentially spend my summer doing. Working full-time at a normal job is still unfortunately out of the question, so I've been considering some not so typical jobs that provide a little more flexibility. I ended up coming across a really sweet opportunity and the one position that was still open happened to be the only one I was really interested in. I'm not going to get to much into the job itself because the decision technically still has yet to be made, but I'm going to discuss why this decision has brought so much stress upon me.



This job would be one that I could physically manage which is a huge thing for me to consider right now. This job would require me to live away from home for 2 months which isn't a huge deal, but when you are chronically ill having the comfort of your home and your own bed is kind of a big deal. This job would allow me to be creative and it would be super fun. This job doesn't pay that much but it's more about the experience, in my opinion. There are a lot of pros for this job, but of course, naturally, as someone with anxiety, the cons creep into my mind as well and I can't help but think about the hard parts and the parts that make me nervous.


The thing is, when you are chronically ill, it is super important to look at things realistically. Especially things that require a commitment. I have made the mistake in the past of committing to something that at the time sounded great, and then realized later on that I was not fully capable of living up to the standard expected. Which leads to having to get out of the situation, a whole lot of panic while you're in the situation, etc. So, I've been hesitant in committing to this job and that is why. I find I either overthink or under-think and I'm working on finding the balance between the two while trusting that God will guide me in the way He wants me to go.


There are many reasons why this new opportunity is scary to me. Here is an honest list of why I am scared of out my socks about this opportunity:

- Living away from the comfort of my home
- Leaving my comfort zone physically and emotionally
- Meeting and befriending new people
- Giving up the freedom I currently have when I need a sick day in bed

Okay so, the first three reasons are perfectly normal reasons in my opinion and the last just makes me go 'uggghhh' and want to cry because it is a very legitimate reason for me. The thing that really sucks about finding a job when you are ill is the fact that you never feel like you're a dependable employee or just a dependable person in general. And that is a really crappy feeling. But I'm hoping and praying that I'll find some comfort and peace in this situation and about this opportunity. 


And I guess because I made a list of why I'm scared I should make a list of why this job would be awesome:

- Free room and board
- Free food
- Meet new, cool people
- Live the simple life
- Free coffee
- Literally making crafts for my job
- Hanging out with kids all day
- Private beach
- Fun times
- Awesome community

...... So, I think you all know what I'll end up deciding but I've just got to take some time to pray it all out and give it to God and accept the fact that sometimes we just need to take a risk.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Happy Things

Hello lovelies, 

For a while now I've realized that a lot of my blog posts can be a little.. harsh. Of course, if you've stuck with me from the beginning you've heard my mantra about not sugar coating things and being completely honest. Honesty is something I really appreciate and think is a super important quality to have. I have opened up a bit in the past about my struggle with depression. About a month ago, I took a big step and decided to start an anti-depressant medication. There tend to be a lot of stereotypes about anti-depressants and I've heard a lot of horror stories about them as well. This wasn't a decision I made lightly. After talking it through with my councellor and my doctor and considering it for months, I decided that this was a step that I was ready to take. It's been a month now and I can honestly say that I feel true happiness for the first time in years. I definitely credit the anti-depressants for part of this transformation but I also have to give credit to God and to myself for this change. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want people thinking that I started an anti-depressant medication and now suddenly I am a happy and joyful person who is full of smiles and rainbows. It has been a challenge but it has been really rewarding. 

I don't want to get into it too much because starting an anti-depressant is a very personal decision, but part of the reason I decided to start is because I found myself trapped in depression and weighed down by a lack of motivation. I felt so trapped by this because there are a lot of things I'd like to do in my life. I have a mile-long bucket list. Feeling a lack of motivation to that extent was just so hopeless. Anyway though, I knew I needed to make a change. The first part of this change was the medication and the second part was me fully realizing that in order for my life to change, I needed to make a change. I needed to change. I knew that suddenly making a huge change wouldn't work and I wouldn't be consistent with it. I started changing small things each day. I figured, if I'm home and not working, I have all the time in the world. It always seems like I don't have time to do the things I want to do but that's been because I haven't made the effort to do them. So, I began with little things like flossing my teeth every day after I brushed them. Washing my face morning and night no matter how tired I was. Doing little things that made a positive change. One of the biggest things that I have found helpful during this time has been setting aside time to be without my laptop or cell phone or tv. I've developed a habit of going to my room each day, lighting a nice smelling candle, putting on some music and just doing whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes I colour in an adult colouring book, sometimes I journal, sometimes I pray, sometimes I read, sometimes I just lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling, sometimes I tidy.. I do whatever in that moment I feel will make me happy or just more content. 


I've realized that no matter how often our lives feel unorganized, messy and up in the air, we can still find happiness. Happiness is not always about the big things. Happiness doesn't have to mean you have your dream job, your dream man, your dream house, your dream body and your dream group of friends. Happiness doesn't mean you've met all of your goals and are at the peak of success. Happiness doesn't mean life is perfect. 


As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I know that a lot of my blog posts can be sort of depressing and dark and sad. I don't want that to always be the case. I think a big part of that was the depression talking but I'm working on making changes so I'm going to try to incorporate that into my blog as well. So, below, I'm going to list some really random things that make me happy. Some of these will be activities, some of them are just beautiful things, some of them are totally random. But they are happy and happy is good.


Happy things:
- Freshly washed bedding
- The first sip of coffee in the morning
- Long walks on a nice day
- A playlist of your favourite songs
- A clean room
- A scented candle
- Photos of loved ones and happy moments
- A fresshly washed face
- Yummy smelling body wash
- Colouring/Doodling
- Helping someone
- Hugging someone
- Dancing in your underwear (Seriously)
- Hanging up your favourite quotes or verses around your room
- Opening a window and letting in the fresh air
- Perfume
- Creating something (a craft, a meal, art)
- Perfecting a recipe


Feel free to comment or leave a list of the little things that make you smile!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Back and Worse Than Ever


I've been meaning to write a blog post for the last week and haven't gotten around to doing so. Mainly because I wasn't sure how to address what I've been wanting to talk about. Honestly, I'm still not sure but I think it's time. I've decided it's time because I'm sitting here at 1:04pm and I've just woken up. I couldn't fall asleep until around 5am because of the pain. 


I guess because I'm not sure how to introduce this topic, I'll just jump right into it without sugar-coating anything. Because really, life doesn't sugar coat things. About three weeks ago I began getting some oh so familiar pains in my lower abdomen and pelvic region. It started with some twinges here and there and excalated into tugging and pulling sensations that would double me over suddenly. Then after a couple weeks of that, hip pains, leg pains, etc. It's back. The only thing I could think is "How come when I finally figure out one thing, it comes back to haunt me again?".


Endosalpingiosis.


Last April I underwent a surgery to remove what we thought was something called Endometriosis from my uterus, bladder and surrounding tissue. Turns out that after the biopsy results came back the tissues removed (in the form of cysts and small bleeding tumors) were actually something called Endosalpingiosis. Which is basically cyst-like tumors made up of Fallopian tube tissue. Quite random. And quite painful if you ask me. Because of this, my specialist wasn't sure how to proceed. He told me that he had never seen this before in any of his patients and that it was something he had heard of in medical school but was specifically told that he would very likely never see it. And I had it. Have it.



After this surgery there were ups and downs and complications. Post-op infections, bladder and kidney infections, pain, etc. Eventually after a few, long months we got it under control. I began a stronger dose of birth control to regulate periods (which are really brutal when you have a gynecological disease like this one), balance hormones and to altogether keep me from menstruating. Sounds great right? The problem is, with a body like mine, not menstruating only works for so long. So I've ended up in pain. I have cysts forming that I can literally feel putting pressure on my left ovary and bladder. And the pain began to be a constant bother again. Last time this happened, we had to stop my birth control in order to let my body regulate again and basically 'get this nonsense out of it's system" which is a lengthy and very painful process. So, that's what I've had to do again.


Let me just say this... It's insane how quickly my body is ready to jump back into attacking me. Not even twelve full hours after missing my dose of birth control, I woke up in agony with cramps radiating from the bottom of my ribs all the way to my hips. Including my abdomen, lower back, bum, thighs, everywhere. This was yesterday morning. Since then, I've been either bed or couch-ridden, permantely attched to a heating pad on HIGH and popping pain killers like candy. Because this is how we get through. If you've ever had menstrual cramps, you know the pain. But imagine that pain multiplied by about 15. My mother had the same types of pains when she was younger (before she had a hysterectomy to rid herself of it finally). My mother has said to me on multiple occasions that the pain she felt every month was exactly equivalent to the pain she felt during labour. Literally child birth pains, every damn month. So, that's pretty much what I'm experiencing right now except for this is just the beginning. Because, lucky me, I get a menstrual cycle that lasts for about 7+ days.


You see now why I've had a slightly difficult time approaching this topic? Ha. So, long story short -- if any of you need me, want to catch up, whatever.. I'll be spending the next week on the couch with my heating pad and ready for some entertainment.



** Sidenote: About three hours after writing this, I had another thought. It's horrible and terrifying that so many woman have to suffer with conditions like mine. Endometriosis, PCOS and endosalpingiosis are nothing to mess with. They ravage our bodies with pain, cysts, tumors, fibroids. It's awful. And there is no cure. It's so awful that all day today I've been wishing to have a hysterectomy and that's saying a lot coming from someone who knows she wants to have kids someday. When I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, I realized that my entire stomach is literally burnt. Patchy, red, and burnt from the amount of heat I've had to apply to dull the ache of the cramping and pain I'm feeling. It is NOT okay that so many women have to go through this and be subjected to this. It is so important that more awareness be raised and a cure be found. **

Friday, February 19, 2016

I Can't Brain Today

"Brain fog is defined as a feeling of being somewhat disconnected or spaced out, mentally confused and lacking clarity, focus and concentration. Other symptoms may include a decrease in short-term memory, reduced attention span and the onset of forgetfulness"


If you've ever experienced a concussion you may have experienced some brain fog. What's really frustrating is when you experience brain fog on the regular without an injury provoking it. Sometimes I think I'm doing really well and making improvements and then the most ridiculous things happen that set me back again. Today, I realized that my brain fog is getting a lot worse. You when when you're overtired and you start doing things that just don't really make sense? Usually when that happens, we just get some sleep and it's better in the morning. But true brain fog is a whole other thing...


Have you ever walked up to a microwave and entered your ATM pin? I have. It's things like this that happen on the regular that make us feel like we are losing our minds.


Yesteday, I was looking all over the place for the butter. Someone had bought grocceries the night before and I put them away. I knew that there was butter. I knew I had put it away but for the life of me, I couldn't find it. It wasn't where I normally put the butter. I looked all through the fridge, in all the cupboards, all over the kitchen and even went outside and looked in the van incase it had fallen out of the bag. But I remembered holding the butter in my hand and putting it away. Eventually, I gave up because I couldn't find the butter. Later, my dad told me that he found the butter. It was standing up on it's end in the freezer with the frozen juices. Because apparently I put it there.


Today, I went to the freezer to get out the chicken breasts that I needed to make dinner and after pulling them out and setting them on the counter I realized that there was entire head of cauliflower in the freezer. Frozen solid. I had also apparently put the cauliflower away in the freezer.


It's things like this that make me wonder how often these little things happen without me even realizing.. It is infuriating when you realize that you've made these silly mistakes. It's embarassing and frustrating and makes you want to yell at yourself for being so stupid. But, it's also kind of hilarious at the same time. I figure, if I can't laugh about the little things, my health problems will destroy me. So, I'm learning to laugh through the frustration and through the moments where I feel as if I may be losing my mind. 


It's a process though, learning to live with brain fog. Like when you leave a message for someone on their phone and try to tell them what number to call you back at and you completely blank.... because you cannot for the life of you remember your own phone number. And then there's the awkward part where you don't want to leave a message saying, "Hey call me back at ........ uh.... Actually I have no idea what my phone number is, so bye..." Because this is seriously what happens.


People ask me questions all the time about why I get anxiety in social situations or anxiety about driving a vehicle. It's because I literally panic when I have to talk to someone that I'm not used to talking to because my brain is foggy and I trip over my words and I stutter and mix up the order of my sentences. I sound like a paniced little child trying to get out my thoughts. Why don't I drive anymore? Because I can't trust myself to be safe on the road. I can't remember to go the right speed, look at the street signs, stay on the road, remember to keep an eye on the other cars around me. I don't trust my memory or my thought processing enough to drive safely. My thoughts jumble up in my head and I can't remember what I need to be doing or why I'm doing it. How am I to be trusted driving a vehicle when I get up to walk to the washroom and end up closing the door on myself? 

(I am literally laughing out loud as I write this because I know how crazy it sounds)


I'm trying to move forward and to do the best that I can. But there's some things that I just need to do differently than others and I'm learning that that's okay. Your journey won't always make sense to everyone else and that is completely okay. As long as your journey makes sense to you. Celebrate the little victories, laugh through the confusion and the frustration as much as you can and take care of yourself the best way you know how.