Longings

A few years back, I wrote out longings instead of goals for the year.  After the first year, I decided that this would be a good yearly practice.  When I think about longings instead of goals, I tend to be more relationship-driven, more focused on my character and my emotions.  I care about self-care, friendships, maturity, and learning rather than projects that need a deadline.  It’s less about self-improvement and re-inventing myself, and more about what I hope and dream about.

I wrote mine in early January, and it was hard to write.  Christmas break dragged on, as I laid in bed, feeling so fatigued and helpless, unsure of what to do to help myself.  Dreaming when I felt like shit seemed like an impossible task, yet I made myself, with the encouragement of a few friends.  My wrinkled paper of longings resides on my bedside table, and I read them weekly.

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One of my longings is: Indy feels like home, with strong and growing roots.

Currently, this is happening in small ways.  I recently became a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church.  I have taken a few writing classes with the Indiana Writer’s Center this winter and spring.  The Indy Winter’s Farmer’s Market and a yoga class was a winter Saturday morning rhythm.  I buy meat and vegetables from local farmers.  I have found an excellent doctor, who has me on a treatment plan that is working.  My nutritionist responds to any food question I have promptly.  Friendships are deepening with a few.  I have favorite parks, walking routes, coffee shops, bookstores, neighborhoods, restaurants, grocery stores.  Last week I ran into a friend at a coffee shop and felt like a local.

One of my hopes for the near future is for an AutoImmune Paleo dinner club where several of us can eat everything that is on the table, rather than saying “No” to 85% of what is served.  I’ll keep you posted.

What are your longings?  What does “home” feel like to you?

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Back and Forth

This post is a collaborative effort between my friend Chels and me.  Together we want to share about the back and forth of health and illness and how we make friendship work in the midst of this.  Chels started chemo in November and I started getting amino acid injections for Hashimoto’s in February.  Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about long distance friendship in sickness-and we’re stronger friends for doing this journey together.

We became friends largely because we were honest about our lives.  Then by the fall, both of us were really sick, and that drew us closer together really quickly.  Yet, currently we are learning the dance of back and forth, of changing expectations as I get better and Chels gets worse, as she continues dealing with the affects of chemo and radiation.  Our relationship is changing and we have doubts.  Chels has to harness her strength to work and recover.  And as I continue to gain more of a semblance of health,  I can think more about my future.  Tension builds, and yet we cling to our friendship.

 

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Chels stated to me in a conversation during this trip to Memphis, “I have to remember that you love me and want to talk to me.  I don’t exactly know how bad I’m getting, but I know that talking to me is hard.”

My doubts look like this: “What do I tell her and not tell her?  Do I hide the fact that I’m getting better?  What information is going to hurt her? Help her?”

We make mistakes.  Lots of them.  Sometimes I disclose too much, and sometimes Chels doubts that I love her.  But we do the day to day well.  We do the back and forth well.  Sometimes that looks like lots of movies or HGTV, naps, and short walks.  Other days we have longer conversations and can plan adventures. And we’ve learned to just let each day stand on its own.

Neither of us know what the future holds.  In honesty, none of us do.  But we will enjoy today; our friendship is too important not to.

What is the glue in your friendships?  What back-and-forths exist with your friends?

Health Update

I had my first follow-up appointment last week, after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s two months ago.

And there was good news!  I do not have any additional autoimmune diseases and the amino acid injections are working.  My antibody counts cut in half in two months.  The goal of the amino acid injections is to target and prevent the antibodies from replicating, halting the destruction of my thyroid gland.

I am continuing my elimination diet, and eating gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free (outside of a little bit of fruit) as a lifestyle.  It’s hard work to change habits, to face cravings and not indulge them, to say “no” to so many foods offered to me.  Some people ask, “When do you get to stop that crazy diet?” The answer is: I don’t.  It’s how I’m going to eat for life, for my health & energy’s sake.

What’s changed?

  • Consistent sleep, rather than long periods of insomnia
  • Curbing sugar cravings and replacing those with bone broth, fermented vegetables, and healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil.
  • Acne has cleared up going dairy-free.
  • Increased energy, both mentally and physically.  Less brain fog.

I will continue injections at least for the next 10 months, continue with my nutrition plan, follow-up lab work and appointments, and I’m starting PT to try to help with leg pain I still experience.

Thanks for celebrating with me 🙂

 

Resurrection Reality

Yesterday, we celebrated the epicenter of the Christian faith-the resurrection of Christ.  A time of anticipation and heightened emotions.  Maybe a time to more readily hope in Christ’s power, to remember the centrality of the Christian faith.

But maybe not.  Maybe a time of pain and grief, and it’s hard to celebrate with “everyone else.”  Maybe a time of questions, but it doesn’t seem like the correct time to be skeptical.  Maybe a time of confusion, as the resurrection doesn’t seem to fit with reality.

Post-Easter, the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus encourages me.  These men were close friends with Jesus’ disciples, saw the crucifixion, and knew that Christ was no longer found in the tomb, and heard that He may have risen from the dead.  They were talking on the road when Christ appeared on the road with them, and they didn’t know it.  Christ acted like he didn’t know about anything that was going on.  Christ then opened the Scriptures, showing them how all Scripture points to His Person-and the reality of his death and resurrection.

But these men didn’t recognize Christ Himself until he took the bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them.

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Why? I don’t know for sure.  But I take comfort that there seems to be a vibrant reality that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper.  That I, a believer who doubts, forgets, questions, laments, and gets angry with God, I am brought to recognize Christ, who gives Himself to us in the Lord’s Supper.  I need to know that He is here on Easter and every day.  I need to be free to admit that I’m human-dependent, weak, and limited.  I am made to need Him; and He needs to give Himself to me.  And He gives Himself to me, as one who is broken, as One who rose again with his wounds visible.

So on this day after Easter, know that Easter is not simply just to remember that Christ died for your sin and rose again conquering death and restoring your relationship with God.  These events are historically true, and it is faithful to remember and are central to the Person of Christ.  Yet in this account, these men did not recognize Christ in Scripture, in prophecies fulfilled, in making “connections” between present events and Scripture.

Christ among them with His broken body: this was their comfort.  

I pray that this Easter is not a time to “forget your pain because Christ rose again and is victorious over sin and death.”  May this Easter be a time to declare that “The Lord has risen indeed” and then tell your story of walking on the road with Jesus and not recognizing Him, whether because of confusion, pain, grief, or ignorance.   I pray He is known to you in the breaking of the bread, that His presence, and His broken body be your source of comfort.

He rose the wounded healer; the resurrection reality is that He makes Himself known, slowly and over time.

Take comfort that He still bears your wounds.  Rejoice that Christ is alive, yet know that the celebration does not negate your pain.

You are known by the Wounded One.