The Plan

I desperately wish I had only sunshine and rainbows to report this morning. I earnestly want to tell you all that I've been miraculously healed. Instead, I will offer you honesty. In light of all of your sweet comments and prayers, you deserve it. And allow me to interject here that I believe that at moments your prayers are a large component of the glue that is holding our family together. I can't say this sincerely or heartfelt enough--thank you.

The last couple of days have been tough. Monday, I saw an immunologist in Monroe, hoping he could shed a little light on my crazy situation or give me some good advice. About halfway through the appointment, I realized he wasn't going to be able to help me in either way. Basically, he told me that he couldn't tell me anything I didn't already know. I needed to avoid the foods that I wasn't tolerating, and continue to carry my Epi Pen, Benadryl and inhaler. He told me he thought my allergy issues are unrelated to my inflammation issues, and that I needed to see a rheumatologist. In short, I confounded him. He offered to refer me to a rheumatologist in Shreveport. We payed him our $60 co-pay, and left.

I don't know what I had expected, but I could barely bar the floodgates as I walked out of the clinic. Fortunately, I made it to the car before I started sobbing. Brandon, who had driven me, patted my hand, and said it was going to be alright. I listened to music on the way home, and tried to begin making peace with the fact that what was wrong with me is beyond the scope of quick fixes--a difficult, but necessary thing to do.

I'm usually a woman with a plan. I see a problem, I decide upon a plan to solve said problem, and I execute it. Monday, I felt naked because I had a problem . . . . a HUGE problem . . . . and no plan whatsoever. Fortunately, I was pretty exhausted after my long day and sleepless night on Sunday night, so I was able to go to bed at 8:30, and forget my discomforts and frustrations for awhile.

I woke to the hungry cries of my baby girl around 5:15am yesterday morning. My mother had come in the night before while I was asleep to keep her so I could rest. While I fed Sara, mom sat with me, and offered me a plan. It felt like a lifeline. I mentioned before that my mom suffered from adult onset allergies a few years before. She had NO IDEA what was wrong with her then. She researched and prayed, and by divine guidance, stumbled upon the Alpha Nutrition Program. Through reading their book about healing through diet revision, she was able to get better when she was seriously ill. She had been doing her homework and re-reading, and offered it to me. We had begun discussing the method Sunday night, which begins with a fast or "food holiday," as the author calls it. We had tried to decide how I was going to get basic nutrition. I couldn't take the site's offered nutrient formulas because they contained ingredients to which I was showing sensitivity. We did some looking for something even more hypoallergenic, thought we'd found it on another site, and I had it shipped overnight to the house.

As I waited for my amino acid/nutrition supplement to get in yesterday, I noticed that my stomach was burning each time I put any food on it. The only food I was taking in was rice and goat milk, which are the two foods I go to after a stomach bug, as dry crackers are out of the realm of possibility for me. They are very gentle foods. But each time I drank a glass of milk or ate a little rice, I would become nauseated and my stomach would start burning uncomfortably.

When I returned from a visit to my family doctor yesterday afternoon--she gave me a physical exam, prescribed me something for my nerve pain and began the labs to rule out quick, easy fixes--my supplement was waiting on the doorstep. Later that evening, Brandon opened it and mixed it up for me. I was barely able to choke it down. I have eaten and drunk some nasty things in the name of health, but I think this drink may win the award for number of gags and almost-pukes. When I had gotten some of it down, my ears started to burn and my tongue began to swell. Not a good sign. I kept going back to the fact that I should not be reacting to anything in it, and somehow managed to get the rest of it down. After a few minutes, the weird allergic feeling went away, and I felt okay . . . until the intense nausea set it.

I sat on the bathroom floor, praying I wouldn't start vomiting. I hate to be sick because it's always so violent and painful for me, and I didn't want to have to go to the hospital. Mom, Brandon and I have all agreed that they wouldn't know what to do with me anyway, and they could very well kill me accidentally. I called my mother before heading to bed, and we decided that I should do a water only fast for as long as I could tolerate it. The goal is set for 3 days. After that, I will attempt the Alpha Nutrition Program sans supplements.

I am not very enthusiastic about starting a fast like this already hungry, but my digestive system needs a complete rest. It is not tolerating anything of sustenance. In light of the lack of nutrition and my new nerve meds, I have decided to stop nursing cold turkey. My last feeding was around 7:30pm last night. As I sit here in the early morning typing, my sweet mother in law is trying to get our Sara to take a bottle. She is spitting, sputtering and crying. I don't know what we're going to do with that one. A will of iron, she has.

Anyway, back to last night . . . . I laid in bed itching, hurting and hungry, and I just could not get to sleep. I prayed and cried and finally realized something. I've been looking desperately for answers and a miracle healing, but I haven't been seeking the real source of my help. I've been looking for God's hands, and all the while completely missing His face.

God brought to mind Proverbs 3:5-6--"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." I have been leaning on my very limited understanding of my situation, trying to come up with a plan for self-healing. Sure, I've been asking God to heal, strengthen, encourage, but you can be asking for all of those things without really putting your value in Him.

I came to this realization broken and feeling foolish. The good thing about our God is that He doesn't put us in a corner and force us to think about the bad thing we've done, or in my case, not done. He just wants us to come right back into friendship with Him.

My prayers changed last night. I continued to ask for direction, healing and endurance, but I realigned my desire for the person of Christ rather than what He could do for me. I prayed for His presence, which is far more important than food at this point. It is, in fact, the only food my body can currently accept! He alone will be my sustenance over the next few days, and that is not such a terrible thing, really. I am going to use this forced fast as an opportunity to seek the Lord.

After 40 days of fasting (Jesus is THE MAN, by the way), Satan tempted Jesus with food. Jesus' answer? " “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”(Matthew 4:3-5) These are words to remember.

I've also settled in this passage for the past couple of days:

"O Lord, You are my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
(Psalm 16:5-11)

It's almost as if David wrote that prophetically for my situation.

As you pray for us for the next couple of days, we have some specific needs:

Me--That I will seek the Lord, and that He would provide all I need in Himself. I need to be able to take care of both children alone some. I'm still hurting. I think the pain was receding, but the reaction last night brought some of it back. I'm tired, but I can't sleep well for long. I made it five hours last night, but couldn't manage anymore, and I'm having trouble napping. I'm also hungry, and will continue to be for awhile. Mothering is difficult in the best of situations, and I have a lot going against me right now. Pray for extra grace for me and the littles. We all need it.

Sara--That this child will PLEASE take a bottle without putting herself or her parents in the hospital. I'm probably going to have a hungry baby on my hands today who expects to nurse. I am glad that I didn't take my nerve meds last night because that means I can nurse her today after her scheduled shots, if necessary, but I think it would be best to not, if possible. Sara also needs to start sleeping by herself in her crib soon. This poor child has a lot of changes to undergo in a short amount of time. Pray for her, and pray for us.

Micah--He is beginning to understand that something isn't right. He's frustrated that mommy can't play and do everything he likes. He is acting out a bit, and we don't want to be hard on him. Pray that we will give him the grace he needs while still being good parents, and that Jesus would help him cope. Micah also gets a shot today, poor guy, so if you think of us around lunch, pray that it's as painless as possible.

Brandon--Brandon is having some strange symptoms that we are getting checked out today. He is taking Humira every two weeks for his Crohn's. On Thursday, he began having allergic symptoms. Thursday is also the day my pain began. We are unsure of whether he's having an adverse reaction to his medication or his body just can't tolerate all of the stress he is feeling right now. Pray that we and his doctors will have insight into the problem and the wisdom to alleviate his symptoms.

Thank you for all of your prayers thus far. Please don't stop. And as you pray, remember to seek the Lord's face before you seek His hand. Jesus Himself is far more valuable as a person than any miracle He can accomplish. All of this is in His power, and He's working something bigger and better than we can understand. I trust Him. I hope you do, too.

"When You said, 'Seek My face,'
My heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'"
(Psalm 27:8)