On 15th September, I kept my appointment with a nephrologist. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, the doctor confirmed that all the blood and urine tests came out clear and then confirmed to me that the tremors, fatigue, anxiety, muscle weakness and other symptoms have nothing to do with my kidney function.
To be honest, I walked away from that session feeling overwhelmed, disappointed, sad, unheard by the doctors, and even apathetic. Why were the doctors more wrapped up in concentrating on the kidney problem (which I feel pretty indifferent about!), when what bothers me both physically and emotionally is the fatigue issues?!
Part of my frustration has been that the GP (family doctor) I see has not been willing to send me to an endocrinologist and explore the idea of a hormonal issue—specifically adrenal fatigue. It had taken two years before my thyroid levels were low enough on a test for me to be treated—even though I knew that it was an issue.
Unless another specialist makes a recommendation to my GP to send me to an endocrinologist, it just isn’t going to happen. I thought about seeing a different GP, who happens to attend St. Mary’s church. We exchanged a few e-mails and this doctor gave me a mental health inventory. The result was that I was moderately depressed. I made two decisions: 1) to spend some quality time writing in my journal; 2) to see a counsellor.
As I was writing in my journal, I realised that in some ways I had been drifting along, going to doctors’ appointments, thinking that getting better depended more on what they found than on what I knew I could be doing. Surely, there were things that my body and the Holy Spirit were telling me, but I wasn’t listening. By writing in my journal, I began to realise that there were two keys I could be putting to good use: a set bedtime—22:00 hrs every night—no later than 22:30 hrs; and having regular, set meal times every day. This would naturally help balance out my blood sugar levels, directly affecting my energy levels.
Serendipitously, a psychological therapist has also attends St. Mary’s Church. The therapist is currently on maternity leave and offered free therapy sessions to St. Mary’s members.
My counselling sessions are going really well. A tool I’ve been given is a small chart. At the top is written Thoughts. One the right hand side of the page is written Emotions. At the bottom of the page is Physical/Somatic and on the left side of the page is Behaviours and lines are used to create a circle. All of these are inter-related and affect the other areas.
Through using this technique, I have been able to sift truth from warped beliefs, which had trapped me into fear, worry and false guilt, and therefore releasing me from the anxiety issues related to my Mom and “Annika”. Operating on the idea that "you reap what you sow", I felt guilty that I wasn't the one taking care of Mom--because “Who would take care of me in my old age?” Equally, I was concerned about "How am I honouring my mom, if I can't be there to take care of her?" I am concerned about them--of course.
When I went to Florida in the autumn of 2007, I went with the attitude of My Midnight Man and me moving to Florida, to help care for Mom. None of those plans came to fruition—no job found, no car purchased, no flat rented for My Midnight Man and myself. It seemed clear that we were not supposed to be in the USA.
Ephesians 6:2-3 "Honour (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother--this is the first commandment with a promise--that all may be well with you and that you many live long on the earth."
My parent’s greatest desire for me was for me to be married, happy and looked after. Mom doesn't want me to sacrifice my marriage for the sake of taking care of her. Mom has always taught me that being obedient to God and following His plan for my life was her greatest desire. I realised that because I AM honouring her, things have gone very well with me here--I obtained my UK driving license, I’ve had several jobs, we paid off my school debts in less than a year, I have my British Citizenship, I have been received into the Anglican Church, I have medical care. It was like the light coming on. I can rest in faith that I am right where I need to be. I realised that it isn't my job, (or even “Annika's” job) to take care of my Mom--but God's job. Even if I were there, God would be using the same people he is now--the doctors, nurses, and rehab staff--to meet her many needs. Just as it is God's job to provide for my Mom, it is God's job to take care of me when I am old.
When “Annika” had to put Mom into hospital, she was full of anger and recriminations toward herself, because “Annika” felt she had not kept a close enough eye on Mom. Mom's blood sugar had dropped to 35!!! (This reading is the USA’s standard with 100-120 being a good level) “Annika” was distressed, telling God that she couldn't handle it if Mom died--because it would have been her fault. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit spoke to her--"Hey, nobody said she wouldn't come through this. She will be fine. Just relax. I'm taking care of things." A couple of hours later, she thought: "We have a credit card with a large amount available. I better see about getting ‘Helene’ over here." So she went to one of the travel websites, with the idea of checking out prices and flights from England. She typed in Heathrow in the "leaving from" box, and clicked the mouse. The whole screen went black! So, she hit the mouse again, and refreshed the screen. Once again, she entered Heathrow into the "leaving from" box and hit enter. This time only the title bar came up, and the rest of the screen was blank. The Holy Spirit said, "I told you, everything is going to be fine. You don't need to do this." When Annika told me this story, it was another thing that put my mind to rest. I have not sensed an urgency to go there. I am trying to call Annika on a regular basis--to check on her as well. Right now is not the time to go to Florida--but the Lord will let me know when it is.
“...And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well:” Mark 7:37. This remark was made about Jesus. I echo this feeling and thought as I look out the window at just this minute. Why? Because I see a rainbow—a token of God’s promises to us. Equally, I was not surprised by the timing of Mom’s hospitalisation and the test on my part to truly trust God to care for Mom and “Annika.”
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling better, and stronger. I still get a bit shaky at times, but the tremors don’t last as long. Having a set routine is making a positive difference and this gives me hope that I can be even more active in coming days. I wanted to share all of this, because God is so gloriously gracious and deserves to be not only acknowledged, but praised and applauded.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith, “Lady Helene”