As most of my readers will remember, back in April of this year I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some of you may also know I have been ill for the past 25 years but this is a new diagnoses to go along with many others. My options for treating this new diagnoses are the standard. Methotrexate injections, steroids, and other drugs.
While I am well aware these drugs are life savers for a lot of people, at this moment in my life I am not willing to subject myself to them. I know some will think I am insane for even thinking this but the truth is, these medicines whilst I understand do help many also cause serious side affects in ones body.
I have not seen my rheumatologist since April but am due to see him this coming week. Well, after a lot of prayer and soul searching and, after going over my test results I have come to this decision. Whilst I am in pain and I do have swelling in area’s of my body I also realize there are natural ways I may be able to help myself. Possibly through herbs, foods and changing some of my habits. Namely, kicking this sugar binge I have been on for months now. I can tell you this is a major problem for me and it is….making me sick.
I feel the sickness a few moments after I eat a sugar filled cookie which by the way, I have been binging on for months. I feel the sickness in my body with each potato chip which I have also been binging on for many months. Why have I been eating these foods like they are going out of style? Because I can not swallow 98% of solid foods and I am skinny so, when I find something I can get down I latch on like a german shepherd in heat and don’t let go. The official diagnosis for this is called Dysphagia.
I have decided that with trusting in God completely and spending a lot more time with Him in prayer, attending Mass again, receiving the Blessed Sacraments and spending time in Adoration, it is time for me to take the chance and try and introduce good foods into my body even if they have to be pureed. I have to see if I can swallow them (pray I don’t choke) and I have to see if I will be able to digest them. For many years I have seen stomach doctors and always no answers and no real options besides more drugs that may or may not help. I believe, after talking with God, A LOT, it is time I started trying to heal myself with His help.
In the coming months and weeks I will be scarce on social media with the exception of my blog as I try and learn ways to help and heal myself and I pray and hope to share all this with you here on my blog. I hope you will join me and I ask you to please pray for me.
Well, honestly I don’t even think it has sunk in yet but it’s here and I can’t deny it any longer. You’re probably wondering what I am speaking of. I am speaking of my youth. Its dwindling and, the proof has been put before me so that even though I see some wrinkles when I look in the mirror and make excuses and I have grey hairs, too many to count now but can cover them with hair dye there are just some things that there can be no excuses for. I am talking about menopause.
Yep, I am wading into that unknown valley. I began my menstrual cycle on June 30th and it didn’t end until July 15th. Yes, you read that right. Somewhere about the 12th I realized that hey, “wait a minute, I still have my period?!?”… Yup, it took me that long to realize it was still there because life gets busy and I was paying no attention to it until I did. I called my doctor that day in a slight panic because while it seemed like it was ending. Late that afternoon it began to pick up speed again and I thought, somethings wrong.
My doctor gave me an appointment for the next day but told me if I felt weak or sick I should go to the emergency room. I had been feeling less than stellar and more tired than usual but with all my chronic conditions it’s not un-normal for me to have times where I feel like this.
But, on the morning of the 13th I awoke feeling so incredibly weak I didn’t know if I my legs would hold me up if I got out of bed. My husband decided we shouldn’t wait for the doctor appointment and took me to the emergency room.
As you can see in the photo I was not looking my best nor feeling it either. After having an IV started on me and of course intake by the nurse the doctor came in… He said to me he would run some blood work but after listening to me he believes it’s most likely the beginning of menopause.
Doctor: “how old are you ?”
Doctor ” Yep, the perfect age, it’s more than likely menopause but lets make sure and see where your blood levels are at”.
Yes, that’s the look I gave him. Kind of shock, disbelief and “are you freakin kidding me?”
Then they left me sitting there for almost two hours. I’m thinking they wanted to let me stew ruminate on the shining news he gave me which translated to me as, you’re drying up, no babies, weight gain you won’t be able to lose, dryer skin, more physical pain, thinning hair etc etc. All the things that come with getting older.
Finally the nurse came in to give me my results which were normal, unhook my IV line, release me to go home and to tell me that, she was almost sixty and ‘it’ happened to her the exact same way and “if I was lucky this would be the last one and I would be done”..
Lucky I thought? How is that lucky? This means, no babies, this means an end to, to, well, my youth as I’ve always known it. An end to something although quite more than annoying that has been with me every month for almost my entire life. .What now?
Suddenly, I thought of God.
And thought well, maybe I am looking at all this the wrong way. Maybe I need to see the positives of all this. While yes, that means, no babies it also means, possibly, no more monthly sickness, maybe no more migraines, maybe no more having to schedule my life around when it was going to hit and block of a week off every month to be more ill than I usually am.
Then God stepped in and showed me, the nurse is right. While this is sad for me in some ways I am truly lucky. There are so many women who have never lived long enough to go into menopause. While it’s not something women look forward to it is a milestone and I know of so many women whose lives were cut short for one reason or another and they never reached this milestone so God said to me, “instead of being ungrateful, be grateful and joyful because I have given you the time to reach this milestone”
And He’s right. So, I am on too the next chapter of my life however long or short that may be and I am going to embrace menopause as much as I can and live each day as much as I can with the knowledge that I am indeed…. lucky and blessed.
Now more than ever in the days we live in it would do us all well to do a soul check. What’s a soul check? It’s a conscious effort to seriously look into our souls and see what and or who is dwelling there. What and or who is taking priority.
In the times we live in there are so many ways and things that work their way into our souls and before we know it we are feeling lost, empty, longing for something we can not put our finger on to make us happy.
In the days of the Apostle Paul, in the church of Corinth the same thing was happening to the very young church and it’s young Christians. They were allowing the world of their time and all the things in it to pull them away from the Lord Jesus, from His Church, from His teachings. From the happiness and peace only the Lord can give us. They were again, longing for happiness and filling it with things like, immoral sexuality, drunkeness, fighting between themselves, division, worshiping pagan idols.
So what about today? What about us? Are we so unlike those people of long ago in the church in Corinth? The reality is, we are exactly like those people and we are and have been doing the same things they did and there are consequences to this.
St. Paul tells the Corinthian people that these are the reasons they are weak and sick and some die. Is it not the same today? Do we not have fake idols we worship today? Let’s take a look at some of the idols that we have allowed ourselves to bow down too and worship because society says it’s right..
Any of these look familiar? These are our modern day idols and we have all been victims of indoctrination. If we are honest with ourselves how many of them rule your soul at this moment? I know for myself I struggle with two of these but I am trying very hard to release my soul from the bonds of these modern day idols and fill it once again with who and what should be there. The who and what for me is my Lord Jesus and His teachings.
Are we capable of doing this alone? No, we sure aren’t. In fact, anything we can do is all because of the love and grace of God. So how do we get back to God and put Him where He belongs which is at the center of our souls and lives?
We ask for His help and we know we shall receive it. How can we be so sure?
Because this is what St. Paul tells us.
“No temptation has ever overtaken you that is not common to man. God, is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols.”
See what St Paul says to us there? God is ever faithful. All we need do is ask and trust that He will help and provide a way for escape.
For our part we must open our souls to His help. We must begin little by little, with the help of the Lord to pull ourselves away from all the noise and things that the world tells us is good and right because deep in our souls, we know the world lies to us.
Many Catholics ask this question. The shame of that is, they should already know the answer. The same question is asked by almost every non-Catholic.
The Catholic asks, “Why should I confess my sins to a priest?”. The non-Catholic asks, “Why should I confess my sins to another man?” The answer my friends is plain and simple and above all, true. Because Jesus tells us to!. Today is Pentecost Sunday. For those who don’t know what this day is, it’s the day when the Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon the disciples in the upper room after his resurrection.
So what is this about “confessing my sins to another man stuff?” As I stated above, because Jesus tells us too and this is what He said,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.” John 20:23
Right there on the day of Pentecost The Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave his apostles the power to forgive or retain sins. This is why Catholics go to Confession with a priest of the Church because he is an apostle of the Lord and he has been given the power of the Holy Spirit by the Lord Himself to forgive or retain the sins of man. In the Catholic Church we have the one and only True Sacrament of Confession. The sacred gift given by the Lord to be forgiven of our sins. Now some non-Catholics will say, “but, but the Lord Jesus died one time for the forgiveness of sins and one time only.” Yes this is true but He also knew that as fallen human beings we would go on and continue to sin. He knew that we would need forgiveness of these future sins over and over again or He would not have given this direction and command to His apostles.
My Catholic brothers and sisters we have been given a great gift from our Lord. The Joy of Confession. Use it, embrace it, free yourself and find peace. For my non-Catholic brothers and sisters, my prayer is that you give some deep thought to what it written here and look it up in the Sacred Scriptures for yourself. Mediate on this passage. Then, if you come to the conclusion that Jesus was right, lean about the Catholic faith for it is your true home here on earth. But learn from a good and Holy Catholic, pick up and read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and you will see that the beliefs and tenants of the Church all lead you back to Sacred Scripture. Then you will have to ask yourself if this is where you truly belong. I can tell you with an astounding yes that it is but, you will have to prove it to yourself. And as always, ask the Lord to guide you, to lead you.
And I am always here if you would like to chat about it or have questions.
Blessed Pentecost to you all and may the peace of the Lord be with you always..
When I was a kid my mom used to have this saying, “water water everywhere but not a drop to drink”. Yep, she was right. One morning about two weeks ago I went into my kitchen and I saw some water on the floor. At the time it wasn’t a whole lot and honestly I thought one of my old dogs had an accident during the night. I didn’t make a big deal of it, you learn not too after having raised thirteen dogs in almost twenty years, I just cleaned it up and went on my way. The next morning however when I walked to the same spot to get my coffee cup it looked like my roof sprung a leak. There was, water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink!
My husband came into the kitchen and we thought the line for the refrigerator water had sprung because when we pulled out the fridge there had to be two inches of water back there. So we spent the next few hours trying to clean it up but upon further inspection of the water line we found there was no cracks, no holes and no leaks. My husband asked me if I had been in my closet today of course I said no not yet but maybe I should go look. In the back of my walk in closet there is a little sort of closet that encloses our hot water tank. Yep. Sure enough. Water, everywhere , running under the walls etc.
I immediately called my insurance company who had a demolition crew out to our home within an hour. The man who was leading the job was named Thomas a very nice man by the way. He thought okay no big deal a couple of dryers and all will be well. Not….so….fast….To his surprise and my complete shock and worry he ended up having to rip up flooring in my laundry room, kitchen and my closet. Then he ripped out walls in those same rooms, then he had to pull out bottom kitchen cabinets, then insulation from under the house. Yes, it was a mess. The worst part though was that he and his crewfound black mold under the flooring in my laundry room and inside my walk in closet. I was horrified. With my health issue’s this was not good and I was told it had been there a long time and also the hot water heater had been leaking a long time as well. That the insulation around the heater and under the home had been absorbing the water but couldn’t hold it any longer.. Thankfully they were able to kill the mold and clean it all up and dry everything out.
On Tuesday of last week I had the demo crew here to finish up, the insurance adjuster and the plumbing company installing a new hot water heater all at the same time. As of today we are still waiting for an estimate of repairs from the insurance company so I can begin to call contractors and we are living with missing walls, floors etc. The walls, floors, my closet and possibly my entire kitchen plus the insulation under the house will have to be replaced. Here are the before photos. I will post the after photos whenever that happens. The lesson here is, check your hot water heater at least every six months! Don’t drown like us!
Kitchen damage behind the refrigerator and a now missing bottom kitchen cabinet.