Denial & the Needed Shock of Reality

If you are new to my blog, let me first explain that I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2011. I have a wide range of symptoms that affect my quality of life, but are considered “mild” by medical standards for this condition. Theoretically, I have come to accept and work with the diagnosis. But functionally I still find myself often in denial. I’m still “beating myself up” about not being as functional and useful as healthy people or even some other sick people. Continue reading

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Would Words Matter?

would-wordsIt always surprises me how the Lord uses even fallen choices and behaviours in life to teach us. Take for instance a song that our church worship leader introduced into the service about six months ago. The song lyrics are OK, but not particularly great, and severely lacking in theological content. My bigger concern is that the song was produced by a cult, and therefore should have no place in our congregational worship. (But that’s an issue for perhaps another blog post.) Continue reading

Christmas Freedom

ChristmasFreedomWhen I was a kid, I bought hook, line and sinker into the whole idea of “Christmas spirit” that the movies and TV shows feed us every year. I dreamed of one day having a lovely romantic Christmas with the man I loved, a wonderful time of family and good food, and general merriment. In hindsight, it was an idol for me that needed to be torn away. When I met my husband, that’s exactly what happened. I got a cold hard introduction to reality and my silly dreams were shattered. Christmas became a time of stress and misery as we battled ongoing guilt trips to buy gifts with money we didn’t have for people we didn’t see on a regular basis (and therefore had no idea what they might like or need), and travel to several different cities in bad weather to try and get in some “family time” with so many different people. Inevitably, most people were still unhappy because we’d have to chose one place to spend the 25th, and everyone else would feel slighted. And of course, ’tis the season for cold and flu, so we often felt especially miserable while trying to accommodate all the family demands. Continue reading

Witnessing to the Witnesses (Part 4)

Witnessing-to-the-WitnessesWelcome back to my little series on witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses. You can find links to the previous posts in the series at the bottom of this page.

Today I wanted to share a wonderful 1/2 hour video about how to ask the Witnesses questions and try to get them thinking for themselves. These kinds of questions take them outside of the Watchtower standard script, which is so important if you want to have some real conversation and not just have the discussion degenerate into fairly mindless proof text wars. Continue reading

Use your words – and hopefully we will endMS!

“In her book, Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (2006), Charon says “It is sometimes as if the body speaks a foreign language, relying on bilingual others to translate, interpret, or in some way make transparent what it means to say”. For me, that absolutely hits the nail on the head! I have to be bilingual to translate my body to my medical team.”

This is a fantastic commentary on the difficulties of explaining symptoms to our specialists as MS patients.

mssingabout

I have a stomach ache. In August I started Aubagio and, a couple of weeks in, this stomach ache started. I went to my GP and of course I was asked to describe it.

Let’s put aside, for the moment, that one of my MS symptoms causes me to lose words. Let’s go this doctor’s visit on a “good” day.

“It’s this background noise most of the time, a grumbling, a tenderness, it’s something that’s enough to knock me off my stride. Then occasionally there’s these cramps. They’re sharp jabs. Knife stabs…. I’m still not sure I’ve described it correctly…”

“Okay… Perhaps we could start with you telling me where the pain is?!?”
And this is nothing compared to a trip to see my neurologist.

Let’s think of some of the descriptions that are commonly used during a neurological exam.

Tinglings. Pins and needles. Numbness. Ants walking on our skin.

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Slow Cooker Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

cabbage-rollsI have to admit it: I’ve never made cabbage rolls before, at least not until recently. It seemed like a daunting task. And with my chronic fatigue, the idea of spending hours making a dish that would likely be a flop was just not appealing. I have to plan my cooking projects carefully.

But then my husband and I were invited to a fellowship dinner at our pastor’s home. One of the dishes served was cabbage rolls.  With all of my food restrictions I had to ask what all the ingredients were, and was pleased to find out how few there actually were. And boy were they tasty!

So I decided to try making some myself. It’s officially fall now, so time to haul out the slow cooker and find some hearty recipes, anyway. Continue reading

Lassitude & Laziness

Lassitude-and-lazinessLassitude and laziness can often be confused with one another, though they are quite different in nature. I think we’re all quite familiar with the nature of laziness! But what is lassitude? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines lassitude as:
1:  a condition of weariness or debility :  fatigue
2:  a condition of listlessness :  languor

For people with chronic fatigue, it can become very easy to confuse the two. Doing so can result in unfair blame and guilt. Or it can result in the use of chronic illness as an excuse for sin. On the one hand, lassitude means you are drained of all energy and unable to accomplish even the smallest task. On the other hand, there are times when even healthy people (and therefore, sick people as well) simply don’t feel like doing an undesirable task. All of us, whether healthy or ill have moments of laziness. It’s very much part of our fallen human nature. But when you already have lassitude (fatigue) it can become far too easy to use it as an excuse not to do certain tasks that you simply don’t like.

Continue reading