Author Archives: grammytrisch

Until We Meet Again

I miss you, Mama.  It hasn’t quite become real, yet, but with God’s Grace and Guidance, I’ll be fine.  In the mean time, you are awed by the Glory of God’s eternal Kingdom, catching up with family and friends and exploring that beautiful city of God.  You’re in no pain, nothing makes you sad and you are in the best place ever created.  There are  no more shadows in the dark corners to keep you awake, no more pills and oxygen hoses to weigh you down.  You are in the very presence of our LORD and Savior.  Yes, Mama, I’ll miss you, but I also rejoice for you.  I look forward to our glad reunion, someday, in God’s perfect fullness of time.

Psalm 38:8-10 “I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.”

 

It’s THAT Day.

My head knew it was coming.  My heart doesn’t want to accept.  The LORD called my Mother home this afternoon.  Heaven is a far richer place for her presence.  She just hasn’t been the same since Dad passed away two and a half years ago.  They were the perfect example of Jesus’ love….Dad would have done ANYTHING for my Mom.   My brother and I didn’t realize exactly how deep 58 years of marriage had entwined their hearts and souls together.  Or how much meticulous care he provided for her, from helping her in and out of bed, to putting on her shoes and socks as well as doing most of the cooking.  He poured his life into hers.  And she adored him.  Bless my dear Brother as he carried on in Dad’s stead, caring for Mom ever since Dad died.  Living three states away , and with genetic autoimmune issues of my own, I could only get there several times a year to help when I was able.

Yes, Mom, gone is the bone on bone joint pain you suffered in your right hip and knee for years, the A-Fib irregular heartbeat,  the MRSA.  All the human frailty and infirmity have been replaced by by that new, perfect body God’s Word promises us.

2Corinthians 5:5-8 “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.   Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

This has been her earnest desire, her heartfelt plea.  To be absent from the pain and suffering.  Yes, it means a temporary separation from the loved ones still here, but our Hope is in the LORD as well, and we know that glad reunion day is not that far away.  So how can I be hurt or angry, knowing where she is?  Sad, maybe, but for myself, not for her.  One day, we will be together at Jesus’ feet.  Until then, my Hope continues in the LORD and His promises of a bright, eternal, PAIN free forever.

And…..We Wait…..

Wow.  Totally immuno suppressed.  But what does that really mean?  Yes my MIND knows I need to be very careful about known dangers. Stay away from people with colds or the flu.  But my heart simply didn’t grasp it.  Most of my life, I have been fairly healthy.  For two and a half years, ever since my Father died, I have been traveling 425 miles back and forth to my home town the help my Brother care for my 80 year old Mother.  She’s been hospitalized several times with various pneumonia, congestive heart issues, A-fib and most recently with very low oxygen levels/high C02 levels.  Three visits to the rehab center in between.  Then a few good weeks at home.

About 10 weeks ago, I went to help when Mom got out of 4 weeks of rehab.  We were able to get her set up with a visiting Dr. who treated her bacterial pneumonia at home.  A month later, I’m still wheezing and coughing with whatever I picked up.  I can’t seem to shake it.
After I got back home 8 weeks later, Mom was solid for about a week.  Late Saturday night/Sunday morning, Mom’s O2 levels started dropping again.  My brother had to call the squad and she’s back in ICU.  She as finally weaned off the respirator this morning. That’s the good news.  Monday evening she tested positive for MRSA.  Yes, it is VERY contagious.  Yes, I went to the Dr. this morning and as swabbed.  And now I wait, 24 to 48 hours for the results.  And yet, I am at peace, knowing that God is bigger than all of this.  Besides, what’s one more adventure in Auto-immunity Land?  So, in the mean time, I wear a mask when around others, because I am still coughing my head off, I wear nitrile gloves when touching food and stuff, and I’m using Lysol wipes on all the door knobs, drawer knobs, faucet handles etc.

Note:  My MRSA tests were negative, Praise God!

Until then, I will cling to one of my favorite passages of Scripture:

Romans 8:26-31 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.   And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. {because: or, that}   And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.   Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.   What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

And I pray peace and strength, hugs and extra spoons for all my fellow warriors.

Crash Down

Okay, so my Dr.’s have all ‘explained’ that I am Immuno Compromised and MIGHT need to take a FEW extra precautions.  I should have done a little more research.  All right, a LOT more.  “Colds and viruses COULD hit you a little harder than most people.  I guess it is one of those situations that I couldn’t wrap my brain around until it hit me right between the eyes.  WOW!!!  What I thought was a simple cold has turned into a three weeks (so far) adventure.  I’m coughing my head off.  My voice is getting worse instead of better.  Who knew you could catch bacterial pneumonia??  I have to wear a mask to go to the Dr.’s office.  I’ve actually downloaded a free pattern to make color coordinated masks to wear for the rest of the winter, and ordered the activated charcoal filters for inside them.  The cloth ones are washable and will keep my glasses from being steamed up all the time, supposedly.  At the very least, they will be pretty.  I might as well make a fashion statement, right?  I’ll post pics when I am done.  Over a year into this adventure and the learning curve gets bigger all the time.  God is good.  He has given me a desire to learn all I can about this.  But.  There is ALWAYS a but.  WHOA already!!  What I am learning about being Immuno Compromised is getting REAL.  Like the dangers of other people’s body fluids in public pools, or being around a dog that drinks out of the toilet.  Fortunately, my dog isn’t one of those.  But he is going to the vet for the Bordello shot.  He sneezed several times last week, and he can’t be held to the ‘cover your coughs and sneezes’ rule like my human family members.

I’ve learned that I should wash my hands before going to the bathroom, as well as after.  I should eat fewer raw vegetables (I LOVE salads!), and really wash them well for 20 or more seconds under running water. Fresh fruits, too, must be washed very well, even if I peel them.  The CDC actually suggests washing my hands after peeling fruit, before eating it.  I can get used to this, but how many extra spoons need to be figured into the schedule?

2Corinthians 12:9 and 10
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

God’s Grace  IS sufficient.  I have to continue giving this to HIM.  I can’t carry it, so HE has to.  I am praying that we all ingest the right foods to make our bodies stronger, including feasting on God’s Word to strengthen our souls and our minds.  I pray that the Holy Spirit puts a halt in our path to help us avoid exposure to germs that can knock us down, and that we remain strong in our faith and witness to others.  I pray we allow God to use our disease to encourage and lift up others.  Have a Blessed day.

Baby, it’s Cold Outside….and Stiff Inside.

I can tell you two days before it’s going to snow, rain or have a change of weather of any kind.  Cold is especially brutal.  Combine cold with wet, and OH MY!!!!

So, it’s sit down and wrap up.  Catch up on my favorite Canadian and British shows via NetFlix and drink LOTS of hot tea.

NOTES to SELF: (Yes, plural)

  • Bacterial Pneumonia IS catching.  Wear the good bacterial masks while helping to care for my 80 year old mother when she is being treated for pneumonia.  Or has ANY sign of nasal drainage or a cough, or cold.  Period.
  • Pick up the COLD water glass to take the extra prednisone required while taking anti-biotics for the aforementioned Bacterial Pneumonia that I caught from my Mom.  The hot tea dissolved the pills WAY too fast and they taste TERRIBLE!!!  Not to mention the scalding of my already sore throat.

Yep, it’s THAT day.  Smile, God LOVES us!!!!  We are BEAUTIFUL in His sight.  He has a plan and a purpose, even for this. It has slowed me down to rest.  Rest is an acceptable use of time.  Resting to let my body heal is NOT being lazy, it is being prudent.

So, take time to rest and have a great rest of the week.

Not Enough Spoons….

Yep.  Last night was THAT night.  Everything hurt, I couldn’t get comfortable.  I gave up at 10:30 and wandered around the house until after midnight.  I tossed and turned and finally, sometime after 3:00 a.m. drifted off to sleep.  Only to be woken up at 7:00 a.m. to help my brother get Mom up, and so the new day started.

I’m so tired.  But I have to remember that God is my strength.  He has this.  I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

So, after lunch, I MADE myself take a shower and wash my hair.  I need to make myself drive to town and pick up my prescription and some black fabric for a project I need to finish.  Or not.  A nap is probably in order, or I will collapse right after supper.

Philippians 4:12 and 13 (KJV) “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

I have great memories of days traipsing through the woods and fishing with my 5 kiddos while they were young.  We homeschooled, so we had wonderful, educational adventures together.  This disease can NOT take my memories away.  I’m learning to make new kinds of memories, and create new adventures.   I’m teaching myself how to knit.  I do water aerobics instead of climb hillsides.  I’m perfecting my sewing skills.  I’m studying the Bible through the Bible Institute sponsored by my church.  I’m learning to pray more fervently, and trust more fully.

Have a Blessed day, and I pray that you have extra spoons today!

Ice, it’s a Love-Hate Thing

Another year, and still no cure.  Winter again.  Last week we had a little freezing rain, topped with a little snow.  Then it warmed up a day, melted that snow on the ice and that night we had some more freezing rain.  I’m trying to knit my first sweater.  I figure it will take me all winter at about four to ten rows a day, depending on whether or not my hands and wrists choose to cooperate. Anyway, I forgot to bring in the rest of the yarn that I bought to finish the project.  I decided to put on my good boots, you know, the ones with all the tread?  Then I ventured out across the driveway.  I now know first hand what the phrase, “Ass over tin cups” means.  The only thing I could think of while flying not so gracefully through the air, was, “This is really going to hurt!”.  The next thing I was aware of, was my head bouncing not once, but twice as I landed flat on my back.  Thank God I had my back brace on.  I was stunned.  I have no clue how long I laid there, my brains still rattling around in my head.  I finally realized that nothing seemed broken, except maybe my pride, and rolled over on my hands and knees.  I crawled to my car and pulled myself up on the bumper before standing gingerly to assess the damages.  A bump on the back of my head, otherwise it seemed I was no worse for the wear.  I had opened the car and retrieved the bag of yarn before I realized that my glasses were halfway to the house on one side of the driveway and my cell phone on the other side.  Now how was I going to maintain my balance and retrieve  these items?  I wear trifocals, so I really need my glasses.  It had also been a really bad cell phone year.  I’m on my third screen and second phone.  I really appreciate E-bay, and my dear friends/adopted son, who works on electronic devices in his spare time.  So, I got down on my knees by my glasses and discovered that they had survived.  Next stop, my phone which miraculously made it without a scratch or a crack!  I walked slowly, using baby steps the rest of the way across that HUGE driveway (funny how it seemed to triple in width overnight), up the steps and into the house.  I doused myself with Bio-Freeze and took two naproxin.  I survived with a headache that lasted for a day, a few bumps and bruises (the biggest of course, was my ego) and achier than normal muscles and joints that I have no clue how long they lasted….since they hurt all the time anyway.

Now for the LOVE part of the ice story.  I love to sit at the kitchen table with a hot cup of tea, read my Bible and watch the birds on the suet block feeders.  It’s so peaceful to reflect on God’s creation, and watch His little creatures.  Their lives are so simple.  It allows me to ponder my Heavenly Father, His Word and His provision for my family.  That’s when I pray and seek His Will for my life, and this “thorn” He has allowed in my life.  It is HIS burden to bear, not mine.  I have to keep reminding myself that if I dwell on the pain, stiffness and tiredness, then I am allowing the devil to take hold.  Instead I need to continually give this burden to my Heavenly Father and turn those thorns into praying for others going through the same things, reach out to them and try and encourage the way God encourages me.

Matthew 11:28-30, (KJV) “28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Challenge time. Reflect on what we have, don’t despair over what we have not. Thank God for every moment and USE it wisely. Remember: REST is a wise use of time. Take care of yourselves!!! If you don’t already keep a food journal, start one, it may be the ticket to feeling a little better this year.

When the Shoe is on the Other Foot….

Wow, this journey just takes twists and turns, right and left.  Mom is finally out of the Rehab Center, and she only made minimal progress while there.  So, once again, I am out of state, nearly 500 miles away from my family to help my brother get her settled back in to the home routine.  Again.  And I mean AGAIN!  I have lost track of the number of trips that I have made in my old 1999 Mercury Mountaineer.  She sure is a dependable vehicle. During Mom’s last hospitalization, during some routine tests, they ‘accidentally’ discovered that she has what they are calling “Non-Alcoholic Cirrhosis of the Liver”.  The Hospitalist that was following her immediately said “Autoimmune related.”.  Fast forward, 4 weeks in Rehab, and nearly two weeks at home, we make a trip to the nearest big city, to a Gastroenterology Liver Specialist.  He began by telling us that the liver damage was causing all of her confusion and probably all of her dementia symptoms.  Also, at her age, and with all her other health issues, she’s not a candidate for a transplant.  Then after reviewing her ultrasound results, he ordered MANY blood tests.  When we went to the lab, it took two Techs and three sticks to get BARELY enough to fill the SIX tubes of blood.  For days, now, I have been hovering over the MyChart results for results.  Protime-INR, normal; Mitochondrial Antibody, IgG Titer, normal; ANA, normal; Smooth Muscle Antibody, IgG Titer, normal……on and on and ON.  Then very early this morning, something I had never encountered in all the tests that they have ever run on her or me, Alpha-1-Antitrypsin… WAY off the normal range.  I hit WebMD and did a search.  Yep, we fit the profile.  It’s Saturday, so we have to wait for the Dr.’s office to review the results early next week before they contact us to tell us what it all means.  In the mean time, I will do some more research, and await the results of the rest of her tests.  And remember that God is in control, and trust HIM.  Oh, and the shoe on the other foot?  Changing and bathing my Mom, like she did for me when I was a babe.  It’s tough at times, but she did it for me and my Bro, right?

Sunshine and Falling Leaves….

….And achey fingers, back and feet.   Fall and spring were always my favorite seasons.  Bright colored leaves, cool breezes and sweaters usher in my favorite holidays season, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  New baby leaves and spring storms carry in the summer season of fresh garden veggies, canning and preserving food for the winter.  However, Rheumatoid Arthritis is not only changing my body too quickly to keep up with, but also the way I think, and see the world.  It’s drawing me closer to my Creator.  I’m more thankful for what I am still able to do.  I have to concentrate on THOSE things, rather than dwell on what I have lost.

Some days, my fingers can pick out the piano keys lightly and easily, others, they stumble and fail to create a recognizable melody at all.  I can pick up my flute and attempt to play, but my lungs give out, or the dexterity of my fingers is simply not there.  My voice crackles and my breath support seem to have gotten up and flown away at times.  Praise God, His Word says: “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)  Make a JOYFUL noise.  That I can do….professional and polished?  Not so much anymore.  But I’ll gladly keep giving Him all I have, because it’s really all His to begin with.

The sunshine sure looks warm and inviting today, but the pain in my hands, wrists, feet, ankles and back all scream out a different story.  The drop in temperature and the storm front that moved through yesterday evening left a definite mark om the RA for today.  It’s a grab the cane and take it where ever I go today, day.

After a little reflection, I think that winter is my new favorite season.  Cold days give me an excuse to hibernate indoors, and not feel guilty that I can’t do the outdoor yard and garden work that I used to do.  As my body changes, instead of giving up, I learn to fight in new ways.  Winter will be a good time to conquer some new gluten free baking techniques.  Maybe I will actually pay heed to my food journal and find some new favorite foods to replace the known food triggers to my RA.  I like rice…..but I LOVE potatoes.  Nightshades….not good for RA.  My beloved fried potatoes for breakfast do nasty things to my inflamation levels and pretty much destroy the day.  Fried rice for breakfast?  Who knew that my hubby would LOVE the idea!  33 years and he still loves a ‘spontaneous’ surprise as he called it.

Challenge time.  Reflect on what I have, don’t despair over what I have not.  Thank God for every moment and USE it wisely.  Remember: REST is a wise use of time.  Take care of yourselves!!!  If you don’t already keep a food journal, start one.

 

 

 

 

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