Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hope

Recently a friend reached out to me because she was suffering from chronic illness and pain for a long time. She'd been to doctor after doctor and wasn't getting better. The day after day of struggling with sickness becomes a heavy load to carry. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "But you don't look sick." Or how many times a doctor shook his/her head at me and said, "I can no longer help you."

My friend wondered if she might have Lyme disease, like me. She thought I would be a good person to ask "what's worked" or hoped to hear that I was cured of the vicious cycle of chronic illness.

Or maybe she just wanted to know, how do I get through this? Or to know that someone understands?

Yikes! I had to take a deep breath and think about my years of illness going around and around the same mountain. Essentially, all of my life. What I heard in her voice was what I've experienced myself...

Desperation...hopelessness...frustration ...depression...but maybe a little bit of hope?

My friend started seeing a new doctor so I offered my advice about what tests etc. to ask for. I told her to keep pushing forward and to not give up.  I told her how much my heart fills with thankfulness when I'm having a 'good day' or a 'good hour.' She's not at that place yet, as she spends more time in bed than out. 

Unfortunately, I could not tell her I was cured or miraculously better. After all, when you mix chronic Lyme disease with 3 autoimmune diseases, it is really a mess!

Today, I saw my doctor who I highly recommend and respect. He has always been willing to go the extra mile with me and "try" something. Anything. He expressed to me today how hard it is for him to see a patient year after year who he hasn't been able to help. I told him to not taking it personally because I don't. His empathy, kindness and compassion towards me are always present and evident.

I first saw Dr. Glenn Toth in 2006, and then he picked up my case again in 2011. He's allows me to see him on an as-needed basis per my request. For me, that's once a year, if I'm lucky. After 30 doctors in 5 years, I only see a doctor now if absolutely necessary. He knows this and respects it.

He prescribes the medications I need to survive. It's as simple as that.

But today, he offered me another 'thing' to try. Ugh! Immediately my defenses went up, and I humbly remembered my advice to my friend...don't give up! I remembered the years I struggled when I was only left with diagnosis's and treatments that didn't help. I was left disappointed and disheartened time and time again. So I've been resistant to anything "new" for 5 years because I got burned out.

Dr. Toth always leaves the decision to me, but he kindly and lovingly directs me in the direction he thinks "might help." Sometimes I think he's invested in me more than I am. He doesn't want me to give up. Or maybe he doesn't want to give up on me.

This time I choose to step out in faith...1 more time. I've been at this place in my life once before (Luke), and I will never regret it. This new treatment will be costly, time consuming and painful. It is meant to build up my immune system, and it will hopefully knock some of my symptoms out of the park!

HOPE - don't you just love that word?

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