Matthew 5:14-16

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." ~Matthew 5:14-16

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Today was an early day, so I got off work and did a little grocery shopping. I’d heard there’s a cream cheese out that’s vegan and a sour cream as well. I’d made cinnamon rolls and later in the week, mashed potatoes. I longed to apply cream cheese to my cinnamon roll…but I refuse to cheat. In making the mashed potatoes, it was in need of sour cream, but that’s dairy…so I bravely attempted a leap of hope for creaminess and added mashed avacados (which did work! But the white color changed to a greenish color – to which I’m fairly certain most children would refuse to eat.
I was able to help Mom plant in the garden. Fun.
I don’t know how my platelet level is, I didn’t wait the hour to collect the results after the test – I didn’t want to be late for work. But! Next Monday, I go in for bloodwork again and we’ll see where I’m at regarding my level. I received a call today from the cancer center reminding me of my appointment time and told that the nurse would be seeing me instead of the doctor this time; he called it unnecessary. I mean, that has to be a good sign, right? :) I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
My car has been experiencing some troubles of its own – a cracked headgasket and cracking timing belt. So it’s in the shop and I was informed that it will be pretty pricy to fix, but worth it. I took a deep breath, considering my medical situation and said, “Do it.” I’ve tightened up my belt and am prepared of mind to undergo a long season of payments. I was initially stunned at the cost to fix Smokey (Mom named my car cause it smells like cigarette smoke), so I’d flopped back on my bed and spread my arms out, palms up in an “I give” posture. I prayed, “Okay God, I can’t afford this situation right now, but it’s here and its happening. If I don’t deal with it, it will turn into a bigger monster with a higher price. I know I must trust You above all else. If I can’t do this…if I lose my car, cause I can’t pay for everything, then *swallows* I lose something material. In the end, it won’t matter – it’s material. I just…I wanted to be a good example…*tear quietly slips down my cheek, didn’t wipe it off*…I really did. Have I failed to be a good steward of this money You gave me? I mean, I can’t seem to keep it, although I save and save. My medical trials just suck it dry as soon as the paycheck comes…*more tears*…and now this. I’m just not going to be anxious! I won’t. I have You, so what is a material possession and what is mere money in comparison. You see the small sparrow, You clothe the lilies in the valley, and You are watching over me. I know that more than anything. This is going to hurt, but so long as You’re going with me, I’m glad. I’ll walk right with You too, I don’t care if it’s through this stormy valley, anywhere with You. Anywhere. Just…help me. I’m weak, You’re strong. Remind me where my strength is so I don’t forget. The lightning of this storm is bothering to this small child, and I could forget You are Emmanuel, God with us. I don’t want to. I don’t want to. No, never.” I closed my fingers n sat up, sniffing as quiet as I could. I texted for a while about my situation and was told I am a good example.
The next day, I opened the envelope that I was handed mid-week. Life Insurance. I qualified, meaning… I booted up my computer and looked at my paycheck. It hit the next pay scale! I would barely scrape along, but because of that small extra, I’d make it. Everything is going to be okay, I thought to myself. Just keep trusting. You’ll go through this valley and it’s going to be okay. He cares. He’s right here, right now, right with you. Don’t you be forgetting Who’s in control, okay? I huddled up inside my sweater, staring at the new paycheck. No mochas for a while, I smirked, shaking my head. A very small loss. I told my parents of my situation and what was happening with Smokey, and how it had to go to the mechanic. They were understanding and encouraging.
I had a morning shift, so the whole noon to evening was free…so I snatched up my garden gloves and straw hat for sun protection, and went outside with a hand shovel. The weeds were gonna get a big surprise: Relocation slash pile project. Bwahahaha! I slipped into my rubber boots and hopped off the last of the porch steps, dawned my gloves like a surgeon, snapping it for effect. “Goodbye weeds,” I grinned and then dug in. “No no, don’t pull me! Ahhhh!” I said in a high pitch as I uprooted a dandelion, speaking for it, I guess. It went into the bucket and I went for the others… Four hours later, I was beneath the front porch, booted foot pressed against the foundation of the house, tugging sharply on a tree that was trying to grow there. “Come. Out. Of. The. Ground!” I demanded, giving insistant yanks. Twenty minutes later, in a spray of sand and clay, it flew out of the ground toward my face; causing me to tumble and roll down the soft sand and stopping just inches from the irises that Mom and I planted. Not one was broken. I wiped my sandy forehead, “Fewww. Close one.” I noticed a small red dot on my skin and sighed. Pupura? I checked over my arms to see if there was more. Only three spots, the others very tiny in comparison with the first spot. I shrugged and dusted myself off, coughing as the cloud of dust surrounded me. I raised the small tree-start in my fist to the sky and let out a triumphant shout, “Woooooooooo!!!” 
Spent the rest of the evening pulling much smaller weeds. Saw a gigantic butterfly. Bright yellow and black with a body as big as my pinky finger is wide and long. The wings easily could have matched the size of each of my palms. Just seeing it brought a huge smile to my face. I’d never, ever seen a butterfly so big in my life!! I fumbled with muddy hands for my cellphone. I snapped a picture of it and sighed, “Ahh the wonders of modern cellphones…” I took more pix of it of course, but wished quietly that I’d had my Cannon Rebel TXI in my hands. I could have shot up close and captured every speck of detail on it. I was very glad I’d helped plant butterfly-attracting flowers. I hope more will visit my home. J
Woke up the next day, went to work, and was having a good time. My energy level ever since removing dairy from my diet has skyrocketed. Everyone has noticed I have color in my face, that I’m lively and joking again, and I’m talking more. I figured that not many had noticed, I thought I had it pretty hidden that I was hurting – but they said that I no longer had that pained look in my eyes. So much for keeping pain a secret. :P I went about my tasks humming and doing my work. Went to lunch and couldn’t help but scratch my forearm. It was uncomfortable and hurting in a burning sort of itch. I felt a bump as my fingers drew across it and I stopped and looked. A bump…it was red and had a small splotch around it. The center was slowly pulsing a whitish color to a light red. The very center was a little dark spot. What was THAT? So I shrugged, ate lunch, and continued working. By the end of the day, it was beginning to bother me some. Just in the background of my mind, but bothersome, just letting me know it was there and it hurt. Did I get a bee sting? I didn’t know. Went home and texted Paul, “I am ok physically. About 9am, I was really wanting to tear my forearm away from me, just so I wouldn’t go nuts with the aggravating itchiness of it…but then that would make me mad in the mind. Plus, I’m rather attached to that arm. Otherwise feel ok.” I texted one of my pals, “Goes about the house singing and conducting with my fingers, “I need some music, diddlydee. I need some music for me. Must be the rainy day, oh heck I’d sing anyway….I need some music *hands to heart for big pitch* for meeeeeeeeee!” *snatches laptop n skips down the stairs for to listen to good musics.* :P” I did some chores while listening to a collection of my favorite songs. By then, my arm was really burning bad.
Hannah arrived a short while later and we spent a gob of time snacking over chili-cream-cheese dip and gluten & milk free crackers (that were deeeelicious btw). Laughing and giggling and chatting. It was good. I withheld the thoughts about the burning in my arm and didn’t let it enter the conversation a second time. She said she had to be going home, so we said goodbye and hugged and waved, promising to get together soon. My mouth opened after that and I rocked on my toes, laughing nervously, “It’s just burning, burning, burning. I’m going to go nuts!” I closed that thought off with a giggle, trying to make it light. “Oops sorry. I’m okay, really. It’s cool. Just some sort of bee sting I guess. It’ll go away.” She looked at me kind of unsure, and then the conversation shifted back to before I’d blurted my thoughts about the splotch. We waved goodbye and then I went inside and jumped around holding my arm, releasing all my pent thoughts, “It burns burns burns burns! Ahhh! Like fire. Why can’t it leave me alone? What is this? It BURNS! Ah-ah dang! Ahh! You hurtful little bump! Oh my arm!” Moments later, began looking for something, anything to stop the feel of burning. Put my arm against the freezer door. Ran under lukewarm-cold water. Dabbed ointment on. Nothing worked. I wanted to cast my arm away from me, it hurt so awful. After a second, I realized: if this doesn’t stop NOW I’m going to go insane! That’s when I realized, I think I better go see the doctor now. And so, I called them up and was squeezed in to see the nurse. Good.
Saw her and discovered it was a poisonous spider-bite and the venom was what was burning. I was asked if I saw the spider and what type it was. I was surprised. A spider-bite. I’d been bitten years ago by a brown recluse while reaching deep into my dresser to retrieve a sock that had fallen behind the drawer and it crawled up my fingers and took a chomp (-I didn’t know what that spider was at the time, so I thought nothing of it, although I did think it was very quick – it escaped. The next few hours I felt so dizzy. I thought I was developing a cold, so I had soup that night. Went to work the next day and told my coworker that I felt sicker than a dog and was sorry but I couldn’t work any further – I had to go home and lay down, my vision was wavy and I felt so unbalanced and I might even barf. She pointed to my hand and gasped. Some of the skin was peeling away, gray-black and the mark was huge. I hadn’t even considered the possibility that my ‘sickness’ was from the spider-bite (which I was not oblivious to, it hurt). I was sent to E.R. where they gave me anti-venom as soon as I described what spider I saw. They asked if I was joking, and I wasn’t. “Why’d you just stand there and let it bite you??” I remember being asked. It happened too quick, too quick to do anything. So they were very worried and wondered why I didn’t come in the day I started experiencing symptoms and asked me if I knew what would have happened if I hadn’t of come in when I did. I didn’t know, so they told me. I was shocked and sat open mouthed). I will never forget that day. No, this new spider-bite didn’t come with any of THOSE symptoms. So I was told to take Benadryl and also a steroid cream from the pharmacy. She shook my hand and I flinched. She looked at my hand as I pulled it away. She examined both hands and then told me what I suspected. I sat in the car afterwards and looked at my hands, “Okay. Okay God. This is just how it’s going to be then.” I turned on the ignition and then drove home.
Day at work was spent very uncomfortably, constantly glancing at my two bites and wondering what on earth I did to deserve them? Pulling out that small tree-sprout? Well, I was after all, under the porch and locked in focus with yanking on that. Of course I was in a cool dark place. And perhaps I’d been pulling on its home. So of course it would be very angry with me. The day wore on. I saw one of my brothers-in-Christ and he asked how I was doing and that I was in his prayers. I said I was really struggling today with a poisonous spider-bite that just burnt and it was getting harder to focus around the pain message it was sending my brain…I was having trouble counting currency back to the customer and I felt badly about that. He said he hasn’t stopped praying for me. I nodded and thanked him. He’s been through a lot himself, so I knew he understood my discomfort and then some. After all, pain is not fun, and I’d prayed along with the rest of the church family for him during that time. Finished up my day at work, keeping my mouth as closed as I could about the subject of my forearm and burning pain. I think I only told one lady because she gasped when I handed back her change. She’d said, “Oh my, honey! Your arm is blistered and swollen! You NEED to go to the doctor.” I told her I had been and it was found to be a poisonous spider-bite, so I was given medication and it would be alright…I just had to press through the burning. She said she’d pray for me and she was very concerned, “It’s very blistered.” I nodded, “It hurts some.”
Happened to tell my coworker that I was having a rough time dealing with finding a good bread that didn’t taste sandy. I didn’t want to eat sandy bread, blech. Don’t like sandy bread. XP Was eating Ezekel bread, but now that the gluten was being removed, I wouldn’t be able to have it. And the Ezekel bread I was toasting in order to eat it, otherwise my mind translated that bread as sand grit. She said she’d see what she could do to help, so I was to find her after I clocked off work. So when the time came around, I clocked off, and wandered around the healthy food section in search of her. She was loading up the freezer when I found her. “Ready?” she asked. I nodded, “Yep.” She pointed me to Udi’s Bread and pulled out two packages: “The chia seed is good, and the flaxseed is also a good one. Pick which one and I’ll mark “no sale” on it so you can try it and see if you like it. Or, I could mark both at half-price and you could try both for the price of one.” I pressed my palms to my heart, “That’s so nice of you! You don’t have to do that!” She smiled and said she was doing that, so choose. I looked over my options and then said I’d take one at full price and the chia one for free. “Very good, I’ll mark it no sale and just go through the register with it and show it to them. You will like this bread if you love homemade.” I nodded vigorously, “I love homemade bread.” “You are in for a treat then.” She handed it to me, “Enjoy.” I felt like crying, but didn’t. “Thank you.” I said. Paid for the one loaf, and was given the second one free with a smile from the cashier, “Ooh, a treat from Natures Corner. Enjoy it.” Went home and looked at the chia seed bread, pulled it from its frozen slices n held it up. The song “Ch-ch-ch-chia pets!” echoed through my thoughts. I sighed and placed it into the toaster, “Here goes nothing…” Seconds later, it popped up, unfrozen. I took a gentle nibble of it and then grinned widely and shoved it in, chomping on it. Love this new bread! Tastes just like homemade! I love it more than any other bread I’ve ever had, save for my friend’s homemade honey bread. J
A bundle of things has happened in the gap of time between my last post, my above draft, and now. I’ll condense it.
~Received my blood count report for the ITP. 150 thousand. I am in the clear. The nurse pronounced me, “Normal.” (Drat! I should have gotten that in writing!! It might have come in handy when my mom gives me that eyebrow-raised look and the words, “You’re crazy.” I could have held it up and grinned widely, “Nope. I’m normal.” That probably would have earned me a thwap with a pillow, magazine, or the like.) 
~I was told when at the doctor’s office for a ‘spider-bite’ that it certainly looked like I had rhuematory arthritis in my right hand. I was bummed because I’d heard that arthritis is a killer to an artist and writer, but I gave it up and didn’t keep the worry. Found out later through a blood test that nope, I don’t have it. And my ‘spider-bite’ is nonvenomous, that instead, I am allergic to it.  Next time I spot it biting me, I’m to examine it so I can tell them what got me. The next day, I was outside yanking at the weeds some more and saw a very tiny black fly land on my arm, then, it bit me. Wellah! I had my ‘spider-bite.’ It’s a nosee’em (biting midge) that got me. I was bit several times, same affect. It is mosquito and nosee’em season. In one day, I gathered 32 bites. Yesterday, 36 new bites just while watering the garden. I’m glad to be so liked, but by bugs…well, they’re being rather pesky. :P Thank goodness for Benadryl itch sticks! J At least I know what ‘spider’ I am allergic to now. :P
~On to what I was saying about a whole new realm of doctors in my last post. My stomach has been giving me some issues…well, a lot of trouble, to say the least. So I went to an internal doctor and was prodded, scoped (yuck to the GoLytelly bowel prep stuff I had to drink, I’ll never forget that experience. When they said it’s nasty, they were very right and nope, I won’t indulge details about why. I agree with what a customer said once to me, “There are some things us older people don’t tell you younger folk so that you can live without dreading what you’ll face later in life.” From the Colonoscopy and Endoscopy it turns out… I am 100 percent healthy inside. No Crohns, Colitis, Irritable Bowel Disorder. Cancers. None of that bad stuff. So, peace of mind for me. I kept saying after I was told each one I didn’t have, “That’s great. Good. Good.” The doctor gave me a look, “You are glad? It means we didn’t find the problem.” “Yes I’m glad!” I replied back, “I DON’T want those!!” He smiled, “No, you don’t, you’re right.”
So it’s nothing critical. Only thing is…what is causing all this trouble?? It’s suggested yet again that my problem is that I’m dealing with Depression (a subconscious kind, in other words: I’m not aware of it) and antidepressants might help. There were questions about my past, present, future, concerns and worries, and stressed-environments and relational as well. Quite frankly, I’m not stressed out and I’m not dealing with this Depression stuff. I know people who do, and I know I don’t have it. I was told that I’m in denial and can’t be helped until I let them help me. My symptoms continue for a while longer, not stopping. I remind myself that being scoped doesn’t solve any problems, it only told me what isn’t the problem. Narrowing down the options as to the trouble is a very good thing. Right? Right.
~I saw the doctor again. The doctor says what we’ll do is process of food elimination and see if it’s food-related. First thing to go: Dairy. All dairy, including eggs. For three weeks. The total test would take six weeks, so dairy would be out for that long. Gluten would be out for the last three (this way, we’d know which one was the troublemaker). Within three days of my dairy-free diet, my presumed writer’s block lifted and the fog was gone. I was writing again (yippy!!). The frog in my throat left (I thought I had a slight cold or pollen allergy, but, umm, nope). J An unpleasant symptom was resolved and my confusion as to what to do to make it stop, I finally had an answer: Dairy. I went with the diet very willingly after that. Feeling good, felt….good. People began telling me how great I looked. I still had a few symptoms, but with the other symptoms now resolved, I wasn’t troubled like I had been. I could deal with them, although I didn’t like them either. Especially the part about how fast I was dropping in weight, didn’t matter how much I ate. I figured at this point that the left-over symptoms that the nondairy diet didn’t catch, might be connected to gluten. Perhaps I was allergic to both? It was possible. I know people who are.
~Called the doctor on the end of the 3rd week, ecstatic about the writer’s-block-lift and the other dairy-sensitive symptoms lifted away. He said that it seems we’ve finally found the problem and so I don’t need to see him anymore. Which was great. I was a bit unsure, mainly because of the weight-loss, among other issues. He said if I wanted to continue on the plan or not, it was up to me from this point. The conversation was quickly over. I was left, mouth open, wondering -  but…but….the other symptoms….  Shrugged and decided to go gluten-free as well, stick to the plan. After all, the two allergies could interconnect.
~Three weeks later… From 125 to 117lbs, I called him back. Taking gluten out until I only consumed 1/4th of my prior amount, then down to zero of it, has helped some, but not enough to make it stop. Still not digesting my food. Still burping…a lot (annoying but painless). Gas. Bloating. Pain was not vanquished as I had so hoped. Neither had throwing up. I got desperate. I started separating what foods I’ve eaten from all the rest, and began planning meals two days in advance. I found that carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, celery, beef, fried food, coffee, oranges, lemons, onions, soda, all have something in common – I think my stomach does not like them and I think I feel better when I leave them out. I’m not sure what else bothers me, I’m afraid to know at this point because…what if it is everything and it leaves me with only three food sources, chicken and rice, and almond or coconut products? How will I gain weight that way? So I stopped trying to find all the problem foods. I continued eating the lesser problem foods.
Decided to put beans into a dish (I thought it would give me needed proteins), but very quickly discovered they are a bullet in a game of “food Russian Roulette” (as Hannah termed my eating of foods). Thought to call the doctor…well, once I was able to get to the phone. (There was quite some time where I was pinned, really hurting and curling in my ball. I wasn’t about to take the trip to E.R. only to be told, “You’re just stressed out. Go home, relax and drink some tea.” I don’t want to hear it anymore. I don’t, repeat, don’t have Depression. The subject being brought up has begun to chaff on me by this point. Some begin to try opening me to the concept that I might have this Depression). I can’t reach the doctor, so I leave my number and name.
~Their office calls me on another bad day where I have just finished throwing up and curling up by the toilet. On the floor, where I was whimpering and crying, trying to soothe myself from the explosive pain in my swollen stomach. And they ask how I am doing. I tell them every little speck of detail. I hear the words I’ve been longing to hear, “Umm, that is NOT Depression. That’s not normal. Let me talk to the doctor and we’ll call you back.” Yes, good. I laughed aloud once the conversation had ended. Triumph. Yes! That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along! Now we can move forward without that distracting issue in the equation and find the problem. Oh happy day!
~I went down to 114lbs and at last, it is finally being believed that what I was saying is true- I don’t have Depression and something isn’t right, just as my gut has been telling me all along. I so hoped we would find the monster that was making my social life no further than my house. I was canceling with friends when it came to fun things I really wanted to do. Parties, hiking, movies, swimming, walks…*sigh* so hard to cancel fun things. I hate canceling. I hate having to.
~So, I was told there would be more tests coming up. I’d kept a journal of my food and pain, tracking it steady for 1 week. I missed two days the next week, and I couldn’t recall what I ate - it’s a blur. Weighed myself at 112lbs. Still going down. With a more intense drive, I ate when it was time to eat and kept eating and eating. Even when I wanted nothing to do with food anymore, I ate. I ate when it bothered me so bad that I had to put the fork down and my mind screamed, ‘Stop, stop! No more!’ And I’d take a breath, and eat more. I didn’t want to drop any further. I didn’t want to get to 90lbs (they told me they would put me in the hospital at that many pounds), and it was speeding closer and closer to me. At the rate it was at, it would take less than a month before I hit that number. I had people telling me, “You are so skinny, you need to eat more.” Well, I was trying! My food just didn’t want to swallow at times, like that was as far as it could go. It would start rising back up into my mouth as soon as I went for the next bite. I fought, struggled to eat. Painstaking task, I started wishing I didn’t have to eat. And then there were other times it went right in and I felt horrible. I began dreading meals. Hating meals. They just weren’t fun anymore. Cooking used to be so therapeutic for me, I loved cooking and baking. But now, now it is something that I am obligated to do, and it always hurts me later. I feel better when I eat nothing, when I am empty. I like that sorry-choice far better than the swelling, cramping, pain shooting down my legs, and aching muscles. …and worse, the fetal-ball and facing the toilet. Isn’t food supposed to be the good guy?? I feel like it is the enemy. My grandma said of the situation, “My goodness dear-heart, it is like you are accidentally bulimic! How horrible.” It is horrible. …I loved food. And a secret (that really isn’t a secret cause I’m telling you): I still want to love food.
~I learned that most people want to hear that I am doing just fine, they don’t want to hear anything else. It was just as my mentor through this situation had said. I hadn’t paid that part of the conversation much attention because I didn’t think it would apply much to me. ‘There are different types of people out there. Ones who love to hear that you are doing okay and others who really want to know what okay really means.’ She developed a code-speak for how she feels on good days, on okay-days, on bad days so that in mixed company of these two groups, she could say the same thing and have both understand. It was an amazingly complex system. I remember being so shocked that people would not be interested in what was really happening that day to her. I just sat there when she told me that, shaking my head. “I want to know!” I’d blurted. She’d smiled.
I’d decided to use her system recently. I grew acutely aware of how much people were happy that I was “ok.” But, a few of my pals were insistent, demanding and pleading in person and in texts that I PLEASE tell them what was REALLY behind the words “I’m ok.” They wanted to know just what pain I dealt with…as they would know how to pray, and my struggle encouraged them. That’s how I learned which group was which. It’s not the easiest to do, this system. I think it is because my mentor is wise and more practiced at it than I am.  
~Speeding ahead…. July20th: I was given a CT scan without/with dye. I had sat out the waiting time cuddling my stomach and wishing I could lay down in my fetal-ball (the test was done on one of my bad days). Drank what I was given. I pulled out the sheet of paper with lots of scribbles from my pocket, read over it, clutched it, put it back in my pocket. Remember, I began to instruct myself. My name was called. They told me what they were doing. I already knew what the dye would feel like- Hell on earth. My body would burn with fire so intense I would physically sweat and I would have to remember to lay very still. Very still and not move. I’d asked for prayer from close friends that God would pull me through this test…I knew what was coming and I wouldn’t like this. Not at all. Thankfully, liking this dye was not the point. “Please find something,” I hoped. “God, can you point out the problem, please? No one is finding it and You can make it visible to their eyes. I know You can.”
The lady in the room began to dawn her aloe gloves. I objected very quickly and asked her to please switch her gloves – I am allergic to aloe. Had a conversation about how many products contain aloe. She was an amiable person and made the cold white room seem warm. She gave me a heated blanket and that stopped the shivering…cozy. Swab, poke, done. The iv was in. She was fast. Good cause I don’t like needles. The taste and smell of cool metal went in my mouth and nose. I gagged hard. “Oops!” She said, “Are you okay with the saline?” Saline. I had forgotten. I nodded, “Fine, fine. Just got surprised by it. Forgot that part.” Up went my arms like I was told to do. The cord had been wrapped around my thumb, a pillow went behind my head. “Arms down, good. Ok, here we go sweety. The machine will tell you when to breathe.” She said. I squinted. It would tell me? What did that mean? She disappeared behind me and the table below me shifted forward.
“Close your eyes.” She said, “The laser is going to sweep over you.” I did. I thought briefly of Attack of the Martians and little laser guns shooting little red beams; the sounds being puny and high pitched. Remember to pray… I thought. “Hold your breath.” Came the masculine computer voice. The table moved. My stomach did a little flip, but I made sure I didn’t move a muscle. I wished my stomach wasn’t raging on this day, of all days. But then, being it was so uptight, perhaps they would see whatever it was, easier? More clearly defined? I had no idea. Pray, I thought and did so. I released my breath as instructed. The table came to a stop. The easy part was over already? She was fidgeting with a cord. “Here comes the dye.” I heard a faint click. Then, fire. Burning fire. I remembered this. Spreading down my arm, my shoulder. Searing, painful heat. Licking flames. “I feel it.” I said uncomfortably; she’d told me to tell her when I could. “Already?” She asked, “How are you? Does it feel too painful?” I gave a faint shake of my head, “Fine. No, do this. Do this. Let’s find this tricky monster.” She chuckled and said I was cute.
Footsteps stopped and the table moved. My eyes were still closed. “Hold your breath.” The voice commanded me. Cool air whooshed against me. Oh yes, praise God! They have fans! I thought. I hadn’t noticed them the first round through without the dye. It was not like that tube I went into before, where I baked, feeling sweat trickling down my face and pitch darkness and loud knocking sounds, the machine mere inches from my face. And I was burning in there, I remember the thought, “I am burning alive. This is like hell, only, God is with me, so it is not.” Remember, I shook myself off the past and began praying. “Release.” Came the next command. The pleasant fans were farther down near my ankles, so I was outside the machine. “Hold your breath.” It told me. The fans got closer, good. I was going to stay in prayer, it didn’t matter the heat. “Release.” I breathed out. Another time through. Then faster than I expected, she came out and told me I was done and I could sit up. “W-what?” I was surprised. “Yep. You are all done. You’ll get your results on Monday from your doctor.” She informed me and bandaged up the spot where the tube had gone. I was glad she didn’t tell me to wait where I was. That was a good sign. I liked that very much. “Okay, thank you.” I slipped off the table and snatched up my items. “Umm, you’re welcome.” She smiled, “I hope you feel better.” “Me too, me too.” I said.
I sighed a prayer of thanks as I closed the door behind me. I didn’t want it to be something that I found out today, that meant it wasn’t a huge problem and had to instantly be dealt with. That made me happy. I didn’t want it to be. Although, on the other side, I was very curious what the problem was. Could she see what it was when I was being scanned or was this another trail where I would be found as clean too? I hoped both that it was clean and that the answer wasn’t hiding anymore. That it was found, but that I was fine. Contradictory hopes, but hopes all the same. The air was bone dry when I went outside. One ice-cold raindrop splashed on my arm, then another on my head. Then the boom of thunder. Then a flash, another flash. A rattling boom that was too loud for me. I wandered to my car, sat in it and thanked God nothing had been found, yet. And praying that the problem, whatever it was, wouldn’t stay hidden inside of me. That this was the right trail. Went home and spent a miserable night pondering what on earth I ate that made my stomach so upset. Not gluten, not dairy. Those were gone. So were beans, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, acids, greasy food, caffeine, and onions. I couldn’t bear yet to remove carrots, but it couldn’t be that cause I didn’t eat that recently...besides, those make me burp a lot, I’d know if I’d eaten carrots. I couldn’t bear to remove apples. I love apples. Turned on the heat to my bed and finally drifted off.
~July 24th: Worked hard. Had a great day. No pain, no troubles. Had chicken and rice for lunch and a bottle of water. Yum? Bland actually. Some BBQ sauce would have been lovely. :P  I worked hard, it was busy. I got a splendid idea in my noggin and thought: Say, being I feel so good, let’s invite Hannah over for cherry pie. She’d like that, I’d like that. It’d be grand fun. …So, I snuck up on her and grinned widely, “Whatcha doin’ once you’re off today?” “Uhh, nothing…” She grinned as if she suspected something good and liked it. “Want to come over and have some cherry pie? It’s good. We could even make one. The smell of almond and cherry hot in the oven…mmmm…” I teased enticingly. “Yessss,” She rubbed her palms. “That sounds good.” She said when she’d be off, I told her my off work time. The plan was set. The house would be filled with floured hands, laughter and stories, and the warm soothing smell of hot pie. Got home and we came inside the house. 90 degrees indoors. Bummer. Sat on the couch, despondent-like. Turning on that oven would make the house miserably hot. “Well, things could be worse. It could have been 100 degrees…” I stated. She twitched a smile. “Next time. Perhaps hot dutch apple cobbler in the fall?” I promised. That got a grin, “With a scoop of vanilla icecream!” …So we settled on an iced cold banana chocolate mocha shake. (First few taster sips were disgusting. I didn’t say a word, I just poured in the chocolate. :P) Put in the hand-blender and pressed the button, both of us laughing in hysterics at the ridiculous slurping sounds the pancake blender made.
We enjoyed the shakes, then sat in front of the tv and watched Jane Eyre. We fictated through the whole movie. Talking to the characters, comparing the book to the movie, talking about the attire the actors were wearing, how the shots were taken to make the movie, and our thoughts. Instead of popcorn, we had out a bowl of homegrown Rainer and Bing cherries and a separate dish for the pits. It was grand fun. After the movie, we walked about the yard. She petted the chicks. The larger hens squawked and dashed out of her reach. I picked up the golden-colored chick, the one Mom and I named Curiosity (due to how it was the only one who would come up to us and cock its head every time). I let her hold the chick, telling her how to do so. She talked to it. We talked about the chickens and the new batch and about how we think the dark one Mom called Tiger, is a rooster due to its cocky dominant way over the other chicks more mild mannerisms. I said, “Well, if it crows, we know without doubt.” We walked the back property and discussed how it was so quiet and untouched. “Like another world where time is still. Like a lost world.” She was saying, slowly turning circles and looking around. I agreed and told her what I’d like to do, once I get to feeling better. She agreed it was a grand idea. “There are a lot of ideas one could get from this place,” she’d told me. I could just picture the writer in her licking her chops and reveling in the notions of a secret getaway spot to sit with pen and paper and write as it comes….I would know nothing of this, being a writer myself, now would I? …Yes! :P
The end to a good day. We said goodbye as she had supper yet to make for her hubby. I went inside and closed the door. That had been fun. I stepped forward to peruse the kitchen for ingredients for supper. But instead, this little click went off inside of me and I lurched for the bathroom with the thought that I’d never make it. Leapt over the dog on her bed, grabbed the doorframe and swung inside. Odd, I thought. I had been fine all day. Well, it was over now. It had come fast, and left just as quick. Didn’t need that room. Good.
I went into the kitchen and knowing what I should do for supper, I reached up to the spices and a sharp pain yanked me downward towards the floor. I snatched hold of the oven door and held myself up, barely. My stomach flipped-flopped and I felt severely nauseous and very, very crummy. I had the thought, I ought to lay down so this goes away. It yanked again, combined with rumbling growls. “Not again. Not again.” No no no no, I was thinking. I made my way to the couch slowly but as quick as I could. This could drop me and I’d be stuck where I landed. I wanted it to be a soft place.
I eased myself onto the couch and laid in a fetal-ball, breathing slow, staying calm. It came to me after a few minutes: I need my meds…which are upstairs. It might as well be 3 blocks away, I reasoned. I could do this. I sat up and my world spun off to the right. I laid down with the motion. Ighh, so not fun. Sharp pain struck through my stomach like a searing bolt of lightning, white hot and painful. I cried out. It was motivation enough. I was GETTING those meds. Lowering myself onto the floor and crawling by my forearms, still in my ball, I ascended each step. I was GOING to get that relief. 1/3 of the way up I screamed. It was just that sharp. I covered my mouth with my hands to hush what had already come out. Paused. Then climbed again. Higher, higher. Closer, closer, closer. Screamed more. Didn’t care anymore. Screamed again. Cried. Sobbed. Nothing mattered but medication. Medication to stop this evil monster. Fireworks exploded in my stomach. Explosion after explosion. I kept screaming as the white pain shot through my whole body, prickling hot needles in my legs. I didn’t care. I wanted relief. Relief now. Relief at the speed of yesterday already.
Now at the doorway of my room, the invisible spear thrust into my stomach and pinned me directly to the floor. I saw stars and screamed hard, curling into a very tight ball. I could not reach my meds. I was stuck. I was stuck. Helpless. And alone. I gripped my cellphone tighter and tighter. I couldn’t think. What should I do? “Message box full.” My inbox chimed four times. I couldn’t care. I cried unstoppably, screaming. And then trying to hush me, stroking my own hair, “Shh, shh, shh…” I knew the meds to be on top of my desk, 7 footsteps away. I’d have to stand to reach it. …but it was out of the question. More explosions rocked my world. Fierce as it was sharp. Pain shot down my back, down my legs. I had to reach the meds. I couldn’t reach them. No way. “Oh God…Oh God…” I began, and then “Owww!!” I slammed my palm over my mouth. No screaming. I wanted to think. I had to get to those meds. Had to plan. But I couldn’t focus, all my thoughts were scattered. All I felt was pain. All I knew is I was stuck until it released me. My phone rang. Mom asked how I was, she was pulling up. Then I screamed. Appologized profusely. Appologized more. It was right in her ear. So sorry, so so sorry.
She came bolting up the stairs and stopped right where I could see her feet. “Oh honey…” She sighed. “Medication.” I said. “Desk.” She hurried over me and got the medication, gave it to me. “How many?” “Two,” I said. I put them in my mouth and waited. And waited. Sharp pain continued. And I waited. Nothing. It still hurt, I was still pinned down by the invisible spear. “This isn’t normal. This isn’t right. No, you need to go to E.R. I’m taking you.” Mom said, pacing. “No,” I said. “No.” She called someone, but I couldn’t understand what was said. Only that Mom was frazzled, frantic, worried sick. I screamed, covered my mouth. Screamed more. I cried. It wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t fair. I obeyed my strict diet. I ate A LOT. Still dropped weight. Nothing was showing up: Tests showed nothing was wrong with me. My blood sugar was a little low, but that wasn’t concerning. Footsteps came pounding up the stairs. “Message box full.” My phone chimed at me 5 times. I gripped it harder. I imagined words I knew were coming in to my inbox. I am praying for you. Mom began to pat me on the back. “You need to go to E.R. sweetheart. Here, let me help you…” “No, don’t touch me. It hurts. I’ll know when to move.” I said quickly to explain. She started to scoop her arm around me. “No don’t. I’ll do it.” I said, “I think I have a break.” I scooted. It worked. I scooted more. Then piercing pain exploded through my stomach. I cried out.
“This is not normal. Nicole, we have to get you to E.R. Let me help you. Are you going to crawl down those stairs??” “Yes, yes, we are going to crawl down them, which is far easier than going up them. If I stand, I could fall.” I said and moved again. “Oh my…this is not normal. This isn’t right. I am so sorry.” Mom commented. “For what?” I huffed, easing down the next step, then the next. “This isn’t your fault.” “I’ll get your shoes and purse.” Mom said and got down the steps. I got down to the bottom and slipped on my shoes, crawled across the kitchen. But stopped there. Began to feel my stomach go tight and my throat get warm. Nausea prickled at the back of my throat. I gagged. More pain and my eyes went wide. Back to being pinned, but this time I was going to throw up, and there was nothing I could do to stop me….felt it coming, but it stayed in my mouth. I was so glad. I did not want the mess it would have made. Got down the steps and hunched far over, got to the car, got in and curled back up. Rode to the E.R. Where I was wheelchaired in.
Noticed the nurse had aloe gloves. I told her my allergy. She put on a clean pair of the same. Mom told her while I cried and curled tighter. New gloves (this time without aloe) and told to lay on the table. I did so, in my ball. Crying, whimpering, crying-out. “We aren’t sure what to do for you, do you want pain meds or do you want tests done?” “Pain meds! Test was just done. Waiting for CT scan results to come in.” I huffed. “Stop the pain. Stop it quick. Please. Please…please!!” “Okay. Are you…what’s your pain from 1 to 10?” I was asked. “I don’t care!” I cried, “I want relief. 10, no 9. Pregnant mothers get the ten.” “The pain scale is for YOU.” I was told. “9. I don’t care. Help me please help me.” I responded, crying. A few moments later, one of them came in, introduced himself and told me, “Your CT test result is in our files. It says you are clean of critical issues. However, you are jam-packed with heavy constipation. Your colon and intestines are packed tight. Your colon is malfunctioning, we don’t know why, but you do have IBS-C. Where your intestines don’t work properly, rather, they are spastic, so that doesn’t make the situation easier. It packs things even tighter. Which is probably what is causing you all this pain. Is it random sharp pains or repetitive sharp pains?” I smiled, glad. The answer. We had the answer at last. I clutched the warm blanket I was given and cried out. “Nicole?” Mom prompted. “I don’t know, random? It’s sharp pain.” I whimpered. “Very sharp. Like lightning in my stomach. Explosions. Hot and white and sharp and running down my back, in my thighs…Where’s the medication?” “It’s coming,” He said. “Message box full.” My phone chimed from across the room. Once. Twice. Three. Four times. “People are praying for you,” Mom said, patting and stroking my arm. “Oh, and Grandpa and Grandma and Paul are in the waiting room.” “Goody.” I whispered. “Glad.” I cried out and then, “Is it coming?” “Soon, sweetheart, soon.” Mom said. “I’m sure Paul wants to see you, but he can’t come in here.” “I know.” I said. “Dad is on his way also.” She added, and then informed me she was going to go out in the waiting room for a little while to talk to them. It was fine with me. I laid there, listening to my phone tell me how full it was, comforting to know I was cared for….even if I couldn’t reach the silly thing to free up space so I could see what was sent! Cried out. More pain. Covered my mouth with both hands, muffling the noise. Could those in the waiting room hear me crying? Hear my pain? A sharp pain and I cried louder, hands both to my stomach, not caring who heard me. “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…” I whispered. Oh dear God, help me. “Oh dear, oh dear….” God, help me.
Mom came back in moments later and said they were all worried for me. I nodded. “Is it coming?” “Right here.” A lady said, “But I’ll need to get to an arm, you’re all twisted up in a knot.” “Go fast. I don’t like needles.” I informed her. “Okay,” She swabbed my arm. “I’m going to stick it…” “No, don’t tell me, please. Just shove it in.” I objected. “Okay, wiggle your toes for me please.” She said. I wiggled them, “Why am I doing this?” Poke, it was in. “The medication is going in now. It makes it easier for me to get the needle into your vein. When people get scared, their veins get smaller, so when they are focused on moving their toes, their veins are more open. It’s an effective distraction.” I saw one vial, two, three…three I think? She put them in there. Explaining something about the nausea I was complaining about and the pain in my stomach. She asked about my favorite hobbies, what I like doing in free time. I told her. She says she likes to garden. We talked of gardening. How her plants turn yellow. I explained overwatering makes them yellow just the same as under watering does. She didn’t know that. I told her how to check the soil and talked of green thumbs. Her doing most the footwork on the conversation I’m sure.
Next I knew, my legs were restless and it was dark. I had my eyes closed. I opened them. I couldn’t tell if I had slept, I supposed I had. The pain was gone; however, the world was blurry. A clipboard was placed in front of me. Something was being said. I recognized a slurred “name” and “sign.” The pen was toward me. The page was white. “Where?” I was pointed to the bottom and I wrote my name. “Nicoley!...Well, she usually is much neater…” I heard Mom explaining. I wondered what my writing looked like. I figured I wouldn’t want to know; the perfectionist in me wouldn’t like it. “Oh that will work. We’ve seen worse.” The lady said. “How do you feel? Scale of 1 to 10.” “Marvelous.” I mumbled. “And the pain?” She asked. “Gone, yay.” I smiled. “Good. Do you need a wheelchair?” She asked. “Nope. I can- walk now.” I said. “Okay.” She stepped out. I went to stand and the world tipped side to side in waves. Mom caught me before I could slip all the way off and land on my face. Both Dad and her supported me out to the waiting room. Paul sat up and I put up my thumb, “No more pain.” He said something but I couldn’t hear him. He said it again. I’d forgotten what it was but he’d been praying and it was something that I smiled at.
Got out to the car where I sat and Dad and Mom talked about something. Paul rested his arm on the door and peered down at me. A sad sort of smile on his face, glad that I was ok but worried. He said something to the effect that I mattered, that I was worth it. I was no trouble. I shouldn’t be sorry, or something of this sort. I guess I was apologizing. He said he’d be praying and then said goodnight.
8/2: Stomach got all swollen up. Informed Paul that if he didn’t want to join me for lunch on the 3rd, that would be fine with me. I didn’t want people assuming something awful and catch him off-guard so as to embarrass him. I’d been congratulated on being pregnant before due to this condition, so I was no longer caught by surprise at the question (although I still feel my ears and cheeks get warm). I know it looks like I’m three months along in a pregnancy because I was told so. I don’t try to explain anymore, I just let the issue drop each time. Why? Simply because when I try to tell them it’s not that, but a medical issue, they don’t believe me (its people around town or when I go places, that assume this). It goes kinda like one lady said, “Aww congratulations sweety! Is this your first one? You must be proud! How much along, three months?” “Uhh, well actually this is a medical issue.”  -me. “Haha, that’s a different way of calling a pregnancy. Don’t want everyone to know yet? Trying to surprise your friends or family? …I suggest you wear a loose top around them, then.” “Uh, I’m not pregnant. Really, I…” –me. “Oh honey,” She puts her arm all friendly-like over my shoulder. “I’ve seen a lot of new moms and its ok. You don’t have to hide it from me. I can tell.” “Uh…” –me. She patted my back, “You are a sweety. You’ll make a great mom for that little one.” …at this point I just gave up with trying to tell her. Others have been just as difficult. They do not believe me, they do not know me. Little do they know that the very next day, my stomach will be flat and my ribs will show again so I’ll be back to wearing two shirts to hide it, instead of one loose shirt to disguise it when it swells up. Paul has never (I don’t think) encountered being congratulated like this… which I’m sure he would be if around me at the time, due to how the thought process of assuming works. “Aww! Congrats to you both.” And to him, “You must be very proud…” I could see it now. Paul was bothered by my saying that “perhaps we should just get together another time.” He didn’t mind the assumptions (which were wrong anyhow). He just wanted to talk to me, didn’t matter what others said anyway. So, we were going for lunch regardless. I really liked that he was willing to endure that just to be in my company.
8/3: Went to lunch with Paul. It was great. And, nobody did any assuming of the sort I worried about a day prior cause I woke up and my stomach was once again flat. Huzzah.
8/4-5: Migranes, sleep, nausea, dizziness, weak, napping for hours, feeling sick. Me fighting to live an ordinary life free of pain, despite the pain. …umm, sorry, not going to happen. Still managed to do some chores and get things done, which was great.
8/6: Dizzy and weak, spots in vision while watering the garden, stumbling about trying to drag the hose. Wasn’t about to give up. Finished that. Napped off a few hours, woke still dizzy. Wasn’t at all hungry (which I’m not hungry anyhow), but ate anyhow (forced myself). Feelings of being stuffed sick were overwhelming and awful. Exhausted from fighting. Realizing how easy living had been prior to this circumstance in my life. Realizing that if life got tougher, that I was going to be thankful that this wasn’t as bad as it could get. Enjoying what I have, grateful knowing I’m here at home and not in a hospital with the poking of needles and tubes of ivs. Ever thankful for good pals who have really shown the brightest during this time in my life.
8/7: A bad day with extreme dizziness and nausea (will I ever escape the latter?).  Was told by pals to tell work I am very sick cause I was, but I refused and put my foot down. It was a busy day there and I committed myself to my job, worked very hard, as hard as I could. Everything in me screamed to go home, but I would not abandon my crewmates and leave them a person short. Not doing it, period. Fought. Fought hard. Was warned to pick up the pace. Reminded again to speed up. Go go go. And my mind waged war. Listen to my pals and go home!…No. Don’t give in, don’t give up, fight hard! I listened to the latter. Was told I was getting behind and it was unlike me. I worked harder. As hard as I could press, I pressed to do. I wasn’t smiling, as I was reminded to smile. I put a smile on. Was still told that I wasn’t smiling. Apparently my smile kept slipping off me. I couldn’t seem to keep it in place. At the end of my shift, I was told that I didn’t get something done that needed doing and next time I would hopefully remember to do so. I was angry at myself for not being efficient enough to meet the standard. The standard was a simple one, too. I met it easily before this issue. I promised myself that tomorrow my boss would not have to speak to me again about picking up my pace, about not getting things done when they should. I was going to improve, darn it. No if ands or buts. Tomorrow would be better. Spoke to my parents about my bad day. Was informed softly that I could lose my job. People can be fired if they cannot meet the standard, if they are medically sick enough to not meet the standards of their job. I was horrified, because I LOVE my job. I am at home there. It is where I belong, and I’ve known it from the start. Yes, it is challenging at times, just as it is full of growing opportunities, and yet, enjoyable enough that I love driving to work and am hesitant to leave to go home. :P My coworkers are all amazing. Yeah so every workplace has its chaffs and gossip and “excuse my French Nicole, blahblahblah.” Those things are at any job. *shrugs* I could care less about that, cause I don’t listen to it anyhow. This job is home for me. It fits me. Perfectly.
Went to bed feeling incredibly uncomfortable and ill. And now worried with knowledge that I could lose my job over this condition. I fought with my health, now I’d fight to keep my job too. I was not going to let that slip like sand through my fingers like my weight is. I could actually do something about the job. But what? I thought about how to push myself to achieve the goal for the morning. Yes, coffee was a bullet for my stomach, but it was also caffeine, which would create energy. Lack of energy was my downfall… I knew what I was going to do. And I wasn’t going to be sorry.
8/9: Drinking coffee was not a wise choice as to how it made me feel, but wise choice in how I worked. I was complemented on my speed being just “how you used to be!” And then I got ahead in my tasks, and then right on time during the rush. It made me smile, feel accomplished. I made the right choice. Regardless of how mad my stomach was, never minding the migraine. Fighting never felt so…alive.
8/10: Drinking coffee today was totally out of my reach, I felt too sick to even consider drinking it and making myself feel sicker. I felt flushed and just….terrible. In the breakroom, one coworker looked at me with worry. Finally she spoke and told me my face was very, very red; like a fresh sunburn. Other coworkers sitting around the table agreed. I was told to go look for myself. It was true. I wrote it in my Health diary and let it go. I didn’t know what to do about how red my face was anyhow. Felt incredibly ill the rest of the day, but kept in mind my parents warning about being fired. It kept me fueled with resolve to push through my tasks, not quit, not give in. By 3pm, my thoughts began to be rather loud about going home, forget eating, and just go to bed! I wonder if I am developing a cold. I hadn’t had one in quite some time. Perhaps I was and that’s why my muscles ached so much? Why my stomach was so mad with me? I didn’t go home, wouldn’t complain. Not a word. After I got off work, I went straight home, showered and put myself to bed. Mom wouldn’t let me sleep until I had eaten. I watched Sara Plain and Tall and ate supper. Then went to sleep.
8/11: FINALLY! A good day at last! I feel some semblance of normal! Can everyday be like this one? Oh pretty please!! Went with Paul to the store (cause I had to get some special groceries for myself…yup, I ran out at home. Mostly used ‘em, the rest went bad cause…well, sometimes I felt too sick to cook, so whatever I grabbed was, bingo, you guessed it, supper). He went against my complaints of not needing to buy me anything. That I just had to get a few things and then we’d be off for my house and able to go do something more fun. I know, a girl who doesn’t like to shop. Weird aren’t I? :P Anyhow, he goes one way and tells me to just go get what I need. So, wondering and hoping he wasn’t up to mischief, which I supposed he was certainly up to some sort of mischief. I collected my groceries and went to the check-out. Poof. He was behind me and setting special grocery items I could eat- specifically what I was out of and couldn’t afford (they weren’t necessary items) – ice-cream and fudge sticks. “Paul…” I shook my head and said no more. What am I to do? Say no? That hasn’t worked in the past. “…thank you.” I manage. I pull out my money quick and step closer to the register cause…well, who knows what Paul will do. Sometimes he gets rather stubborn about what he has in mind to do. And I don’t want to use my pal, that’s not right nor is it fair. I’d warned him/told him before to save his money for his girl, she’d like that very much. A lot. Slid my card. There. Done. Grabbed the groceries but they were abruptly, gently, removed from my hands. “Well urr, thank you.” I said awkwardly as Paul took all four bags. “Can’t I carry one?” I asked. “Nope.” He said, grinning this wide smile that tells me he’s enjoying this... I give in and let him carry them out to my car, where he both puts my groceries in and then closes my door for me once I’m in. Shoot, I smack my steering wheel with my palm. Satisfied at the relief of pounding the steering wheel, I give it three more: Shoot shoot shoot. He’s such a gentleman.  
I get to my house first and he parks to find me going for my groceries. “What are you doing?” He asks knowing full well what I’m about. “Getting groceries,” I huff, bent over the seat and retrieving rolled items. He clears his throat and my eyes turn to see his hand is waiting. Reluctant, I attempt to take them inside. “Bratty young impish whippersnapper of a princess,” He smirks. “Ha!” I say, “I’m not a brat.” “Yes you are.” He laughs. I laugh.
I get my food put away and he takes me to my next errand where I am getting bottles for Kombucha Tea which I am told helps upset stomachs and gives it good probiotic stuffs. So on and so forth. He stays in the car. I talk to the lady at the counter, feeling odd and very out of place myself standing in a wine and beer shop. I am informed that I can’t have 12 bottles because she doesn’t have all 12 in stock. But she searches cause she has “an idea” and soon enough, she has 5, 7, 8…including a heavy plastic bottle meant for beer. I’m informed there’s very old bad beer in one of the glass bottles, so give it to someone I don’t like….but don’t drink it (in other words, pour it down the sink, which I did. Smelled NASTY btw). A swipe of plastic later and the dusty bottles were mine, packaged into a case, and away I went. Went for soft serve ice-cream and talked about how we both don’t like crowded places….so we went out from the busy restaurant and took it to a nice, quiet park. Sat at a picnic table and enjoyed it. It was very quiet. Conversation-wise too. I suspected both of us knew that after today, things would be very different. I didn’t speak of it, neither did he. But the silence screamed it. I prayed quietly a few times when it just got too quiet, looking up and watching the wind. Thinking about a random verse, “The wind blows where it wishes. We hear the sound of it but we do not know where it is going or where it has come.” And then popped back to the week’s memory verse about guarding one’s heart for out of it springs the issues of life. Sighed. I know. Picked at the grass. He did too. Joked that if we kept picking grass, no one would have to mow this park lawn. Enjoyed the sun and the shade, and enjoyed amiable laughter. It was such a lovely day. It was near-perfect. Zero pain and with a good pal, on a summer day, in the park, and with a soft serve treat. How many days are like that, huh?   
8/12: Another day of good! Huzzah! A trend! A good trend! Yippy!!! Today at work was near-easy, just like it used to be. Well, the tasks were. :P Dealing with a rush of hungry people all longing for the stuff inside of the cases….haha, another matter entirely. Speed and knowledge and questions and answers and shouts above humming fans and roaring equipment….ahh, sweet adventure! *grins* I love it! Not a dull moment, no siree. :P  Prayed for Paul as I worked. I foreknew the day prior that Dad and him would be going out for lunch. I didn’t know what all would be said, but I knew the general idea. I texted a few girl-pals to be praying. End of day, no usual text from Paul. No one had to say a word, I knew. I got home and listened to Dad talk about the meeting. I pretty much only nodded, but what was I supposed to say? I knew it was coming. I was in agreement with both of my parents. I wasn’t in agreement with Paul. That’s why I wanted Dad to speak to him. And he did. Now it was over. Done. Finished. Sadly. Went to bed and prayed. And prayed. Put my head down, hands up against the window pane, up to the stars, touching the scintillating satin-black sky with an invisible barrier between. And looked up beyond the stars. God, Your will, not my own desires. Amen.
8/13: And back down to reality. Watered garden although nauseous. Tripped about, tugging the hose. Gave up half-way through. It was just too hard, too much. Burping as though I had soda, but I’d had none. Gas. Awful gas I couldn’t escape. Nose starts running like our drippy faucet. Decided fine, I’m not going to sit around the house. If I’m going to feel awful, at least I’m going to feel awful and be somewhere other than within these four walls! I’ll go crazy if I stay in this house! So, I hear Dad telling me he’s going shopping for a faucet that will work. I tell him I’m coming too. We’ll make it a father-daughter date. He agrees but wonders if I’m up to such an event. I tell him I’ll be sitting, it’ll be fine. I’d only be sitting here at home too, so why not? My reasoning wins and we adventure out. Many faucets later, we stop for lunch at Subway (cause I can eat there). I fuss about how he can go for a burger being he really seems to want one. We’ll just grab one sandwich from here and then go over there. But he’s adamant and won’t hear me. “Stubborn man,” I huff and cross my arms, a playful smile on my face cause I’m not being serious. “No sense eating at two different places, we’ll eat from the same place.” He says right back and then puts out his tongue. Alrighty then, two could play at this game. I put out mine. We laughed. “Fine Pa, Subway it is.” I smirked. I get a turkey avocado sandwich, fresh apples, and break from my diet to enjoy one small soda. Mmm, soda. I mean, really. When the day is already crummy, how could one soda possibly make it worse, right? *rolls eyes* Riiight. Not a smart move on my end, but hey, it did taste soooo good.
Some more shopping and we locate the faucet, buy it and home again jiggity jig. I fall asleep several times, nap. Wake up. Nap. Wake up. Like that, until we start to approach home. My phone vibrates and I don’t think about it even looking at the caller id. I know who it is. I snatch it up. I know what Paul’s going to say afore he says a word. He says precisely that. Our conversation ends and I press the end button very reluctantly. Dad asks what was said, and so I tell him what Paul just told me. We pass his house and I think, “Vaya con Dios.” I fall back to another nap. I wake up very near home. I am talking to Pa and just then, I see him on the opposite side. Whoosh. Just like that, we pass. I wonder if he saw me, too. No, I doubted it: he was looking straight ahead when we passed. Just like life, showing me in real time about how we are going separate ways from this point on. My mind goes back to reality: I hate soda. It hurts my stomach. I look down at my skinny hands and twine them together over my stomach. “Hurting?” Pa is curious. “Yeah. I’ll be fine.” I half-smile. “Uhuh.” Pa is not convinced.
Wander inside with a half-aimless quality. I lay in my usual spot on the couch and text two pals what was on my mind. I force myself to eat, then decide that tomorrow might get worse. I prepare my first batch of Kombucha. I’ve never made it afore. I get called away from the task to sit beside Mom, who’s on her computer. She puts an arm around me and says she loves me. I say why. (…umm, duh? :P) She says because. Then she points me to a friend’s facebook profile page. And then I tear up and fight to hold it back. Mom doesn’t hold back, she calls me her beautiful daughter. I read what my friend has reposted from my earlier text to her:
A friend of mine just found out that the man she REALLY wanted to marry would not be able to... her response to learning this is excellent and inspiring. Something I intend to emulate in whatever difficult situations :)
Here's is her response:
“It is goodbye and the end of a chapter. I am very sad. ...there are just many things that don't go how I want. I feel I stand in a current of all my pals’ happiness and I just watch it go by. But then, realizing their life, like their shoes, don't fit me. God knows what's better for me. This is just a blessing of another sort (although the world would call it a heartbroken tragedy), just like my health issues (which are still very much present). It is like [Pastor] Keith was saying. Blessings aren't all money and health and ladeedah [or the relationships we feel we need]....”
She also said:
“[Most people] would have been angry and irritable and upset with God. Not only to say goodbye to a good friend, but to deal with a very painful health issue at the same time. They would have called it unfair, not praise or glorify God anyway, not count it as joy. ...I do hurt some, but it isn't anguish. It is sadness, the loss kind, the disappointment kind. ...God knows what’s in store for me. The best thing I can do is just trust Him and leave the reigns of my life in His hands. Haha, I don’t want the control at this hour anyhow! It'd be madness how fast it would all spin, spin right out of hand and crash. O_o Well, a very good thing He has them. It’s going to be ok, I know it very well. :)”
That is faith in action.  :)
I continue onward with making the tea and I get stuck on what to do. My mind rolls over and over again with words I’ve heard before: “When I think of the Proverbs 31 woman, I think of you.” “….Inspiring….intend to emulate….” “You are such a beautiful, godly young woman and it is an honor to be your friend. :)” “A beacon of light and encouragement…” “An encouragement…” “Such a testimony...” “…walking the walk.” am I? Am I? I blink back tears, grab the teaspoon and taste the starter-batch, then gag. It is slimy-nasty! I cover my mouth with both hands. Oh gross! I pull out the culture that has grown in there and set it aside. I pour sugar into the tea part and look over the recipe. I’ve followed it, but the brew isn’t sparkly like our neighbor’s Kombucha Tea is. I call her and she comes over. She says I look horrible and wonders if I hurt my back, then realizes it’s my stomach that has me doubled over. She wonders why I’m not doing this batch tomorrow. I tell her tomorrow may be worse. I should deal with what I have. If I can stand, I can do it. She hesitates on that, but then helps me with my first batch. It fizzes and sparkles perfectly. I shake my head. Just like taking a car to the mechanic, I guess. I pop in the berries into my new bottles, we pour in the juice, and close them up. She gets her Kombucha jar and bottles back (she let me have some of her batch…thank you dear neighbor!). In five days, I’ll enjoy a new batch of it (which if it’s anything like hers, its kinda tasty and reminds me of soda minus the vinegarish first taste and berry aftertaste…and way more healthy). I clean up and go to bed with the hopes that tomorrow will be better.
8/15: A good morning! Huzzah! So exciting! Went about the garden watering and it was great. Enjoyed the warm summer sun, birdsong and soft breeze. Mmm, soo nice. 2pm rolls around and I realize I’m feeling kinda not alright. Semi-nauseous actually. And definitely dizzy. I clock in only to feel a switch inside of me. I must go, like right now. So I race around the tables and slam my shoulder into the bathroom door and make it. Barely. Hands to face, and thinking of how I hate this. How I just want to be normal, like I used to be. But then, was I ever truly normal? What does normal mean? Average? Am I average? No. Then I will not be normal, either. Fine. Will I ever feel better? Be rid of this constantly ever-there health issue? Or will I keep having good and bad days (errr, which could start out bad and end good, or be good and end bad, depending)? I just don’t know.
Hurried to help my coworkers and do my tasks. Nearly fainted while bending over cleaning but caught myself on the way down. No one saw, thankfully. I would have been embarrassed. Stars in my vision as I cleaned. I ignored them. A guest and his wife, both I know well, said I made their day nice and told me anything I would like to drink, they would buy for me. I said they didn’t have to do that. I was stared at with the expectant “I’m waiting” look from the wife. She’d obviously go get it so I didn’t have to leave my station. “I…I…” I stuttered. “You…you….” He smirked, imitating me, “So, coffee, tea, soda perhaps? Juice? There must be something you really want.” I thought of what I really wanted. I bit my lip and then spoke up, “Yeah, water.” He was taken back. “15 cent water? No really, what do you want. I meant anything.” “No really. It’s incredibly hot back by the machines and water would be wonderful. It would be perfect.” He paid for the water and smirked, shaking his head. I asked what was the matter. He chuckled and looked up at me, “You make a very cheap date. ‘Water, please.’” I laughed, “I guess so, huh.” His wife passed me the water, “Well, in my opinion, she’s truthful. Someone is going to love her for that.” I smiled, “Thank you. For the water.” They smiled, she spoke, “You’re welcome. You make our experience here so nice; it’s just a small thanks.” “It’s what I needed,” I took a sip of cold, refreshing water. He chuckled, shook his head with a smile, and they were on their way.
The rest of the day was spent with discomfort and indigestion feeling. Not to mention gas. I kept moving, highly embarrassed. No one noticed that, either…perhaps its cause I stood next to Big Bertha (our huge black trash container) and that stinks nasty bad! Igh. Got home and surprise, supper was waiting for me. I ate and then committed to clean up and then to pick berries out in the garden. I was interrupted from Mom, who was mowing the lawn. She gestured for me to go to her. So I did. Then to hop on the riding lawnmower with her, so I did. Then to drive it. I objected. I wasn’t allowed to touch any of the sharp or motorized objects here ever since the ITP ordeal. I was told, “Drive.” So I did, for a moment. “Further.” So I did. Started to turn around. “Through the woods. Keep going.” I kept going till we made a huge loop around from the front of the house to the back, mowing our path through the woods. Avoiding tree stumps and twigs. I didn’t like it. I was greatly bothered by the jarring motions, the searing pain in my legs and arms,, the shlopping feel in my stomach. “I can’t do this! I can’t do this!” She encouraged me forward, me groaning the whole way. We reached the back lawn. I lept off as soon as we reached the flat portion, “No more. No more. It hurts too bad.” My vision went gray-black for a moment, so I leaned over and prepared myself to throw up. I felt like the ground was tipping forward to meet me. Mom had me get on the mower by myself, her getting off. I was glad to sit. She taught me how to use it, which was way more comfortable than squatting on my legs, pressing the gas pedal while lurched over the steering wheel to keep me on it (which bruised my forearms). I mowed the back lawn as well. I was told I didn’t need to be so timid on the gas pedal. So I pushed it down. Surprised how stiff the pedals are. The whole thing shut off, just like that. I put my hands up. “What did I do?” “You got up off the seat.” Mom explained, “So you have to stay seated.” “Oh.” I managed, understood the concept. Mowed around the property, kicking up a huge dust-cloud that covered the entire garden. Next time, I thought, blinking at the sand. I will have to wear goggles for this! Got off at the end, being the hill was ahead and Mom didn’t want me doing that until I was more apt at handling it. Otherwise it could flip and land on me, crush me. I didn’t like that idea either. That’s how Grandpa’s neighbor died. Went back to picking berries. Texted my pals: “I rode a John Deere mower about the yard just now. My very first time without a push-by-hand mower. Feels kinda like driving, only on a very bumpy, dusty road. :P” A second later, my phone was buzzing. “Neato,” Rissa said. “Did it make you feel like…like taking over the world?? :D” Hannah asked. I laughed. Yes, yes, like taking over the world. Dominating one blade of grass at a time, all at the power of a pedal, instead of arm and back muscles! Bwahahaha! ….O.o Perhaps they would think me too odd if I said such a thing, so I didn’t. But, now I consider it and think, perhaps I should have. :P
Tidied up the kitchen, washed berries and froze them for my Kombucha drinks and protein shakes. By 8pm, I was hurting. Drank herbal tea. Stomach is rock hard and so uncomfortable that no position, standing, sitting or laying down, helps. I weigh myself, curious if it makes me heavier. Dummy me, of course not. Although I do discover I haven’t lost weight. I’m at 112lbs. A far cry from what I want to be and need to be, but at least its not 109lbs anymore. Well, I hope the pounds gained are real. I’ve had fake weight before. 3lbs there one moment and by the end of the day, completely gone and then one, four. So I have become a skeptic when I step on the scale. 9:30pm- Mom touched my stomach, agrees I do look pregnant. I raised my eyebrow, telling her she won’t feel nothing kick, there’s nothing in there but me and food. She called me a goose-head and said she wanted to know if it felt hard…and it does. “Hard as a rock,” as she said. *Glances to stomach* As hard as rock….iiinteresting. I’ll not let my imagination get away with my head about telling me I’ll turn into some hideous, grinning rock monster, rawrrr! :P Anyhow, night got so incredibly uncomfortable that nothing was comfortable, or interesting for that matter. Put myself to bed. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t get comfortable. Watched the stars in the sky. The shooting stars, the satalites. Tried looking in vain for the meteors, but I couldn’t see any. Drat. Rolled over. Rolled over. Rolled over. Nothing comfortable. Tried to read for point 2 seconds. Shifted. Tried to hunt for new reads on Amazon. Shifted. Turned off my kindle. Sighed, shifted, rolled over. Tux padded up to me and flopped over on his side onto my face. Oopfh! “Thanks Tux.” He purred loudly, snuggling himself into my arms. “Fine you silly cat, I will pet you.” I petted him for about 10 minutes, then he got up and went on his merry little way. To roam the house, I suspect. Tossing, turning. Praying. Tossing, rolling over. Stomach hard, swollen, hard to bend. Back sore, legs sore. No sleep. Not coming. 2 hours of this. 2 ½ hours. And then, I open my eyes and frown. It’s very dark, and a sharp pain is rippling through my stomach like a storm caught inside of a small space. I look upward toward and back to the clock to try and read the time. 4:54am. Awwh no. It’s too early for this. Go back to sleep, please. Stomach is still swollen. Still can’t find a comfortable place, can’t find rest. Darn it, so I’m up. I’m awake and that’s that. Fine then. I write in my Health diary about the low back pain and waking up to prickling nausea in my throat, about painful-discomfort in my stomach, and what on earth did I eat – I just want to sleep!
Mom came in and rubbed my back, which helped…a little. She asked if I was still planning on going swimming and would it be wise? (Yesterday, I got this crazy notion that summer will only be here for so long and this waterbug needs some watertime, so whether or not I have company, I am GOING swimming. Fortunately, I told Hannah that and her eyes lit up, so she’s coming too.) I said I won’t change my mind, I’m going. However, just in-case my stomach gets that invisible spear stuck through it and pins me, I’ll stick to the shallows where my feet easily touch the ground. I don’t want to drown cause my stomach seizes up or whatever it does to make it so hurtful that it drops me like a stone. But I’m convinced that I just can’t stay indoors. I’ll go insane. I’ll go mad.
I wonder: how do long-term ill patients make it through being inside all the time? How? I admit that I don’t know the answer. They must get rather lonely. I know I do when I’m pinned down inside the house. I wonder if people visit those lonely patients? To read to them, talk to them, make them smile, hold their hand and pray for them, or/and be the sunshine in their stark-white room. Are these people being visited? Can I one day visit the lonely hearts as my pals are visiting with me? I pray for them today. That someone will go and be there with them. So they know they are not alone. So they can think as they drift off to sleep at the end of the day: Someone cares. Someone cares about me.
11-8: The first day of snow. Real snow. The kind that sticks to everything it touches. I’m sitting on the couch, listening to my favorite Christian songs and watching it. It looks cold, and it was earlier when I was outside. 43 degrees actually. But it wasn’t snowing then. I woke up not too long ago from a nap and noticed the sideways slant of swirling snow, the wind swishing our Snoopy themed fall banner completely off to one side. To my delight, the tea kettle is informing me with its high squeal that a nice hot tea is waiting for me. To my right, Tuxedo snoozes on, making muff noises whenever he moves his paw or takes a deep breath. To my left, the heater has been turned up to 71. It still feels too cold for comfort, so I’m going to have to get up and grab a throw to ward off the chill. Gray toes have already been spotted a week ago, so I switched back to wool socks. Still they are gray, due to my poor circulation. I’m thinking its time to dig out the Hot Hands and put them on my socks and another layer to hold them in place. Just in the corner of my vision, 3 apple spice candles are lit, filling the room with the sweet spice scent. Behind me, Genny huffs at the door to be let in, tail wagging and hopeful. I’m going to these three and return shortly: Tea, blanket, and happy puppy.  
Ok, I’m back. So let’s see, where to begin? Been growing and learning. So, the realm of seeing doctors is apparently done. I went through a whole adventurous maze of test after test and hardly anything. All that showed up is how jam-packed constipated I am (like to the point that we found out the reason why I wasn’t hungry: I was honestly, full). And that my blood sugar is low. When they did the test, I was at 50. They asked why I wasn’t asleep and I didn’t have any other explanation: “God wanted me to be awake, and so I am?” They looked at me incredulously and gave me lots of juice to drink. They saw that there is certainly something going on, being I’m unable to keep my weight (dropped down, again, now 105), have low blood sugar (but no visible reason why, everything checks out normally), the ITP issue (which dropped 22,000 points, I’m now at 134,000), and the constipation-fill up issue. They said they needed to label it as something, so they said they’ll put it under the stress-related IBS category. I had to squint at that one. I’m stressed out? Wait, what? They know I’m not. They proceeded to explain that it only means that they don’t know what it is that’s bothering me, but this IBS won’t endanger me. They could find nothing wrong physically with me, they said IBS is triggered by rough emotional troubles and it would be a good idea to seek a counselor or pastor or hypnosis-treatment and a dietitian to help me form new habits to deal with this. I came away from that disagreeing, so did others around me. The doctors had proceeded to explain that I’m so stressed out that I don’t know it and its subconscious. I didn’t take well to that either: I didn’t know that I was stressed out but I was, really? To me, that’s just crazy. I didn’t like the knowledge that I was now categorized as a stressed IBS patient. I thought it could fuddle up stuff, make a mess that I’d soon be dealing with. Sure enough… I started getting asked by doctors to set up appointments with hypnotic treatment to cure the stress, to do this or that mental stuff to heal my stress. I could handle those easier than I could the people that care about me. The multiple chats about how I shouldn’t be so stressed out, the chats of how I was in sin and needed to repent and God would take all of this away and I’d be back to being healthy (what sin did I commit? I have been only praising Him and fighting in His strength to keep the right attitude of a worshipful life, honoring to Him). They persisted in telling me that I was holding on to my situation, to my sin, and I wasn’t letting God take it, or I would have release from my pain. Being I stubbornly resisted, God couldn’t have it. It didn’t make sense to me, especially being I’d been pushing away my circumstance into His hands, constantly repeating, “Take it, take it all. Take it. It’s not mine.” Am I perfect? No, but neither was I in sin in this area. It was awful. The more I prayed for Him to please relieve me of this trial, the more they would insist I wasn’t giving it to Him and how in sin I was. It occurred to me: Job’s friends. These pals of mine care about me so much that they are giving me the most helpful advice they know: Repent and God will take this away. It wasn’t right for my situation, but from that point on, I saw their repetitious conversations to me as care and concern and so I responded with that knowledge. Then I was told that the reason why I am in this state of decline is because I am dying because of breaking up with Paul; I’m not strong enough to handle such a situation. I never saw that one coming, but I responded just like I did with the others that cared so much and completely for me. And so, I hugged them and told them God would see to it that I was provided with all the strength I would need for each new day.
Tuxedo, my senior cat, began throwing up, at least 2-3 times a day. I’d be too late to stop it, but as soon as I tried to comfort him, he’d tuck his tail and fold his ears like I was going to back hand him, although I would far from do that. I’d cuddle him up to me and tell him everything was going to be ok and that I loved him, then I’d let him go. After that, he’d purr and headbutt me and rub rub rub. This became more and more frequent, which troubled me. He wasn’t getting thinner, but more plump. And he was eating a lot, given, but he was throwing it all up after he ate it. I started noticing how often he was sleeping and more and more during the night. It bothered me. I looked it up and the symptoms he had looked to match diabetes.
Saw the nutritionist, a few times, and set up a high protein high fiber diet for me. We were so sure that would be helpful, that my weight would rocket up in the two weeks and that would be good. I’d also feel better for the fiber. After 2 weeks, she, like the doctors, was baffled. I lost weight and gained nothing, and I was still constipated after all the fiber. She asked to see my food diary which she shook her head and said, “Now I know something isn’t right. You’ve eaten everything I’d asked you to. I put you on this diet and you should have gained weight….” “At least I didn’t lose more. It was only half a pound.” I said, optimistic. She told me, “No. I put other people on this diet and their weight skyrockets. Yours doesn’t stay steady, it drops on that diet. Why? Why. That’s what I want to know. Your medical mystery boggles my mind. It’s right in front of me (she gestured to my food diary) and yet, you’ve done everything I’ve told you to do. I don’t understand. And with tests, they gave you the whole works and you come out as completely healthy. It doesn’t make sense.” After this, we tried a few change ups, and I lost 2 pounds. She’d given me good tips for getting fiber and protein in my diet, taught me about foods that would benefit me. I had a feeling we would soon get to the same dead end that the doctors hit. One day, she leaned back in her chair and blew a breath, then I nodded. I knew what was coming, I expected it. “I’m out of ideas. I don’t know what else to do to help you. We tried the protein, tried the fiber. You already stay away from the foods that irritate you; you know what those foods are. You aren’t in danger, thankfully, but I just wish we could figure out what it is that’s causing the problem. I just have this feeling that your IBS, ITP, that low blood sugar, and all those stray symptoms, are somehow all related. It’s like they are all tied with an invisible string, but I can’t find the string. I’m sorry. I wish I could help you.” She gave me the name of a doctor and told me to go to him, see what he says, and with my permission, she would talk to him about me. I gave permission.
And then…I got very sick. What started out as a sore throat, progressed to sharp shards of glass that wouldn’t swallow. And then pressure in my skull. Unnerving, awful, horrible migraines assaulted me. I couldn’t work. I spent four days in bed, miserable and tired and already so from my turbulent adventures. Finally got some relief by placing a moist warm rag over my forehead and eyes, which made it much easier to sleep. The very bad head-cold didn’t go into something worse, and the symptoms, after the rag trick and Sudafed (my hero!), went away. I think that was pretty quick, and I was relieved that it didn’t hang around. Lost 5 pounds from that.
Was given a conversation by those that care about my eating habits. How I need to up my protein and fiber in my diet, and eat more often, and more food. I listened and nodded, but didn’t say much. I let them speak. They were concerned, and that showed me how much they love me.  
The invisible spear struck the day before yesterday. A level 7 that made concentration on conversation a laborious process as my focus was elsewhere. My workday was already over when it happened, so that was a relief. I laid down and rode it out, just as my doctors had said: Do whatever it takes to get comfortable and ride it out. It took the rest of that day and night away, but it did go away. I knew it would. Didn’t go to E.R. No reason to. I knew I wasn’t in physical danger. I’d survive this just like the last ones. Fought with it until I ran out of energy and slept.
Update: Its snowing! At last. For the longest time it was merely rain and windy days. Its so peaceful to see the new falling snow. Brilliant white coating everything. Silence drifting down through the sky to the ground. Soft Christmas music in the background, Frank Sinatra singing Christmas Dreaming. Mmm… lovely. Heatpack on my stomach (its just upset, not mad like it was last night). Tuxedo all cuddly with me, eyes closed, purring. And the tea-kettle heating up on the stove. Trying to finally post this. I reckon by the time I do finally post this, it’ll be 100 pages. JUST KIDDING! HAHA! :P Spirit this morning is relaxed and quiet. Slept well last night, so that was a plus. Woke up at 6am by a hungry puppy pouncing on me. Ooof! Nothing like being pounced on and licked by a slobbery wet tongue. “Thanks Genesis, now here’s the plan: You go to right back to bed and I will too! Sounds great. Good night!” “Woof!” She says right in my ear. She’s not going to sleep. That means…neither am I. Then, I hear it: Tuxedo is getting sick. Oh dear. Good morning world. I look around for the mess but can’t locate it. Then I notice Genny licking her chops. I frown deeply, “Oh my word. You are GROSS! That’s just SICK SICK SICK!” I scoop up my kitty and go turn on the tea pot, starting my morning. A nice day off work. Its planned we’ll be setting up Christmas d├ęcor today. Can’t wait. Also going to shoot Christmas photos for my friends today. Exciting. They expressed how they’d like their photos to be done- the two of them together wrapped up in Christmas lights. Ah young love. *giggles* Adorable. :D
Was excited to go to church on Sunday. Dad had the sound booth, so I sat out with the congregation this time. Gave the update: We retested for Celiac Disease cause I’d seen on tv an actress who had Celiac and her words echoed in my mind- you must be on gluten when tested for Celiac or it will show as negative. …And I’d been off gluten for several weeks when I was tested. I have almost all the Celiac Disease symptoms. It made perfect sense….a perfectly invisible string – we’d done the test improperly. The diagnosis might just be right beneath our very noses and we had skimmed right over it! So, I’d called the hospital where the test was done and asked them “Did I need to be on gluten when we had the Celiac test done?” The answer was “Yes, or the test is useless. Even a Celiac patient would test out as negative if they didn’t consume gluten at the time.” My heart had beat rapidly. Was this it? Would this mystery be over now? The answer I was seeking, my answer, was this it? Finally? At last? I’d be able to be proactive about this, instead of just taking it, rolling with its punches? I’d decided to hope. I had to hope. Not in the test, but in the fact that God was in control of this, and if this was the answer, God would show me it were so: The test would be positive. And if it wasn’t, that God would provide for me in my continued pain and through this mystery. I was either way, going to be okay. But! I desired prayer. So, I asked for that. Thanked my church family for the prayer. And then sat down.
After church, Dad came up to me with a white envelope, small, with my name on it and beneath it scrolled in neat letters: God will provide. I put my finger under the flap to open it, but was touched on the shoulder. Talked with my pals, laughed, shared in good conversation. Walked out to the parking lot. Finally, I could take the suspense no longer. Who was this card from and what did it say? I lifted the flap and stopped dead. My vision blurred right up, but not before I saw the only thing in that envelope was a 100 dollar bill. Exactly the amount I’d set aside for a bill that was coming my way in a few short days….and I’d lost it. How badly I’d been upsetted by that. Tore my room apart. Never could find it. Considered myself a poor steward. How could I just loose a 100 bucks like that?? I laid starfished on the floor, staring up at the ceiling of my room. Well, I had. Now what would I do? How would I pay this bill? What on earth was I supposed to do? Draw money from some hidden stash? I didn’t have one. I was out. My paychecks were already dolled out to other things. That’s precisely why I’d scrimped up that 100 dollars inch by inch and hidden it away so I would have it for this bill. Now it was gone. Then I’d cried cause I was just…well, careless. How could I be so careless to loose something like that?? Then I broke down and asked God to calm me down. I knew already that He’d provide, He already had so many times before. Everything was going to be okay. One of my pals said she’d be happy to help me by showing me how to do a budget plan. I agreed to it and she’d showed me how to start one the following day. …now here I stood, tears slipping trails down my face, in the parking lot, crying over a crisp 100 dollar bill. I’d expected a card with heartfelt encouragement within it. I didn’t expect this. At all. God had provided EXACTLY what I needed to pay that one bill. “What is it? Nicole?” my pals asked, gathering. I couldn’t answer. Just cried and lifted the envelope. Mumbled beneath huffs, “God will provide. He did. He promised. He did. Who…who did this? Who did this? Who?” “Oh you silly girl,” one of my pals smiled and hugged me. “Of course He does. It’s going to be okay.” “Yes, yes, it will.” –I’d agreed. “Someone just paid off one of my big bills. Exactly.” “Wow, isn’t God awesome?” she said with an awed smile. I nodded, wiped my tears away, “Always.”
Paid my 100 dollar bill off when it arrived in the mail. Sent it on its way with a flowery spring stamp. Good bye bill. Began a reserve stash of emergency cash inside the now empty envelope that read “Nicole. God will provide.” The five dollar bill seemed scant, but it’s a start. Into the bank it will go at the end of the week. J The week passed by rather quick. Hard days came and went. Began reading “Do you think I’m Beautiful?” And a book about Detoxing and vitamins. Tried on one account to submerge my swollen fingers into a steaming hot bath and then an ice cold bath for set amounts of times. My hands became so swollen that I was miserable. Added Epson salt into the hot bath and waited with my hands submerged to bring down the swelling. They only swelled more until I couldn’t use them at all. At 8pm, I went to bed because I could do nothing with my hands. They were rendered unusable for the night. I’d not be doing that again. But the idea stuck on me. If I had toxins in me and that was the cause of my swollen hands, it was a good idea to try and get them out of my system….just not with hot and cold baths. It was another idea, and for that, I was grateful. Any more ideas? I’d be willing to try them. Yep. :)
Saw one of my friends and talked about one of my pitfalls- asking for help. I’d told her about how my Grandma had suggested wisely that I’d do as much testing as I could this month before January when the deductible ended and I had to start all over. I didn’t have that much money to do the next test with: A food allergy panel. I’ve heard they are terribly expensive….as well as painful, but I wasn’t concerned about the later. Pain was as free as it was abundant. “Just how do I pay for that test?” –I’d asked my friend. “Ask for help,” my friend had said. “That’s what friends are there for. To support you. Ask them. They will love to be given the joy of being there for you. Let them have that situation. You don’t have to do this on your own.” Novel idea. But I was scared to do that. What if that was taking advantage of them? I did not, absolutely not, want to do that. My friends were priceless. They were treasures, blessings in my life. I loved them for them, and I wanted to be sure they knew that more than anything else. “Are you denying them the pleasure of showing you that they love you and want to help?” I was stunned by her words. I had to think about that. Was I, in effort to show them they had no obligation to help me, denying them what they wanted to do for me because they wanted to? Was I? ….thought provoking, certainly because I didn’t want to deny them that pleasure.
Church next Sunday and I was able to go. J Didn’t feel at all good, felt very sickish and mostly because of the nausea. Dizziness didn’t help. I remained seated during worship, but I was there. That’s all that mattered anyhow. There and worshiping with my church family. Yes. I was happy with that. It wasn’t something I’d take for granted. During prayer and praise time, I raised my hand and gave the update: The Celiac test, the second one, complete with my eating gluten this time, came back: Negative. I heard breaths of sadness, disappointment, hums of compassion. I told them I was thankful for their prayers, and God was still in control, still sovereign. Celiac was apparently not my answer, and I only want my answer. I told them I was very grateful it wasn't Celiac, and thanked God for that.
Fought drifting to sleep, just as I did last Sunday. Embarissing, disappointing, and most of all, rude. I kept hearing snippits of the sermon and knew I wasn’t staying awake. I’d go stand in the back, but I was too dizzy. That would be a distraction if I collapsed. I hated that I was nodding off and fought hard. I lost. I woke up when he said amen. I was humiliated. I’d caught some of it, I could piece together what the message was about, but I wanted to hear the WHOLE thing. I was bummed out. It made me sad. But how do I change this? How do I fight harder than I already am? I let it go. Dropped issue. Watched all the conversations around me and all of the conversations muted out as I saw one of the dear ladies come up to me, smiling. I later wrote of her in a text message to my pals: So special: A couple at church today was a blessing in my life. The wife came ovr n askd how I wwas doing n that they’d been prayin 4 me…she clasped my hand n something scratchy stiff pushed into my palm. I glimpsed th amount. “Nonono, u need that!” I objectd. And she closed my fingers over it n smiled with her heart. Told me God had blessed them this month n this was a gift from their heart as they knew what illness n its pains felt like…and they wanted to bless me as they’d been blessed. So I cried….sobbed actually. She wiped away my tears and told me, “Don’t cry sweetheart, God provides. Its going to be okay, trust Him.” She gave a huge hug n told me I am an angel, touching her life as I’ve done. …wow. Speechless.” I’d snapped my words short as soon as I’d objected. An echo had crossed my mind: Are you denying them the pleasure of a gift from their heart? Let go. Accept it. So, my fingers curled when she rolled her palm over my fingers, giving the generous amount to me. I hadn’t asked for help. She just….gave. She told me she felt led. She gave me a gentle, comforting hug, rubbed my back motheringly, whispering how God was going to see to my cares, everything was going to be ok. So, of course that just made me cry harder. And she shhh’d and rocked gently. Then pulled out of the hug, wiping my tears from my cheeks with such gentle care. She was aquanted with pain and illness. She understood. “Don’t cry sweetheart, God provides.” That first part of her tender words echoed in my mind this whole week. It’d touched my soul. And my food allergy test? She just paid for it unknowingly. I didn’t have to worry about not being able to afford that test after all. Didn’t that dear lady just tell me “It’s going to be okay, trust Him”? Speechless is right. Darn right. “Won’t He as well provide for you, oh you of little faith?” –Jesus had said. True. Oh so true.
Went to a Luke Commission event/dinner with one of my pals, both of us guests of my grandparents. I’d not heard of them, but my friend had, so she told me all about it and we looked at all the African crafts that were being auctioned and sold. I fingered black wooden elephants, they so reminded me of Daddy. He would have liked these very much. I smiled. Reminded me of his travels. All the amazing knick-knacks he’d brought back for me. The flute, the currency…and so on…and telling me about them. I remembered all of this in brief flashes, childhood memories. I was mighty tempted to buy one, send it his way for Christmas…then I saw the price and the object suddenly wasn’t that tempting a purchase. I set it down and moved over to the colorful scarfs. Touched a blue/green/brown/red one. Heard my mom behind me, so I turned. When I looked back, I saw a lady had picked up the scarf I admired and went to pay for it. I’m glad someone took it. Now they’d get to enjoy it. It would look beautiful on her…oh the compliments she would get, her complexion was made all the more enhanced. It was the perfect match for her. It made me smile as someone came up and complimented her just as I suspected. Her smile made her look all the more beautiful. I was glad. “Oh, someone took the scarf that was here earlier. It was a pretty one.” My mom said, coming up beside me. “I guess so.” I said, “What were you looking at?” “Come here, I’ll show you.” She brought me to the hand-beaded necklaces and lifted one. A slate gray brown one. It was so delicate. I touched it. So light. “It would look beautiful on you. And look! It could go with anything. It even has a bracelet to match! You should get it.” I recalled what happened the last two Sundays and inwardly shook my head. No, this was unnecessary, although, yes, I loved it…it was a beautiful piece. It would look pretty. I wanted it. I set it down. I picked it up. I set it down. Picked it back up. …oh no. I was in the buying stage. I set it down and with resolve, told myself I did NOT “need” it. It was pretty. I admired it. Now I would go. I walked down the stairs. I felt victorious: I didn’t buy it. Nope. I had what I needed anyway. I was here with my family and my friend. What else did I need anyway? I located my friend and she smiled, “So what necklace were you looking at up there? I saw you eyeing one and I wanted to purchase it for you.” I bumbled about in my words before getting out that I didn’t want her to feel obligated. I didn’t need it. It’d be fine witho… “What are you talking about?” She asked, her whole expression clearly showing confusion. “I WANT to buy it for you. You’re not making me obligated. You didn’t ask me. I just wanted to. I saw that you liked it and know you can’t, and I wanted to.” Oh. Uhoh. I closed up my objections. “Okay.” I said simply. I was turned away by conversational questions directed at me. I answered and turned back to her but she was gone. Oh boy had I done it! My mouth went dry. I botched it. Now I’d hurt my friend. I sat down and pushed my food around my plate. Then I was tapped on the shoulder. I turned to see my friend standing there, two colorful necklaces held in her hand, “I can’t remember which one you liked? Was it either of these? Could you show me?” I stood up and went to the table and pointed it out. She picked it up and smiled, “It is a pretty one.” It was set aside for us. We went into the room where they had the presentation telling what the Luke Commission was all about. They played a video about aids and their endeavor to treat this disease which was rampant. A man was interviewed. It showed flashes of days spent tossing and turning in his bed. And how there was a huge difference in being treated and he could do things. It showed children without parents, all of them orphaned. The age people were lucky to get up to? 30yrs old. I watered up a lot during that presentation. I didn’t understand aids, I didn’t understand the situation, what it took, any of the details. But their pain, their hurt, touched me very deeply. I had nothing to give to them, but I wanted to. I really wanted to. And one day, I will support them. It’s as good as done.
My friend and I returned to the shops after the presentation and she put the necklace in my hands. Purchased it at the tables. We went to dinner afterwards, just light salads or soups. And oh yes, warm coffee/tea/hot chocolates around the table. J
Afterward, once I got home, I received a text message after again thanking my friend for the pretty gift. “:D Thanks for giving me some joy today! :D <3”  I swallowed. Okay, so this would be the thing I worked on. I opened my fist and looked at the necklace. Put it on and leaned forward to look in the mirror. It was a beautiful piece. I touched it, but didn’t see it as a treasure. I saw my friend as the treasure and this was just the proof of her kind, beautiful heart. Indeed, she too was a blessing. A thought caught me in its twirl: Was I that way in my friends’ lives? Showing them in honest love of how much they mean to me?

I’ve been taking it easy the last few days. Came out of two bad days back to back the day before yesterday. Days where I couldn’t wait for them to end, only to fight everytime I turned over in my sleep as well. It was the definition of miserable. No real relief. I was again told that I was in sin. I didn’t say anything this time. I just wanted to have the day be over so I could lay down, cuddle up with my hotpack and collect the sleep I was longing to have. Hugged that dear one and said I loved them and was so grateful they were praying for me and how much it meant to me.
Yesterday, I woke up with the raging pain that sucked my breath away. “Okay,” I breathed. “God is still in control. I will go through this day just as I have for the last two days like this. He’s providing the strength anyways, not me.” Got ready for work and worked hard. At 11am, I bent over to chase a cherry tomato that dropped on the floor and squinted. I wasn’t in pain. I was in zero pain! I felt awake. I couldn’t help a grin. I was so incredibly thankful. At last, yes! I felt great! Terrific! Outstanding! I breezed through my day and it was very enjoyable. I had fun. The evening went beautifully as well. It was more than I could hope for. It was perfect. Saw two of my friends, and then went to Biblestudy. A few minutes to the end of it, the fatigue hit me hard. I began nodding off. The ringing in my ear and dizziness began. I started burping. What was this? I squinted and struggled to stay awake, to pay attention. Hey! I was learning here! I didn’t want to sleep. Where had this sleepiness come from? A second ago I’d been wide awake, now I was completely spent. I was nudged, told in a whisper to not drift off, stay awake…I was drifting. I could barely hear my Mom’s voice. Fire erupted in my stomach like the flick of a match being lit. Poof! It was there. Just so instantly and sharp. It brought tears to my eyes. The left side. Again. Now I wasn’t able to drift off to sleep…I was seriously hurting and my mind reeled noisily about how I was dizzy, my ears were ringing, I needed to lay down…I needed my hotpack. My low back was in hot-pain. And then my muscles pulled sharply, so of course I twitched away. Tingling in my right wrist to elbow, in my legs. What on earth was this from? I had been fine. I fought to listen to the conversations of questions and answers and then prayer. Once it was done, my parents whisked me homeward. I laid down in bed as quick as I could and thought for sure I was going to be speared here, the pain was so intense. My eyes were blurred up with unshed tears. I pushed my face toward the pillow, there was no way I was going to start any sort of screaming. That wouldn’t solve anything, I wouldn’t feel better. Pain would still be pain. I laid there and prayed fervently that I’d just sleep, and now…quickly, before it got worse like I knew it could. God could answer that prayer, I believed He could. The pain would numb out to nothing if I got deep enough into sleep….an impossible thing at this level of pain. So I asked Him. At 6am, I woke up. I’d slept soundly. Thanked God for a restful night’s sleep. And that my pain today was bearable. Yeah, so I had an acid back-up this morning, but haven’t had one since. Thankfully. J If I take it easy today, it should be a fair day. And that will be very nice. J
Praise God for even trials, because even within the hard times, the rough spots, there are many blessings. He is Wonderful. Even though the storms are rough, I can see that He is Healing me from within, and transforming, molding and shaping my life into something beautiful. Something my imaginative mind cannot picture, it’ll be just that stunning. :’)
Until next time, God bless.
Ps- Oh! And about my kitty’s IBS. Although he has been diagnosed with that, he has also been a naughty kitty and his reasons for throwing up could very well be from his fern-eating habit (which was cut short by us putting it high out of his reach). I caught him nibbling off a branch of it yesterday night, and licking his chops. Doesn’t he know that’s bad for him?? Ah well, at least the temptation has been taken from him. I expect to see improvements in him health wise after this find…well, once the fern is out of his system. Poor guy. He didn’t know any better.