Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Thyroid Secret

I watched a documentary called The Thyroid Secret and was blown away! Not only was I blown away, but I feel hopeful again. My fellow spoonies and I get our hopes up with every new doctor, with every new prescription or supplement, with anything new we try because it might relieve some of our suffering, but this documentary has confirmed what I've always known going back to my days as a Certified Nutritionist: what the earth produces heals us. When I began to follow Jesus, I was even more convinced that He created every good thing we need to live and thrive and to be healthy.

He created every good thing we need to live and thrive and to be healthy.

I was blogging for my church under the heading Healthy for Christ. I had a great passion to help others live healthier lives and would even do nutrition counseling with people as I did when I was a Certified Nutritionist (only I didn't charge, of course!). My work became so stressful, however, that I didn't have as much time to blog anymore. Then I injured my back and all my health troubles started and I was too bitter and exhausted to blog. The irony of blogging about being healthy when my health was declining, I found it hard to do. 

But God. That is a saying of mine you'll get familiar with if you continue following my posts. It generally means I made some plans for my life, but God had other plans. I fought for a really long time with this one. A really long time. I was resentful, bitter, and completely enmeshed in my disability. I have tried so many things: food elimination, supplements, physical therapy... Nothing works to relieve the pain except massage therapy, which isn't covered by insurance, and steroids, which are just bad, bad, bad for you. What I hate more than the pain is the constant brain fog and fatigue. Some of my favorite pins on my Fibromyalgia Awareness board are:
  • "Unless you have to rest after you take a shower, you have no idea what fatigue is." 
  • "Living with Fibromyalgia is like looking both ways crossing a road then getting hit by an airplane."
And from my Chronic Humor board:
  • "Don't worry about walking a mile in my shoes, just try a day thinking in my head."
  • "I was trying to get out of bed, but I got tired."
  • "I'm going to use what little energy I have left today to breathe, and maybe blink. That's about it."

Getting back to The Thyroid Secret, it is nine episodes hosted by Dr. Izabella Wentz. It is her story and the research she did to heal herself from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. She interviewed a hundred different experts (doctors and naturopaths) in her quest to gather information and spread awareness about thyroid disease. Did you know that 95% of people diagnosed as hypothyroid may actually have Hashimoto's? 

Did you know that 95% of people diagnosed as hypothyroid may actually have Hashimoto's? 

The Thyroid Secret is so packed full of information and I'll just give a quick list:
  • Why conventional medicine misses the mark
  • Healing your gut
  • Your adrenals
  • Stress
  • Toxins
  • Healing Foods (like bone broth!)
  • Weight struggles
  • Brain fog
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • 67 patient success stories

Loaded with tools, tips and techniques from the experts to get rid of brain fog, fatigue, weight struggles and the hundreds of thyroid symptoms that often go undiagnosed. I think anyone suffering from thyroid disease, FM, CFS, EB, Lyme's, or any autoimmune disease should consider purchasing either The Thyroid Secret or one of Dr. Wentz's books.

Though I've seen many physicians, I am not a one and I have no connection with Dr. Wentz or The Thyroid Secret. I'm just a consumer who really believes what I learned watching all 9 episodes of this documentary. I purchased the silver package at a discount for watching the free airing of each episode. I don't get paid in any way for sharing this information. I don't get free products (though I wish I did!) for blogging about this. I am, of course, an Amazon affiliate as disclosed on my blog so if you purchase her books through my link, I think I'd get a couple pennies or something. I've never actually received a cent from Amazon to date so I still don't know how that works!  🙂

Now I'm off to go read either her book, Root Cause, or Dr. David Brady's book, The Fibro Fix

Have a blessed day!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Wild Side of Jesus


Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon by Lisa Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Through reading the book Untamed, I have become a fan of the author, Lisa Harper. Her humor is very refreshing and makes such an enjoyable read! I found myself relating to her in so many ways as I see parallels to my relationship with Jesus as it has grown stronger and continues to do so.

In the first two pages of the book, Harper writes, "Choosing the safe but boring path is an apt metaphor for the years I spent rather numbly and halfheartedly pursuing God." I've definitely been there over the years, trying to avoid pain and chaos. And then I got fibromyalgia, haha! Seriously, though, if chronic illness has turned your relationship with Jesus into lukewarm bath water, Harper invites you to "reawaken the sense of adventure God hard-wired into your soul." You see, if you are reading this post then you still have breath and that means God is not done with you yet!

Now, Harper has a very sharp sense of humor that some might find offensive or sacrilegious. She talks about paralytics who turn cartwheels, how Tamar's first husband and Onan were stinkers so God killed them, and she calls John the Baptist "Johnny B." I had reached a point that I thought, okay, this might be too much, but then changed my mind when two pages later I was laughing out loud at the vision of John the Baptist "with locust legs stuck between his teeth." I know it's been said before, but it the first time I actually pictured it! Harper was talking about the type of people Jesus hung out with, and right after the locust legs comment, she writes a profound piece that makes your heart swell over the Jesus who loves us:

"But Jesus is the friend who lovingly sticks by every repentant sinner's side through thick and thin. Even when we blow it or get distracted by other interests, He doesn't stop loving us. In fact, Jesus' unwavering commitment to us is what ultimately compelled Him to lay down His life in exchange for ours. His devotion to broken people like us is remarkable."

It reminds me of Isaiah 61:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
    he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;"

Throughout the book, Harper shares her personal experiences (that I'm sure many can relate to) and connects them to biblical stories, illuminating the true Jesus that loves and accepts us all. The end of each chapter also has questions to help the reader dig deeper, not just within themselves but through God's Word.

It's funny, sensitive, and I highly recommend Untamed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Rough Morning = A Free Printable for You!

Dear Readers, I have had a rough start today, one that led to an absolute yelling/screaming/crying break down. I know you've been there. It's that one little trigger and suddenly all the strength and resolve you've managed to possess for weeks or months comes crumbling down.

That was my morning. I have been stressed out and sad for months now regarding my financial circumstances, but I've kept clinging to the Lord. Like the bleeding woman, I reached out because I knew if I could just touch His garment, all would be well. I reached out, grabbed hold of one of the tassels of his robes and I haven't let go. On some of the worst pain days and frustrating fatigue days, I let Him know, "I'm still holding on." But today was a culmination of all these things (not enough sleep included) and I. broke. down.

In a nutshell:

  • The neighbor's massive Great Dane barked me awake somewhere between 3 and 3:30 a.m. and I couldn't fall back asleep. I was so tired, but you know how it is when you are so very tired, but w i i i i d e awake. 
  • I discovered why the dog was barking at 3 a.m. when the sun started rising and I noticed something in my backyard and went to investigate. Leftover bunny. 😦 
  • No milk for African tea (my morning addiction) because I ran out yesterday and didn't have the energy to run to the store.
  • My heater is suddenly not working and baby, it's cold inside!
  • Money I was supposed to have a week ago did not come and when I called to find out what was going on, I was told I had to wait at least three more business days.
  • The money that did come in today's mail (also late) was less than half what it was supposed to be. 
And that was it. I was done. I was done and I was yelling, like, "I'm done with this job! I'm done with these people! I'll go sell my plasma, God, or you better figure this out because I'm DONE!" 

Aren't you glad He can take it? 

I mean, hey, He already knows what's in our hearts and our minds so why not just let it out? I actually got that out of a grief book I perused at a book store before I even knew Jesus. And oh, I was grieving, because of course, "the plasma people probably wouldn't even take my blood because it's diseased, and oh, that's right, it isn't a disease...!" You get the drill, and I was crying by this time because I can't support myself. I can't work and when I do, I can't get paid like a normal person without expending more of my precious little energy tracking it down. And this whole time, between the yelling and the crying, I'm trying to read through my furnace manual. Cuz that's gunna happen! 

I knew I needed a break and to calm down so I sat at my desk and made a Scripture printable. This verse helps me hold on to Jesus' tassel and I've been meaning to make it into a printable for a couple weeks now. I couldn't figure out how to make it downloadable since this is officially my first attempt at sharing a printable (and I don't think free blogger is set up to do that) so I ended up making it into a JPEG. I hope you can download it - or at least print it!



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Working Behind the Scenes

Hello, Dear Readers!

I know I've been dormant (again), but I'm really here, working behind the scenes (in spite of the incredible fatigue I've had this year). I am currently going through a blogging course to learn all the ins and outs of not just having a blog that I randomly post on, but an actual blogging website. And there's so much to learn!

I am determined, though. My life sort of depends on it, you see, because I have had no income for the past year. My long-term disability policy closed my case after 24 months because fibromyalgia cannot be tested for - it cannot be medically proven with blood tests - so they consider it a self-diagnosed symptom and therefore not subject to the coverage of "real" health conditions, and after two years of sitting in appeals, I finally have a court date for my SSD claim - May 11th (please keep this in prayer!).

Yes, I am determined to find a way because when you have an invisible disability and are unable to work and you've gone through all your savings and all your retirement and you have no husband or rich parents or grandparents... when you are very much alone in this world, it is frightening. I know I sound a little like Debbie-Downer, but this blog is about being authentic and I promise to get to the happy, encouraging stuff in a moment. For now, though, if you haven't been in a situation like this before (and I know many of you have), try putting yourself in my shoes for just a moment before you judge me about feeling afraid and alone. Seriously, I had a record month last month. Yes, I did. I broke the record on how many shut-off notices you can get in one month! I managed to keep the water, gas, and electric on, but the internet was shut off for about a week before someone at church told my roommate and she paid to have it turned back on. It's supposed to be included in her rent, and she frequently works from home. It was a difficult week for us both.

Only by the grace of God have I managed to keep my home and all my utilities on in the last year. I have three bedrooms and have been trying to rent two of them out (at the same time) for the last seven months, but now that I require first and last month's rent (because of damages incurred by a previous renter), I can't seem to find any interested parties. At least none with permanent jobs, anyway. I've also been working in my home for a friend's insurance business, but can only manage 4-7 hours a week. I usually have to chase him down in order to get paid and that adds to my stress  (aka: fibro flare-up) and to my feelings of humiliation, "My water is going to be shut off, can you please pay me?"

I know God is teaching me through this humbling, frightening, and difficult time. Over and over He tells me, "I am providing for you." When I first lost the disability income, I received a check in the mail for two or three dollars from AT&T. It was a settlement check from an account I had with them 10 years earlier. The next day, I received free Reese's cups at the grocery store and I got so emotional. It was one of those times I wished I was home alone, so I could cry openly and thank Him because I knew it was Him. He typically needs to pound me in the head in order for me to trust that I really heard from Him (instead of things just being my own wishful thinking). And friends, there's no better way to get my attention than with Reese's peanut-butter cups!

Anyway, He is teaching me to trust Him for my needs and to stop relying on myself. I've been on my own since my senior year in high school so this has been a hard one to get, but I'm learning. And this is why I am so determined this year! I know that because of Him, I am not alone and my life is not over and there is still a purpose for my life! Cranky condition or not. No longer do I want to live a life determined by whatever temper tantrum or hissy fit fibro is having. God created me for a purpose and invisible disabilities, they don't surprise Him:

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
             - Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

He knew all the days of my life before He even formed me.

He knew all the days of your life before He even formed you!

So I prayed and I started researching and getting organized and setting goals. My research took me to some pretty amazing websites and blogs and I discovered people are actually making money by blogging and by doing what they love and helping others do the same.

All from the comfort of their homes. 

Now granted, I'm never comfortable. I can't even lay down comfortably anymore because of the tailbone pain that isn't really my tailbone, but is a nerve next to my tailbone...

Anyway, it can be done! I can earn a living for myself using the gifts God gave me. I can blog, I can create printables (I've already created some I can't wait to share with you), I can encourage people and can help others (I hope). So I am working behind the scenes to learn all about it: branding my blog, monetizing my blog, setting up email, and ew - all kinds of techy stuff y'all know I'm so not gifted with.

Did you know plugins are not just those toxic smell-goods you plug in the wall? 

And apparently, I'm going to have to start getting on Facebook more than twice a quarter, which will seriously cut into my Pinterest time, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And I hope you stay tuned because chances are, Authentic in My Skin will be moving and getting a redesign.