A Season of Growth

This past year has been one of extreme circumstantial difficulty. Such seasons always lend themselves to growth; either you allow yourself to grow cold and hard-hearted, or you seek truth and grow to be more Christ-like. I’m so thankful to say that I’ve kept myself rooted in the word (the Bible) and God has revealed more of Himself to me than ever before. 

This actually brings me to tears, you guys. I’ve been seeking wisdom and guidance from God and he has lovingly granted my requests. 

Because this year (and especially this fall) have been such a whirlwind, let me catch you up on 2017 real quick:

- Starting the year, my body almost burst at the seams with inflammation and we sought answers for my huge Lupus flare. I began to be completely physically and mentally immobilized. It got so bad that there were times I didn’t think I could continue.

- In February, I found out that I was allergic to fourteen foods and the next day I cut them all out.

- In March, I took a chronic infections test and found out that I had eight chronic infections including hospital superbugs and borrelia.

- In April, I followed up the borrelia results with a T-cell test showing that I had an active Lyme Disease infection. I started treatment for Lyme Disease.

- In May, my two year old (Brooklyn) tested positive for a (much more severe) active Lyme infection. I also started a candida diet which lead into a ketogenic diet.

- In June, my seven month old (Caleb) tested positive for an active Lyme infection.

- In July I tackled SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and brought the kids to live with my parents while Zach did a major home renovation. I walked alongside my Dad as he was treated with radium and chemotherapy for cancer.

- In August, the kids and I did our first round of oral antibiotics.

- In September, Zach and I took the kids on a little vacation and it knocked me back quite a bit. My Dad was hospitalized.

- In October, I did a round of IV antibiotics and I felt much worse before becoming a bit more clear-headed. My Dad just about died in the hospital and we brought him home. 

- In November, I went back to work part time (part time medical leave) and this has been very difficult on my body. My Dad improved after Naturopathic home care and then passed away in his sleep at the end of the month.

- In December, the grief derailed my body and I really struggled to keep my body physically calm. 

- In total this year, I had 133 medical appointments and this required so much of my time and energy. I have still not been able to properly exercise because when I do, the inflammation flares. I have been quite strict with my diet, medications, and sleep to try to do everything I can to take good care of myself.


I don’t know why God is allowing these things to happen, but it is obvious that in this journey, my trust in the Lord is growing and I’m being sanctified. I am learning more deeply about the character of God and abiding in His grace. There’s a song by Matt Redman that has the lyrics “when I am in the storm, Lord the storm is not in me” and I am overwhelmed with praise and thankfulness that my foundation on Christ has allowed me to stay not just spiritually strong, but joyful through these horrible circumstances.

If my hope was in my health, I would be crushed right now. To have your reality so far from your expectations is not an easy thing to wrestle through. But I’m not crushed, I’m not scared, and I’m not even feeling like life isn’t fair.

This life is so much more than our day to day. The enemy brought sin into this world and there is spiritual attack, but what was intended for evil, God uses for good (Gen 50:20)! I will continue to bring God glory through my circumstances and praise Him for the opportunity to do so. And at the same time, I will continue to pray for physical healing on this earth so that God can be glorified in it. 

God hears your prayers! He hears the groans of your heart and he responds! He responded with Jesus who sacrificed Himself for all of us when all our sins were future. He took our burden and we can rest in the grace of our loving Father. Now we can look forward to an eternity where in the presence of God we are free from sickness, death, and all sadness!

Where are you putting your hope this year? Hope in anything other than Jesus will let you down. 

May we seek the healer over the healing. 

May we seek the comforter over the comforting.

May we seek the deliverer over the delivering.


2 Corinthians 1:3-7:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”


We are here to comfort, encourage, and guide one another through our different seasons of life. Thank you for journeying with me through this! Thank you for your prayers and reminders of truth! I can’t wait to see what growth God has in store for all of us this year. Much love!

28th Annual Lupus Symposium

Each year, the BC Lupus Society hosts a full day symposium for patients, friends, family, and medical professionals to educate about the latest Lupus research. This year’s Annual Lupus Wellness & Education Symposium was no exception to the norm, it was a hugely successful event!

The Lupus Society President, Josie Bradley.

The Lupus Society President, Josie Bradley.

Living with chronic disease can make attending events much more difficult, leading to a lonely and isolating reality. Having the opportunity to come together as a supportive and encouraging community is like filling up your tank, it provides just the oomph you need to keep working towards a more healthy future. There is nothing quite like meeting someone you know “gets it” without the need to explain how you are feeling.

If you were unable to attend in person, the symposium is also video-conferenced throughout the province. The opportunity is open for anyone wishing to learn more about what Lupus is and how to successfully manage the disease.

Lectures were given by leading doctors who specialize in the field of Rheumatology. They shared information about what Lupus is and how it is treated, pregnancy considerations, chronic pain, and symptom management. There were also guest speakers who motivated with their personal family story and a LifeLabs sponsored clinical doctor who explained how to interpret general Lupus biochemical markers. 

Whether you have been newly diagnosed or practically have a PhD in the subject, there is always information and inspiration to be gleaned.

My favourite piece of swag -- is it weird to love keychains?

My favourite piece of swag -- is it weird to love keychains?

Becoming a member of the BC Lupus Society allows for government funding, a charitable tax receipt, and the perk of receiving the quarterly Lupus Lighthouse newsletter. Head on over and become a member! bclupus.org

Did you miss this event? Stay ‘in the lupe’ on my events page. The big ones to look out for are the Lupus Gala in the spring, Walk for Lupus in the summer, and Lupus Symposium in the late fall. I would LOVE to have you join me at the next one! 

The Most Important Thing to Remove from Your Diet

I love food and I love eating. It has been so fun for me to learn all about nutrition and healthy eating and the best ways to eat to support the body during illness. Cooking is so fun and when I’m too tired, it’s a joy to watch Zach cook. The smell of the apple parsnip soup simmering is making my mouth water right this minute! 

I also love to do my best at everything and once I have knowledge of what the best is, I have to live in light of that revelation or I feel like I’m cheating myself. So when it comes to the knowledge of what foods will be most beneficial for my healing journey, and what foods are best to avoid, I have found myself adhering perfectly. And since my diet adherence has been so good for so long, I’ve found myself getting to an emotional place that is on the edge of controlling and I caught myself starting to feel really negative towards eating food that wasn’t healthy. 
 

The most important thing to remove from your diet is fear. 


This is pretty weird for me because I don’t even fear death but I started to fear foods that could make me sick. I’m choosing organic because I’m afraid of my gut being destroyed by glyphosate. I fear eating foods I have gluten cross-reactivity to because I don’t want an internal antibody allergic response. I worry about eating too much sugar because I need to keep systemic inflammation down. It’s gotten to the point where what should be appropriate concern starts to drift into worry.

And what’s frustrating is that even though I can have a perfect diet, the resulting stress over it is probably more detrimental to my health anyway! Because stress increases your levels of cortisol and cortisol shuts off your killer T-cells so your immune system doesn’t fight infection or respond to damage. Upon reflection, it’s actually laughable!

So I guess I’m wrestling with being obsessed with healthy eating. I definitely feel that I need to continue to check my heart to make sure I don’t get to an emotionally unhealthy place.

Check your heart. 


Why am I so concerned, anyway? I guess it’s a bit of a control issue. Diet is the one thing I can control with my healing and you’d better believe that I’m going to do everything I can to heal. I want so badly to feel like myself again. I need to have my brain back. So it’s tricky because eating healthy is a really good thing, and I’m doing it for really good reasons. 

But am I turning something good like high food standards into a destructive stressor? I’ve prayed about it and pleaded with God to release me from feeling this need for control. God, allow me to trust that you desire to heal me and that it’s not up to me to ‘make it happen’. Grant me the knowledge and wisdom to live in a way that honours the body you gave me so that I can bring you glory with it. God, help me to be thankful for the food you provide and help me live in the freedom that the comes from the cross.

In Jesus I am free. 


Where do I go from here? I’m going to pick the best food available and eat it with gusto and gratitude. Now please excuse me while I inhale this apple parsnip soup.

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
- Matthew 6:25-27

My Personal Health Story

I am so honoured to share that my personal health story has been chosen as one of the featured stories on itslyme.com!

If you’ve been following along my journey, you’ve seen the history of my Lupus and Lyme diagnoses spread out through several posts. I have consolidated my personal health story onto one page for a quick overview of my healing journey. 

You can head on over to itslyme.com to have a look, or you can click here to read it on my website.

 

“I have learned that happiness depends on what is happening around you, but true joy is an internal response to God’s grace in your life"