I’m in a much better place now. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Physically, things are moving forward slowly. I’m on day 2 of no fever, and my energy level improves a bit each day. I’ve lost most of my voice and it’s still extremely painful to eat and drink, but I no longer choke as I try to swallow. I nearly passed out from the pain after taking a sip of pomegranate juice this evening. I don’t know what I was thinking.
A bizarre physical side effect of something during this process (I think the high dose steroid injection) was the overnight disappearance of the baby belly I’ve been lugging around since my daughter was born nearly 3 years ago. Despite my overall lean build and relatively active lifestyle (when I’m not sick) I’ve had a protruding belly that makes me look about 3 months pregnant. It completely disappeared overnight. My husband noticed immediately. “Where’d your belly go? I mean- it is FLAT! That’s crazy!” I’m actually expecting it to gradually return as the steroid effects wear off. But it lets me know that there is, indeed, something going on in my gut. The protruding belly has obviously been a result of some sort of inflammation, rather than the baby fat/post baby lack of muscle tone that I thought it was. And, while a flat tummy is fun and all, I see this as a red flag that I have severe digestion issues that need to be addressed if I am to regain my health.
Emotionally, I received a lot of support this past week from a precious old friend whom God sent for a visit at just the right moment. She’ll never know how much our conversations helped to ground me and center me in the midst of all this chaos.
Spiritually, I gained a lot from church on Sunday. My infectious disease doc’s PA attends my church, and waited to speak with me after the service. She participated in my care during the hospitalization, so she knows my history. She asked how I was doing, and I just said, “Not good. It’s the same as before.” She hugged me and started praying in earnest for all the specifics that only she could understand about what I’m dealing with. The lesions, the thrush, for my throat to open up… She cried with me.
I’ve also been reading a surprisingly amazing book by the actor from Hercules, Kevin Sorbo, called True Strength. My mom gave it to me shortly after the hospitalization in January, and I just never got around to reading it. It’s about his battle and recovery from 3 strokes in his mid-thirties. One of the parts I like most is when one of the specialists he sees suggests he do something called the Grateful Flow. It basically entails thinking of a few things you’re truly grateful for until you feel that energy flow open up (sounds kooky- but I feel it quickly when I do this- it flows out of/into my heart chakra- again, kooky, I know). Anyway, once the energy opens up, you fight the urge for further thought and simply pray for wisdom and a quiet mind. This part has proven more difficult for me so far, but I think it’s the type of thing that takes practice.
I’ve been so enthralled by the book (and I’ve had a lot time on my hands) that I decided to look up those old Hercules episodes on Netflix. Yeah. I don’t recommend them. Maybe they were great in the early 90’s, but wow. Just wow. I’ll just stick to his book for now.
And in my grateful flow recently: I’m pretty sure I’ve evaded hospitalization on this one, I can eat and drink (albeit very little), my precious husband is a gem, my dad is alive and functioning quite well (all things considered), my God is by my side and offers me constant guidance and comfort, and He has sent me exactly who and what I needed, exactly when I needed them. Faith is belief in the promise of things that have yet to be seen. I’m still struggling to have faith in God’s promise for my healing. But He’s working on me.