My son, Gabriel, had a tough journey from the start. My entire pregnancy was very difficult and it culminated in a very dangerous birth. We barely got to the hospital in time. I was almost fully dilated and I think the stress of trying to get to the hospital and being jostled around a scrambling to a birthing room, caused an umbilical cord prolapse. They told me I had to get him out NOW or they were going to have to do an emergency C-section because his oxygen supply was being cut off.
I pushed with everything I had and he came out, blue and not moving. He was also tiny at 5 pounds, 10 ounces. The newborns size clothes we had bought were too big!!
The revived him and he was ok but later struggled with learning to walk and other tasks. He needed a lot of early intervention therapy. He needed title one support in kindergarten and 1st grade to bring him up to grade level.
Just this past year has been an agonizing ride as we had to go through topical steroid withdrawal. He missed a ton of school as he the condition was so painful and debilitating.
It’s been a tough, tough journey but we serve a faithful God. A good God.
Many nights his father and I knelt next to his bed and prayed over him after he fell asleep. You’ve never met a child more loved and adored by his parents!
We’ve always thought he was amazing and smart and gifted, even if those qualities needed a bit of nurturing to emerge fully.
Well…. yesterday I opened a letter from his school inviting him to apply for the Quest program; a program for highly gifted students, because he was showing signs of exceptional giftedness.
I stood in my kitchen as tears filled my eyes.
Proud doesn’t begin to cover it.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Today when you face your struggles, remember that God wants to use them to prepare you for greatness. He has an end game and it is GOOD. Pray hard, believe, do your best and you will be rewarded.
If you’ve read my blog over this past year you’ll know my son, Gabriel, went through a really awful withdrawal from topical steroids. It was so bed he was basically on bedrest for months. Basically he had gotten addicted to very strong steroids and it made “eczema” spread all over his body and affected his entire system. I really don’t want to post pictures but google “topical steroid withdrawal” and you’ll get this gist of how horrific and debilitating this condition is.
But now 11 months in and he is so much better.
He’s not 100% yet but he’s come leaps and bounds from where he was. So much so that we got a call from his school principal saying “Gabe’s looking great! So… we really want him back in full school days.” I told her it’d be a rough adjustment but we’d try.
Yesterday morning when I woke him up early it was so tough. Because his adrenal glands were so messed up from the steroid usage, he has struggled horribly with insomnia. We’ve (up till now) let him sleep in because he sleeps so poorly at night and for whatever reason slept better during morning hours.
But he has been making major strides so my husband and I agreed it might actually be helpful to try to force his body back into a more regular sleep schedule. The first morning was rough but he actually did sleep a lot better last night and woke up much easier this morning.
It’s a huge step for him and milestone. He still has a ways to go before he is 100% healed but we are so thankful for the progress he has made.
A lot of times in life the path to healing is bumpy and hard. There are times we need to push out of our comfort zones to reach the next level. Change is hard but often necessary.
As Gabe’s loving parents there have been times where we comforted him and carried him (ha literally) but on this journey we’ve increasingly pushed him out of his comfort zone. As he’s gotten better we’ve adjusted his treatment accordingly. As he grew wings we’ve metaphorically pushed him out of the nest. Times where we knew he was capable but it was his mind that was stuck.
How many of us are perfectly capable of making necessary changes but are still stuck in old patterns? We were too sick at one point but we’re stronger now but still being held back purely in our minds?
“Dear Jesus, you know our hurts, our pasts, our fears. I pray that for all of us that you’d help us to break free from restrictive and sickly thought patterns. Help us to embrace wholeness in every area. Help us to find our wings and courage and fresh hope and get out of our comfort zones. For your glory. Amen.”
I was reading one of those cheesy diply slideshows this morning and saw this… I literally laughed out loud. “Riding the struggle bus into the New Year” could be the theme of the day.
Last night after putting the kids to bed my husband and I very unwisely watched a show about urban legends and serial killers. We were spooked. Plus there was a giant super moon (which yes, I do think adds an extra touch of crazy to the air). Plus it has been absolutely, ridiculously cold with temps getting to 20 degrees below zero.
I was drifting off in bed last night when I sat bolt upright in a panic, thinking I’d forgotten my dog outside in the extreme cold. I raced down the stairs in a panic to find him lounging on the couch.
It took an hour for the adrenaline to wear off so I could fall asleep. Then the kids kept waking up and everyone had weird dreams. Not a great night.
It was so hard getting everyone up for the first day back at school after break. Like, getting dragged behind the struggle bus hard.
I told my husband (a brilliant insight) that we should be more careful about what we put into our minds (especially before bed! especially on a full moon night!!). He agreed.
It’s just basic, basic stuff. Don’t put junk into your mind. Also, don’t live in Minnesota unless you are a certain kind of crazy.
Tonight we’re going to skip Netflix and do a devotional before bed.
My big (ok, pretty much only) New Years resolution was to get really close to God this year. I know it’s not going to happen by accident and I am going to be opposed by the enemy.
Anyways I hope all of you had a less eventful return back to normalcy after the Holidays. I’m just going to close with a couple of verses, which are very applicable to my latest misadventures.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive…. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” 1 Cor. 10:23 Philippians 4:8
I’m sitting here munching away on dark chocolate and it’s not yet 9am. I just drank two cups of coffee plus a generous amount of cold brew.
Why? Because I’m exhausted.
My husband has been gone on a business trip all week so I’ve been holding down the fort solo. Which was going pretty well until last night. Gabe had too much sugar (can’t blame him, a neighbor very thoughtfully brought over Christmas goodies) and was up just about all night long scratching.
I think he finally fell asleep but at 3 am my daughters bed-wetting alarm went off. So I’m stumbling around in the dark trying to unhook this contraption from her soggy undies while it’s chirping loudly enough to wake the dead. Gabe is awakened from his slumber and possibly the neighbors as well!
I finally just had to give him a dose of Benadryl so he could stop itching long enough to get back to sleep
I lay there for an hour afterwards and couldn’t fall back asleep until seemingly right before my alarm went off at 6:30.
So that’s why I’m drowning my tired sorrows in some lindt and starbucks.
I just realized all of this is very ironic because I’ve been meaning to write a follow up blog about rest. My last blog was all about pushing through. Grit and determination are important but no less important than finding rest.
In my TSW online support groups there is a lot of talk about PTSD, both for the kids who go through this nightmare and the parents who very much suffer along with their children. I think we’ve been able to avoid it because we have really done everything we can to be there for Gabe, emotionally and physically. If he was happy, we were happy. When he cried, many times I held him and secretly cried too. I’m a big believer in processing your emotions at the time. Shoving them down leads to so many problems later.
But one lingering fear that still very much affects him is that he is afraid to sit and relax. See, for months he would get brief energy bursts (where he could walk and function) and we’d be able to get out for an hour or two before he’d “crash” and it’d be back to sitting in the recliner for the rest of the day. Because his adrenal glands were so shot from the long term steroid usage; sitting down would often mean he just couldn’t get back up again. Which is terrible for anyone, but much more so when your a formerly very active 8 year old boy.
Now he’s made tons of progress. His skin looks so much better and he has loads more energy. He can usually “go” from 9 am to 9 pm now. A huge improvement where even an hour of being able to get up and walk around was a happy occasion.
So he’s come so far but I think the fear of “crashing” is always with him and he is afraid to sit down. Afraid that his energy will desert him if he takes a moment to rest.
I noticed this about a month ago. I initially thought he always stood because maybe the dryness in his legs made it uncomfortable to bend into a sitting position. But then I realized that wasn’t it. He was afraid. He would push himself all day and not sit at all except when in the car or on the bus. It just couldn’t be good for him, especially since he is still recovering.
So in the evenings I started forcing him to come and sit with me. He would resist it at first but pretty quickly he would curl his body close against mine and I would feel his tension melting away. A deep sigh and a sense of peace would come over him. What he was resisting was what he most needed. He fought so hard all day to overcome but he also needed to embrace times of rest after all that valiant effort.
I think that’s all of us.
We think rest is zoning out or maybe shopping or eating or whatever. And those things can be good and much needed but we need a deeper rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29
When we’re stressed, hurting, tired…. we don’t need to numb ourselves we need to seek this genuine rest. I know it’s something I need, every day. Not to check my Facebook for the 56th time. Not to overdo it on the wine. But to find this place of true rest that will restore my soul.
We need this time of rest built in to our lives because we live in a pretty harsh world. Our default mode is to seek bandaids and self-medicate when we really need to get our bruised souls in the healing presence of God.
This is really a challenge to me but hopefully an encouragement to others to seek His rest throughout the day. He isn’t going to force us (he isn’t a pushy, bossy mom like me) to lay down next to those still waters, but the invitation is there.
“Lord, you know our burdens and our heavy cares. Heavenly father we pray that we would surrender and relax into your rest. Help us to have a childlike faith and open our eyes to the wonder of your intimate care for us. Thank you for loving us so, even when we resist and struggle against what we need the most. Amen”
Right now my hands and forearms are fried into oblivion. I shelled out $20 (so well spent) for a month of unlimited Cathe Friedrich workouts. Having access to the entire collection is like being a kid in a candy store for this workout junkie. I’ve been doing new workouts every day and my body is currently begging for mercy.
I just love a tough challenge and I love feeling like I’ve done my best. I even like having sore muscles.
But at 31 there’s more aches and pains than I used to have and I had to go the chiropractor last month when my neck felt out of whack and all my stretching couldn’t fix it. I found a new chiro and was hoping to get in and out of there asap but he insisted on doing X-rays.
Well, turns out, I have curves in all the wrong places. My back has twists and turns like a nightmarish rollercoaster. My neck isn’t much better.
Well, that would explain the back pain that I’ve had for years. I often have to pause a workout and stretch my back or pop it back into place. It just is what it is. I don’t know if it was the stress of gymnastics as a kid, malnutrition as an eating-disordered teen, bad posture or a combo of all three but my back is whack (please forgive the awful pun!).
But I won’t give up on doing what I love and I won’t let it limit me. I’m going to keep pushing through like I always have.
I’ve run into a lot of obstacles but I haven’t given up. I figured out a diet that worked. I found supplements to help with my auto-immune issues. I found a foam roller to help with my back pain.
I wonder sometimes if that grit and determination is why God has allowed me to face the extreme challenges I have in my son’s health issues. There’s been a lot of times that it felt hopeless but I wasn’t about to give up. Ever.
“A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” Mark 5:24-26
This is my son’s story too. He saw many doctors and the medicine just made him worse. We were at wits end and we brought him up to the altar to be prayed over. The next week God revealed to us that the steroid creams were the cause of his deteriorating condition. We didn’t get the instant healing we were hoping for but we set off on a healing journey.
I think in life we all run up against obstacles that would try to beat us into submission. Giants that screams at us to give up. Times we seek healing in every natural avenue we can and get worse. Those times we need to push through. Like that woman who pushed through not just the crowd but what must have been a crippling social stigma as an unclean person for so long; to get through to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.
She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Matthew 9:21
I want to encourage you to keep seeking, keep pushing because you have a God in Heaven that loves you.
We can push through hard times because our God is for us.
This Christmas season I hope you take some quiet moments to ponder at the wonder that the God of the Universe came to earth as a baby in the most humble way possible. He did it for me, he did it for you.
I don’t know why but I’ve been thinking of an encounter I had a few months ago. I had taken my dog to the dog park and there was no one else there but an older lady and her Korean rescue dog.
So our dogs ended up playing together and she opened up to me about why she had gotten the dog. The night of the presidential election she had been very, very upset about the results. Out of her grief she had decided to get this amazing little rescue dog who likely would’ve ended up on someone’s menu in Korea.
Now, I’m 100% conservative and was pretty thrilled the night of the election. No, I’m not in love with Trump but I’m hopeful that he can turn some things around in our country. But I’m a human being first and I just listened empathetically to this woman. We had a really great talk and that wouldn’t have happened if I had labeled her because she had different political opinions.
People are people and we all need Jesus. Yes, politics matter. Knowing what you believe matters. But our eternal destination matters so much more. Jesus’ love is not constrained like ours, he doesn’t take sides.
“Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:13
I read an article this morning about the decline of mental health in America.
All joking aside, there’s an epidemic of depression amongst teens. This article is from the U.K. but I’m guessing we’d have similar number over here in North America. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3752222/Depression-anxiety-strikes-one-three-teenage-girls-Number-mental-health-issue-rises-10-past-decade.html The article sites a 10% increase in depression in the last decade and that 1 in 3 teen girls will deal with depression.
Not only that but the CDC says that 1 in 6 children have a developmental disorder https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/05/23/cdc-1-in-6/13146/ and that there was at least a 17% increase between 1997 and 2008. Who knows what the figure is at now.
All the experts can tell us is that kids are depressed because of their smart phones. Kids are disconnected. While I believe that is true and a contributing factor I also believe the high aluminum loads in our collective brains has an awful lot to do with it.
This study showed than exposure to environmental aluminum posed a major risk to neurological health and can lead to Alzheimer’s https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140212093300.html “While aluminum is a known neurotoxin and occupational exposure to aluminum has been implicated in neurological disease…” quote Now this study is focused on Alzheimer’s, a specific condition, but maybe environmental aluminum (cough*vaccines*cough) is behind the explosion in depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD and possibly even behind the increase in tragic school shootings.
This article from 2007 illustrates the prevalence of aluminum in modern society and the neuro-toxic affects “Trace amounts of aluminum applied to the brain surface of animals resulted in seizures and fits. Other studies demonstrated that aluminum salts injected into the fluid surrounding the brain produced changes that are similar to those occurring in senile dementia. In further animal studies, cats given aluminum became slow learners at experimental tasks. The level of aluminum in the cats’ brains was equivalent to the amount in the brains of persons who have a type of senility called Alzheimer’s disease.” http://proliberty.com/observer/20071207.htm
But what’s the link between Alzheimer’s and learning disabled kids, depressed teens and 20 somethings still living at home? Maybe it’s all aluminum. Just check out some of these common symptoms of dementia-
Difficulty concentrating and planning things
Memory loss and confusion
Short attention span
Lack of motivation
Personality, mood and behavioral changes
Delusions or hallucinations
Muscle weakness, stiffness, or paralysis
Slow and unsteady movements
Trembling in arms and legs
Aggression and frustration
Difficulty concentrating, short attention span, depression, aggression…sound familiar? Sounds pretty similar to what is being seen in the mental health epidemic we are seeing.
All of this because of an aggressive (ahem, profitable) vaccine schedule. Why aluminum? It’s in virtually all vaccines to trigger as strong as possible immune response to gain immunity to the disease they are vaccinating against. The major problem being, this powerfully immune-stimulating, potent neuro-toxin is in nano particle and tends to stick around the body. It isn’t coming back out. It is getting stored in white blood cells and worse, the brain.
Pumping babies full of this junk could easily explain not just the neurological decline but also the explosion of auto-immune problems. Again, all the experts can say is that we are causing asthma and allergies by being “too clean”. Really? Or could it be the powerful immune system antagonist being injected into our bodies throwing our immune systems in a tailspin???
Really I could go on and on but I’m going to exercise a bit of restraint and get to the good part- what do we do now? How can we rescue ourselves and our kids from this man made crisis of poor physical and mental health?
We need to start with avoiding further environmental aluminum. It’s been an experiment. It’s failed. We need to make major changes. For those of us who feel like we developed an auto-immune condition and/or mental health issue as the result of aluminum, we need to detox it out of our bodies.
This is the daily regiment I have my 12 year old son on.
I’m personally experimenting with taking diatomaceous earth. It’s really cool in that it’s the crushed up fossils of diatoms. It’s a rich source of silica- the single best thing in detoxing aluminum. I just mix a heaping tablespoon with filtered water and drink it. It isn’t too bad and doesn’t have much of a taste. It’s an incredible natural and safe detox aid. The silica is also great for hair, nails and skin- added bonus. I just started but I’ll definitely update my blog on how and if I feel it’s helping. Here’s some additional info https://draxe.com/diatomaceous-earth/
I’d like to do more posts on mental health, because really, it’s is just such a complex topic. But I really believe that our bodies and brains are going to have issues as long as they are laboring under this toxic burden. Getting the aluminum out is the first step.