As anyone who knows me can attest, God has, on many, many occasions, used not only His Word, but the words of countless others to offer up answers to my seemingly, never ending questions. To what am I referring? BOOKS. BOOKS. More BOOKS! Relationship issues, child rearing questions, health concerns, financial planning… the list is truly limitless. Allow me to share one such example.
In 2002, I found myself in a health crisis. I was heavier than I had ever been. I was experiencing chronic shoulder and back pain with daily headaches and pain in my hips so bad that it was everything I could do just to walk from my bedroom to the couch in the living room. Watching my oldest daughter, who was then in about 8th grade, try and run a household while nursing her ailing mom was just too much for this mama’s heart. My search for answers began. Space will not allow me to share all the details of trying to save enough money to pay for one blood test (we had no insurance at the time), just to be told that my “blood work looked good,” and that I should come back when I had saved enough money for another test. I cried all the way to the car. I just wanted answers. Many tests and heartaches later I found myself sitting in a Doctor’s office with a diagnosis. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. The physician’s recommendation? Antidepressants. I informed her that I didn’t think I was depressed, I was just tired and in a lot of pain. I explained that my life was actually quite rewarding, that our family was very busy with life and helping inner-city Chicago kids; she nodded and then wrote out a prescription for an antidepressant…
Then and there I made a choice (the important things in life always come down to a choice). You see, I wanted that diagnosis. I wanted to believe that there was a reason I felt so bad. I wanted to grab it and make it my baby and yell, “You see world, this is what’s been wrong with me!” That moment is when I knew that if I leaned into the safety of that diagnosis… from then on… that disease would become my identity.
To this day I can’t tell you if I had the disease that the doctor diagnosed. What I do know is that I decided, have it or not, I was pushing for quality of life. I would read and study and treat every symptom. I would not go quietly into the night! I would not go down without a fight…sorry…I got off topic there with a favorite movie quote. But the truth is, it was an Independence Day for me.
A week later my friend Jennifer and I were walking at a local park when she handed me a book written by Smokey Santillo. She felt it had some good nutritional information and that could be the next step toward my healing. I love a new book. I love the smell, the texture, and the knowledge contained between two pieces of cardboard. That being said, I gotta tell you, the first chapter of this book left me underwhelmed. I kept reading through point after point on just how polluted our planet really has become. Water pollution and air pollution; well, that I could handle. Next was electro-magnetic pollution. Yup, that is when Smokey lost me. I was sitting there thinking, “Now I have to be concerned about the very light bulbs that allow me to read this book?” I wanted health, but seriously, how much could I be expected to change.
Except…there was one little line that seemed to leap from the page. Scientific studies had shown that some people are very susceptible to certain electric cycles. This sensitivity had been known to lead to many ailments including miscarriages in women who were exposed to certain computer monitors for longs periods of time. HMMMmmm…Some folks apparently are even sensitive to things like T.V. consoles and …wait for it….ELECTRIC BLANKETS!!!
(My family had, in 1999, moved from the warm state of Florida to attend college in the very cold state of Indiana. Would you like to take a guess at what one of the first items we purchased had been?)
I stopped… I thought, “It really couldn’t be that simple.” I walked to the bedroom, I pulled that electric blanket off the bed, I went to sleep and I awoke the next day. Yes… the very next day. I got up and walked virtually pain free to the kitchen and made breakfast for my kids.
As I said, I cannot honestly tell you whether or not I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. What I can tell you is I continue to read, I continue to tweak, I continue to reach for a quality of life physically, emotionally and spiritually. I believe that God can heal all that is broken. I also believe that he can choose to heal through a book… or perhaps, even a blog…