Content Fatigue and Chronic Illness

I first wrote about content fatigue here. Be sure to catch what I had to say about the over-consumption of media there.

Another area in my life where I got bogged down with content fatigue was in regard to chronic illness. I was trying to read every diet plan, exercise plan, healing plan I could get my hands on. One thing would say “eat this raw” then the next would say to never touch it. One would say cook everything in butter, another would say never butter, always oil.

My heart and mind were being pulled multiple directions as I sought answers and healing for my hurting body. I had to really face that I can only try one plan at a time – and that any plan that will bring healing or lasting pain relief to my body will take time. It won’t happen on the first day, the first week, and maybe not even the first month. So I have to really pick one plan and follow it for at least 90 days if not 180 days. This is hard because I want to fix all of the problems NOW.

I don’t want to be sick anymore. I don’t want to hurt anymore. And the one that jams me up is that, while cellular health is crucial, and I’m starting to wrap my brain around eating and exercising in a way that moves fluids around, toxins out, and oxygen to and from, so that my cells are the healthiest possible – one of my conditions is a malformation of my skull. I don’t think I can eat enough of the right stuff for that to change.

I do think some of my pain is from inflammation. I do believe my asthma can be greatly controlled with diet and exercise. But I don’t think Chiari just goes away because of kale smoothies or triple servings of blueberries.

If you’re facing a chronic illness, and you’ve started researching how to support your body, I think you can relate – a lot of people have answers, and they come with a pretty price tag, and this notion of a quick fix. The content alone can be exhausting, and the conflicting messages make it sound like it’s our fault for being sick.

Don’t let that seep into your heart. If you know you need to do something better, take steps to do so. (This is me all the way.) But blaming yourself won’t make you well. And getting completely overwhelmed in the content you can read/watch/hear about chronic illness can be consuming and depressing.

Take one approach at a time, and give it time. Be aware of detox symptoms, go slow, give your body and cells a chance to adapt. Follow sound medical advice and go to a practitioner you can be honest with, open with, and that you trust. Sometimes you’ll know right away if a way of eating isn’t right for you. I feel terrible on High Fat/Low Carb within the first week. But it takes more than a month to see improvement from some of what works for my body.

Stick with it. Consistency matters. If you are eliminating a problem food, you have to really get it out of your system and leave it out of your system. Not slipping is hard. But don’t let one meal/snack turn into 3 weeks of consuming something that adds to your inflammation and pain.

You can make changes that will make you feel better. I think food plays a tremendous role in health. I think finding an exercise you can tolerate is important too! Stretching, walking, swimming, seated weight lifting, elliptical, dance. Moving your body moves fluids and gasses around so your cells aren’t swimming in toxic soup and they get a replenishment of nutrients. Start with a few minutes if you need to. You aren’t going for a marathon here. Just 3-5 minutes of movement. In a week, add 3 more minutes. You might find in 6-8 weeks that you can tolerate 30 minutes of slow, steady, deliberate movements.

None of this is medical advice – this is just from one chronic illness patient to another.

I think there is a spiritual component to all of this that needs a post of its own, so I’ll work on that in the coming days. I couldn’t face the worst days without the hope of Jesus. Sometimes I’m in so much pain I’d rather die than keep hurting like I do. But spending time in the Word (whether listening via the bible app or reading in my bible) helps me cling to Jesus and remember that this world, and this life, are temporary. He will remove all my pain and wipe my tears.

Until next time,

I can’t write because she…

How many times in my life have my words stop flowing because she … ? She has always been another writer, someone who communicates best in written form and shares her thoughts with those around her. She has been someone different time and time again.

When I first sat down to share this, I pictured many of the different women she has been. I don’t consider myself a very competitive person, but the first few women I thought of, something in life made me feel like I was in competition with those particular women. It took a lot of healing and help to come to realize that she wasn’t my competition and while there was outside influence and pressure to see her as competition, the biggest problem was the way I was looking at things.

Yet, as the faces slid through my mind and I tried to decide where to start, I realized that some of the women were never women I felt like I was in competition with. I don’t really view life that way anyway – I think it’s very much a team event and we sharpen and motivate and encourage one another onward.

So if some of the women stirred up unusual feelings of competition but some of them didn’t, then what was the common thread? And why did she make it to where I couldn’t write?

Maybe I felt less than when I compared myself to her.

Or maybe I felt ashamed. Or like she wrote better.

What really hit me was when I realized I was afraid to let them see where I was vulnerable. I can’t come here to this space and lie. It’s not what God called me to do. I can’t come here and make up someone I’m not or write a life I’m not living. Sometimes this is raw, sometimes gritty, but always open, honest, authentic.

And sometimes, when I think of her winding up in this space reading it, I think she might find my weak points. Maybe, she’ll use my vulnerability against me.

She has many faces, she has come into my life in different roles, and she is honestly just a messed up way the enemy of God tries to put a stop to me writing. Some false sense of self-protection or bravado. Hiding in fear of what exactly? I don’t know anymore.

Tonight I ask God to teach me to persevere and pen my words despite what road blocks and writers block the enemy tries to hurl at me.

Until next time,

Don’t Miss the Miracle

I’ve often wondered why we don’t see more New Testament miracles in our region. I certainly know people who need healing. I also know people who are connecting deeply with other people, and sharing how Jesus gets them through as a result, because they are struggling with severe health complications. I always assumed that was the main reason God didn’t heal everyone – He used some to connect with others who desperately needed to hear that God loves them and sees them and knows their pain.

I think sometimes we don’t see miraculous healing for what it is. We dismiss it. We point toward our medical practices. I know this first hand because of everything that happened with our precious son last year.

After a tragic event, we watched him lie in a hospital bed, connected to tubes and machines, with a poor prognosis. In fact, the first doctor I finally got to talk to was grim. He didn’t think our son would survive, and said if he did, we would be facing extreme challenges. He left the room and I felt the world spin.

But God!

Our church family rallied around us, and where we felt helpless, they bridged the gap and brought God’s love and peace to us. They prayed bold prayers over our son, prayed truth over our family, and held us up. And over the next 24 hours we watched a miracle unfold. Our boy, the one they thought wouldn’t survive, or wouldn’t be the same, was restored.

While the doctors expressed their surprise, they didn’t acknowledge the miracle. They didn’t acknowledge God’s hand at work. It was just, “Sometimes it happens that way.”

Since that time, I’ve had people listen to our story and counter, “It must not have been that severe after all.”

For a little bit, the comments clouded my vision. I started to think it must not have been that bad after all.

Folks, it was that bad. It was worse than that bad. Our son was not able to breathe on his own. He was unresponsive. His initial cat scan showed severe brain swelling. It was that bad – not just to a mom who fears the worst. Medically, too. I’ve read his hospital file.

God moved miraculously and I am deeply humbled and eternally grateful.

I think more miracles happen than we acknowledge. It is easy to not acknowledge them, to point toward something else, to let the credit go to the doctors, nurses, hospital, herbs, ointments, medicines, proactive care, etc. There are many distractions from God where the need for miracles is most.

I’m not saying withhold medical care. I would have never considered anything other than a good hospital in the situation we were in. I’m just saying healing didn’t come from anyone or anything other than God. I am grateful for the medical providers we met, and I am thankful for the work they do.

I don’t always know what to say for the times when the miracle doesn’t come, but I know God is good. He sees and He cares deeply about our pain.

Until next time,

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