Thursday, March 30, 2006

Puritan Gravestone Art

I don't know if most of you know this, but I have always been very fond of the style and content of Puritan grave stones. They have various repeating icons, Sometimes a tree of life often represented by the weeping willow. Other stones feature a skull with wings, what I refer to as the Puritan death angel, seen here.

Now you could be thinking how macabre this is, and you would be right I suppose. The whole point of the Puritan grave marker, which is often revealed through their texts (not in the case illustrated) is to remind the living that death will come to all as it did to the body beneath the stone.I don't have any of my books on the subject to hand, but suffice it to say they were often of the "your turn is next" variety, then going on to encourage the reader to consider the shortness of days and seek to secure eternal life while they have breath. I shall try and post a few when I am able...

All of this to say, prayers continue to be appreciated. I am "losing iron" again. I had a break of 6 glorious days, which though filled with feeling weak and heart racings were at least a pause in the cause of my anemia. If I have my way I shan't be euphemistic on my tombstone, but while I'm alive you'll have to read between the lines so I don't distress the occasional male reader with overly particular details of the curse.

Sistern and Brethren, I don't feel like I have anything left to lose blood wise. Will call the lady Dr. if I can to ask yet again, is there anything they can give if this gets desperate, to buy me time to investigate options? I have found no way to get Cyklokapron in Idaho and haven't the strength to travel to Canada or Scotland for more. I do rejoice that the blood of Christ is my all and that this life is only a wee bit of reality...I feel utterly devoid of any ability to wax eloquent about the glories of Christ because not only is my brain fuzzy but every aspect seems dull...the heart still seeks to have sweet fellowship with the Lord in prayer and in resting in him...I just don't know how to say that in a way that doesn't sound like a disclaimer or like I think I've got one foot in the grave...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Belated Update

Please forgive me for taking so long to get an update here. I just have not felt enough energy to post. I realise now that I should have had someone at least go on the comments section and post an update for me. As it is I've been writing this for days, what normally would take me an hour tops, and likely it makes little sense.

The below could sound like "whining" or as the Brits say whinging (though I read now upon checking the spelling that the latter actually is whining without doing anything about the problem, since I am doing everything I have been told to do or can think of, it wouldn't actually fit, but I digress as is my custom.)

Let me say that I am grateful to be alive and for each mercy I have known these past weeks, that of a patient husband, kind friends who inquire as to my health, two reasonably untraumatic drs visits and so on. I am thankful that the holy spirit has pressed upon me and upon other's the need to pray. I tell the details below only in response to inquiries I or the dear husband have had regarding "what has the doctor said" etc..

I saw a woman Dr. this past week. She did as thorough an exam as she could do without additional tests. She said that while what I am experiencing is within the realm of possibilities at this time of life, if it continues beyond a month or two, or gets worse etc, the next step will need to be various tests of a more invasive nature. I will have to continue to have blood levels monitored to be sure the anemia does not get worse, my ferritin level which indicates how much iron remains stored for use is 5 (which is considered an indication of severely depleted iron stores) and my total iron binding capacity is 11 (should be 30 at least) though the hematacrit and hemeglobin levels point to moderate anemia. It is likely I have been anemic longer than the acute blood loss indicates.

The "cause" of my blood loss has finally ceased after 20 days and I have no idea when it will begin again.I clearly haven't much room to lose more. Please pray I can obtain meds which I was on in the UK which will cut bleeding in half volume wise or that I shan't have any bleeding for a good while. Full recovery from an anemic state is said to take at least 6 weeks if not several months (though a dear friend said with iron I could start feeling better in 2-3.)

I am still experimenting with what regimine of iron is tolerable and there are all sorts of things that interfere with getting optimal uptake so I feel like I have to chart out when to take what and when to eat what. There is a posh new prescription iron pill out but it is very large. The pharmacist said I could crush it. I did, it tastes worse than all my childhood cough syrup experiences put together, so bad that chasers only magnify the taste, I had to chew strong gum for about 3 mins to get the flavor to end, perhaps this is the place for "Curiously strong Altoids?"

Part of me says small price to pay, part of me says, there is no way with it being that nasty that I will be likely to stay with it, the flesh being what it is, particularly if I could find an equally good tab that is easier to swallow. I have been lured by the drug's little video on their website to think that they have something unique in their product as it has been shown to be better tolerated and absorbed and so on. I asked the pharmacist what other iron he knew of that would perhaps be easier to swallow and he suggested one. The lady Dr. gave me 12 days of samples of the "new" iron but will prescribe something else as needed.

I was surprised to find myself with crashing fatigue later in the week, the kind where a nap at 7pm doesn't seem out of the question and that after a full nights sleep and perhaps another nap in between. Sleep is, praise God, reasonably good of late though not particularly restorative I suppose because what I really "need" is iron. Some days I feel rather weak and shakey, and find showering to be exhausting. If I feel this bad with anemia how poorly must friends with cancer or chronic illness feel? I don't think I should feel this worn out.

I am seemingly trying to eat the whole population of Idaho's cows, and dh is fixing them for me. I can now rattle off what cereals have the most iron fortification in them and the iron levels of several foods. I also know about the types of iron and what interferes with them being absorbed. I am also taking healthy doses of B1,B6 and B12 as well as vitamin A. I have read that I should perhaps be having E and zinc as well to help iron absorbtion/utilization. I also take Shepherd's purse and Chasteberry tinctures as well as uterine tonics such as Rasberry leaf tea. Who knows if any of it is helping. This has been the biggest lesson I have ever had in the means God has ordained for our body to run nutritionally. I was surely several days late and dollars short when I started losing iron.

At the end of the day dear friends, I may well be headed toward the hysterectomy I desire to avoid if possible. One dear friend, well versed in anemia, who knows me well, assured me that if and when that time comes, I'm going to know. Likely I'll be begging them to do it.

That said given the frustration level I've had of late with my GP's office who seem to want to wash their hands of me (could just be me being extra sensitive due to feeling poorly) , I wonder if I would find any more enthusiastic care from the surgeon's or Gyn's who would do a hysterectomy? Dr. Susan Love, a surgeon herself, refers to the Hyster as the "ultimate breaking and entering" so I can only imagine that a disinterested dr. would add insult to injury. You'd think if you are going the path that seems to be so enthusiastically embraced by others as my cure, they'd at least have some bells and whistles going? I expect a hysterectomy costs at least half of a new car, could they try half as hard as the new car folk to win the customer? I suppose I should be thankful that I've not found anyone who is just oh so kind and helpful and wants my best and will "hold my hand" through surgical intervention and after or I might have signed up already just to have the old paternalistic care I so usually eshew, because it feels nicer than the "figure it out yourself and preferably at another office"options I've been presented this far.

The lady dr. did not feel the above way to me, she just doesn't feel familiar, the way a doctor one has seen for years would feel. She is fairly busy and is exceedingly young so I've yet to find that sense of having someone who will manage my overall health. It feels like the left and right hands are different entities all together (Gp and Gyn), which they likely are not even practicing in the same hospital. I've always preferred to do as much reading and understanding of what is going on medically and in understanding the options available, I just never realised how it would feel when that is all one has available, even when a physician is consulted. I have a friend who is an insider in the local world o'medicine and even then, it seems hardly to be a rosy path.

At the end of the day, I suppose it is just as well that there is frustration with the ways of man and "his" and my limitations because it leaves me back where I always hope to start, which is the knowledge that God knows what will happen in this case, in all cases, and that he can and will undertake for me as he see's fit. I know that when I lie awake praying, or feel tearful or frustrated as to what to do next, that casting myself upon the Lord, is a sure thing, is a certain right step, and will never be in vain.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Prayer appreciated...

Saw the Doctor this week. He ordered blood tests. Several things are out of the normal range and indicate anemia. I also have high platelet levels although they could be the result of blood loss. The Dr. wants me to see another doctor but the one's I'd heard good things about are weeks of waiting for appointments.

Please pray that God would lead me to a kind and wise doctor who will be an advocate for good health while not being over zealous in invasive testing or removing bodily organs. If the latter has to occur please pray that DH and I will know it and have peace over any decisions.

I am increasingly weary and at times afraid. I have had those kind of tears of the last three days which come from sheer exhaustion, teetering on despair and leaving no refreshment in their wake. I do praise God for the kindness and patience and help me dear husband has been to me through this. He is a strong support. I pray that God will repay him. (I also praise God for the easiest blood drawing I have ever had, which went in with nary a pinch and left no bruise)

I have also been turning over in my mind and praying about the admonition to call the elders to pray. I feel self conscious about such a thing, as if
surely this mortifying women's problem is not sufficient to take up their time, but the longer I think on it, the more I feel that I need to obey the admonition of scripture in this matter and leave the outworkings of it to the elders and God. I have one elder here of course but he notes that it is plural, so we shall see who is available and go from there.

And then there is this story below...Which appears in 3 different locations in the NT.( Mark 5:25-34; Matt 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-56)It has never been my favorite of the healing accounts, but it surely is often in my mind now, both in her suffering and in her experience with her physicians. I know that in various low times in my life, particular accounts of healing in scripture have taken ahold of my heart/soul in a truly affecting way. As great as my current need of physical healing feels, I know that the health of my soul is what will sustain me in these times and the days ahead. I also know that it is in these pressing times I repent sorely of wasted hours wherein I could have been seeking my souls good. All I can do now is of course, with God's help, beseech the spirit to quicken me so that I improve what time I have yet. I know that God has always been merciful to me despite my failings and sins but I do not want to sinfully presume, so I hope and pray.

25And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26And had suffered many things of many ph ysicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

27When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

31And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

32And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

33But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

mt 5:25-34 KJV

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ramblings or I could be anemic

Nope, I've nae written a thing for quite a while, still physically "not right" and watchfully waiting as well as collecting names of Doctor's in the event I stop waiting.(Ok, things got bad enough by the end of this writing that I am going to call for an appointment ASAP)

I've not left the house in over 9 days, barely left the bedroom, so don't blame me for playing the "what city are you quiz" (see below) sounds right lovely about now, but it is one of those things that the being physically out of sorts reminds me is beyond my ken at the moment. I've had lots of time to pray. I'd like to say I've read a lot but other than reading more than I want to know about all sorts of "woman's medical issues" not so much.

Without wellness for much else this week, the web got an occasional glance, blogs have been read. I did manage to locate and look at, a web page about the girl I considered to be my best friend in 6th grade I'll call her L-G. (I can't recall if she breezed into town for only 6th or if she was also there for 5th, possibly.) This is the girl who was and had everything I thought I would like to to have and to be. She had glossy stick straight chestnut brown hair (with auburn flecks that glinted in the sunlight.) She was everything I was not, or so it seemed.

We were friends only a short time as she moved away after 6th grade. I don't know if I appeared to her as an equal friend or if my feeling less than and glad to be in her "light" was obvious to her then, as it is to me now. For some reason or another we hung out together after school, likely because children were scarce in the well to do neighborhood our parents had each bought into. (She did have one other friend, a neighbor girl who wasn't allowed to play with me for reasons I don't know and didn't understand. The stories that came out of the other girls house over the years make me thankful now that such was the case.)

I'd have said she had dark steady brown eyes, but perhaps they were even green, a rare and fascinating color. She had a retainer and reading glasses (hardly exotic but L-G had them so she bestowed upon them desirability.) She had freckles. She had two first names, hyphenated and both used. She had a petite southern mother, who spoke to her openly and calmly, about growing up and "becoming a woman" thereby letting Laura-G into some secret society of maturity. (I had a 57 year old mother who left me to read about the curse on the back of a Kotex box, although thanks to a book about "Susie's babies" I could tell you all about hampster reproduction, what every 11 year old needs to know.)

Her mother WAS southern womanhood at it's finest, she was at the very least "The Junior League" (Could there have been snobbery running in the veins of a true southern woman? I think there could have been,though perhaps it was just me. I felt a tad like a border state clod of unpedigree'd dirt around her mother but was tolerated, if just. It was the closest I've ever come to thinking that the USA does have a class system.) Sure we both had Madame Alexander dolls LG had the stately 21 inch Scarlet O'Hara and the Bride doll, I had 12 inch Heidi and Alice and Wonderland (picked by my mother who thought I should like dolls.)

If the dolls were foreshadowing I was destined for Rabbit holes, running late and goats, she was destined for Green Velvet, horses and a turnip free life. (I note with gladness that Mother didn't buy me the Marie Antoinette doll.)

Unexpectedly but not unpredictably, after 32 years of parted ways, L-G's photograph reveals that she looks every bit as "posh" as I recall and appears all the more to have "done with her life" on paper, what I'd want on paper about my own self.(I don't kid myself, anyone's life can appear desirable in print but this is L-G her life WILL be at least appear to be posh, even up close.) She is still shiney haired, appears effortlessly trendsettingly thin, has two lovely children, has received many awards for her Poetry, is an associate professor of English at a reasonably prestigious women's college, earned a master's of fine arts at an exclusive writers program, and credits mentors in her early days as a writer. (I on the other hand had math tutors, those are not mentors trust me.) To be fair I did have several teachers and adults who told me, indeed insisted that I write, even WRITE!!! but mentors they were not. I was sure the adults were only suggesting writing in fervent hopes I'd shut up and go away, not because they saw any instrinsic ability. The literary version of "go play in the traffic."

All the mentors in the world cannot give one talent, discipline, drive. It would have taken far more than a mentor to subdue the lifetime of self loathing which forms the corpus of my inner critic. No mentor could have swept aside all the conflict I have felt over the proper place of writing for a Christian wife and mother. Oh and then, even if the time arrives when writing could occur, there is always laziness and fatigue to deal with. Overcoming that, as soon as pencil and paper are in hand, the inner critic returns, revived and suntanned, presumably from a coffee break on the French Riviera, all while I was trying hard to get ducks in a row so that I could return to writing. If I "work at writing" he works too.

Back to dissecting envy and comparisons. Yes, one can read between the lines of my childhood confidante's angst ridden poetry and say, hey, perhaps she felt as inadequate on the inside as I was sure to be skin to core. Yes, a painful divorce is noted on her bio. No there is no evidence of her being a woman of faith, much less one who finds her entire being in Christ.(In Annapolis, they attended "The Historic St. Anne's Episcopal Church," a church that held more mystique and poshness in it's every dust mote than my Lutefisk loving, stodgy, solid and equally spiritually dead, Lutheran church could hold in it's modern brick edifice )So where does this leave me with my reflection of 44 years, none of which are degreed, none of which published in posh literary journals, only half of them thin, and never fashionably so.

Do I have a green eyed monster? I suppose that depends on what one looks like. I certainly am happy for my friend and wish her all the best, that being primarily a life of unsearchable riches found in Christ. She is talented and has used that talent to reach goals that likely she set and worked hard for. If it is envy to feel the passage of years, to wonder about how one has spent one's days, to consider how much of who we are is already bound and established even at 11, how little we change, how opportunities and people shape who we are today, and yes to feel a twinge of the lie "life would be o so much sweeter if you were thin, had an mfa, professorship and glossy brown hair" as I swat said twinge away, then ok, it's envy.

That said, I am a rabid providentialist (oft accused of being a fatalist by those who are uninitiated into the whole God's over-ruling man's responsiblity parallel.)If I were envious and discontented it would be a sin to be repented of, God has appointed my days.(As poorly as I feel it is understandable that I wonder if those days are shorter than I'd expected though what would lead any of us to think they are longer than the next breath does boggle the mind.) Yes I have to confess where I've have not lived up to my potential, including the potential to clean bathrooms and make beds, the potential to share the gospel, to redeem the time, to listen rather than be heard, to pray for others, and yes, possibly to write as well. If I envy vs reflect, I would be expressing ungratitude and anger toward God, not toward the ever blamed "circumstances" or "lack of opportunity." I can only be tremendously, failingly thankful to God for everything, EVERYTHING such that to list one item seems to demean the magnitude of the whole. The unlistable everything, or at the very least the list that would begin and rightly never end for the praises that rightly belong there. Supposing that is what eternity is for.

Everything God wants for me is and will be in my life for His glory and my good. To my shame there are ugly ragged marks of sinful decisions and failures, to God's glory, I'm still standing albeit figuratively at the moment. To God's glory and mercy I don't have what I deserve, that being a confirmed reservation in Hell for eternity, or the consequences of every sin I've ever done etched on my face for the world to witness. We are all spared as well, the consequences of other's sin to a great extent, by the merciful restraining hand of a God who orders our world. These are all unfathomable unmerited mercies. So why in the world would I be pensive reading the biography of my friends' successes?(Soul meets flesh; has a tussle?Desire meets reality:ouch.)

The camera, the scale, the literary journals do not measure nor reward as God does, nor see as God does, and by this I don't suggest how "bad" L-G would look in the eyes of God (I have no knowledge of the state of her soul in any direction) rather the fearful reality of how bad I look against a holy measure. If I value success as scripture presents it, righteousness, servanthood, love, prayerfulness, humility to name just a few, how will that affect my days?

Something to ponder as I lay here realizing how many years of discipline and effort it takes to achieve success in anything, and how the lessons can be learned too late, if ever. I've never wanted to climb Everest, but it would be really pathetic if I decided it was the culmination of my life's dreams in the last week of life. Such reflection makes me incredibly glad my souls redemption was not left to me. If I can't even achieve what can humanly be done in this life with any enviable measure of success, how would I ever have done right by my soul?

I've seen enough of the shortness of life to wonder if I ought to be much more serious about doing and saying today anything I'd not want to leave undone. I'm also old enough to know how very insignificant I am,such that there is nothing I could leave done or undone, that would barely be noticed. I know that though I could be a means to various wee things (encouragement, humor, blessing) in the lives of others (with of course the attendant and ever present likelihood that I'll also be annoying, frustrating and selfish.) I rejoice that nothing other's need, will be left off or undone if I'm not here because it is God who wills and does for all those I love, not me.

Yes I do desire years of life with dh and dd and those I love (though selfishly speaking heaven looks really better) but I'm not irreplaceable and when I am gone, unless I turn out to be Shakespeare or Queen Elizabeth, my passing will fill over like sand and water fill a footprint on the beach, writing or no.

After I visited my old friend courtesy of the web, I did something I do a few times a year often with increasing frequency toward her birthday,I checked the adoption reunion boards to see if there were any postings that would indicate my first born daughter Rachel (what I called her, no idea what she is called now) might be looking for her birthmother. If she is still alive she will turn 27 this April. I ran all the searches I could think of, and with each one, I felt that incredible sadness and frustration such searches can leave me feeling, concern for her, hopelessness, despair, shame, unworthiness, loss. At the very last I typed in "Rachel where are you?" but of course, the web doesn't answer back. I wondered if I were to die, would Rebecca, keep looking for her sister, would she know how, would it fit into her life to check occasionally? I wouldn't want Rachel to check the boards, find nothing and assume she is not remembered, not missed, not sought out. I cried and cried pressed up against the back of my dear bear like husband's toasty snoring self. But this/that is another story...

And on a lighter note....

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

If I were a cuppa Joe...

Well dear ones, I'm sorry I've not at the blogstone lately. I did work on a piece this week but haven't been able get up enough zest to care about finishing it. I'm "hormonally" wacky

1.I'm either deep into peri-menopause which can last years (this one has my vote),

2.Have a horrible disease yet undiagnosed (oh I do hope not though it puts into perspective any discomfort of option 1) 30 something GP IS right "it's the change of geography you're way too young"(young is good.)

Regardless of what "it" is, Just staying on top what's happening this cycle, hot cheeks, crawling out of own skin, and migraines is a full time job.

Whatever "extra" energy I've got right now is going into enjoying a little quite time before our houseguest returns. (Andrew over from London, about 3 weeks total.)

I've managed to goof up on the leaf lace shawl I'm knitting enough times to think I need my head examined. Who tries lace knitting 9 mos after learning to knit? Who has "hormonal issues" including fuzzy brain and thinks lace work involving hundreds of stitches is a brilliant idea? That said it's a tad addictive and I am really enjoying it when I'm not hating it. By the final row there will be 400 plus stitches on the needle. (Note to self, buy/make more stitch markers.)

Will try to write a proper post soon (as if I know what that is?) Took the test I saw on another person's blog re; what kinda cuppa I would be if I were a cuppa, and it's no surprise to anyone surely I didn't come in as a plain cup of black coffee...that said I hate cappuccino's so perhaps that is revealing lots...(Give me a mocha anyday.), sorry I said no to your IM a few weeks ago, after I hit no, it occurred to me who you were, I didn't recognize your aim screen bad.

You Are a Cappuccino

You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.

However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.

You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.

You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please