Saturday, May 18, 2013

Things Above

The last couple days have been hard. I have been busy with things that remind me that I am sick: doctors appointments, blood work and other such things.  On Thursday I had two doctor appointments - one a new specialist and the other an integrative health doctor I have been seeing.  The first appointment was supposed to be 45 minutes as it was our first appointment with this internal medicine specialist at VGH. It ended up being almost an hour and a half. It was an exhausting appointment.  After asking a lot of questions and doing a physical exam, he was in agreement with my other doctors - chronic fatigue syndrome. He did want to run a couple more tests just to be sure as he was worried by my sudden drop in BP when standing up.  He did tell me my GP went "above and beyond the call of a family doctor" and that my other internist is "one of the wisest guys" he knows.  So despite some of the other things he had said, the words he said about my other doctors were very encouraging. I know I am so blessed by the healthcare team that is working to help me in any way they can. 
My second doctors appointment was good as well. As my first appointment went so long I was very late for my next appointment but my doctor graciously fit me into his packed schedule. He also ordered some more blood work. I am very glad I am seeing a wise doctor who is aware of more than just the typical western approaches to medicine; however, it can be difficult as it can end up with my doctors saying opposing things (such as my recommended salt - I am supposed to take 9g a day according to my specialist but he says I should not salt load at all!).  
Since my symptoms have been getting worse (hence no posts in a couple of days), I figured I would try removing the copious amounts of salt; however, that led to almost fainting at dinner yesterday so I decided to follow the western recommendation and keep salt loading as it increases my blood volume and prevents me from faiting, even if it is 'unhealthy' I prefer that at this point.  In retrospect, it wasn't wise to stop the salt yesterday as I also got blood drawn - 7 vials worth!  I literally felt drained of all my reserves.
Thankfully today I have a little more strength although my symptoms are still quite bad. As I have no big outings today, I am glad to use some strength to write. I feel that it is healing in itself as it brings me some joy. 
This past week I have begun to focus more on my health or lack thereof. I think it is a combination of a few things - mostly all the medical appointments I have had this week, an eye infection and also doing a bit more investigating into CFS.  The combination of those things and also battling with depression, I began to narrow my focus more and more on the illness and how debilitating it can be instead of all the blessings and gifts: the things that bring me joy.
Two nights ago I found myself feeling particularly down. I thinking about some of the things I had read and how the specialist had said he could treat HIV better than CFS as so little is known about CFS and the trial drugs they are using in the States for CFS are not available in Canada (as well as the fact that he would've tested me for HIV if he thought he had any reason to). As I lay discouraged, I felt a sense that I needed to look outside. Before my eyes was the most beautiful pink skies.  Immediately I was filled with a loving comfort and I couldn't keep this gift to myself. I told one of my friends, who is in the middle of her own health battles, to look outside as I knew she could see part of the view that I see from her window. So both of us enjoyed the beauty beyond our windows and shared it with each other.  It was truly such a comfort and a joy to share it. 

However, all too quickly my mindset came back to me and my discomfort. 
This morning I was reminded of the truth that I so needed to hear - set your mind on things above
I have been doing a short devotional this week that is based off Tenth Avenue North's album The Struggle.  Today's was based off their song "Where Life Will Never Die". I don't think I have heard this song before and because of my headache I didn't listen to it this morning although the words that were written about it in the devotional we're exactly what I needed to hear.  What my very soul needed
"O tempted heart, come alive. I feel you burning inside. O weary soul, lift your eyes, to a city where life will never die. This rusted world, can't satisfy, there's nothing here that will survive, but the night will end and the sun will rise on a city where life will never die."
This world cannot satisfy. It's not what I was made for. It's not my home. 
Suffering, pain, and death are from this life - they are not from above. Yet I still focus on them. I let my heart and mind linger in the sufferings of this world. No wonder my soul is downcast. 
Focusing on problems will never satisfy.  Focusing on things this world offers, will not fulfill the cry of my soul for something more. For something that gives hope and a purpose - a purpose even for this tired nearly bed bound body. 

I was made for another world.  I was made for a place where all things will be renewed. My body will be given new life! Now that is something to be expectantly patient for! Something that gives me hope!  
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” - CS Lewis

When I focus on things above, things below change.
The ordinary becomes divine. 
Life is filled with hope, comfort, peace - with God moments. 

It doesn't take the pain away but it seems to change everything.  So today I pray that my heart, soul, and mind would be refocused. Refocused on that which is above.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)

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