Saturday, February 13, 2010

Exhausted, but sleep deprived

Apparently exhausted does not mean sleep will come. I've spent the last 5 hours trying to fall asleep, but as you can tell, I've had no success. Thoughts and fears are swirling around in my mind, and I can barely make sense of it all. Although to be honest, it's really more fear than thought thats keeping my mind going. I know very little about this new thing thats entered my life. Or perhaps more accurately, the new name of what I've been living with for the last nine years. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD). That is my Cleveland Clinic (CC) Dr's final diagnosis. She told me it is a lupus like condition, that can change into full out lupus over time, but also manifests different symptoms of other various autoimmune diseases. She also told me that I could find information about it online. I'm finding out however that there is precious little out there by way of explanation. At least, not by legitimate, reliable sources. And so the definition of what I have is still very vague and overwhelming. And more than a little scary.

The past few weeks have been anything but normal, but then "normal" for me has long since passed that of the common definition know by everyone else. In my quest of finding my own new normal, the process of relinquishing claim to the RA name has been a bumpy ride. It would be easier if I knew my new traveling companion, but as I stated above, little has been found to leave me confident in my understanding of my new diagnosis. To top all of that off, my little flare has been continuing, though thankfully it is a much sedated version of my typical variety. You can't actually tell by looking at me that anything is wrong this time around--that is, unless I'm more tired than I thought. :) Besides the continued fatigue and relentless trouble sleeping, I've been having flashes of heat radiating from various joints combined with the dull ache that often comes with it. The swelling in my hands and feet have been slightly worse than normal, and sitting or standing in one position for too long tends to get pretty uncomfortable. I started my new medication, Plaquinel, two days ago. I've been warned that it takes a while to kick in and begin doing its job, but I'm hoping it doesn't take the entire 6 weeks she gave me before my new follow up appointment. Stress has always made my condition worse, something I didn't really understand, much less believe, until I left my last job and all its craziness behind. However, in light of current circumstances, remaining stress-free or even limiting stress is a bit of a stretch at the moment. I'm really having trouble coming to grips with my new condition and finding peace of mind through it all.

With all of these things warring for my attention, its no wonder I'm having trouble shutting down my thoughts and getting some sleep. Knowing I can't achieve peace on my own, I finally sought the comfort I know can only come from prayer--a peace so complete and beyond understanding that it can only be found in my Savior. Tears running down my face, I began to pray. Not knowing where to start or what to say, I just poured out my heart to my very best friend. And I let go of it all. I may not know exactly whats going on or where my life is headed. I don't understand why. What I do know is that I'm not alone. I have peace in knowing that my heavenly father loves me and wants whats best for me. It may not look like it, but everything in my life serves some kind of purpose. I may never understand what that is, it may not be evident until I stand before Him in heaven. But I do know that somehow, it will be used for His glory. I heard Steve Saint, son of missionary Nate Saint speak at a music festival a few years ago. Something that he'd learned and shared with us has stayed with me till this day. After telling his story, and that of his father's, he introduces us to his "uncle"--the very man who had killed his father. He explains how they'd met when his mother decided to take him back to the ministry that her husband and others had died for, and how their curiousity in how these women could return after the loss of their husbands, led him and others to Salvation in Christ. His next statement is something that will forever stay with me. "God never allows a single hurt, that cannot be used to further the cause of Christ." No. I don't know the "why" or even when, but I do know that he will use it somehow. I just hope I'm not too caught up in myself and what I'm going through to miss the opportunity when it comes. So I take peace now in that. In knowing that HE knows whats going on. And HE has a plan and a purpose for my life. However confusing and unpredictible it may seem, I'm on the course that He's set for me. I may not know what speed bumps and potholes are ahead, and I'm not always going in the direction I've planned, but I know that the end destination will be worth the few detours along the way.

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