Posts Tagged ‘autoimmune disease’

Philip’s 47 year wait to breathe “easy”

I hope you are doing well in spite of the hot summer sun.  The past couple of months have been more of a struggle for me than usual, at this time of year. When I need encouraging, I often go to one of my favorite books on living withBeingSickWell chronic illness, Being Sick Well by Jeffrey H. Boyd M.D., M.P.H.  This week in the book I read the true account of a severe asthmatic named Philip Holladay.

At age two, Philip developed severe asthma.  Sometimes his mother would look at him and run from the room sobbing.  No one would explain to Philip why she did this, or talk to him about his asthma. His family cared for his basic needs, but kept him at arm’s length, neglecting him emotionally.  Throughout each day he coughed up large amounts of mucus and gasped for air so loud,  you could hear him throughout the house.   He used his inhaler frequently just to breathe for a few more minutes.  (p186)  Everyday he woke up, this young boy  was amazed that he was still alive.

One day, he made a conscious decision not to associate with his two younger brothers for fear the world would reject them, as it had rejected him.   Students shunned him or made fun of him at school.  Some adults were disgusted by his symptoms, others could not look him in the eyes.  No one  reached out to him.  He slowly retreated into his own world, immersing himself in mathematics.

“When he was fourteen, in junior high and walking from one classroom to another, he suddenly stopped breathing.  He was simply unable to gasp any more air.  Alarmed, he rushed out onto the grass, took hold of the flagpole for support, grew weak and numb, and his vision dimmed.  Within minutes he would be dead.  A thousand kids walked past this dying boy.  Everyone looked, but they all turned away from his gaze.  As Phillip was suffocating, he gave up on the human race.  He wanted nothing to do with these peopleasthma21 who did not bother to call the school nurse whose office was just fifteen feet away. Philip had always gone to church but didn’t take it seriously.  He did not know if there was an afterlife.  He hoped there wasn’t.  If there were an afterlife, he wanted to be alone, with no humans to annoy him.  Then suddenly against all odds, air poured into his lungs, Philip survived.  Perhaps his bronchial muscles simply relaxed”.  p 187

After the above incident, he gave up on humans entirely, shunned everyone, and only spoke a word or two when necessary.

At 17, Philip had decided people invented God to comfort themselves. Being a mathematician, his logical mind could not make this decision without proof, so he set out to disprove God.  He read the bible from cover to cover only to find love within its borders.

Phillip lived in a loveless world, but had now found something he wanted to be a part of.  He wanted to be capable of loving people like Jesus Christ did.  He prayed a prayer to belong to Christ and then set out on a quest to change his life.  First, he had to learn how to communicate with people, so he joined a bible study.  He watched others relate and began to take baby steps himself.  Soon, Phillip emerged as a leader.  While majoring in mathematics at North Carolina State University, he served as a youth pastor.  He earned his Ph.D. and became more active socially.

At age 26 Vanceril became available as a research drug.  It was prescribed for Phillip.  For the firstFDA-phases-out-certain-inhalers-OCDIUEA-x-large time in his life, his asthma became less severe.   He began to feel as though he might have a future after all, and began to think about dating. He soon met Georgianna, a divorced mother of three , who was not put off by his coughing and wheezing.   She had experienced  an even more difficult life than Philip.   They fell in love and married.  To this day, Georgianna is his closest friend.

At age 47, some new medications were prescribed for Philip:Singular and Pulmicort.  They revolutionized his life.  He began to breathe as if he had no asthma.  The peak airflow of his lungs doubled, and became better than that of an average healthy person.  For the first time in his life, he could breathe through his nose.  (p189)

For Philip, because of the advances  in medicine, the latter part of  life is better than the beginning. What most people take for granted is a special gift to him each day of his life:unhindered breathing without gasping, coughing and pulling up mucus. He is no longer embarrassed or fearful of dying. He has peace of mind.   Philip does not even seem to have any residual bitterness or anger because of  the difficulties he experienced growing up.  As a professor of Mathematics at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, his students have many good things to say about him.  You can read some of them here at Rate My Professor.

While there are some people that do not agree with conventional medicine, Dr. Boyd has found during the research for his book Being Sick Well, that most sick people hold conventional medicine in high regard.  For me, having medication available has been a lifesaver.  I have been on hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) almost 12 years.  I am very grateful that my side effects are limited and I can live a pretty full life.  I am thankful  I do not have to take steroids or anything more powerful than Plaquenil at this point.  I have also been on cabergoline (Dostinex) or some variation of it for 20 years.  Without it, I would often suffer headaches several days a week, increased lupus symptoms and hyperprolactinaemia .

Every visit now, the doctor tells me the lupus may burn itself out someday.  Unless God intervenes, I doubt much will change with the Raynaud’s, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and osteoarthritis however.  But, every so often, with his approval,  I try to cut my hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) dosage in half.  I usually only make it 10 days to 2 weeks.  Recently, I pushed it to a month with my symptoms increasing with each passing week.  I was a little discouraged to have to go back to full dosage, until a friend reminded me how thankful I should be for medicine that helps me.

It can be easy to lose sight of the many medical blessings we  have and focus on the health challenges instead.  Not Philip.  He is living each day with a strong awareness of how blessed he is.  His quality of life would be very different today if it were not for the many people who worked  long and hard to develop effective asthma medications.

I  believe God also has a hand in the process.  He gives people wisdom, strength, and tenacity.

He [God] changes times and seasons; he [God] deposes kings and raises up others. He [God] gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.   Daniel 2:21 NIV

I am thankful to God for my medications and my doctors.  I am thankful for those that work tirelessly to bring forth new lupus drugs to help those in desperate need.   I know we are far from a perfect solution, but may the work continue, and may God help each scientist.

Hopefully, one day, each lupus patient will be able to “breathe easy” with their symptoms completely under control.  God bless the medical explorers.

Many blessings to you…Leslie Rose K

 

 

 

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A surefire way to reduce anxiety, worry and stress

Recovering soldiers knitting

Recovering soldiers knitting

Before I started homeschooling my daughter in the 7th grade,  I was never anxious for her to go back to school after summer break.  She is in her last year of college and I find I have not changed.  After Christmas this year she was ready to rush back to school and three more weeks of winter break.

She lives off campus in an international house where she is very happy.  I however, was somewhat crushed to see her run off.  After the busyness of the holidays and traveling, I felt as though I had hardly spent any one-on-one time with her.  Seeing my disappointment she decided to stay a little longer and spend some quality time with mom.

IMG_3250

My daughter, paddling off…..

I was grateful to have her all to myself for a little while.  While we were in my sewing room she began to complain about me not making her anything.  Mind you, I have made this girl a twin quilt, a scrap quilt, a full size quilt for college and numerous other smaller items.  I told her, find something you like, I’ll make it.  Within minutes she found a lovely pattern in my new quilt magazine Primitive Quilts and Projects.  With her birthday just three weeks away I had to get right to work.  She picked out some flannel and wool she liked and I was off and running as soon as she left for school.

This project took my mind off the fact that she was cutting the apron strings a little more.  I think she was subconsciously preparing us, herself included, for the day she will leave on a year-long internship (if all goes according to planned) or move out on her own.  It is coming soon and rightly so, we trained her for this, but it does not make it any easier.

Ahhh, but the project, the lovely project, working with soft wool and flannel was so soothing.  Tracing the pieces , ironing them onto the wool, cutting them out, all quieting thoughts about an uncertain future.  Then the sewing, stitch after stitch, repetitive but relaxing.   I know not everyone would find this enjoyable.  You may even think I am crazy.  The fact remains and it has been proven, that creating something is a way to get good feelings flowing .  It is a way to soothe and calm the soul.this is your brain on crafts small

In her article This is your brain on crafts,  writer and embroidery artist Lisa Borgnes-Giramonti explores this very subject.  I found it very interesting that in WW I soldiers were taught to knit  as therapy.

ca. 1918-1919, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, USA — Bed-ridden wounded knit to help pass the time. Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, ca. 1918-1919. — Image by © CORBIS

ca. 1918-1919, Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, USA — Bed-ridden wounded knit to help pass the time. Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, DC, ca. 1918-1919. — Image by © CORBIS

Let me highlight a few main points from the article for you:

  • Psychologist Robert Reiner says, “crafting can decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and even improve sleep.”
  • Reiner says, “your breathing takes on a regular pattern, which shuts down the body’s anxiety-producing fight-or-flight response.”
  • Psychologist Robert Maurer says ” When the mid-brain is engaged by repetitive movement ….the temporal lobe is unable to focus on worry or stress.  The cortex which controls conscious thought becomes quiet and peaceful.”
  • Stitchlinks in the UK organizes knitting groups for people dealing with depression and other health issues.  The director, Betsan Corkhill says, “When concentrating on a pattern, you’re required to be so present in the moment that you can’t worry about the future. Even physical pain fades into the background.”

Some testimonial quotes from Stitchlinks:

  • “I am convinced that the repetitive meditative and creative aspects of knitting was what has gently helped me back into a more fulfilling life. I have absolutely no doubt that knitting daily for over six months ‘reset’ my brain in some way….
  • “It is so meditative. I sit and knit and am lost in my own quiet world. It brings me an enormous boost in self-esteem, making beautiful garments, bags and shawls that people praise.”
  • “Knitting requires me to think creatively, to plan, prepare, organise, co-ordinate and control just one small aspect of my life. Then any other changes are manageable.”
  • “On a bad day, I can think about projects. On a good day, I can work towards realising them.”
  • You can go HERE for many other uplifting testimonial quotes.

A few more interesting facts to keep in mind:

  • If you have struggled with the solution to a problem or with trying to recall something, taking a break to craft may provide the distraction your brain needs to find the answer on its own.
  • Giving away your creation provides addition pleasure.
  • For all of us with unfinished projects, it does not matter if we never finish the project, it is the process that brings us the calm and a variety of sensory pleasures.

So, the best thing my daughter could have done for me was to commission the pillow she wanted for her birthday (along with staying the extra day and a half).  It soothed my mother’s soul that is still in a bit of a transition as my only child moves ever closer to graduating college and living on her own.

The pillow Pattern from Primitive Quilts and Patterns

The pillow
Pattern from: Primitive Quilts and Projects

That’s not all, as I wrote last time in A Key to Living a More Enjoyable Life, the benefits for helping those of us living with lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases can be significant.  The key is, to find something you might enjoy, if you have not already found it.

As we have seen from this post, it doesn’t matter how good you are, or if you even finish the project.  It is in the process, as long as you enjoy what you are doing.  Cooking, gardening, reading, crossword puzzles etc are also acceptable things to try.

So like I said last time. Curious minds (me and the other readers) would like to know, “what do you do to soothe your soul or what are you getting ready to try?”

Until next time….happy crafting.
Leslie Rose K
FOLLOW ME HERE ON PINTEREST
The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.-William James

A key to living a more enjoyable life.

Here we are again, another winter storm on the way.   With the frigid weather I have stayed in most days working on my quilt projects. IMG_4114 When I was sick with a chest cold a few weeks back my husband doted over me for a week, for fear I would end up in the worst possible place-the hospital.  I spent my time reading books and magazines and kept busy the best I could-in spite of not feeling well.  An article in one of the magazines got me thinking about a life changing event I would like to share with you.  Please bear with me if some of this is redundant for some of you.

Each issue of Quilter’s Newsletter magazine, has an article where 4 people respond at length to a certain question.  The question for Feb/March 2014 was, If I could spend a day with a quilter.  I expected people to write about well-known quilters and was  surprised to see that each person wrote about someone who had passed away, someone who impacted their life with quilting.  My thoughts immediately flew to the person who first introduced me to quilting over 30 years ago.  Tears came to my eyes as I thought of my friend, Linda.

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My first quilt. Early 80’s.

I met Linda in my early twenties.  She was just a few years older than me, an  elementary school teacher, who loved “tag-sailing”, and collecting antique things.  Her house was like a museum.  The most memorable thing about Linda was her laugh.  She was one of the happiest people I ever met.  Her eyes even laughed.

Not long after I met her, Linda gave me a personalized quilt block for my anniversary.  I was very intrigued, having never seen anything like it before.  As a result, she offered to show me how to make a simple 9 patch quilt block, like the one in the sampler. (top row, middle block) After her  lesson, I went on to take a quilting class.  Mind you, this was before all the time-saving tools we have today. The class was challenging, but I stayed with it.  In the end, I had this sampler that I still treasure.

Strangely enough, after having made a few quilted items, I gave up quilting for several years to make and sell a variety of hand-made items.  I eventually returned to quilting after remarrying and having my daughter.  I took more classes, and made new friends.  Even though I was busy raising our daughter, and doing child care, I made time to quilt in our cramped little bedroom.

Sewing the binding on my daughters quilt in my tiny sewing area

Sewing the binding on my daughters quilt in my tiny sewing area

After we moved to PA., Linda and I kept in contact mostly at Christmas. This went on for over a decade until one Christmas I received a phone call from her companion telling me Linda had passed away from pancreatic cancer.  I was shocked, and very sad for her 3 children, and for all those who loved this vivacious, happy woman.

Linda’s illness came on her suddenly, her suffering was great, but short.  For many of us, living the rest of our lives with the effects and unpredictability of lupus can be discouraging, even overwhelming.  My purpose for blogging is to encourage us, to plow ahead, into perhaps uncharted territory, and rise above this disease that would seek to rob vitality from our life.  Quilting has helped me in this area.

For me quilting:

  • has helped foster friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise

    Stitch n' Peace Quilt Group Gettysburg Pa.

    Stitch n’ Peace Quilt Group Gettysburg Pa.

  • improves my brain and self-esteem
  • helps me develop persistence, patience, and purpose
  • helps me dominate illness in my life
  • gives me much pleasure, relieves stress, and boredom
  • fills my home with many treasures I get to enjoy

Quilting has allowed me to:

  • show people how much they are loved as they receive a one of a kind gift

    One of the baby quilts for Japan

    One of the baby quilts for Japan

  • send  messages of love and hope to Japan after the tsunami
  • bless babies in Romania at Casa Shalom, and here in Pa. at Tender Care Pregnancy Centers
  • earn money for our family by making doll quilt sets for many little girls

I would love to have the chance to:

  • show Linda my little photo album documenting my journey of quilting.
  • To show her how my abilities have slowly improved over time.
  • To thank her for the wonderful friends I have made.  To tell her how they have helped me grow as a person and  in my ability as a quilter.
  • tell her how crucial quilting has been in helping me rise above the effects of lupus
  • I would like to be able to properly thank her.

We never know how we will impact someones life, and then in a domino affect,  other lives. Working with my hands has been a true lifesaver for me.  Do you have a passion? Or, maybe you are ready to try something new?  Whatever the case, use it to enable yourself to rise above the effects of lupus and make life more enjoyable.dominos

In all fairness, I cannot end this post without recognizing the other people who  were a huge influence in this area.  In high school,  I had a strong inclination toward art, which my father and step-mother were very quick to foster, in the brief time I lived with them.  They really believed in me, which I think gave me confidence to  create in my 20’s.   To this day my step-mother is quick to encourage and support my endeavors, offering wisdom along the way.  And I can’t forget my mother, who has become my biggest quilt cheerleader over the last 10 years. Thank you Dad, Ginny and mom.

In the meantime, borrowing a phrase from Wendy Sheppard, an amazing quilter I follow on-line at Ivory Spring, curious minds want to know, what do you do to dominate your diagnosis?

Until next time,
Many Blessings, Can’t wait to hear from you….Leslie Rose K
For more inspiration  follow me here on PINTEREST.
 
Let the favor  of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17 ESV
 
 

Entering 2014 with a challenge?

Happy New Year!  As we enter 2014 I am certain we all face some sort of challenge.  In our little family, guidance and wisdom areguidance key needs starting 2014.

  • Guidance as my husband considers career adjustments and looks for new employment.
  • Wisdom for me in several different areas.
  • Direction for our daughter as she graduates college in May and has many changes to look forward to.

For some readers,

  • courage and hope are your key needs starting out 2014. You are facing challenges bigger than yourself.
  • Perhaps health and strength are your key  needs at the start of this year as you cope with the physical needs of lupus and lonelinessother autoimmune diseases.
  • Maybe friendship and family are areas of need.  There may be a void in your life or healing that needs to take place.  I could  go on  but I think you get the picture.

What is a person to do?  After the celebrations end and life falls back into the daily routine, where will we find help for the key concerns in our life?  For me, the starting place is always God.  I simply cannot handle the big issues of life alone. The people close to me do not have the ability to soothe all the inner stirrings of anxiety, doubt or what have you, in my soul.  My prayers usually start by explaining the situation to God, even though He already knows.  They are usually short and to the point, but consistent, until the situation is resolved.

Even though the answer  is not always what I want or expect, prayer helps calm me going through the situation.  I do not feel so alone inside with all my feelings, fears, and apprehensions.  People are great, but for me, nothing soothes my soul like leaning on Someone bigger than myself.god-of-all-comfort

Whether or not you deal with the challenges in life the way I do, I sincerely pray that you have

  • all the resources you need to meet your challenges in 2014, and that you will have a good resolution.
  • I pray you will have wisdom and guidance when you need it.
  • I pray you will be courageous and filled with hope as you meet every challenge.
  • I pray you will find increased health and strength to live life more fully than last year.
  • I pray your relationships will thrive this year and your family will have peace.
MANY BLESSINGS FOR 2014
Thank you for following this blog and for your encouragement which usually came at just the right time. 
Leslie Rose K
 
From Wisdom From God’s Word  1/1/2014
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.   Isaiah 40:30-31 ESV

run

How to Manage the Holidays and Stay Healthy

This year Thanksgiving  snuck up on me. I found myself scrambling to get my in-laws’ Christmas gifts,  decided, bought, and wrapped, in time for our trip at Thanksgiving.  With Thanksgiving wrapped up,  the push was on to get ready for Christmas*.

This year the shortened time between both holidays and  the bad weather has people working even harder to get ready for the holidays.  There must be some frazzled and frustrated people out there.  I know I have had my moments.holiday shopper  The Big Three* can wear any one down, and make life more challenging for quite sometime, whether you have  an autoimmune disease such as lupus or not.

While the end of the year is a great time with family and friends, decorations and music, great food and gifts, there is also the shopping, the deadlines, the spending, the excess food and drink, and the endless running around.  If you have lupus this can add to flare ups, more fatigue and sleeplessness, many “I wish I had not’s”, and extra medication.  If you don’t have lupus, it could still lead to trouble.

How do we avoid these things without avoiding the Big Three*? Have you heard the phrase-all things in moderation?  Most of what we are doing, we want to do, and need to do, but it is easy to  go overboard.  My tip in three simple words is Abstain from Excess.  Excess being the key word here.

  • Abstain from all excess activity.  Activities we have no spoons for (see The Spoon Theory).  The activities that will push us spoon theoryover the edge or that are not really necessary.
  • Abstain from excess indulging.  Excess food and alcoholic beverages, anything that will make you feel sluggish, bloated, headachy, or ill.
  • Abstain from excess spending  that will cause stress for the next few months of 2014.
  • Abstain from excess stress.   This will look different for each one of us.  What besides the three areas above cause stress that wears us down and even takes us out? What demands do we put on ourselves that are unnecessary?

I think you get the idea and probably have more to add to the list.  The goal is not lists of things we cannot do, but rather how can we modify or simplify what we do so that we can stay as healthy as possible, and enjoy the holidays.cooking

  • Enlist help. Having a party?  Make it a potluck. Ask one or two people to help get the house ready.
  • Find shortcuts. Shop on-line, purchase gift cards, magazine subscriptions, etc. shop on line
  • Save.  Stick to a budget.  Shop the sales.  Kohl’s is great if you have their card.  A painless way to save for Christmas is to let your credit card rewards build up all year.  Start your own Christmas Club and put money in every paycheck.bank
  • Be consistent. Try to stick to your normal sleep schedule, exercise, and eat right, as much as possible.  Have some good protein before indulging and drink plenty of purified water.

I hope this helps.  I pray you are enjoying the season as much as I am this year.  It is great to know my daughter will be here celebrating with us.  I am enjoying the decorations and the gifting process.  I am looking forward to baking some cookies and seeing  family that I have not seen since last Christmas.  My little niece is walking and my nephew is roller-skating.

Praying that your holidays are filled with lots of joys big and small, and that you are well enough to enjoy it all.

Many Blessings Leslie Rose K

PS I would like to invite you to stop by Wisdom from God’s Word and check it out.  Each day I share a verses from the bible with a photo and usually a short prayer. It is a great way to start the day. I hope to see you there.

*The Big Three:Thanksgiving; Hanukkah,Christmas,Kwanzaa etc.; New Years.

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 29

As promised post 29 of this series is about encouraging others.  Your health issues with lupus or other autoimmune diseases may be such that you feel you do not have the ability to be an encourager. I pray you will feel differently as you read this post about an amazing encourager.

Imagine moving to a different land with your husband and two young sons because there is a famine where you live.  Family-Travel-How-To-Make-PlansYou do not know anyone, you do not know the area, but over time you adjust.   One day you become a widow, and there is more adjusting to do.  Your sons marry and you wait expectantly for grandchildren.  Years pass and tragedy strikes instead.  You now find yourself a childless widow with two daughter-in-laws.   It is time to adjust some more, but you are spent.

Let me introduce you to Naomi from the Old Testament of the Bible.

After hearing  there was food again in her homeland, Naomi decided to return home.  To her surprise,  both daughter-in-laws offered to leave their homeland and go with her.  She urged them to return to their people knowing that moving to a new land and culture would be challenging for them.   Reluctantly Orpah left, but Ruth clung to Naomi saying,

“Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you.  For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  Ruth 1:16 & 17**

Most people have no idea that these amazing words were first spoken by a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law.  We tend to relate them to lovers at a wedding ceremony.   But if anyone needed to hear words like this it was Naomi.

Imagine these two women traveling alone 100 miles over the mountains, across the valley, and up through the wilderness*, probably by foot, maybe by donkey.  It sounds overwhelming, scary, and long to me.  Then there is the arrival.  I would not like being the center ofCedar_Mtn_Wilderness attention, and the recipient of everyone’s  sympathy or pity.  It would, however, be comforting to be with familiar people in a familiar place.  It would be good to be home, though very bittersweet.

Whenever I read the book of Ruth I cringe as Naomi tells the people at home  “I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty.” (Ruth 1:21a)  In my opinion the Lord did not bring her back completely empty.  Yes, she was home without her husband and sons but God gave her a tremendous gift in the person of Ruth.

Ruth was not about to let her mother-in-law make the long difficult journey alone.   She had no intention of letting her be comfortless on the journey and was not about to let her face her people alone.  Ruth was a loyal encourager.   She was there to inspire hope, ruth naomicourage, and confidence in Naomi, during one of her most difficult hours in life.

Ruth had her own challenges.  She no longer had the companionship, love, and protection of her husband.  She had to fend for herself at a time when it was extremely difficult for widows.  She was going to a place where she would be an outsider.  Ruth did not let her own challenges and heartbreak stop her from reaching out to someone else in need.  In the end Ruth was greatly rewarded for her selfless actions.

If you read the Book of Ruth, you will see Naomi helped Ruth catch the attention of a kind and loving relative who took her as his wife. She later had a child bringing Naomi much joy.  The real reason however, that she was able to catch this man’s attention was her love and devotion to Naomi.  He saw her heart.

Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2:10-12**

Even though you may feel like Naomi in the struggles you go through with your health, I urge you to be a Ruth, and reach out to someone in need of your encouragement.  Reaching out selflessly will have its own rewards.  I guarantee you will be blessed in one wayHe-who-refreshes-otherswill-himself-be-refreshed or another.

Many blessings to you.  Leslie Rose K

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Romans 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

*Reference: Who’s Who in the Bible By Joan Comay and Ronald Brownrigg

**English Standard Version Of the Bible

30 Posts of enCOURAGEment Post 28

As I begin to wrap up this series, I would like to pull together information scattered throughout my posts on encouraging yourself.  This is meant to get you thinking about what you like, what makes you happy and what could help you through a discouraging time.  Your lists will not look like mine.  You will find other resources.  I hope you will find some valuable suggestions here.

I bumped into a friend  that will have knee surgery soon.  I asked if she had help for after the surgery.  It is a wonderful thing when you need help, and friends and family gather around.  Some bring meals, others take turns driving you to appointments,  someone else helps keep the house clean, and others  cheer you up.  Then there times when you need to be encouraged and  there is no one there to encourage you.  Or, if they are there, they are unaware of the need, or unable to meetDiscouraged_thumb it.

What can we do to remedy that situation?  There are several choices we can make.

  • Give in to self-pity
  • Allow depression to take hold
  • Yield to destructive behavior such as self-medicating
  • Decide to be proactive on own behalf

It is this fourth option I want to write about today.  Whether we have lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases or not, we have all been in this situation.  I would like to share some of the things I have learned while coping with illness.

The information gathering

  • The internet has extensive information on encouragement.
  • If you are a reader, books can offer more details, examples, and Gathering-Information-How-to-Reach-Third-Parties-300x199strategies.  I highly recommend Being Sick Well by Jeffrey H Boyd M.D., M.P.H. It brings you  into the lives of others struggling with health issues and shows you how they cope.
  • Websites that pertain to your particular situation such as The Lupus Foundation of America may  help  in this area.
  • Certain TV programs offer valuable input on how we can help ourselves through different situations.   Oprah has her powerful Lifeclass weekly, which covers a variety of issues on personal growth, and freedom from emotional pain. 
  • People  have life experiences that can help us.  Small groups can be a big help.

Monitor Input

One of the biggest helps or hindrances to our frame of mind and state of emotions is input.  Everything we take in influences how weneg feel.  We need to faithfully guard ourselves against negative influences.  Just like the information in step 1 is helpful, the wrong information is harmful.  We do not want to feed on a steady diet of everything that can happen.  We want to limit exposure to people who make us feel more defeated than before we spoke to them.

Self Discovery

This is the time to figure out what encourages you, makes you happy, or gets your mind off your troubles.  To help you get some ideas here is what I have learned about myself  on this lupus journey.

  • quilting, wool applique, and doing handwork with friends has a way of shifting my attention.   It is really hard to be depressed when my hands are busy making pretty things.  See my Post A Body in Motion for more valuable information.
  • Prayer, the bible and church have lifted my spirits many times when nothing else could.  See Glazed Looks and God for more on this subject.
  • Being around uplifting family and friends does wonders to get my mind off of things.stick_figure_insert_key_black_hole_pc_800_1287
  • I have learned that proper sleep, exercise and eating right make it easier for me to stay upbeat.
  • I have learned about the crucial impact of gratitude on our frame of mind.  See A Grace Journal for more valuable information on this topic.

Action

After making our way through the first three steps, we are ready to carry out some of what we have discovered.  Unlike my friend, who has family and friends  to help her, we may have to be courageous and reach out to people.  We may have to fight guilt as we take quality time for ourselves, keeping in mind it is crucial for our well-being.   No one can do this for us.  Our emotional health impacts our physical well-being just like exercise, sleep and eating right do.  So, the next time you are feeling discouraged, decide what  you want to do to lift your spirits, and do it.  You will be happy you did.

Please read the links to the past blogs. They will give  more practical information and encouragement.  I hope you share  your thoughts with us. Thanks for stopping by.  I pray this blog is a blessing and encouragement to you.  Next time…encouraging others.

Until then,

Many blessings to you.  Leslie Rose K

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