Friday, February 28, 2014

Should I Have a Baby (or get a puppy) When Chronically Ill?

Let me preface this post by saying, I in no way think puppies and babies are equal. Let's just get that out there. Babies have a soul and were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). While they are soft, cute, and cuddly, puppies do not have a soul and are not created in God's image. Puppies are not children and, of course if you've been around children much you know that they are not puppies. You can't put your child in a crate for hours at a time and leave the house, and you can't give a child away to an animal shelter when you get tired of them or realize you are in way over your head :)

I've long since wanted to blog about the difficult and emotional decision of whether or not to have children when chronically ill.  We are blessed to have a healthy and beautiful daughter and while I am thankful for her and never want to take her for granted (though of course, I do at times) I also never hoped to have only one child. But our life is very different from our dreams and so my husband and I have had to realize that due to the nature of my chronic pain and the degree of  my disability, it would not be wise to have another baby or welcome a child into our family through the beauty of adoption. Some days I accept this better than others, but the longer my pain goes on and the challenges I've seen with having a puppy in our house over the past couple of months (more on that to come) the more I know my body could not likely endure mothering another child (let alone the pains of pregnancy/childbirth).  Of course, God is the one who ultimately decides these things and so like all areas of our life, we desire to surrender this to Him and trust Him, but adding another child to our family is not something we are actively pursuing at this point.

But there are some of you that may be trying to decide whether to have a child when chronically ill, and what a hard decision it is! Last year, Lisa Copen, at Rest Ministries, a wonderful support ministry for those with chronic illness, gave me a copy of her e-book "Should I Have a Baby if I am Chronically Ill? The Ultimate Guide of Questions to Ask Yourself, Your Spouse, and Your Medical Team"

Picture Source
Although I am not currently pursuing having another child, since my pain began right before I found out I was pregnant I can attest that the questions in this e-book are great questions to consider before having a child when chronically ill.  I really liked that Lisa begins with questioning our motive for wanting to have a baby. This is so critical, I think, because often we desire a baby for how it makes us feel or because we want to be like our friends who have children instead of thinking through the commitment and purpose of having a child and being a parent. Which I believe is primarily to bring glory to God and to train the child in the ways of the Lord so that he/she can then glorify God and share the gospel with others.

The book is just as the title suggests, a book of questions (over 400 in fact!) and while it is geared more toward the first-time parent, it would also be beneficial for those considering a second or even third child (especially if the illness came after the first child). Lisa has a section devoted to adoption and provides some resources for that, which I really appreciated as I think too often we don't consider adoption when thinking of having children. Lisa, of course is a great resource on this subject as she adopted her son while chronically ill. 

So what does this have to do with getting a puppy?

It's funny. I remember having newly married friends who would get a puppy before having children. I've even seen friends who struggle with infertility get small house dogs. Not being an animal lover (at least not during my adult years) and having never struggled with infertility I never really understood why. That is until I became chronically ill and now have a puppy myself.

In my last post I mentioned that we got a puppy kind of unexpectedly at Christmas this past year. I remember one of my best childhood friends had a small house-dog (a terrier of some type named, Destiny) that I thought was so cute and I thought it would be fun to have a small inside dog. But growing up we always had bigger outside dogs because we live in a more rural area.  A couple of years ago a friend of ours had a Yorkshire terrier that would just come lay in my lap when we visited their house. I thought it sure would be nice to have a dog to keep our daughter company, and I would enjoy having a companion on my bad days when I'm resting and when my husband works evenings. Then out of the blue we heard about someone selling Yorkie-poo pups. I saw a picture and told my husband, expecting him to say "not right now", but he didn't. The catch? I was to be the "primary care-giver" (of course my hubby is great and does help a lot, but I've tried to keep my end of the deal when I can). So, I researched and read and thought about it a lot and a few days later we brought home this little guy. (I was really interested to read that Yorkie-poos are good dogs for elderly people and make good therapy dogs!)

The first couple of days it was fun and he was so cute, mostly sleeping in our laps. Then as we started working on house-training, biting, chewing, jumping, obeying, walking on a leash, crating, getting him on a schedule, etc. I realized, this is no joke, it's hard work! I felt like I had a newborn again getting up with a puppy during the night to take him outside. Actually it was worse because this newborn could walk around and didn't wear a diaper!

Then it hit me...this is why young couples often get puppies before having kids! If you can survive house-breaking and training a dog then you can easily survive having a child. Well, maybe not easily, but it's definitely good practice.

Having a puppy has not been easy and several times I've wondered if I shouldn't have gotten a puppy since I have chronic pain. It hasn't helped that we have had one of the coldest and longest winters that I can remember and the extra work has been hard on my pain, but things are starting to get easier. The hope of course is that the short term struggle will produce long term gain and we will end up with a good family dog that we all enjoy. We still have several more of the "puppy" months to get through though!

It has been interesting caring for a small animal that weighs less than my daughter did when she was born. There's something relaxing (maybe even healing?) about holding a dog in your lap or having them snuggle up against you. And I guess I can understand a little why maybe having a dog is helpful for those who struggle with infertility (whether that be primary or secondary) or loneliness in general. But, again, my puppy is not a child and could never take the place of my daughter or fill the void of childlessness. Only Jesus can do that for any of our deepest longings.

So, am I saying you should just get a puppy instead of having a child when you are chronically ill? By no means! If you think having a child with your condition is wise and what God wants you to do then have a child (a puppy is no real comparison!) Should you get a puppy before having a child when you are chronically ill? I don't know, maybe. It might be helpful (in a very small way) allowing you to see how labor intensive it is to care for a baby. So, if you can't have children (or don't feel it's wise due to your condition), should you just find "healing" in getting a puppy and get over it? No. It's never that easy.

While a puppy might bring some happiness to your life, it can never heal you of the pain of not being able to have children (or more children, in my case). Only Jesus can heal the wounds of this pain-stricken, disease-infested, sin-filled world. Only He can give us true joy and peace and purpose for living when the world around us makes us feel like we're not "good enough" because we don't have children or a healthy body.  Again, we have to ask, what is our motive for wanting to have children when chronically-ill, and then after researching, thinking, praying, and seeking counsel trust that God knows best. He knows best whether we have only one child or several children. He knows best if we have a puppy and no children or a puppy and a child. And He knows best if the only companion we have in this life is Jesus. He knows best and He is enough, He is always enough. I am trying to trust that today.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own. They are not a direct reflection of Rest Ministries or Lisa Copen. I was given this e-book free of charge and I was not compensated for my review or publicity of this book. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year End Review

Is it just me or has this year gone by fast? It could be that I spent the first several months of the year recovering from arthroscopic FAI/labral tear hip surgery, but either way I think as they say the years do seem to go by faster as you age!

2013 has been a year of great blessing as I was finally awarded disability after a 2 year wait, but it's also been a year of great disappointment and hurt as two full-time church ministry positions (one we had been waiting on for 8 months) fell through for my husband and he continues to work the horrible, long hours and low pay of retail management. The past 3 months we have struggled to understand what God is doing in our lives or what He wants us to do, but we continue trust in His mysterious providence.

I've been a poor blogger this year thanks to headaches that began after I did an intense juicing detox this past summer (in hopes of it helping with my pain levels). I had a headache every day for 2 months that no medication, rest, or alternative medicine would touch! I continue to get them periodically now, but I am grateful to God I no longer have them every day. I do not know what caused the headaches, but my theory is that the detox and diet elimination (no sugar, gluten, or dairy) I tried for 3 months was very labor intensive and the long hours cooking and standing caused muscle compensation and strain resulting in headaches. I continue to try to eat as "clean" as I can because I do think diet affects the way we feel (though I am confident it is not the soul cause of my chronic pain), but I no longer am adhering to such a strict diet because my body could not handle it!

I am now 1 year post-op from hip surgery. In the last 3 months I finally feel like some of my surgical pain and muscle soreness has gotten better, but I still struggle to lay on my left hip for very long and I still have major muscle tightness (particularly in my IT band, adductors, quadricep, and psoas - though it's hard to tell how much of that is just from long standing muscle compensation and pain). My hip pain was not my worst pain pre-op and most days it is still not my most debilitating symptom. But I do struggle with hip pain if I am on my feet or walking a lot. Overall I would say that I did not see the effect from surgery that I had hoped (namely less overall pelvic pain and improved ability to sit), but I do not regret having the surgery. There were some scary days early in my recovery when it seemed I might have developed full blown CRPS, but while I do have symptoms of central nervous system sensitization I am grateful they are not as severe as they could be.

I have not done a lot treatment-wise this year other than occasional physical therapy visits, self PT (I've found the Therawand to be helpful for pelvic floor pain as well other tools mentioned here), massages (I've found I function much better when I get bi-monthly massages), and of course medication. The first 2 years of my debilitating pain I tried many invasive treatments that only caused my pain to flare and did nothing for my overall pain. Until there are major changes in diagnostics and treatment for pelvic pain I plan to continue to focus my efforts on pain management in the future.

I have spent very little time researching causes and treatments for my pain this year and have for the most part stayed away from forums and message boards. There is definitely a time and need for those things, but for me it has been good to focus on the life God has currently given me this year instead of worrying and wishing for a better quality of life. My daughter is growing up before my eyes so I've been trying to be as involved in her life as I can which leaves little energy for things like pelvic pain forums and blogging (one day my daughter will be in school and there will be plenty of time to work on my writing!).

Ever since my pain became debilitating and I began to accept my new life my biggest prayer was that if it was God's will for me to have chronic pain that He would help me get to a place where I could manage my pain and have a decent quality of life. In my mind I thought that would mean I would have pain managed by only occasional ibuprofen or Tylenol and I could sit for a couple of hours before having to stand up due to pain. I am FAR from those standards of pain management, but if I am very careful to stay within the limitations I've learned over the years including: very limited sitting, limited walking, taking medications, resting frequently throughout the day, getting frequent massages, stretching, doing physical therapy, taking warm baths, etc, many days I am able to care for my family, avoid pain flares, and have a decent quality of life (though very different from most 30 year old mothers).

I still miss my old life, struggle to fight for joy in the Lord, and am often lonely, but I am very, very grateful for how God is sustaining me in my journey with pain. 2013 brought many surprises (including a new puppy) and graces and because of the hope in knowing Christ as my Savior and Lord it is with joy that I can look forward to 2014 and what the God has in store for our family. I hope you've come to know that peace and hope and well. If not, feel free to email me at purposeofpain (at) I'd love to talk with you more!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Five Years of Pain

I used to love the season of fall and everything that came with it - sweatshirts and jeans, crisp mornings, a big bowl of chili.  But not anymore. Fall is my worst enemy it seems. My pain flares more in the colder months, I can't find clothes to wear that are comfortable (other than my usual yoga pants), chili often gives me heartburn, and the 4pm sunset is pretty depressing for us all I think.

Even more, every fall I am reminded of my pain. This week marks five years with chronic pain. Wow, half a decade! When my pain began I could have never imagined it would become chronic, widespread, and debilitating as I was always so healthy and it started so spontaneously. Five years sounded like an eternity in my early days with pain, but in retrospect the time has actually passed quickly (though the days are often long). God has given me great grace to endure and continue to function most days with chronic pain. I remember the things I used to be able to do before pain, but I honestly don't remember what it felt like not to have pain every second on the day, and that's probably a good thing.

One of my favorite praise songs is "All I Have is Christ"(see video below). The last verse says,

                    Oh father use my ransomed life
                     In any way you choose
                    And let my song forever be
                   My only boast is You.

I used to sing these words before chronic pain and I thought I knew what it meant to say "father use my ransomed life in any way you choose." After all, I had surrendered to a life of overseas mission work. If God called me to a place of persecution and I had to lose my life for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I thought I could do that by God's grace. But I never thought God might choose pain and suffering for my ransomed life. In fact I never really thought about suffering on a personal level much, although I had seen intense suffering while living in Africa.  Despite being a nurse, I didn't really understand there was a world of young men and women suffering with chronic illness and pain.

My eyes have been opened to world of pain and hurt these past five years and I wouldn't change it. Of course I'd be happy to be done with this pain and have more active and easier life again, but the things I have learned through pain have changed me. They've given me great empathy for others in suffering and I've grown to trust God more than I ever did before. I've learned that this life is not about me and my happiness, but about God and His glory. I've learned suffering is the "norm" in the Christian life (John 16:33)  and I shouldn't be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12). While I don't always see the good in my pain, I know God is good and He is using this for my good (Romans 8:28). And I take hope knowing that one day God will wipe away all our tears and make all things new again (Revelation 21:4-5).

Sometimes I think I'd rather pick a different ransomed life with a less intense form of suffering, but I know God has chosen this ransomed life specifically for me to accomplish His purposes and draw me to Himself. The thought of another 5 years of pain (or 10 or 20) seems daunting to me, and sometimes I wonder how long my body will be able to endure, but in reality whether I'm healthy or not all I have is Christ. My every breath is under His control (Job 12:10) and because of that I know I can endure whatever comes my way.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Gluten Free/Dairy Free Waffles

I'm no longer on my restricted diet (more on that to come), and I know I haven't posted any of my "Tasty Tuesday" recipes lately. But I wanted to share a recipe that has become one my mainstays over the past few months. One of the hardest things about going gluten-free (at least for me) is not having the ease of eating a sandwich for lunch (unless you pay an arm and a leg for expensive gluten-free bread which usually has sugar in it!).  So I was glad to find this recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free waffles that soak overnight and are prepared in the blender. Thankfully, my husband got me a waffle iron for mother's day after mine broke last year and I am blessed to have a high quality blender. These waffles have proven to be great for breakfast or lunch (using as sandwich "bread")! My four year old loves them.

I follow Passionate Homemaking's recipe except I use a full 14oz can of coconut milk and 2 cups of grains (I use half gluten free oats and half brown rice). This makes about 4 large waffles (16 individual waffles if using a large square waffle maker with 4 squares). I only cooked them about 3 minutes total.
Have you tried any good recipes lately?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sharing Christ's Sufferings

I can't believe it's been 6 weeks since I've blogged! For all my regular readers (if I still have any!) I'm so sorry. I have several posts in my head I'd like to write, but unfortunately my headaches and neck pain have continued for two long months now. I am conserving most of my computer usage/reading (as this flares up the pain) for my daily Bible study. (I am currently co-leading this Bible study, which has been great, but also stressful for me physically).

I've had a few days of reprieve here or there, but nothing long lasting and while I think the pain is structural coming from my sacroiliac joint dysfunction (pelvic misalignment) and resulting muscle compensation along the spine nothing I have tried has given me any lasting relief. Unfortunately, as I've mentioned many times before, I live over 2 hours away from my doctors and physical therapists and my local options have not been helpful for my complex case. I've had pelvic pain for close to 5 years now, so all of my medical professionals specialize in the pelvis. This is one of the hardest things about this type of chronic pain - trying to be my own doctor and figuring out how to get the next symptom that pops up back under control.

Today I was having a particularly hard day. My pain level was higher and I felt discouraged that I can't find a medical practitioner to help me with my head/neck pain. I try really hard not to cry or talk about my pain in front of my 4 year old daughter. But today she must have heard me in my room talking to my husband and crying. She came and hugged me and said,
"Mommy it's ok. I know your head and neck may not stop hurting on Earth, but one day it won't hurt anymore in heaven!"
My daughter quickly helped me remember that this world is not my home. And as I hugged her I felt joy that I could "share Christ's sufferings" (1 Peter 4:13) and in doing so help my daughter learn that Jesus is the greatest treasure of all - that nothing in this world, not even health, compares to Him.

Now, please don't get me wrong, I do not rejoice in my suffering the way I should. There are many days I wallow in self-pity, am mean to my husband, and a down right horrible example of Christ. But I am thankful that my suffering has allowed us the opportunity to teach my daughter about how to handle prayer that is not answered favorably (which is where she heard this response above), how to keep trusting in Christ when life is not easy, and how God is good when He gives and takes away.

I wish I could say, my break from blogging is over, but I'm not sure when or if my headaches will go away or become more manageable. Will you please pray that God will help me find resources to improve my pain or that He will take them away as quickly as they came on? And until then, please pray that God will help me to rejoice in my suffering and give me grace to endure this weary world.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Detoxing and Diet Elimination

During my recovery from hip surgery, I watched several diet related documentaries including: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Food Matters, Fresh, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., and others I'm probably forgetting. I've been interested in nutrition for several years, but as I've mentioned before, in the past I was only consumed with body image and ate everything "low fat/fat free".

Then chronic pain came along.

Chronic illness that doesn't respond to traditional medicine will drive one to do just about anything to find reprieve. I've told people I would eat dirt if I thought it might decrease my pain! Sadly, in our modern American culture the last place we look for answers to health problems is what we put in our body. (But that's another topic for another day).

During my years with pain, I can't tell you how many people have asked me if I have tried to eliminate gluten from my diet. As a nurse, I just didn't understand why I would give up gluten. After all, I don't have celiac disease. I've never thought much about diet elimination until this past October, when I began experiencing very troubling upper GI symptoms out of the blue. I tried conventional medications, but when that failed I began looking a little at diet. I greatly decreased dairy in my diet and began researching a lot about the acid-alkaline diet (which is highly debatable). I'm not sure whether it was time or decreasing dairy, but my GI symptoms have been much more tolerable now (and I don't have to take medication for them). This week I have had some symptoms again, but I've been taking apple cider vinegar capsules and am hoping it does not turn into a flare-up. (I've treated this as reflux, but honestly I'm not sure if the burping and esophageal irritation is truly reflux or more of a muscular spasm.)

I've also known some friends who have had some success with auto-immune symptoms from diet elimination. My pain is more nerve irritation/biomechanical, but I have been diagnosed with central nervous system sensitization (very basically: hypersensitivity of the nervous system, so sometimes wearing certain pants feels like sandpaper rubbing me), which is not well understood, but other disorders that have central sensitization as a symptom (i.e. fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome) are thought to have characteristics of autoimmune disorders.

So, I felt like it was worth a try to "clean-up" my diet and eliminate certain foods that are known to cause inflammation in the body (at least for some people). Before doing this I followed the example of one of my friends mentioned above and did a 5 day detox: eating and drinking only fruits and veggies. We did the first 5 days of the 10-Day: Reboot Lite. I was not doing this detox to lose weight (like the Joe Cross of Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead), but rather to clear out my body of all foods except fruits and veggies so that eliminating gluten, dairy, and sugar (which is what I am doing now) would not be as difficult.  The hardest part of this detox was not hunger (well, by day 4 I was pretty hungry - though I later read that if you are hungry you can supplement with another juice or piece of fruit/veggie). The hardest part was the prepping and cooking and cleaning. Some days I spent HOURS in the kitchen and my sweet husband was even helping me (he too did the 5 day reboot!). In my opinion, the recipes were pretty tasty except the raw carrot ginger soup and the squash & apple soup (which the recipe didn't seem to be correct as it turned out extremely watery - and we had to eat it 3 times!). But we did it. It was eye opening in a sense because it made me realize how much food is often an idol in our lives and on nights when I went to bed hungry, it made me pray for those around the world, especially children who go to be bed literally starving every night.

This was a light night of prepping!
The detox cost around $100 for 5 days for my husband and I. I bought organic when I could afford it, and I did already have a few of the items on hand and not every ingredient is needed (i.e. parsley, thyme, etc). FYI: in case anyone reading this decides to do this reboot the ingredient list is not exactly right (for example pears are not listed at all).  

Although we weren't doing this for weight-loss, my husband lost 6 lbs! He also didn't drink coffee for 2 weeks and is drinking it less often now (and he's a serious coffee drinker - strong coffee made from a French Press or Chemex.). I lost maybe a pound (the meals were very fulfilling to me, in fact sometimes I couldn't finish all the food intended for each meal) and the only side effect I noticed was a really dry mouth towards the end of the detox (despite drinking lots of water) and a white film on my tongue (which some alternative medicine proponents say is caused by toxins leaving the body). I take medication that causes dry mouth so I think it probably had something to do with absorption of my medicine as I wasn't eating as much as I normally would. My husband had a headache for the first 2-3 days due to not drinking coffee.

The smoothies were the best part of the detox!

I have been eliminating gluten, dairy, and sugar from my diet now for 1 month. I'm trying to eat as clean as possible (eliminating processed foods and eating organic produce and good quality meat as our budget allows). Everyone asks if I have noticed any difference in my pain levels yet, but sadly I have not. In fact I've felt worse, as I've been dealing with headaches and neck pain for the last 3 weeks. They started on day 12 of my dietary changes so I do not think they are related to my food intake. The headaches started 5 days after beginning the supplement MSM and 13 days after I greatly increased my Vit D (per MD recommendation). While headaches are a common side effect of MSM, I only took it for 5 days and have been off it now for 3.5 weeks so it doesn't seem to be the cause either.

The only realistic cause I can come up with for my head/neck pain is biomechanical due to standing to prep and cook 3 meals from scratch daily. I understand now why women in the 1940's ran for the processed foods in the supermarkets...they were worn out from cooking ALL DAY LONG (not that that was the best choice)! Of course, everything is more difficult with chronic pain. I'm trying to wait this headache out and use all the tools in my chronic pain arsenal (massage, stretching, foam rolling, yoga, exercises, moist head, drinking more water, OTC anti-inflammatory only when necessary, etc), but I continue to have pain. I plan to stay gluten, dairy, and sugar free for another 2 months if possible. It's not cheap or easy to eat such a restricted diet, but at least in the end I can say, I tried dietary changes and hopefully it will impact my pain levels (once I get over this head/neck pain).

How about you guys....have you ever tried a detox or diet elimination? Did it help?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hip Update & Prayer Requests

It's hard to believe I am already a little over 6 months post-op from my left hip FAI/labral repair. Since I last reported I have not seen much overall improvement in my hip recovery. I continue to have decreased range of motion, especially with external rotation (I can't sit crossed-legged or do the "butterfly stretch") and flexion (bringing my knees to my chest is still difficult for me). But my hip PT thinks my hip joint is doing well, my remaining pain is coming from tight muscles and compensation/weakness. I am just struggling to get these tight muscles to "release". The good news is my knee pain has been better lately. I'm not sure exactly why, but the last 6 weeks I have spent a lot of time massaging my Iliotibial (IT) band and quadricep on my left side. I have also worn my SERF strap (thankfully I finally got insurance to cover it!) when walking for any length of distance. Whatever the reason is, I am thankful, though I am afraid it may come back at any time as I know I still need to strengthen my leg/glute muscles badly. Unfortunately every time I try I end up flaring my pelvic floor or another area of my pain.

One of the biggest frustrations of this last month has been my almost inability to lay on my surgical side again. It seems I have developed some thick scar tissue around to the two outermost surgical openings. I have tried lots of self massage and I also got this little gadget (pictured below) which can be found here to help with self massage, especially of my leg muscles, which I think might be helping some, but I can only tolerate laying a few minutes on my left side. Please pray that I will be able to get this worked out soon as it is already challenging because I cannot lie on my back due to sacral pain and I cannot sit for long (so I am spending a lot of time on my right side!).

I am scheduled to leave tomorrow for three days of treatment with my out of town hip and pelvic floor PT. Unfortunately we've had a lot of troubles with our van that we got used last December, when our car was totaled by another driver. We just spent $600 to put in a new air compressor, after spending $300 the week before for more repairs, but yesterday we realized the air conditioner is still not working right. It's just too hot to drive 2-3 hours without A/C right now and I need to be able to lay down in the van when traveling so as not to increase my pain. Please pray that our mechanic would be able to fix the van quickly in the morning so that we can still leave to get treatment. I am currently without a PT locally so I really need to have some PT in order to keep my pain levels a little lower. I stopped the myofascial release PT, though I might go back as nothing else locally has helped as much as that, which sadly wasn't much.

While I know I need to go have therapy, honestly I don't feel like going because I have had a headache for the last 10 days. I'm not sure what exactly has brought this on, but man do I have empathy for those who have migraines! Headaches just make me tired, irritable, and getting anything done can be a challenge. Some of you who have been around for a few years may remember I struggled with headaches back in 2010. A combination of massage, medications, new pillow, stretches, and the grace of God finally took these headaches away. Please pray that God will relieve these headaches and/or I will figure out what is causing them and how to minimize them.

Over the last few weeks I have made some drastic diet changes (more on that coming soon) to see if it helps with my pain (unfortunately currently I am in more pain than I have been in a while with these headaches!). I have also changed some supplements, but when the headaches started I immediately reverted back to my normal medications/supplements and my headache didn't start until day 12 of my dietary changes so I'm not sure that the two are related. With my new dietary changes I have had to spend a lot more time cooking and I wonder if that has something to do with the headaches. This would make sense because so much of my pain is biomechanically orientated. I have had one massage since they began, but I didn't feel any relief from that. The week before last was also a very busy week for us as my daughter had Vacation Bible School and I have not gotten as much sleep as I need lately so the headaches could be caused by a combination of things.

Some of you who follow my Facebook page may have read my status update from last weekend:
"Our "new" car we got used in December after a car accident has needed almost $1000 worth of repairs this week. Just "luck" that I was approved disability this week? I don't think so. This is God's sovereign hand at work!

Also, is it just chance that today we sold a bike rack for $40 we were never able to use due to my pain? This is God's providence working for our good and His glory!

Of course God is still sovereign when we don't get disability and we don't make extra money, but this sure is a blessing and we want to praise God for his favor! (The extra $40 will pay for a little date my husband and I already had planned - a VERY rare treat for us!)"
It's interesting how quickly things can change! That was a good day, things were "looking up" for us. We had received word that I was approved for disability, gotten some extra cash, and my husband and I were going on a date. A week later, when our car is still not working properly, my head feels like it will explode, and I might not be able to go to my out of town PT as planned I will admit the statement, "Of course God is still sovereign when we don't get disability and we don't make extra money" is not as easy to say. Sadly my response yesterday (when we realized the van air conditioning was still not working and my head was pounding after taking my daughter to a birthday party) was not one of trust in a sovereign God, but one of anger, doubt, and frustration.

The good news is God is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13). Our faithlessness, as children of God - saved by the blood of Christ, cannot nullify the faithfulness of God (Romans 3:3). And even if we don't understand or want to believe it at times, God is always in complete control, working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Thanks for praying!