(Please scroll frame down down to read)

"the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined."
Mathew 4:16 

We all sometimes experience times of trouble and feel as though life is merely a shadow of what it should be, whether we know Jesus or not.
But when we have Him at our side in our times of trial and tribulation, He gives us strength and comfort in abundant measure!  I praise Him for the shield that He has been for me!

In 1985, I had an accident that resulted in a pretty bad head injury and concussion. Shortly after, I began to experience exhaustion, rashes, hair loss, maddening headaches, joint pain, and even my skin 'ached'.   During that time I became so upset with the doctors "treating"... and I use that word lightly... me that I developed a strong aversion to even seeking medical help.  

My complaints didn't fit with the injury I was being treated for, so my doctor just wanted to dismiss them as non-existence... a figment of my imagination.  When the doctor learned that I had been employed as a bartender (a temporary job after the company where I was employed as Order Processing Manager had a major lay-off of 100 people) he was certain that I Must be an alcoholic, even though I told him I didn't drink at all, not even occasionally, was a teetotaler. He didn't seem to believe me until I told him my father had been an alcoholic and that had been enough to convince me I did not ever want to use alcohol. Suddenly, he believed that I didn't drink.  AHA!  THAT was what was causing all the pain, fatigue, rashes, etc.  I was suffering from the ADULT CHILD OF AN ALCOHOLIC PARENT syndrome!!!  As my grand-kids would say, "Give me a break!" 

I told the doctor what a quack he was and asked to be referred to a different doctor. He did send me to another doctor... along with my medical records and his opinions.  And the whole cycle began again. 

(After several doctors, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  Looking back, I'm certain that I was going through a major "flare" with undiagnosed Lupus, brought on by the combined stress of the lay-off, and the trauma from head injury.)

With time, and cortisone shots for the Fibromyalgia,  most of the symptoms disappeared, and with the exception of occasional bouts with fatigue, rashes and arthritic pain, I was left with a pretty normal life... and a dislike for doctors in general.  

Then, about ten years ago I became very sick.  It started out with a strange rash, low grade fever and fatigue.  It started attacking my joints, causing excruciating pain in my ankles and knees.  It hurt to walk, it hurt to move, and I couldn't even get up from a sitting position without help. 

 I made an appointment with a doctor,  for the first time since 1986. He was very nice, with a sweet smile and a gentle voice.  And as he smiled at me sweetly, he gently told me, "We all experience more tiredness and pain as we grow older."  Then he prescribed an ointment for the rash.

The ointment didn't help the rash, and they became ugly sores. I just couldn't bring myself to go back to a doctor, and was determined to go about my normal daily life, hoping that this too would pass.   

Then came the day that I sank down on a box in the middle of K Mart, unable to take another step because the knee pain was so great.  I was weak with fatigue and I was afraid... so I sat there on that box, feeling frightened, embarrassed and alone, and I prayed, "Please Lord, help me get up and walk to my car. Get me out of here and home again."  

He did give me the strength that I asked for, and when I arrived home, I called for an appointment with my doctor, determined that this time, I wouldn't allow him to brush off my symptoms as "a natural part of growing older"!  

After much visiting and testing, my doctor again assured me that he didn't think anything was seriously wrong with me.  However, blood test showed an extremely abnormal white cell count. When I asked what could cause that, he smiled sweetly and said probably an infection of some sort, but he didn't have a clue as to what.  But he was concerned about the rash and sores, and we made an appointment with a dermatologist.

The dermatologist recognized that rash, and after months of pain and suffering, and ruling out everything from cancer to arthritis to allergic reaction, I was sent to a rheumatologist to check for Lupus. 

During this past ten years, there have been many flares (times when the lupus is active).  There have also been times when months go by in remission.  How I savor those times!

I am learning that it can be controlled. I have learned what 'triggers' a 'flare'.  For me it is the sun, stress, and sometimes viral infections.   The most important thing for my well being is staying out of the sun.  Just a few minutes of that glorious sunshine can make me break out in a rash and skin ulcers.  It drains the energy from me instantly, and I become weak , dizzy, and nauseous, often followed by a full blown flare. I have also learned that pacing myself, and adequate rest are absolutely essential.  I have learned to "not sweat the small stuff".  If I am going to get stressed out and sick, then it will be for something really important, not something that I can't do anything about, anyway.  I've learned to worry only about things worth getting sick for, and I've come to realize not too many things fit in that category :o) 

I find no joy in the doctors office, and am not a fan of the medicines (chiefly Prednisone and other corticosteroids) that can bring relief, due to the side effects that most cause with prolonged use, so I try to follow instructions to prevent flare ups and medicate with aspirin.  There will be time enough for the heavy artillery later, if it should progress to the point of being unmanageable. 

I have been so very blessed. My internal organs have not yet been under attack from the disease.  And it can do much damage to the kidneys, heart, lungs and brain. (My daughter tells me she isn't so sure that I've been as fortunate as I think.  She seems to think something has caused brain damage.  I tell her, "Go look in the mirror") :o) 

At this time, there is no cure for lupus, and the best the doctors can do is treat the symptoms  to make them bearable.  

Non-believers have asked me why my God would allow me to develop a disease like this.  Why do bad things happen to God's children?
I can't answer that question, but I can tell you that we don't see the whole puzzle.  All we see are the few pieces that surround us.  

God didn't promise his children a heaven on earth free from all burdens.  But He did promise that our burdens would not be more than we could bear, that through Him we would be strengthened.  We are very selfish by nature,  and we can't always see the plan that God has for us.  I know that because of the ordeals of lupus, I have become closer to Him than ever, for I have learned to trust him more completely.  I know that with Him by my side each day, no matter what happens, I can face it. I might have missed knowing that, had there been fewer trials along the way.  I am not saying that He cannot heal and perform miracles today, for I am a witness to the fact that He can and He does!  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  I have faith that even if He doesn't ever completely heal me,  He will be beside me every step of the way, and His mercy is sufficient!

The disruption of lupus in my life comes and goes, but God has promised that He will always be with us and never forsake us. 
"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."  
Matthew 28:20

Wishing you good health, happiness... and His peace.  And Always remember to be good to yourself..... Wren.

What Is Lupus?