Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I Press On!

I press on.
One day last week after being up a lot of the night in pain, I didn't think I could function and I didn't physically feel able to get out of bed that morning. 
Ever since I got sick, I've dealt with fatigue, weakness, nausea, and pain every day. There hasn't been a day in 8+ years when I haven't struggled with those things. I've gotten used to dealing with those symptoms, and most days I push through them. 
But on this day last week, especially because of my heart problems, heart medicines, and diuretics, the fatigue, weakness, and nausea were overwhelming, along with the pain. I just wanted to lay in bed and not get up. The diuretics also cause my blood pressure to be low, which adds to the fatigue and weakness. But that day, I didn't let those problems win. I GOT UP! 
Before I got up, I asked God for strength, decided that that day would be a good day, got up, and did my devotional! I then walked .53 of a mile on the treadmill and lifted 5 pound weights for about a minute! That is a huge accomplishment! I hadn't done that since my surgeries and 3 hospitalizations in May. 
I'm trying not to let the side effects win! I'm thankful for these medicines, even though they cause me to feel bad. Unlike a lot of the world, I have access to doctors and medicines, and for that I am so grateful! I really am blessed. The heart medicines that I'm on help keep my heart rate lower (my resting heart rate goes up to 180bpm), and they also help keep my heart rate in a normal rhythm. The heart medicines that lower my heart rate and keep it in rhythm have caused me to retain a lot of fluid. I gained a lot of weight and we couldn't figure out why until my hands and feet started swelling. We found it that it's from me retaining the fluid. I've now lost over 10 pounds of fluid since my doctor put me on diuretics a few weeks ago, and I'm so thankful that the fluid is coming off! My hands, feet, and abdomen are still really swollen, so I still have a lot of fluid to get rid of. Praise God for diuretics and heart medicines, no matter how bad they make me feel! They are helping my heart. 
Like I've mentioned, hearing that my heart arrhythmia is too complex for the doctors at Baylor who specialize in complex arrhythmias made me really upset. Their hospital is one of the best heart hospitals in the country, so when they said that my case is too complicated and that they couldn't fix my heart, I got very discouraged, especially since everyone told us to go to Baylor because they're the best. 
But now I see God opening new doors which is so encouraging! He never closes a door without opening a new one. I'm seeing all the positives of (hopefully) having the heart surgery here, closer to home, and I praise Him for that! I've heard so many good things about my new specialized cardiologist and am excited to meet him on Monday and hopefully move forward with the procedure to try and fix my heart. Then after the surgery, I can hopefully get off a lot of these medicines! 
Last week we had friends over for dinner and I cleaned the house while my parents were at work! I try to clean something every day and do some laundry. I also walked on the treadmill on Saturday for 5 minutes, which isn't much, but I did it! Yesterday, I cleaned the kitchen while doing laundry, then made my grandma's recipe of lasagna for dinner (I did it even when I was nauseous!), and then cleaned the kitchen up again, all before my family got home! After we ate, I put the dishes in the dishwasher and straightened the kitchen up again (yes, we mess it up pretty quickly). I also water the flowers outside every day, which can take a while because we have so many beautiful flowers! 
I'm trying to live each day to the fullest. It's hard when I can't drive. I'm stuck at home most days and feel like I'm not contributing anything to this world, so cleaning and things like that at home give me a purpose and it's helpful to my family. 
I do have days where all I can do is lay on the couch and sleep. I might not be able to walk on the treadmill much or be up a lot every day, but last week I did, even when I thought I couldn't, and that's all that matters! I've cleaned and done a lot despite the horrible side effects. I take it a day at a time, and sometimes hour by hour or minute by minute.
I love this line in this song "When I still don't get it, I press on!". I might not always see God's plan or understand why things are happening, but I press on! I hope that each day I can say that I did that! That I pressed on despite difficulties. Here are some lyrics from the song "Press On". 
"I must confess that I still don’t get it all,
Lord, I believe that all your words are true
Doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with You
I press on, I press on, I press on
When I still don’t get it, I press on!"
These verses encourage us to run the race while keeping our eyes on Jesus! I'm sharing 2 versions of these verses because I like them both. The first is NIV/NLT and the second is from the Message. 
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily entangles us. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
-Hebrews 12:1-3
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Start running—and never quit! Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” 
When I'm weary, I will press on. When I'm discouraged, I will press on. When I'm scared, I will press on. When I'm frustrated, I will press on. Why? Because Jesus pressed on despite all the persecution towards Him, even death on the cross. He ran the race with His destination in mind-Heaven. He pressed on by thinking of the joy awaiting Him. I can press on with joy knowing this pain is not going to last forever. I can press on because each step gets me closer to Heaven. 
I encourage you to press on. We have an eternal reward at the end of our race! PRESS ON, brothers and sisters! 
How do you press on? How can we encourage each other to press on?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

-New Facebook Page- Check it out!

I recently started a Facebook page called "Finding God in the Midst of Your Storm-Victoria's Fight With Lyme Disease". The reason I started a Facebook page in addition to this blog is because it reaches different people and it's really interactive with a lot of feedback and conversation. I really get to know the people who follow and comment on the page and I love hearing people's stories and experiences!

On the page, I'm sharing ways that I've found to grow closer to God, especially when you're going through a difficult time. I also share stories about how God has gotten me through difficult days, and the things I've learned from being sick. I post updates on my health and what's been going on. I'm also sharing several posts that I've written on this blog, as well as new posts that I write. 

I pray that it encourages others like 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us". God has comforted me and my goal is to bring others to know Christ and the hope, peace, joy, grace, and forgiveness that He gives. 

From now on, I hope to post on this blog and my Facebook page regularly because I love to share what God has taught me and what He's doing in my life! I love being able to share these things even when I don't feel great, because I can post from anywhere such as my bed, the couch, the hospital, when I'm outside enjoying the weather, or anywhere!

You don't have to have a Facebook account to see my page! It's a public page for everyone to find. I think you do have to have a Facebook account to comment on the posts, but if you want to just look at it you don't have to have an account.

This is the cover photo that I made that's on the page.

This is (hopefully) the link to the page! If it doesn't work, let me know and I can fix it!

Hope you all are having a great weekend! I'm thankful for each one of you!