Friday, August 31, 2012

NICIAW - Year Two!

I am reposting this because I've received several entries already, but I don't want folks to forget - there are still two weeks left. Thank you all so much.  Even if you already submitted something last year, feel free to do so again this year.  You deserve to be heard.

Please visit This Link to learn more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Week.

Thousands, millions even, of people suffer with invisible illness. As months, weeks, and years go by, we learn to stay silent, to quit complaining, to "toughen up." We learn to not ask for support or help. We get tired of being a burden. Sometimes, we find ourselves dreading the next person who says "But you look just fine." This year, from September 10th - 16th, I will be publishing as many stories as are submitted to me. You can follow this checklist, or you can write it in any other format you choose. But try to view it as an opportunity to show the world what it is like to be you. It's important to me this year, to give my readers a voice. You can email me at and I will gladly post on your behalf. Please include what you want me to call you in the post dedicated to you, and as well as you can, answer the following questions. It is time to see just how NOT alone we really are.

1. The illness I live with is:

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:

3. But I had symptoms since:

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:

5. Most people assume:

6. The hardest part about mornings are:

7. My favorite medical TV show is:

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:

9. The hardest part about nights are:

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)

11. Regarding alternative treatments I:

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:

13. Regarding working and career:

14. People would be surprised to know:

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:

17. The commercials about my illness:

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:

19. It was really hard to have to give up:

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:

22. My illness has taught me:

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:

24. But I love it when people:

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:

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I am NOT sorry...

So, I hear it all the time.  "I'm sorry, but..." "... I disagree."  "... I don't want to."  Blah blah blah.  I'm sorry but... it is a phrase I have come to truly loathe.

It isn't used as a positive phrase the majority of the time (i.e., I am sorry to have to say this, but your test result came back badly.").  It's just used as an excuse to say things we would not dare say without some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card. 

"I'm sorry but your hair looks really bad."

"I'm sorry, but that's what I want and so that's what I will do."

But the one usage that gets me going... that torques me off and makes me want to scream is this... "I'm sorry, but that's just what I believe."

We need to stand up for our beliefs, not hide behind insincere apologies for them.  I believe in God, Creator God who created all that is and was and will ever be.  I believe His son came to earth in human form, while somehow retaining his God-hood (is that a word?)  I believe he lived a truly sinless life, and was crucified one day when he was about 33 years old.  He didn't stay dead though - three days later He rose and ascended and is seated at the right hand of God the father.  I believe that that sacrifice is what earns me a place in heaven.  I have given my heart and soul to Him,and I believe it is all real.

And I'm not sorry.  I'm not sorry I believe it, not sorry I said it.  I'm not sorry if it offends you and I'm not sorry if you disagree. 

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's Supposed To Hurt

I burned my finger recently.  Was putting in a baking sheet with supper on top, and the front of my finger hit the oven rack.  I heard it go "psssttt" before I felt my hand jerking back (luckily, without the baking sheet full of food).  It's a tiny burn - from my fingernail down to the knuckle, just under half an inch.  And it's just on one finger.

And you know what?  It hurts.  It's distracting.  It makes me feel generally uncomfortable, even though it's just a tiny injury.

That's how our conscience should be.  When we blurt out a bad word, it should sting like this.  It should distract us and bother us.  When we fudge the truth just a little, it should burn.

But our consciences are like my dad's hands.

He is a mechanic (a gifted one, at that), and does a lot of welding and other things that burn his hands.  He doesn't even feel them anymore.  He can have big, angry blisters and not have even noticed they were there until I ask what they are from.  Sometimes, even after he thinks about it, he can't remember. 

We get that way.  We get so used to our little transgressions that we fail to feel the sting. 

The problem with that isn't the absence of pain.  The problem is, when our conscience hurts, we turn to God.  We pray, we repent, we resolve to change for the better.  When that happens, the result is good.  But when we get so accustomed to the little pains, we don't bother turning to him - because we aren't even really aware that anything is wrong at all.

Psalm 139:23-24
God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any bad thing in me.  Lead me on the road to everlasting life.

We have hope though.  No matter how seared our consciences are, God can still search us and show us what we need to see.  The question is, are you (and am I) brave enough to do that?

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Your Walk Talks

Growing up, I had an outstanding youth group leader, Mr. Jay.  He had this way about him... we played games and went hiking and had adventures, and we also would sit in the study at the church and discuss the really deep issues in life.  He took a group of kids who would never have been a group by choice, and knitted us together into something beautiful.

One of the things he used to say was this:

"Your walk talks, and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks."

In other words... yeah, what you say matters.  It gets through to people.  But not to nearly the degree that what you DO gets through.

I was laying on the couch this afternoon thinking, and that's what kept coming back to mind.  I know for me personally, my walk and my talk don't always line up.  I send mixed messages, even though I'd rather not. 

What areas of your life do you need to examine and sort out?  What things do you need to answer once and for all, so that your walk and your talk are saying the same thing?  Just one little phrase that stuck in my head (and I'd bet lots of other teenagers heard him say it and let it stick in their heads too), that gets to me every time I let it.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Prayer Request

My daddy cut his finger today, really badly.  He cut almost entirely through his extensor tendon.  He's waiting now to see the doctor for titches and surgical evaluation - not sure yet if he'll be able to just get stitched up or if he's going to need surgery to repair thing.


Dad's home from the clinic with plenty of stitches in.  He's not in a splint or cast right now; enough of the tendon is intact to not need that.  He's nervous about possible infection or lingering pain, so if you could pry specifically about that, I'd appreciate it a lot.

***update again***

Dad's finger is feeling plenty stiff but otherwise is okay.  He's not liking having to be careful not to muck up the sutures, but that's just expected and par for the course.  He is healing well.  Thank you for praying everyone.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Exercise Regimens, Cancer and You

For the first time, I have chosen to allow a guest post.  What he says, I agree with very much.  I think his message is important and unlike other requests I've had for guest posting, I feel that this one is worth passing on to my readers.

Exercise Regimens, Cancer and You
Guest Post by David Haas

Cancer can bring your life to a screeching halt, but you’ll find that as you go through treatment and as each day comes closer to normal, you still need to move forward. One way to normalize each day after a cancer diagnosis is through exercise. The National Cancer Institute states that exercise has an enormous positive benefit on both cancer treatment and cancer risk reduction. However, if you have never exercised before it can be hard to get into it.

If you are worried about getting started with exercise, remember that you do not have to do it alone. You will find that there are likely family members and friends who are wiling to help you, but if you want good concrete information, take it to a gym and talk to a professional trainer. At the very least, the gym will help you learn how to use all the different equipment. A lack of knowledge in this area is very common with adults, and when you are nervous about using the equipment for the first time, remember that everyone had to start from somewhere!

Remember that you do not need to stick with one exercise if you find that it is boring, dull or painful. As a matter of fact, the old saying of “no pain, no gain” is completely wrong. Good exercise leaves you feeling sore and pleasantly tired. Exercise taken too far leads to pain and fatigue. If you are pushing your body too hard, you’ll find that you won’t be able to exercise the next day. This is something that can make a huge difference in how well you do in the future, so remember to take it easy, especially if you are nervous about getting started.

Once you have started, stay started! Anyone can do a few strenuous exercises over the space of a few days, but it takes a great deal more effort to keep at it for a regular stretch of time. Make a schedule and stick to it. Remember that just by exercising three or four times a week, you can make a huge difference in your physique and well-being.

Whether you are dealing with breast cancer, testicular cancer or mesothelioma, you’ll find that exercise can improve your general health and rate for success. At the very least, exercise can improve your mood. Exercise releases endorphins into your body, and it allows you to clear out the stress that you may be experiencing. Take a few moments to consider what your options are and what kind of exercise is most likely to suit you.

Exercise can be fun. Don’t let a lack of experience and depression stop you. Consider the link between cancer and fitness and use what you know to spur you forward.

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