My body betrays me.
Hashimoto’s Disease, Lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Celiac Disease.
Autoimmune diseases cause an abnormal immune response in which your immune system attacks healthy cells. Once you have one you are more likely to have a second, third, fourth diagnosis; your odds increase exponentially. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
There are no known cures for autoimmune diseases, which number over 80 individual types. No single test can diagnose autoimmune disease. Often their symptoms overlap. Getting a diagnosis can take years. Years of knowing something isn’t right. Years of debilitating fatigue. Years of symptoms that don’t seem related, but are. Years of strange rashes, achy joints, brain fog, hairloss, and the fatigue, the horrendous fatigue. Years of watching your abilities deteriorate without cause. Years of well meaning friends suggesting this or that because it worked for so and so. Years of money wasted on so-called miracle cures, special diets, supplements, etc. Years finding a doctor who will listen and take everything into account instead of just relying on blood tests.
Once you have your diagnosis, prescriptions, and special diets you wait and wait some more to see if any of it is helping. If it isn’t, you have more blood work and try something else. And on and on. Even when you find a combination of treatments that are working well, there will be times when it doesn’t, which is known as a Flare. (The other F word.) You must be vigilant in staying away from sick people and keeping your stress low. (HA HA!) You keep a smile on your face even when you are in pain, you show up for work when you want to be sleeping, you try to be a functional member of society until you can’t.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you. Psalm 42:1-6
Without my faith in God, I would be hopeless. He may not deliver me out of the betrayal of my body, but he walks by my side every day. When I am weak, He is strong. I can persevere because He is my strength. Yes, I complain. Yes, I am afraid. Yes, I get frustrated. Yes, I feel sorry for myself. Yes, I get depressed. But there are directions in the Bible – Put your hope in God. Remember God.
Ultimately, I do have hope. I know there will be better days ahead. I know there will be worse days also, but with God by my side, I truly can have hope. He has helped me to have more compassion for others that I did not have before. He has helped open my eyes to the small gifts of creation that I otherwise overlooked. He has brought me comfort through my church family and my friends. It may be hard to feel sometimes, but God is with me. I know I can rest in Him. I know I will be healed completely one day. What a glorious day that will be.
Put your hope in God.