It started with a weak ache in my eyes. I know that ache all too well. It ended with a migraine.
I remember my first migraine. It was only a couple weeks into treating the deeply rooted Lyme disease in my body, which had crossed the blood-brain barrier and was now running loose in my head. It hurt more than anything that I’d been through, and I’d had three babies by then, had root canals, and even a tooth extraction. I honestly felt like my head was going to explode. I threw up, buried my head under the pillow, lights off, door shut, crying while I begged God to relieve the pain.
That was seven years ago. I still get these migraines, weekly. And some days I still hug the toilet, and cry, and I still beg God to heal me. But mostly, I live my life through them. I’ve learned the warning signs and can usually take care of it before it becomes life altering.
Migraines are just one of my many symptoms.
I have overwhelming fatigue daily. I wake up tired. I live my life tired. I feel drugged some days. I suffer with brain fog – which makes it really hard to think, process things, write, even remember basics that I should have no problem remembering. I also suffer with mental symptoms – such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Some may wonder, what is paranoia? I have a haunting dialog going in my mind every single day. Things like, fear of the house burning down, leaving a kid behind, mailing off the wrong phone (I literally had the right phone in my hand to keep and still had fear I mailed the wrong phone), did I lock the door, did I turn off the flat iron etc and so on. They are thoughts that just come into my mind, I have little control over them, and they get much worse when I’m on high doses of herbs. This is most likely due to the Bartnolla infection in my brain.
I also suffer with weak muscles, aching joints, aching muscles, all over pain, hair loss, weight gain, hormone imbalances, air hunger (always feeling like I can’t get a full breath), constant ringing in my hears, pain in feet, back and neck pain, and have a hard time standing up and walking straight from a sitting position (I feel pain and like I have a much older body than I really do) – and this is just what’s coming to the top of my mind.
And you know what?
I am not my body.
I am not the weight gain you see. I am not the thinning hair in the shower. I am not the fatigue inside. I am not the muscles weak and trembling. I am not the pain surging through my body. I am not the brain fog or the depression that hangs over my head. I am not the disease I’ve been diagnosed with. I am not Lyme disease. I am not my body and its limitations.
I am a warrior. I am capable of more than I was a few years into my treatment. I am stronger than I should be, and push myself harder than most people recognize. I am living my life the best I can – better than my body wants me to.
I look disease, chronic illness at that, in the face and kick its ass daily. Heck, even on the days where it appears the disease is winning, it really isn’t because I’m still here! I’m still alive. I’m still present. I’m still living life every day with passion. I create pretty things all the time. I write. I play. I live my life.
I don’t care if I can’t spend a full day out. I can spend half of the day out! And that’s a victory, no matter how you look at it. That is a victory, which makes me victorious!
I am not my body.
I am God’s child. I am perfectly made in His image. I am strong and courageous. I am healed by His stripes. I am loved and beloved. I am blessed and carry around His Spirit within me. I am never alone. I am always in His heart and on His mind. I am His and He is mine.
I’m alive because of God. I live for Jesus.
You see, Jesus didn’t cause me to become sick. God didn’t give me, what some Christians would call, a test, or trial. No. My God didn’t want this struggle for me and my son. He didn’t choose this for us. He didn’t decide we needed to learn something, or walk through some painful trial in order to grow – like so many Christians say. You see, I don’t subscribe to that line of thinking.
My God is gentle with me. He is soft and compassionate toward me. He sweetly corrects me with grace. He doesn’t man handle me. He doesn’t afflict me with disease. He doesn’t smack me down with a chronic illness. In fact, Jesus told us who does do that. He also told us who gives life and life in abundance. So many Christians are getting it wrong, getting mixed up who is the killer, thief, and destroyer and who is the life giver.
I am not my body because I am my spirit. And my spirit is who I really am. I just wear this flesh. This flesh will be glorified when I make it to heaven. I will never wear this disease ridden flesh in heaven, where God’s perfect will is supreme. That is God’s perfect will for me on earth as it is in heaven. And I will never stop believing that, no matter how long I may remain sick, or how many “well meaning” Christians tell me otherwise.
I got a little preachy. I can’t help it. When it comes to this part of my story, I get a little defensive… a little protective of my God. Because, well, He’s never let me down. He’s walked with me through this unrelenting, overpowering disease. And when I couldn’t walk, He carried me. He sent Jesus to minister to me. He came to me in visions and dreams. He has healed me in those visions and blessed my spirit with refreshing truth and sweet relief. He has been my everything, the reason I do as well as I do. I love Him and don’t like anyone telling me, or anyone else, that He isn’t good – or that He is good but He does cruel things to His people to teach them, or grow them, or mold them. That isn’t the God who has walked beside me for 7 long years, and will continue to walk with me through the rest of my life, or the God I’ll bow before in heaven, and wash His feet with the last of my tears, as He wipes them away for eternity.
I am not my limitations. I am not my body. I am God’s little warrior child. I’m Nick, Zane, and Dash’s rock solid mommy. I’m Adam’s loving wife. I am kicking this disease in the butt. Or maybe it’s kicking me in the butt. Either way, I am alive and living!
I’ll never give up.
on myself, or my son.
So hello, my name is Nell and I’m not my body. Nice to meet you.