Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another day...

Today I went back to the clinic for more allergy testing. They had to do it in the hallway because I was determined not to go into the office where I get so sick. I guess it's pretty amazing that they even consented to do that because apparently it's a risk legally. Anyway, the nurse tried 4 different doses of histamine on my arm, but they all caused symptoms, (sleepy, headache, dizzy, etc.) I finally felt too awful to do anymore. So we had to quit even though they didn't find the right antigen dose for me.
While I was sitting there, I talked with a lady from Italy. She said it took them a long time to find the right dose of histamine for her too. She really needs it because she has anaplaxis (I think that's like when your throat closes & you can't breathe). The histamine shot she takes is kind of like benedryl only more powerful I think. That's why they always test for it first. Anyway, this lady came to the clinic 3 years ago and she's still there! She actually got much worse at first because they tried to test for too many things and she crashed. I just couldn't believe she's stayed here for 3 years and is only a little better, not well enough to go back to Italy. Her story was so sad, I kind of felt like my complaints were minor in comparison. It's really shocking how many people from all over the world are suffering with environmental illness. I guess it's largely because our world has become so toxic. I can't wait for heaven...no pesticides, no exhaust fumes, no cigarette smoke...it will be the perfect environment! That's starting to mean a whole lot more to me now than it used to.
Anyway, tomorrow I'm going back for an appointment with the dr at the clinic. Some of my bloodwork is back, so we'll see what he has to say. I don't know if there are any other treatmetns he can recommend right now or not. I just hope & pray that I'll be able to communicate what I need to and that he won't get upset with me. (In the interest of self-preservation, I don't think I'm a very obliging patient sometimes.) Today we drove over to Dr. Johnson's office so I could check it out. I seemed to do fine in there, praise God. So now we're just praying that he'll have a cancellation so I can get in before the 13th. God knows what is best though. I trust He will show us what to do in the meantime. My mom says I should see this as an adventure. I confess, that perspective is escaping me at the moment, but I know with God ALL things are possible! Especially with so many great people praying for me. =)
Well, as my mom always says, today is gone, today was fun (that's what she says, even when it wasn't fun), tomorrow is another one.
Until tomorrow, rest in peace.
-Joanna

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

expectations

Well, yesterday was not a good day. I went for allergy testing and got VERY sick from the offices there. I couldn't even stay in the testing room for a minute. They finally had to do my testing in the hallway. By the time they got to me I was wiped out, so they only tested for one thing. I told the nurse I was taking today off and I'd be back on Thursday.
It's very discouraging to get so sick at the place where they are supposed to be helping me. Yet I know God is in control of these details. Sometimes I wish I knew what He was trying to do, but as the song goes, "then I'd never have reason to use my faith." I definitely need prayer for continued confidence in Him.
My mom was so sweet last night, she rented Pride & Prejudice for us to watch! It's such a good movie, always cheers me up. =) Today we went driving around town just to get out of the apartment (which is also now bothering my allergies a little). I took pictures of some interesting houses around here. Some of them look like mini-castles. I'm not sure I'd want to live in one, but they're fun to look at.
So tomorrow I'm going back to the clinic. I hope it will go ok. I don't really know what to expect. I prayed before coming up here that God would help me not have expectations, because I knew it might be a lot worse than I was hoping. However, I never even considered the possibility that just being in the clinic offices would make me worse! Funny, no matter how much you think you're prepared, God can always have something completely unexpected in store. I just hope He has some unexpected wonderful results in store too! But if not, it's ok. I know He sees the whole picture, while I have only one small puzzle piece. Someday I'll see the whole picture too.
Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, July 28, 2008

First Day

Today was my first day at the clinic. What a day! I'm exhausted. First we waited for about 30 minutes after I gave them all my paperwork. (Yesterday my mom and I spent a couple of hours filling out all the papers they gave me and putting together all my recent tests and records.) Then they took me to into the dr's office, and I got sick right away from a smell in there, maybe from their air filters, I'm not sure. So they moved me to another office and we waited another 30 minutes. Then the dr finally came, and I gave him my whole medical history. That took about 45 minutes. Then he left, and we talked with his assistant about what kinds of tests to order. Then that guy left and we talked with the patient coordinator about some more stuff. It was almost 1:00 when we left.
My mom and I were both on information overload. We finally decided which tests to do. (We're trying to priotize because they all cost a lot.) So about 3:00 we went back to the clinic and they drew a bunch of blood. Praise God, the lady got me on the first stick! I hope those tests will be helpful. It's so hard to know what's really essential and what's just stuff they like to do. I think the doctor was pretty sensitive about our limited finances, but they still always think some things are necessary when they really aren't vital.
Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to get some skin testing done (for a few allergens). They want to test for a lot of things, but I don't know if my immune system can handle that, so we'll just take it slow and see. The big problem at the moment is that I'm reacting to the air in the office. The patient coordinator didn't seem to think they could put me in a different place for the testing. So who knows what will happen tomorrow. We're just praying that the Lord will take care of it somehow. I was hoping these people would be more understanding about someone as sensitive as me, but so far they haven't seemed to be. Please keep praying for wisdom and for God's protection from tests or treatments that would be bad for me.
I confess I've been slightly grumpy the last two days, probably from not sleeping well and not being able to eat my normal foods. Still, I'm trying to remind myself that all of this is not about ME! It's about God and what He wants to do and how He wants to glorify Himself. I'm so thankful for all of the people who are praying for me! I definitely won't be able to keep a godly perspective without lots of prayer support.
Speaking of perspective, we met a lady here who's had an incredibly hard life. (She's been sick since she was born. She's now in her 40's and taking care of her terminally ill father by herself.) She shared a little of her story with us and my heart went out to her. It didn't sound like she had much of a support group or encouraging friends either. It made me so thankful for all the wonderful people praying for me, encouraging me, supporting me, etc. Please pray that we can be a blessing to this dear lady while we're here.
So one day down, many more to go. As my sister reminded me, I'm here for a reason. Hopefully I can hold onto that through the difficulties, knowing I'm under God's care.
"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care." -Psalm 95:6-7

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pictures

Ok, that one was a test, but it finally worked, yeah! Maybe now I can post some more pictures. I still can't figure out how to post a profile pic, but that's ok. I still look the same as I did 6 years ago (well, maybe the same as I did 10 years ago). =) As a wise child once told me, when I'm 82 I'll only look like I'm 72! Something to look forward to I guess. =)
Have a joyful day!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

peace in stress

"When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." -Psalm 94:18-19

I love these verses! And I love God's grace! It continues to amaze me how He can give consolation, joy, peace, etc. in the midst of anxious times.
Our trip from FL to Dallas wasn't too bad until we stopped and tried to find a hotel. Every time I went into one of the hotel rooms, I immediately starting feeling sick and had to leave. After about the third time, I had to take some benedryl. My poor mom was trying to figure out what to do. She and Mary Ann were so tired, but we couldn't find a place to stay that was safe for me. Amazingly, through it all, I wasn't stressed out. I kept praying we'd be able to find a place, but we never did. Even that was ok. God gave the ladies strength to keep driving, and I was able to sleep most of the night while they drove. God gave me such peace and CONFIDENCCE that He was taking care of us. It was wonderful to go through a stressful time like that and not really feel stressed out. Praise God! I'm sure it was because of so many people praying for us. What a blessing it is to have God's consolation through His Spirit, but also through His PEOPLE.

This place where I'm staying in Dallas is great! It's all tile, only metal shelves, no chemicals, carpet, mold, etc. I hope it will be a restful place even while I'm going through all the stress of tests, treatment, etc. Although with cable TV, it's going to take some discipline not to just be a cough potato. I'm sure God's grace is sufficient for that too. =)

Ok, all for today. Oh, I tried to post pictures on here but I can't get it to work. Anyone with suggestions? Thanks.
Grace & peace to you.
-Joanna

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Starting and Leaving

Hello! I've finally joined the world of technologically savvy people. I'm starting this new adventure of blogging! I hope I'll be able to keep it up and not be too boring to any who dare to read it. =)
I'm also leaving--leaving FL that is. Tomorrow my mom, Mary Ann (from my church), and I leave on our roadtrip to Dallas. That's when another adventure will start--going to a special clinic for people with serious allergies and health problems. I hope and pray they will be able to help me make some progress. The Lord knows. I am following where He leads, trusting that whatever happens, He is doing what is best for me.
And so with that, I will leave you and sign off. Until next time, may you rest in the infinite love of God.
-Joanna