"Walls"December 30, 2011
We had a great Christmas. Below is a picture of each of our kid's families. I find myself looking at this picture several times a day. It always makes me smile.
Happy New Year!
It is hard to believe that it is almost 2012. I haven't made any New Year's resolutions. For at least 20 years one of my resolutions was to try and lose weight. I wanted to lose about 10 pounds. Try as I might, I could not do it. When Patra and I came home from the Mayo Clinic last December, I began to lose weight without even trying. Be careful what you wish for. Within a short period of time, I lost about 75 pounds!
The other night I went to take a shower and took my shirt off. I don't normally look at myself in the mirror but this night I did. The only word that can describe what I saw is "hideous." I looked like that guy in the comic book ads who got sand kicked in his face. I realize that I am substantially below my normal weight but I should just look skinny, not misshapen.
Fortunately, looking good right now is not high on my priority list. There are however things that I need to block out of my mind. I believe that I have been mostly successful. Faith, family and friends continue to be my first line of defense.
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
When you have a life-threatening and incurable disease, it is very important to guard your mind. If you are not careful, you can go to "dark places" and easily get depressed. It is not just those walking through the "tall weeds" who need to guard their minds.
When I was first diagnosed with this "nasty little disease, I made a decision to construct "walls" in my mind. There are just things that I don't allow myself to think about because it would only make me feel worse. For example, I do not like to think about the plans I had for Patra and I for our retirement years. Once, I asked her if she wanted me to tell her those dreams. She responded by asking me if I needed to talk about those things, and I said no. She said that after 39 years of marriage, she knew my dreams... our dreams. Fortunately, for the most part, the walls have stood and I try not to think about tomorrow. We walk day by day and God has now given us two years.
It is important to focus on the positive and not the negative. I work hard to keep negative thoughts out of my mind.
Philippians 4:8 (quoted above) has always been a favorite verse of mine, even before I became sick. It tells us the things we should be thinking about. Things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Use your mind to think about those things.
Next week I will get my second epidural steroid injection (ESI). This time the doctor will inject my low back where the lumbar fractures are. I am excited about the possibility of some relief.
I had been doing well until Wednesday at dialysis. I had not retained much fluid and so they were going to take off a small amount. I thought it would be a breeze. With about an hour to go, I suddenly became dizzy, my blood pressure dropped and I thought I was going to pass out. As always, the nurses were great - they gave me fluid and I was back to normal by the time I went off the machine.
Dear God, Thank you for my family and for our joyous time together this Christmas. I pray that I can continue to focus my mind only on the things are honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Please help me to keep the walls up in my mind that protect me from my negative thoughts. Thank you for friends who continue to encourage and pray for us.
Until next Friday, God willing.