Called out of Death

I have spent the past several months waiting and wishing for change.  Hoping that my body would hold out, make it through today, and that tomorrow would pass and the next day and the next — before I realized they were gone.  So that I could make it.

I have cried at the end of long days, because tomorrow was going to hit me again.  I have escaped into movies and TV and tried to hang on while caring for the basic needs of my family at a deficit that seems inhuman.  The truth is, it wouldn’t matter if I slept or rested all day, I would still be tired.  So I do the things I must.  Or just the things I want, some days, and thank God for that.

Sometimes suddenly I’ll get slapped with a jerk of energy and can whip the house into better shape, take care of a project that it overdue for attention, give the kids a good bath….

My husband has been the best cheerleader.  My children so forgiving.  It is humbling.

One day I was at the 40-day countdown.  Maybe more or less….but either way, it felt like the end of a pregnancy.  I am overready but the circumstances are beyond my control.  40 Days seemed like a long time.

I just want to be finished.

Then the Lord started speaking…. I am calling you out of death, and calling you into life.  Each step, each day, a little more hope, a little more faith, a little more trust.

Each day a little more life.

Today I am at 19 days and counting.  (I feel like Mom Duggar… that sounds like a lot but to me it isn’t.  I would gladly have 19 children.  Can I be just as glad to do 19 more days of torture to my body and then gladly submit to the surgeon’s knife?)

I could beat myself up about this, because at least I am not battling actual death, but it’s like running a race on glass shards.  At moments I just want to scream or hit the wall or lock myself away or just leave and go to the beach forever.

It takes more than myself to calm down, look this Zombie in the eye and say, “You will not rule this day.”  Then deep breaths and trusting God about all of it.  Submitting to the long-term walk here.

Then reentering into my family life.

God, thank you for getting me this far.  Give me new hope for today.  Fresh life for today.  I cast out death for today.  Wanting to die… or just to be asleep all day… ignoring anything that doesn’t matter, including the dishes in the sink or the piled up laundry… ignoring my fatigue because it will be there whether I sleep or not.

Lord, thank you for delightful things to enjoy…. like helping my friend give birth this week.  Like taking my kids to fun things today and tomorrow and the next and the next, already planned, like a beautiful symphony, ready for me to enjoy each day… because you have filled my days with life.

When I was in college and I struggled with depression, I had no idea that those skills would come in handy and be built upon during this season.

And I have heard you say God, that I am in for some really great things… and now I am seeing how some beautiful things are on their way.  I trust you, God.  Thanks for helping me, again and again and again.

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Thanks for Reading, Friends.


Update: 1 month to surgery

I am astounded at the issues cropping up for my health.

Blood pressure was 173/105 this evening… pretty frustrating to feel so rough at times.  I am ready for a change… praying that this surgery will do the most it can.  They say you wake up healed, and end up needing recovery from the anesthesia more than anything else.

I am not counting the days yet, because there is that random off chance the surgery could be moved up.  I haven’t felt myself in years now.  I am hopeful that my brain fog will lift, my ability to remember things improve, and that I will prove at last to be the more patient person I thought I was before this illness took over my life.

Thanks for reading, friends.


Communities At War

I made a presentation at my Homesteading/Preppers group last week on nutrition and health/lifestyle.  It was a fun event for me, getting to share a little about what I have learned in the past few years.

I added a special slide in my powerpoint at the very end, however, with a picture of the Mexican Standoff in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  Point being: I am not joining the Nutrition vs. Medical WAR that is currently happening.

That’s right.  There is a WAR, if you haven’t figured it out already.  In fact, it goes on with all things medical as far as I can figure.  Hospital vs. Home/Natural Birth, Vitamins, and Immunizations are other areas where I have unwittingly stepped on a few land mines in conversations online and off, in the doctor’s office and with family/friends.

It turns out that both sides are standing behind their relative barricades, pointing fingers and screaming “You’re lying!  You’re wrong!” to the other side.  Anyone in the middle, undecided or just trying to do a blend of both sides, has to watch out, ‘cuz they’ll get pointed at and screamed at, too.  It all turns political and very heavy-handed when people aren’t being thoughtful.

The truth is, my husband and I plan to do a hybrid of the two — with a heavy dose of Jesus in the middle of all of it.  Our trust is not in man alone, doctors or nutritionists, but in the Creator of both sides and the only One who can help us pull back and make the choice that is best for us.

With Conn’s Syndrome, my adrenal gland presents a particularly tricky situation.  Unlike Adrenal Fatigue, a disease has caused my gland to overproduce one particular hormone.  I have a tiny little bump or growth, tumor or nodule, however you want to call it, that nutrition might be able to help me manage but will not cure.  In fact, nutrition has gone so far as to help me daily with my blood pressure and overall health far better than the medicinal management we tried last year.  However, my BP stays far higher than it should and the hyper-production of aldosterone continues to ravage my life.

So, it seems as though surgery is the best option.  What I left to the last, will (this time) take center stage.  I have explored doing a partial adrenalectomy, or asking the surgeon to simply chip off the nodule.  These might seem to be good options, but the main thing I have picked up on in studies accessible to me is that some adrenals that are fully removed show further disease once they are studied post-operation.

It is so rare to find two diseased adrenals that this is usually not a concern.  And for me the option of having my BP return to normal (as is the usual outcome) as well as my overall stamina/health for my family’s sake… far outweigh the negatives of losing my adrenal and maintaining my nutritional choices for the sake of my other adrenal.  I was concerned about guarding against adrenal insufficiency, but again from what I have read this usually occurs when people do not have even one properly functioning adrenal… it’s a totally different issue than Conn’s.

So… I have tried maintaining my health on my own, and for me it has not worked.  Maybe others could find a trick and I would love to hear about it here, even if I did not get the chance to try it.

It is interesting to me, overall, how much time it might have saved me if any one of the doctors I have met would have stopped to help me understand the full picture instead of trying to strong-arm me into surgery without fully understanding why.  I wonder if any of them even know enough about Conn’s to do this.  It remains a simple “I read that for Conn’s you do surgery” and they expect their patients to agree/submit to that.  Questions are a waste of their time.

So, it is up to US to really do the footwork and read, read, read to figure out WHY we would do what they suggest  (which can be tricky to do when you are already not feeling great and other things/little people need your attention).  It’s all about Informed Consent.  If you expect the doctor to do the explaining you are barking up the wrong tree, unfortunately.

Another guarding factor I have uncovered is, when working with doctors, it really helps not to disclose the Nutritional side of things.  A kind doctor friend explained in a private conversation that it’s best to say “I’d like to treat this conservatively, and avoid surgery if possible.”  So sad, but true… until Judgement Day we may never have a world where the yin/yang of
Science/Bible or Nutrition/Medicine can meet.  I’d argue that this is due to the meddling of the enemy of our souls.  Far too much good would come by those combinations, but that’s another story for another day… that’s my Christian two cents.  (wink)

Blessings to you, wherever you are on your road!  Let me know how you are doing and how I can pray for you today.

1-23-14 Update

Just FYI, for those who are praying, my recent blood test results showed a real improvement.  I am praising the Lord.  Some things still need to improve, but I am thrilled and motivated to keep going.

Please pray for the doctor who is skeptical, that she will work with me and lend her expertise in the process.
Please pray for protection of my mind and heart in the process.

“Nutrition will not cure you.”

“Nutrition will not cure you.”

My endocrinologist interrupted me twice to say this.  It has been three months since I started my new diet and lifestyle, and I usually feel like a million bucks compared to the zombie I was before (we want bloodwork to confirm things)!  I waited, then restated: “What I am trying to say is that I feel better.”  He chided me and then said, “We’ll DO the bloodwork, and then you can come in and we’ll chat some more about this.”  I got off the phone as quickly as possible.

In frustration, I then asked my OBGYN group for a referral for a brand new endocrinologist, hoping to get a little more of a listening ear from the new doctor.  I requested the bloodwork I need along with a second opinion on my case.  This doctor was as bad as the first.  She scoffed before I was done with my inital sentence: “I was supposed to have surgery but was told I could try nutrition to see if it would help.”

What is the deal?  I cannot ask questions, cannot look at options, cannot try the least invasive method first?  I must roll over and let you cut out my entire adrenal gland?

I am beginning to realize just how skewed even the most well-meaning doctors can be.  I MUST manage them managing me.  We’re not in Little House on the Prairie here, with the doctor that cares so much they’ll explain, or their efforts are totally vested in your best options.  I trusted these doctors, and they used me to pay their bills with their preferences over my body and the rest of my life.  I will forgive them — but I will not hesitate to challenge them ever again.  Poor doctors.  I know, they truly think they are right.  I pity them.

I am waiting to see what God will do.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” — Nelson Mandela

A Different Approach to Flesh – Diet for the Zombified

It all happened in the chocolate section of Central Market.  No joke.

I listened, got mad, and cried in front of the 80-100% dark chocolate as this random guy told me that a Zombie tumor can be eliminated through specialized diet, rest, and lifestyle choices (among other things, no more chasing people through the streets at night… hmm… that’ll be hard… I miss those sweets already).

Here I was, about to give up an entire organ (adrenal gland) in order to try and purge the nasty tumor growing inside me.  At first I got mad.  Who does this guy think he is?  “No…. don’t let them do that.”  He and his wife said in tandem.  I felt the buzz of frustration grow.  You don’t know what I’ve been through to get to this surgery!!!

“You need both of your adrenals — no matter what they say!” he said.  “Would you consider postponing surgery for a month?”

“Just for a month,”  His wife chimed in.   My head started to spin.  I admitted aloud that I needed to sit down.  Next thing I was crying on the floor.  (Silly zombie hormones.)  The wife patted my back as the clerk for the coffee section brought a chair.  Of COURSE this would happen in Central Market, I thought. Crazy health-nut quacks.

Over the next forty minutes, I felt a strong conviction begin to grow.  Why did the adrenal have to be removed anyway?  Why can’t she just remove the tumor?  Why couldn’t I try nutrition?  It’s worked in other ways for my family, for people I know.  What is my doctor going to say?  There’s no way I can talk to her before surgery on Monday, it’s Friday at 1pm!  What is my husband going to say?

That afternoon, I made a plunge of faith.  I called my husband.  I called the hospital.  I told off a nurse.  I explained to an attending doctor.  We cancelled the surgery.

Incredibly, within ONE DAY off the medicine and on this detoxing diet, I already felt better than I have ALL YEAR.  A week later and I feel amazing.  I feel ALIVE.

Left to Right: My husband and me, a week before scheduled surgery. Pre-detox-diet. Me, a week after cancelled surgery, and being on prescribed detox diet for eight days.

L: Me, a week before surgery, after two months of meds. Before detox diet.
R: Me, a week after cancelled surgery, off meds, on prescribed detox diet for eight days.

I have had a number of other Zombies (or even just regular humans) approach me and ask about this.

Here follows the strange, other-worldly suggestions put forth by this bold young man and his wife… I believe God just used them to steer me toward the healing he had for me without surgery.  God alone is the source of wisdom and healing.  No one else — not myself, not my doctor, not this nutritionist at Central Market — can be the final authority.  We must listen to Him, and trust Him to lead us, guide us — and RESTORE us.

So, I will be following this diet for the next forty days to completely detox from my Zombiehood (down to a molecular level — quite important you know).    How will I feel IN 40 DAYS!?!


No starches/carbs/fruits for one full month to fully detox and starve the tumor.  They turn to sugar, and feed the problem. The tumor is probably made up of toxicity which has been building due to lifestyle or life problems/traumas — and I would have to agree with him on the existence of that in my life.

Detox continues: Leafy greens at each meal (a small side serving). I have been doing steamed broccoli at breakfast, salad at lunch and dinner (with no cheese or croutons).  Also starting the day with a juice of coconut water and leafy greens/carrots for a potassium boost, and drinking pressed garlic and ginger for lowering blood pressure.

Drinking the liquid herbal extract called Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) to drink in water each day to cleanse the adrenal gland.

Eating 80%-100% or pure raw chocolate regularly to detox.  No problem there… it’s sooo good!!! This is what originally started my conversation with Rory and his wife.

Eating Celtic or Himalayan sea salts with each meal — salt and potassium balance each other, so if we cut out all salt it does not let the body balance my potassium myself.  Amazing.  I felt the effects immediately.

Eating a healthy protein at each meal: seeds, nuts, meat that is not too lean — eat some healthy fat — hunted game from my husband was a plus.  Coconut oil could be added as a healthy fat.  Eggs are also good, but I am supposed to eat the yolk and try to eat organic eggs.

Take Vitamin C for immunity boost, and Milk Thistle for Liver boost.

He mentioned eating as much organics as possible, and watching what you put on your skin in terms of lotion/makeup/haircare etc. (so of course I was pretty proud to be able to share about my company, Pink Papaya).

I have personally added Green Tea, brewed for ten minutes but drunk before an hour passes, to detox.

He was also focused on other things like lifestyle, working on balancing hormones through diet, getting my spine in line with a chiropractor, looking at what things I might need healing from. We talked about birth and needing to heal from that and pregnancy still. We talked about Living Waters (the class my church does on inner healing and formational prayer).

Like I said above, I met him and his wife in the chocolate section at Central Market. It was a God thing. I was only shopping for pure chocolate because a lady from church had told me it was an antioxidant and fights cancer. We spent about 40 minutes talking, after I stopped crying and being shocked, about some of the insights and questions he raised. They were all in line with what my husband and I have learned in regard to health and holistic/organic living in the past 3 years.  (My husband has already lost 50 lbs and I have lost 40.)

L: Me, two years ago, before trying to eat healthier and more organically R: Current comparison.  I feel great.  It was hard to drop breads and sugars at first but I know it's the right thing to do for a while.

L: Me, two years ago, before trying to eat healthier and more organically
R: Current comparison. I feel great. It was hard to drop breads and sugars at first but I know it’s the right thing to do for a while.

We will see how this goes… it is truly up to God to direct us. I am really excited to see what happens.

A Shocking Twist

Scott and I are sensitive to the people who have supported us and helped us as we have worked toward having surgery.  However, a God-orchestrated meeting with another doctor yesterday gave us a shocking second opinion that was the opposite of our current doctor.  He asked us to wait a month, told us this tumor can be dealt with through a special diet and lifestyle, and we have learned enough in the past three years to know it is a definite possibility.  We decided to postpone surgery — shocking and a little scary, but we see God has led us to where we are now.  We want to extend our thanks to everyone who has helped us!  Your efforts have not been wasted — it was a service to the Lord and He will honor that.  We will still probably need help from time to time, because this will be a process, but we feel extremely good about this decision right now and excited to see what happens.  Thank you and we love you. — Scott and Dottie