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Friday, August 8, 2014

Blessed Beyond Measure

I am blessed beyond measure!   How, you might ask, can I say that and really mean it considering the circumstances of my life.  I have a son who has walked out of our lives and rejected our faith and beliefs.  Heart wrenching!  I have a godly daughter who is seriously ill with Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease.  While friends and acquaintances my age are trying to decide what their grandchildren will call them, I am preparing myself to accept that I may never have any grandchildren.  The medical bills continue to roll in.  Most of the medications and procedures to treat Lyme are not covered by insurance.  My days are spent caring for a 25 year old college educated child who on some days can not even get out of bed because of the pain.

But, I am blessed beyond measure! 

Here is how I can say this and really mean it.  Today, as most days, I went over to Robin’s house at 2:00PM.  Snickers went with me today because Robin says he is therapeutic.  I gently open her bedroom door and watch her as she begins to wake up.  Yes, at 2:00PM she is still sleeping, because at 7:00AM she is still awake trying to cope with the pain.  I hate to wake her because she looks so peaceful, but I know I must.  I give her a drink of Burbur and Parsley, herbs that help settle her nervous system.  I go to the kitchen and make her a gluten free waffle and a cup of coffee.  As she eats, we talk about her evening and I get an idea of just how bad her night has been.  Last night was particularly bad.

I asked Robin what she thinks about when the pain attacks come.  She says that sometimes she begs God to take her.  Other times she concentrates on Ken, and her Dad and myself and how much we mean to her.  Today she shared with me that despite the pain and the isolation, she knows that God is still good.  Even when the pain is so intense that she cannot control her body and she flails all over the bed, she acknowledges that God is good.  Tears begin to flow as the words spill from her heart about her struggles and her hope and her faith.  I can’t repeat word for word all that she shared with me today, but I will tell you that when we both were overwhelmed with our tears, I knew that I had experienced something that most of my friends and acquaintances will never experience.  I have seen into the heart of my daughter.  What I see there is a sweet, strong, godly woman trying to make sense of the suffering.  Trying to find the good in a tragic situation.  As is often the case, she talks of how her suffering is preparing her to help others who are in pain.  She wants her suffering to be a bridge for others with undiagnosed health issues, to find help.  But ultimately, she prays that her experience with a chronic illness will point others to Christ. 

I love my daughter.  I love her heart.  We did not choose this path in life, but God knew that we must travel it together.  I am so proud of Robin for her determination to stay in the fight despite the sleepless nights of pain, the shattered dreams, but especially for her decision to praise God in the toughest of times.  He has worked out every little detail from providing a Lyme literate doctor in our area, to a job for Ken and an apartment and then a house at just the right times.  Were it not for Lyme, I doubt my daughter and I would share our tears, our hearts or our breakfast as we did today.  God is surely good all the time!

That is why I can say I am blessed beyond measure! 

And Then...

To be continued…..

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Robin's Freshman Year at Bob Jones


Life has been extremely busy lately!  Ken's parents were in town for a few days and we enjoyed spending some time with them.  They are so supportive in our efforts to beat Lyme disease.  David and I appreciate them so much!

Sunday was Robin and Ken's second wedding anniversary.  Ken made the day very special for Robin even though she was in a lot of pain and extremely tired.  She has finished the second round of parasite drugs and her body is ready for a break.  She will be detoxing for at least a week before starting the next drug.  Please continue to pray for Robin.  She wants to be up and doing things, but sometimes her body just will not let her.  This is one of those times.

Yesterday we received an email from her doctor saying that he had met with the people who help him with the documentation requirements for the IGIV treatment I spoke of HERE.  Their recommendation was to have Robin tested again at the end of August and if her immune function has not improved by then, she would be a candidate for the treatment.

Since I started writing about Robin's journey with Lyme disease, I have been able to talk to three people who have a friend or family member struggling with a health concern that their doctor cannot explain. Here is a link to a post that Robin made to her blog about a year ago. It has some good information about neurological lyme.  

And Then...
**Please note that this is my recollection of Robin's story.  When she was in college, I did not see the pain in her eyes as she struggled through her days.  We talked every day, sometimes several times a day, but I did not grasp the severity of her situation.  I pray that she can tell her story as she remembers it in the near future.

We have all used the phrase "mind over matter".  That is how I describe Robin's freshman year of college.  David and I took her to Greenville, SC and moved her into the dorm room that she would share with three other girls. It was tight!  It seems that she locked the pain away in a box, threw away the key, and decided to enjoy the college experience.  I know that the pain was still there, but she rose above it and participated in most all the activities of her first year of college.

This picture was taken on our first Sunday at Bob Jones. David and I left for home that afternoon.  All you mother's out there know exactly what I did for the first hour of our trip!  Yes, I shed tears.  Some were tears of joy, but there were also tears of concern and helplessness.  I was (and am) so proud of the young lady our daughter had grown to be.  I trusted her to make wise decisions, but I knew in my heart that there was something wrong, physically.  I would miss her so much!

Robin wasted no time to get involved.  Along with her school work, she managed to play basketball and volleyball.  She was active in her society and service extension.  She made lots of new friends and seemed to love college life.

Looking back on this now, it was cruel of me to insist that Robin not come home until Thanksgiving.  Other parents had advised me that giving her that time to adapt would ensure that she would not get homesick and want to drop out of school after the Christmas break.  I can't change that decision now and I suppose it was meant to be just the way it happened.  I directed my attention to updating some of the rooms in our house.  Wallpaper came down, new paint and flooring was added.  We even invested in a few new pieces of furniture.  This kept me busy until time to return to Greenville to get our girl.  She had befriended a girl from Canada who was not able to go home for Thanksgiving, so Krista spent the holiday with our family.  It was a short break and we stayed very busy, so I didn't notice that Robin was showing signs of fatigue and pain.

Christmas break started early due to an outbreak of whooping cough on campus.  Robin was not affected, but she spent her break trying to catch up on sleep and good nutrition.  She would return to Bob Jones in January and was able to complete her freshman year in May 2008.

By this time, we (David and I) were accepting that our daughter needed more rest than most young people.  The doctors could find nothing wrong and her symptoms were not specific.  The pain seemed to moved from place to place in her body.  The one consistent point of pain was her neck.  Physical therapy seemed to help, but by the end of the school year, she could not tolerate the pressure from the therapy.