Mark’s body has been deteriorating for ten years. We have chalked it up to old age, although he is only thirty-seven. We chalked it up to being on the computer for long periods of time. We thought maybe he was stressed out and we had written a host of other lists of what could be the source of his body not working. He has had gut tests, been poked and prodded. Clinical medicine only made him worse and in fact made his symptoms worse. What cured one thing caused other problems, dramatic problems. Ones that were not just wished away and ignored, his symptoms have been debilitating.
There have been times he and I thought well maybe he’s just lazy and needs to boost himself up. Maybe if he put his nose to the grind stone and toughed it out, he would push through and be stronger. Instead his body crumbled, rebelled and he physically could not work. When one part of the body is out of whack it throws off everything else. He began plummeting mentally and emotionally, pushing him physically further into distress.
I have been working for ten years to research food and how the human body reacts to it. Researching diets, not to lose weight, but to figure out what kind of foods his body would tolerate. Yet, it seemed that simply breathing caused a whole host of issues. It has not mattered how bland or how digestive friendly the food has been, his body has rebelled at it all. Through the whole process his body has continued to break down instead of getting stronger.
It has been stressful on our marriage, stressful on us as individuals and stressful as a family. A few days ago we went to a clinic in Fairmont, MN called the Dulcimer clinic. Who knew there is a awesome, private clinic only an hour down the road from us. I literally laughed out loud when I saw a shelf of essential oils and a sign for flu shots in the same office building.
I saw young children calling the receptionist by name and in return she knew their names. From my experience clinics and anything medical appears sad, miserable and neither the patients or the doctors want to be there. It was not the case with this clinic. It felt different. The level of respect, concern and not being treated like we had two heads was amazingly liberating. We sat down with Dr. Keith and she was amazing. She did not look at us like we had two heads either. Rather she nodded her head and actually asked us questions about some symptoms we had chalked up to “he was just going to have to live with it” attitude. She had names for some of the weird things his body does.
She started him out on a eating regiment that would take out as much histamine in his diet as possible. Reducing the histamine in his body and allows his body to have less digestive stress, thus being able to heal the gut, which will heal him as a whole person. It’s hard, the list of what he can’t have is longer than what he can eat. I am thankful the Lord has taken me on a path to figure out how to pair various foods with each other. However, as much as I do know, it doesn’t make the process any easier on Mark. It’s stressful trying to continue creating nourishing and delicious while trying to give him as much protein for long term energy as possible.
As Mark’s body detoxes I’m thankful I know how to help him slow down the moments I know his body is detoxing to quickly. When he or anyone detoxes too quickly you lose energy, your body aches and a host of other wacky symptoms. Getting a tub ready with epsom salts and letting him soak for twenty minutes allows the body to relax enough to give him some relief.
I am thankful the Lord has prepared me for such a time as this. I am thankful he has been working on our marriage prior to figuring out the physical side of Mark. It would be way harder if we hadn’t. While I am thankful for all the Lord has taught me for this moment in life, it is still a very bumpy, uncomfortable, stressful time.
It requires me to be in the kitchen more. It requires me to put way more forethought into each meal than I did before. It kills me as I watch him struggle through not only detoxing, but grieving the loss of some of the foods he loves. I can fix him, I can’t make it better and I hate it. When he plays with the kids for half an hour and is shot for the rest of the day I am left to care for Timmy, keep the house in order, try to help run our business, grocery shop and run the rest of our lives. I know he is sick, I know he needs rest and I hate that I feel the way I do. I can feel myself getting tired and while I can continue to try to go to bed earlier, I get angry that I have to do that too.
He hates not having energy as much as I hate him not having energy. We both know there is nothing we can do to help each other, even if we wanted to. I cannot fix him, only make him comfortable. He cannot help me like he would like to and I cannot change it. So, what do I do? How do I cope? I cry. Truth, I cry a lot. I grieve and I ask the Lord for his strength. I ask the Lord for his wisdom and I go into an act of worship as Paul did in prison. If I focus on the waves around us I will sink into the sea, but greater is the one living inside of me than he who is living in the world. I, in and of myself, do not have the strength to keep going.
Moments when I could spend with our kids are sometimes moments I have to be alone. It seems there are simply not enough hours in the day and it breaks my heart to have to pick and choose between the two. I have begun to pray for the Lord to be to our kids what I cannot be. To give and restore to our kids what deteriorating bodies and a tired mommy has taken away. I hate what lyme disease is taking away from our family. Yet, I know as he often does God rises to the occasion. He comes riding in as our knight in shining armor and he gives us everything we need. He restores our kid’s hearts and he challenges us all to look to him.
When Mark is in pain, the kids can see it and they are sweet to pray for him and encourage him. They have lovingly stepped up to help out more with daily chores. Together as a team we tackle the day.
I have been singing the song, “I am not alone” quite a bit lately. I find myself unconsciously humming it or singing it. It reminds me that I am not pressing on alone. Being a caretaker is not easy, but it’s worth it. The pain that Mark feels on a daily basis is not easy. It is what God has called is to in the here and now. I am praying that as we go through this process God is honored and glorified. I pray he is able to encourage and inspire others. I pray he is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can comprehend.
We are again in the fire. We are again being refined and whether we are rescued or not we will say, blessed be the name of the Lord! He has brought us through the fire before and we have learned to trust the process of the potter. To God be glory!