One Patient's Positive Perspectives

Posts tagged ‘Christ’

Lupus Adventurer reflects on the first Christmas

One Perfect Lamb

Down from the glory of eternity’s home,
a baby was born as a carpenter’s Son.
Willing so humbly to enter our world,
Creator and Master, the Savior did come.
History splitting, prophecy fulfilling, sin forgiving,
life transforming man,
Jesus Christ, both Son of God and son of Joseph and Mary,
a miraculous plan.

Three decades passed without one wrong or sin,
lived as the One Perfect Lamb.
He offered Himself, life and blood for man’s sin.
Buried three days, He arose up again!
Overcoming sin, death, sickness and the grave,
giving life unto all reborn men he would save.
Accepting His gift, true forgiveness is found,
New life, new joy, and truest Christmas blessings abound!

Thank you for letting me share my poem from several Christmases ago with you again, this year.

Jesus Christ is my reason for Christmas!

Merry Christmas,
Lupus Adventurer

Copyright 12/24/2010

Independence Day Goodbye

Independence  Day

Four years ago his eyes looked out ahead for times yet to be,
Seventy-nine years from birth till then, but what came next he didn’t see.
Falls, confusion, miscued words, and soon a sudden turn,
Hospital, rehab, sixteen flights before daughter could home return.

He travelled far, a first class flight away from his lifetime home,
Living where helpers and aides would bathe, or help him use a comb.
Then doctors, surgeries, changes in health meant needing a different place,
Humbled and weakened, but stubbornly clinging to dignity’s final trace.

At first, decline was slow, but soon, escalating bit by bit,
next cane, then walker, then rolling around while having just to sit.
Memory, too faded out in stages, either gradually or by spurts,
Children, marriage and life forgotten, the watcher’s heart just hurts.

Daughter’s face was known at first, but then confusion grew,
“Are you my cousin? sister? mother?” at the end he had no clue.
The limbo land his mind dwelled in, imprisoned him in a lonely place,
A soulful gaze from forlorn eyes possessed his troubled face.

Last visits made, scriptures read aloud beside his quiet bed,
Everything saved but before unspoken, at last today was said.
Fittingly, it was independence day, a day when suffering would cease,
then sudden decline, soon slipping away to death’s last final release.

Many prayers offered over the years by children, grandchildren and kin,
That he’d find God’s forgiveness, mercy and love and be truly born again.
Where would his dying soul abide through eternity’s longest hour?
This secret is known to God alone, through His just and gracious power.

I love you Dad, goodbye.

By, Lupus Adventurer
© July 4, 2014

 

Dad and Me

Dad with Nate

Dad and Mom

Dad and the Family Budget

Dad in his mid 50s

Dad and his Uncle Wesley

Dad when I was 5 years old

Dad at his 80th Birthday

Dad at Work Pre-Computer Days

Dad with Mom’s Fragrant Cloud Rose

Dad in Navy – Flight Navigation

Dad Training Navy Pilots

Dad on Leave During Korean War

Dad with Lyle and Ariel

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Dad and Elisabeth

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Dad and Mom

 

Undeniable lupus truths, choice and consequence

Truth

Undeniable Truths

The fact that we have lupus testifies to the undeniable truth that we are imperfect. As much as I would like to think differently, I must admit each time I look in the mirror that I am imperfect in many ways.  While having a right self-view is very important, it helps if we can accept our own imperfections.

If we have lupus, there is absolutely nothing we have done wrong that caused it.  It is not our fault, we are not to blame, and it is not a result of failing to do some “sure-fire” preventive measure.  Lupus is an autoimmune disease that cannot be predicted nor prevented.  This is an undeniable truth.

predictably unpredictable

The only predictable thing about lupus is that it is…

Lupus is unpredictable.  The frequency, severity and duration of flares cannot be predicted.  They can be managed, shortened and responded to, and the risk of flares can be reduced by proper care and medication.  But, the undeniable truth remains that the “one predictable thing about lupus is its unpredictability.”

Everyone with Lupus does not have the same blessings and challenges. Unfortunately, all does not come out equal in this life, but everyone with lupus has the right to choose their primary focus, either on the blessings or on the challenges.

How we view the lupus adventure undeniably affects how we cope with lupus.  Celebrating the positives in life helps take the sting out of having lupus, or any chronic illness.

silhouette of group of six

Grateful for great crowd of supportive family and friends

I am extremely thankful that I have a wonderfully supportive husband and family, a great job, and countless other important resources. My support circle includes dear people who love me, pray for me and encourage me in my faith.  These precious friends and loved ones help me remember that God is with me in my daily struggle with lupus.

It is another undeniable truth that supportive family and friends make a great difference to someone coping with lupus. Unfortunately, some patients face their lupus alone, lacking this type of warm support and under-girding.  Their striving for victory over lupus’ effects can be difficult, private and very lonely.

winnie the pooh friendsSocial isolation sometimes associated with chronic illness can easily fuel feelings of self-pity and great discouragement.  People who are supportive and caring can positively influence someone struggling with the invisible challenge of lupus.

tax medical deductions

Medical tax deductions
increased my refund!

Medical care is expensive, with or without insurance. This is yet another undeniable truth about lupus.  For example, surprisingly, we accumulated enough out-of-pocket co-pays and other medical expenses to save money on itemized medical tax deductions.  This fact says a great deal about lupus treatment, all by itself.  This example doesn’t begin to express the high cost of lupus treatment borne by my insurance company and self-insured employer.  My income tax deductions are clear evidence of the truth that, even though I have excellent insurance, my medical costs count up, too.

Choices of consequence

elevator and stairs 2

Consider the consequences…
Stairs or elevator?

Our choices have consequences —  we all have some good and not-so-good results coming from the decisions and choices we have made throughout life.  Choices influence our lives and show something about who we are.

Our choices influence the home we live in, the friends we keep, the state of our finances, the work we do, the clothes we wear and the food we eat.  These choices show our personal priorities and values.  Choices we make impact our lives many ways, including influencing our health and lupus.

For example, if I choose to skip my medications or spend several days out in the sun, it is certain that these choices will cause my lupus to flare, which in turn could cause severe organ damage. Similarly, a choice to descend or climb a flight of stairs brings negative consequences impairing my mobility for days afterward.

I choose music!

I chose music!

We cannot choose lupus. But, we all at least have some choices about lupus and it’s impact in our lives.

When I was a very young teenager, I started smoking.  Soon, I was given two extremely clear choices, ultimatums.  “Stop smoking,” was echoed by my choir director who threatened to kick me out of a singing group, and my gymnastics coach who promised to oust me from the team.

gymnastics

I chose gymnastics!

I made a choice that preserved aspects of my youth that mattered the most to me then: music and sports.

That meant making an opposite choice that bucked the tide of what my peers were choosing, made me a little “un-cool” (in the vernacular of the early 1970’s) and ultimately led to social choices that kept me far away from illegal drugs.

Choosing wholesome things I loved more than the negative influences of peer pressure changed my life direction and helped put me on a vastly different path than before.

Choosing well to stop smoking had a part in influencing my ability to continue to sing in college, and eventually changed some life directions years later.  Another important choice radically change my life direction.  Choosing to reject my parent’s religion and become a Christian when I was 16 had an even greater impact on my life than choosing music or sports, both then and now.

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My singing tour group in college
(I am the shortest one in the picture)

Largely because of my newly found faith in Christ, and partly because of my singing  I could afford college.  I ventured out toward college without a penny to my name, and academic and music scholarships were blessings that funded four years of study, nearly debt free.

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Same group – We saw the U.S. performing eight  concerts a week on tour (I’m in center front)

Music and singing opened the door to a college education, first in California and then in Arizona. I was privileged to  travel half of the U.S. doing summer concerts.   Music helped foster friendships and relationships with fellow musicians (including meeting my husband!)

For thirty-five years I have enjoying the blessings of being able to sing solos, and love singing with others in ensembles and choirs.  I choose now to honor the Lord through music.

My education led to my career as a legal government manager, and ultimately that career provides me now with opportunities to make a real difference in government law.  My professional duties are a source of daily fulfillment, and give income, medical insurance (a means to better health) and a pension for my retirement.  Without seeking to educate myself, I would have been ill-prepared to fulfill the responsibilities of my career as a legal manager.

These two early, seemingly small choices in my teen years, filtered down over time with remote impact on many aspects of my daily life, even today.

Choices...

Choices…

Choices to change your lupus

Many other choices along the way contributed to who I have become and the place I find myself in today.  If we could predict the outcome of each choice, perhaps we would never have the courage to risk and sail out into adventures and choices with unknown outcomes.

My choices today will definitely influence tomorrow, but I have no way to precisely predict how they will affect me.  But, by listening to wisdom and making good choices, I am much more likely on a better path, headed toward a better end.

What choices can you make today that will affect your lupus positively?

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Some of my health choices today…

Here are some of mine:

  • Eat healthy foods, avoid unhealthy ones, drink enough water
  • Get enough sleep and rest when fatigue hits
  • Take my medications, every day, every dose and get my Benlysta infusions like clockwork
  • Keep my doctor appointments, get my lab work done and be a compliant patient
  • Exercise when mobility permits and rest when lupus flares
  • Cultivate the relationships and friendships that matter
  • Advocate for lupus awareness, educate and encourage other lupus patients
  • Plan on being a victor, and reject the temptation of a victim mindset
  • Intentionally cherish each day God gives me

Next… Lupus and choosing the victimless life

A heart-felt conversation, but not about Lupus today!

Easter conversation in my heart

Today is Easter Sunday!  My thoughts are focused completely away from my Lupus, and onto the silent conversation going on today in my heart.  Easter is not originally about bunny rabbits and Easter eggs, although they are certainly a colorful and fun part of many modern-day Easter observances.  Today, I am looking forward to an Easter that is all about Jesus Christ, and the amazing thing that happened early on a Sunday morning 2,000 years ago.  My internal conversation dwells on my gratitude for the One whose focal birth divides the Gregorian calendar into two halves, B.C. and A.D. [“Before Christ” and Latin “Anno Domini,” or “year of our Lord.”]

The Bible tells the Easter story

The Bible teaches clearly and simply that God Himself loved man so much that He Himself condescended to enter into His own creation, and came to earth, born miraculously as an infant in the person of Jesus Christ.  It reports that he He lived a sinless life, and then for three years had a ministry preaching and performing many miraculous acts in front of thousands of people all over the land of Israel.  He then died in undeserved punishment on a Roman cross outside the city of Jerusalem in Israel.

After His death, Jesus’ body was wrapped in ointments, herbs and fine linen and placed into a new tomb owned by a man named Joseph.  A boulder was rolled over the opening in the rock, and Roman soldiers sealed it.  The Roman’s remembered that Jesus had predicted in his preaching that he would return to life from death after spending three days in a grave, so soldiers were posted outside the tomb to keep watch for three days, guarding it against tampering, fearing the theft of His body by Jesus’ followers.

Empty tomb

Early in the dawn of the first Easter morning, Jesus arose from death miraculously, as He predicted.  The soldiers guarding his tomb were astonished, overwhelmed and stunned by His resurrection and the opening of His tomb.  Historical passages in the Bible report that after Jesus died and was buried, He arose from death after three days.  He then appeared after his resurrection to his disciple Peter, then to the other disciples, and after that to over 500 people at one time.

My heart today ponders and marvels at the love of a Creator that would motivate such selfless, merciful, forgiving behavior, and the importance of that event in connection with my life today.

The term “gospel” or “good news” comes from the Christian belief that Jesus’ death is offered as a substitute punishment for each man’s sin, available to any man who would believe in Him as their own Savior.  The “rest of the story” of the “gospel” includes the report of Christ returning to life after three days, and as a result conquering both sin and death.  This has the effect of forging a way for man to follow Christ’s experience of resurrection after their own death.  As a Christian, I believe that He gave his life in place of mine, and took the punishment I deserved for my own sins upon himself, and then arose from death. This sets me free by faith in Him from the punishment for sin, makes me eternally grateful, and opens a miraculous door for me to have a restored personal relationship with God himself.

Easter celebration!

Easter for a Christian is the annual celebration of the powerful victory of Christ over death and sin that reaches down through the ages to us, to me, to you, to any person who will believe in Him and trust Him to forgive their own sin and save their soul.

Later this morning there will be some beautiful, glorious music at church, where the worship service will focus on the Bible’s message of the gospel of Christ, the “good news” of Easter.  It will be a privilege to sing with the church choir some amazing songs of celebration and gratitude.  It will be a blessing to listen to my husband’s magnificent tenor voice as he shares a special solo about Christ’s resurrection with the congregation.  Finally, our family and friends will gather at my in-law’s home for a special afternoon Easter dinner, together recognizing and remembering the single historical event most pinnacle to our Christian faith.

Today, my conversation is all about celebrating new life, and faith in the One who makes life possible.  I can live, because He lives!  Happy Easter!

Lupus and the quote that most inspires me

A quote that most inspires me

Inspiration and strength of character necessary to fight an auto-immune illness come from many sources.  My most powerful and trans-formative resource for healthy psychological and spiritual perspectives are found in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures of the Bible.  Many passages and quotations strengthen my heart by encouraging, challenging or even instructing me to better understand my human nature.  Many verses within the Bible help inspire a positive outlook on my auto-immune disease, but one simple verse best expresses how my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ enable me to face lupus and all of life’s other challenging adventures.

The Holy Bible - a source of joy and strength

A Hebrew prophet living long before the time of Christ penned the words, “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” This single phrase reminds me that a joy-filled life and daily experience are not dependent upon circumstances, such as lupus, that cannot be changed nor controlled.  The prophet Nehemiah’s proclamation resounds with timeless truth: powerful joy and exuberant overcoming strength of character find their source in a faith relationship with our Creator, and not in the conditions and circumstances of our human condition.

The joy of the Lord is my strength.

This joy of the Lord flows through my daily life with an overcoming exuberance that need not be defeated by pain, illness, adversity, nor even lupus.  Real joy from God runs through me at a deeper level than the challenges of lupus or other life struggles.  This true joy is an unchanging and unfailing source of daily strength, mingled with great gratitude to the God from whom I borrow my strength.  The source of this amazing overcoming joy and power do not arise out of me, myself, but rather these strengths flow from God himself.

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