“Put It On The Altar!”

Last week I wrote about my new health crisis. (“My Soul Is Anchord” https://lupieloop.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/)  My labs showed increased protein in my urine.  After a kidney biopsy, I learned that I have significant scarring on my transplant kidney. I was told I had irreversible damage. They still didn’t know why, or what was attacking my kidney. Though I have been concerned I have been prayerfully walking in faith. I have had so many people praying on my behalf.  I have been prepared to do what was necessary on my part to keep rejection at bay.  I have been saying that this storm was my testimony before my testimony. Well here is the testimony!!

I returned to UAB this morning. I was prepared for what ever the dr had to say, because no matter what, I believed that in the Lord’s time it would be worked out.  I was happy to see Dr. Gaston walk in.  You can tell he has been doing this job for a long time. He thoroughly explains what’s going on in clear terms.  I believe the Lord wanted me to fully understand what was going on.  He began with small talk and a review of what happened last week, then he busted out the lap top with the results of the labs for this week. Now, please listen closely.  He said that my protein levels are going down.  I had a wonderful creatinine level of .09 (0.4-1.3).  Then he dropped the real deal news. THERE WERE NO ANTIBODIES PRESENT!!!  Basically there is nothing in my body attacking my kidneys!! NOTHING!! ZILCH!!!  He continued on to say that he thinks by November all of my levels should be back to normal and my prognosis looks good!  Even some of the scarring should go away!! PRAISE GOD!!

I have said this before. I do not know why the Lord chose me to walk this journey. All I know is that over the past 13 years, the Lord has brought me to this place where I learned to live with FEARLESS FAITH!! I have been through so much, and each and every time I go through a storm I always come out better on the other side.  I have learned to praise in my weakness, in pain, and through my tears.  He has never left me!  He has done so much that I have no fear of storms that may  pass, because I know I believe in a life guard that can walk on water!!  I know that what ever he promised me in his word he will deliver. It isn’t always in my time. It is in the time of a GOD that created time!!

There are so many people going through just life, and they are barely staying afloat.  Finances are low, and jobs now days are scarce.  I know. I am living it too.  All I can tell you is you are GOD’S child.  He knows exactly what you need. He may give you just enough to be able to look up and gasp for air before you go down again.  This is not the time to give up!! It is time to lay on your back, look up and learn to float until your change comes!!! He is grooming you so you can walk in  FEARLESS FAITH!!  The bible say’s,

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”  Psalm 55:22

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

You have the perfect set up, “The Dream Team”,  if only you will believe on him.  Jesus is our lawyer, the Holy Spirit is co council and God all mighty  is the Judge.  Don’t you know you have won before you were even taken to trial?!?!? You can never lose whether it is about a job, finances, health, or hurts and pains.  The trial is over and the judges decision was  in your favor!!  It is time that we become FEARLESS FAITH Christians.  Oh what more does the Lord have in store for us if we only asked, believing he could?  There would be so much, we wouldn’t have room enough to receive it!!  (Malachi 3:10) Thank you GOD for giving me my testimony before the testimony and teaching me to live my life as a FEARLESS FAITH Christian!!

” Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1 

“Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 9:22

“Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 15:28

“Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  Matthew 21:21-22

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, o him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

“He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”  Psalm 107:21-33

“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”  Psalm 103:2-6

“The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”  Psalm 34:19-20

“Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;  you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;  praise his holy name.”  Psalm 30:2-4

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.”  Psalm 107:19-21

“You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you.”  Exodus 23:25

‘O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”  Psalm 30:2

 

God’s greatness is unmeasurable ,

his grace immense,

and his love everlasting!

Brandi 🙂

* Thanks to all of you that have thought of me and prayed on my behalf.

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“My Soul Is Anchored”

If someone were to ask how i feel right now I would say concerned, but steadfast. Today was definitely a test of faith, but I still believe the Lord is in control. I had a kidney biopsy on my 7-year-old transplant kidney today.  Though I feel fine, my labs show there is a considerable amount of protein in my urine.  The doctors have not been able to find out why.  The biopsy shows that I have significant scarring and is beginning to show early signs of possible rejection.  The scarring is irreversible . They have decided to increase some of my anit-rejection meds and add a new medication in hopes of slowing down anything that may be causing it and try to prolong the kidney as long as possible. The positives are though my kidney isn’t ideal, they say that my function is over 60% and is functioning very well to have such significant scarring. If for what ever reason it drops down to 20% I will be put back on the transplant list.  The other positive news is that my lupus is still in remission and was not the reason the kidney isn’t functioning as it should be.  They want me to return next Wednesday to see how my body is taking the new milligram changes, and the new drug that they are prescribing to decrease the protein.

I listened to all they had to say, and their advice, but inside I was praying.  I have been here before.  I have been in a hospital bed too many times with a diagnosis that seems to leave me in the deepest and steepest valley, and each time I pray and ask the Lord if he chooses not to heal me today, just allow me to make it to see tomorrow. It has been 13 years and I am still here! They do not know my story. They don’t know how many times the Lord has sustained me, carried and kept me.  They do not know I was in a wheel chair for 2 years unable to walk.  They do not know how my son shouldn’t even be alive.  They do not know!!! I feel like Noah right now.  I have built this huge ship, loaded it with the animals, and now I am looking out the window with nothing but water as far as my eye’s can see.  My family has made it through the storm, though uncomfortable there has been no casualties. I have sent out the raven, and now the dove, and I am waiting for the olive branch.  He will send me that olive branch. It may not be today, or tomorrow, but it will be done!! Until then I will take my medication as prescribed and remain in prayer. This is  my testimony before my testimony!! Whether he heals my kidney today, or if I must hold on until he provides a new kidney, my freshly plucked olive branch is already on the way!

Continue to keep me in prayer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B8RCeJ4hm4

 

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“Today My Life Begins”

I celebrated my 6th “Kidneyversary” today (5/10).  Six years ago I received a call from UAB that they had a kidney waiting for me and I needed to get there as soon as I could.  I remember like it was yesterday.  I was in the process of doing my nightly routine of hooking myself up to my dialysis machine.  My husband worked nights at the time.  The kids were sound asleep.  It was around 10pm and I had waited to the absolute last-minute to hook myself up.  Though I had a long cord I would still be tethered to it for the next 10 hours or so. Like any other night I was getting everything prepared so that I could lay down, watch a little t.v. while my life line, the dialysis machine did all the work.  I had done it so many times over the past 2 1/2 years I could do it on auto pilot.  For what ever reason that night I didn’t feel pressured to do it right at the stroke of 10pm.  I didn’t have any appointments in the morning so I would be ok if I wasn’t able to disconnect until 10 or 11  in the morning.

The phone rang. I just knew it was my husband calling because he had forgotten to do something.  Instead a male voice that was not my husbands, was telling me they had found a kidney match for me.  I couldn’t hardly say anything but “Thank you Jesus”, and to answer yes I would be able to get to the hospital.  I dialed my husbands number.  Of course this would be the night he wouldn’t answer his phone.  I called again, then again, and I still didn’t get an answer.  I called a friend who possibly could have been with him.  Still I got no answer!! One of the most important nights of my life and I couldn’t get my dang husband on the phone!!!!  I called my in-laws to let them know what was going on, then my best friend so that I could have someone to keep the boys.  Finally my husband called back.  I was so excited my brain was moving faster than my mouth, so I had to actually take a few deep breaths to be able to tell him what was going on.  He was home 20 minutes later.  The boys were sleep walking to my in-laws car while we stood in a circle holding hands praying for traveling mercies, and that my surgery would go well.  I packed my bag into the car. I knew I had forgotten something or things, but I was to excited to pack.

It seemed we were the only one’s on the road that night which ended up being a good thing. That night had to have been the darkest and most foggy night of the year.  I don’t know how fast my husband was driving, but he definitely had his foot on the gas.  I think I prayed all the way there!  I wasn’t sure the of the window of time I actually had to get there.  I knew from past transplant education classes I wouldn’t be the only one there getting crossed matched.  I could be one of a handful of people called that night for the same exact kidneys!!  We felt an urgency to get there before my competition even though tests, not time would prove the winners.

I arrived at the hospital and was placed in the room I would be in for the night.  It was painted white and was one of the most sterile looking hospital rooms I had ever been in.They asked all the normal questions they ask you when you are admitted into the hospital.  I had repeated these questions so many times over the years I didn’t even have to think about it. Do you have any allergies? What meds are you on? Do you know the dosage? Who is your emergency contact? Do you have a living will or a power of attorney? Yada, Yada, Yada.  Who could think about those things when in just a few hours I was going to be wheeled into surgery.  Of course I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I had a mix of excitement, nervousness, anticipation, and a handful of other emotions you have when you find out that your life is going to be changed forever!  I laid there in the dark thinking about how wonderful a gift I was going to be given.  The calls from my family in California had died down for the night.  I expected it to resume in the morning; if not on my phone it definitely would be Cornell’s.  My family was overjoyed with the news.  They had been worrying about me from a far.  Sometimes the distance makes any illness worse than it really is.  I could only guess that everyone thought I had one leg in the grave with one eye closed.  For at least an hour I stared at the ugly floral picture on the wall. Who decorates hospital rooms? They always have the worst art work.  They do nothing to help “uplift your spirit”.  Tonight I didn’t need it. It seemed every 30 minutes I would say a prayer of thanks.  I may have been saying the same thing over and over again.  I can’t really remember, but I was extremely grateful.  I found myself doing it for possibly the 15th time that night.  My mind began to wander and I began thinking.  While we were rejoicing, somewhere in this hospital a family was in pain and grieving the lost of their, son, brother, uncle, father.  Someone’s loved one had to die so that I could live.  I didn’t know how to feel about this at the time; sometimes I still don’t.

When the time came I was rolled down  several long cold sterile hallways.  We finally reached the operating room.  Earlier I had been given something to help me relax.  Others say it causes them to not remember a thing.  It seems to not have the same effect on  me.  I always remember everything.  This time I was grateful.  I wanted to remember this moment for the rest of my life.  I never wanted to forget this miracle that GOD allowed me to take part in. There aren’t usually that many smiles in the room, but this time there were more than a few.  It felt like when a baby is born.  There is always an anticipation of a brand new life being brought into the world, that has all the opportunities dreams can hold.  I glanced to my right and saw one of the surgeon’s bathing a bright pink healthy kidney in a saline bath.  Just like a baby, it is crazy how something so small can have such a large impact on your life.  As they prepared me to go under I began to count down trying to keep my eye on my little pink miracle. I looked as long as I could. Not only was I looking at my blessing, I was looking at the beginning of the rest of my life.

Brandi 🙂

 

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God Restores!!

Oct. 3, 2002

this is the first time i’m really writing about this. i’ve been putting it off for the past 2 years. not wanting to tackle it. not wanting to really dig into the the hardest and biggest battle of my life, living with lupus.

i remember when i first realized that something seriously was wrong with me. i remember the nervousness i felt as day after day past, and the doctors couldn’t find out what was wrong with me. would i be ok? had i done something wrong, ate the wrong thing. that was the worst mind game anyone can play on you. i really can’t even explain how i felt, except that i was afraid, very afraid.

i was almost a relief to find out i had lupus. it was something i had heard of, yet i couldn’t really be prepared for how the “wolf”would change my life. how i would begin to lose part of myself, and make a new transition learning to live with this body that was rapidly manifesting itself as my new enemy.

the devil always seems to attack when things are going “well”. here i was at the end of my road at oakwood, close to finishing, planning my wedding and then i run into this brick wall. i mean i couldn’t even get out of the bed, couldn’t walk or fix my own dinner, take a shower without assistance. and the blow of all blows not only did i have lupus, but i also had kidney disease and would have to recieve agresseive chemotherapy.

i can’t explain how it felt to sit in that chair and watch those toxins flow into my body, knowing they are suppose to help me, but also fearing what it will do to me. the burning in my nose, burning in my veins, the dry itchy skin. i remember i cried the first time my hair fell out. it’s such such a slow depressing process . one day you look in the mirror and just don’t recognize yourself. who is this bloated face i have become accustomed to seeing everyday? whose swollen feet and tired weary body am i dragging around day to day. it happened all to fast for me to prepare for. i think it has done a number on my spirit. sometimes it just makes me real sad. other times i just become so angry i don’t know what to do. who do i blame? who do i vent to? then i must give in. the “wolf” always wins.

i hate him for taking me away, an leaving me with this sickly aging body. now i find out i have AVN. i live in constant pain. it’s to the point that i really don’t know what it feels like not to be in pain. do you know how that feels? how that can really mess with your mind. sometimes i wish that i could just go for a walk, sit outside and feel the sun on my face. feed the ducks at the pond or take a nice sabbath hike on a nature path. now it’s a chore to get up and go to the bathroom. do i really have to go that bad? it has robbed me of being the wife and mother that i want to be, dreamed i would be and has left me at times depending on a two year old to bring me water, or that book just a few feet from me because i’m in to much pain, or to tired to get it for myself. i want to take the boys outside and be able to ride bikes, play in the sand, throw a ball back and forth, and jump into a pile of leaves. i don’t want them to remember their childhood with a mother who was always to sick to do anything.

some days are harder than others. today is one of those days where i’m constantly reminded of all the things i can’t do. hating the bed for holding me captive today. hating my body for making today so painful. hating my pain medicine for not working. hating being inside this house on such a beautiful day. hating lupus and how it has stolen my joy today! some days it is just so hard to fight. to smile and fake it when my body is so much pain. not having anyone who can relate or understand what i’m going through right now. needing that someone here so i can talk to them.

it’s hard sometimes when i think about how these feelings may never go away. how i will always have this “wolf” on my shoulders. but thank GOD for squealy’s smile, elijah’s serenades, cornell’s hugs, and german chocolate cake.

Brandi Nichell Wingate Watts
Huntsville, AL

May, 27, 2009

As I read this old journal entry I started crying. Not because I could remember the lows of sickness but because I could see the power and love of a God almighty who looked down the road of my life and gave me just enough to hold on to so he could restore me. He has allowed me to be a testimony of his grace, mercy and healing power. These scars are a testament of his love for his child that didn’t always deserve it. Every day I get out of my bed without the assistance of a wheelchair or a walker. Some days I may be limping but I’m on my own two feet making it the best I can.

There are so many people that have told me that I, Brandi Nichell Wingate Watts was an inspiration to them due to this continuous fight dealing with my chronic illnesses, lupus and kidney disease. I have tried to help those who were trying to navigate through the system applying for disability then being told they were not sick enough to receive it and they were well enough to work. In what job I do not know. I’ve tried to pass on my knowledge of what works to soothe painful joints and what to do when it’s time to think about dialysis. I’m able to do this because others who were there for me. My grandmother prayed for me. My family and friends watched my children when I was hospitalized. There were those who visited me on those lonely sabbaths in the hospital and brought food even though it wasn’t part of my special diet. I think you for rides to and from doctors appointments and er visits. There were calls to encourage me just when I needed it most. Most of all their was a husband who did all he could for me. He held me when I couldn’t hold myself. He comforted me when my hair being to fall out and gave me a tight cut that i could rock with pride. He carried me back and forth to the bathroom, shower, bed, wheelchair, car. He took care of my children when I didn’t have energy to even hold them. He was there to hold me when I found out that I would have to go on dialysis. Even more important he was there to rejoice with me when I was blessed with the beginning of a new life when I received my kidney transplant. He is an inspiration to me. He has shown me unconditional love. To know that my father in heaven loves me oh so much more brings joy to my heart and he saw fit to give me a second chance at life. GOD RESTORES!!!

Proverbs 4:20-22

My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

(Psalms 6:2 NKJV)
Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.

(Psalms 103:1-4 NKJV) Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! {2} Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: {3} Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, {4} Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,