“Jesus Take The Wheel!”

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that lupus was the best thing that ever happened to me.  Many people didn’t understand how such a horrible disease could  be the best thing that could ever happen . Even my husband looked at me crazy after reading it. It was not a typo! It is absolutely the truth!!

Recently I was talking to a friend that has been in a valley for some time now.  I was sharing with her how GOD allowed me to reach the lowest point in my life so I would let go and totally depend on him. For many years he let me do things my way.  He allowed me to pray to him and ask him to fix problems in my life while not truly believing that he would do it. I had plan A & B covered, and GOD was my plan C. How many of us pray to GOD to fix certain things in our lives, yet we don’t believe that he can do it, so we try to do things our way? I know I have. Despite the many times that I mocked GOD in prayer, disrespected him and spit in his face while telling him what I was going to do, he still loved me. Even in my sin he still loved me! While I smiled and worshiped him in public, I denied him in my heart in private!! Yet, he loved me so much he used lupus to save my life!!

I have an issue with control. I love it and want more of it. I have an issue with trust. It is rarely given, and quickly can be snatched away. The Lord know’s I struggle with both of these. My issues with trust and control were hampering my relationship with him.  I had built my wall up so strong and high that I wasn’t even letting the Lord through it!! He not only broke my walls down, he bulldozed that baby!! He took ALL control from me. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom by myself. I had to depend on strangers to clean me up afterwards. I had to trust that they  would take care of me. My most intimate moments, and basic private human functions had to be attended to by others. There was absolutely nothing under my control. I was flat on my back, and couldn’t do anything but look up.  That is where I found GOD’s love.

Why did it take lupus for me to learn my lesson? Why couldn’t I just surrender all on my own?  I would have saved myself so much time, heartache and pain if I would have let it all go and believe GOD would take care of me. Would I be the person I am today.?Here I am with a chronic disease that has no cure. If I worry or become stressed about anything, I will have a flare up. I live with chronic pain everyday for the past 14 years. There are days I can barely get out of the bed. This has forced me to learn  how  to ask for help. I can’t even  attempt to try to do it all; my body won’t allow me to!

Wow! What a crazy faith walk it has been over the past 14 years. I have seen the Lord perform so many miracles in my life. Things have not come together by luck or happenstance. It was the hand of GOD moving in my life. I have been in the hospital room when the doctors come in,with their faces drawn trying to explain to me that my  tests, and kidney function isn’t looking to good, then come back a few days later to be told that my kidney prognosis is great!! I have seen how the Lord helped the doctors to diagnosis me with lupus within 2 weeks while many other lupies take years and years to get a diagnosis. I have seen the Lord move when I got pregnant after the doctor told me I would never be able to have children due to the chemo making me infertile. I have seen the Lord shut down the words of the first obstetrician I went to when he told me that I would be horribly sick during my pregnancy and my son, if he survived, would be the sickest baby in the nursery. He told me to get an abortion. He then told me I was young and could have more children later. Eight months later, my son was born premature, but with absolutely no health issues!! While pregnant I was the healthiest I had ever been. My kidneys even healed themselves despite having to do the work for two!!  These and many more miracles have truly strengthen my faith. I know longer worry about what tomorrow brings, because I know GOD has already taken care of it.  I checked my account this morning and  my balance will not cover the rest of my bills for the month, but I am not worried at all. Our car is broken down right now, but I am not worried one bit!! He has promised me he would supply all my needs, and he hasn’t failed me yet!

I don’t know GOD’s plans for my future. I don’t know if it is his will to be totally healed, or if this will just be something I have to live with for the rest of my life.  2 Corinthians 12:8-9 says,

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

It wasn’t until I lost all control that I was able to experience GOD’s mighty power! Yes it is sometimes a rough road to travel,  and some days are hard to endure. Yes, frustration exists, and many tears are shed, but I will continue to give him the praise regardless of what may come my way!!!   Through it all, lupus ABSOLUTELY was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am a walking testimony!! GOD’s GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!!!

Brandi 🙂

 

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“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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“Doctor Doctor, Give Me The News!”

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I recently received some news from my doctors.  I must have ANOTHER surgery March 6.  I am happy that it will stop me from being in pain, but I am not looking forward to the pain from the surgery, and the recovery however long it might be.  I have been having  really bad pelvic pain for the past months.  I thought I was having issues with my endometriosis, then one doctor thought I had a hernia. I had more than enough scans, and they showed a cyst on my right ovary, however my ob believes that the cyst is probably gone since so much time has passed since my scans. After going to the surgeon, he believed it was my appendix.  I am thinking the same.  There is so many organs in such a small area, including my 6-year-old transplanted kidney.

This is going to be my 10 surgery.  I am so tired of having surgery’s.  I have been on pain meds for so long, the pain medicine they give me doesn’t work anymore.  Morphine does absolutely nothing.  My last surgery was my hip replacement, and I was in so much pain I couldn’t even think straight.  I was taking Dilaudid through my pain pump. I set my timer on my cell phone so that I would know when to push the button.  Because I wasn’t getting in relief I would get morphine every two hours that didn’t in any way take care of the pain, but it kept me from pulling my hair out.  I don’t really get nervous when I am having surgery, it is just that I wish my pain could be controlled.  It is sometimes hard to convince the nurses I am not a tweaking drug addict, but a patient with a high tolerance to pain medication.  Everyone is a tweaker until there is proof to the contrary.   I had a very mean nurse one time that had no kind of compassion, and seemed quite annoyed that I kept telling her the pain medicine was not working and I was in severe pain.  She said in a nasty tone, “I just gave you enough meds for a 400 pound man!” Well lady, get me something else!  If I wasn’t in so much pain I would have reported her. I was in too much pain to remember her name, and since I was waiting for the anesthesia to wear off I couldn’t open my eyes and wasn’t able to look at her name tag.  I have had wonderful nurses through the years, but I have had more than one bad one.  It sure doesn’t help the recovery process.

I am praying this will be my last surgery EVER AGAIN!!!  I need an up swing of go health for a change.  Do you think I could get a tummy tuck and some lipo for being a return customer?  They sure have gotten a lot of money off of me over the years.  I think it is only fair.

Brandi 🙂