The Continuing Spiritual Battle, November 2017

On September 29, 2017, I was healed of MS. I was able to feel

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Veronica ministering to me at the Awake & Arise Conference while everyone else was all worshiping in song.

fine texture with my fingers again. Muscles were firing that hadn’t in more than ten years. Later that week, I had strep throat, and I wasn’t bed-ridden or extra-weak like usual. I could not deny. I praised God for my healing daily. I wrote about that in this blog.

On the night of November 3, 2017, I couldn’t even sleep for the spasms of my muscles. Doug didn’t sleep much, either. I saw the clock every hour that night. I don’t know if I was awake from hour to hour or if I was awake the whole time. Lies had been flooding my head for a few days. I thought about goals I had set for myself that I hadn’t met. Steps I had tried to take, but didn’t actually. Maybe shuffled my foot forward. But I wasn’t even walking toward them. The next morning, I was as weak as I am when a relapse hits me hard. Neither Doug nor I knew what was going on; I had felt fine the evening before. We called in Lindsey, the nanny that wasn’t supposed to be there until later that day, to come in as fast as she could. After Lindsey and Doug helped me into the car, we went to the ER. By God’s grace, there weren’t many others there at 8am on Saturday morning. They checked me out for an infection of any kind. Blood count was fine, urine was healthy, strep test came back negative, chest x-ray looked good, heart was fine. I had totally expected to be admitted. They let me go hours after getting there with the diagnosis of an MS flare-up because I hadn’t been taking my medicine. They didn’t give me steroids or a plan, except, “follow up with your family doc.” I have never been released while I was still so weak.

So why was I a two-person assist again? Doug, who would have been at the library studying all day, stayed home so he’d be there to help when I needed it. Lindsey had to stay later in the day so I wouldn’t be alone. I’m healed, aren’t I? It was a fight. I battled depression a lot of the day. I slept a lot, but when I was awake, I recited scriptures on healing out loud. Over and over. I’d been having trouble staying strong after a matter of hours. I cried out to the Lord that I would keep strength through all of church the next day. Doug posted on a bunch of Facebook groups and contacted family and stuff. “We are declaring for God to rid Anna of MS once and for all and for His help. He has helped every time before, and He will do it again. Faithful is He.” That night, Doug and I knew we needed a miracle. Doug wouldn’t be able to stay home anymore, as his board exam is coming up soon. We have three nannies, but they’re not available to come two at a time.

The next day, I was stronger than the day before. At least I started out that way. I just prayed it would stay. And I went to church, where I received a ton of encouragement and prayer. We stayed in the church even after everyone left, and prayed. We knew we were in the midst of a battle, the enemy attacking us and those we closely interact with. After my afternoon nap, I didn’t need my wheelchair anymore!

I have been carrying around the healing scriptures and reading them. What other explanation is there for my healing this weekend than the marvelous work of God, the Healer, the Lord Almighty? I know I am in a spiritual battle, and I am standing with many brothers and sisters in Christ who are agreeing with me, as I stand with so many of them in their own battles.

If you would, you can stand with me. Pass these scriptures on to some of your own friends when you need a healing yourself. Read them out loud. You could need healing in your relationships, body, mind, or spirit. It is ALWAYS God’s will to heal you. So if you’re waiting for his will…that’s that. It is.

Psalm 107:20 “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 58:8 “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Jeremiah 30:7 “But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord, because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.”

Jeremiah 33:6 “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”

James 5:14-15 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

Matthew 4:23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”

Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”

1 Peter 2:24, “’He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”

woman full armor of GodLet these scriptures, read out loud, be the sword you fight with in your own battle. Pick up that helmet of salvation to guard your thoughts, your breastplate of righteousness to guard your heart, the belt of truth so you do not doubt what you have seen and heard. Tie on the gospel-ready shoes which will give you peace, and don’t forget to pick up that shield of faith, which can block the incoming attacks of the Enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are in a battle, my friend. May God be with you!

Warrior in Christ,

Anna

 

 

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When God Didn’t Meet my Expectations

I showed up for my MRI at the time and place I was told to be. I hadn’t gotten an MRI at this hospital before, but I made sure to check and double check with my neurologist’s staff that this was right. I showed up and…. I’m not even on the schedule. The gal I needed to talk with at my neurologist’s office was on lunch, and I had traveled a good 40 minutes to get where I was told to be. I started getting angry. So, Karen (nanny), Lydia, and I went out to the car and I made some phone calls. I passed the office number to Doug. I shared with my mother my frustrations. Karen was also a little agitated, I think. So, Karen goes back into the building to talk with the staff. “Don’t worry,” she told me. “I’ll get it straightened out.” I smiled, because I’ve heard this southern woman straightening things out before. When she comes back to the car, she gets my walker back out and tells me that they’re gonna squeeze me in. Doug calls me around the same time and tells me that the neurologist’s office is re-sending the orders and I’d get my MRI today. (Yay!)

So, right after the MRI was done, Doug and I got to look at it with a radiologist. You know how I’d declared in the name of Jesus there would be no more MS there? Well, there was. The MS was still apparent in my brain. Nothing was active, but you could definitely see it there. I was so disappointed. The next day, I recorded this conversation I had with God:

Even if the scan shows there is MS in your brain, do you still believe you are healed? Yes, of course. I cannot deny what I have seen and experienced. Do you believe you are healed, even if it will take a lot of work on your part to show everyone? …yes. I must proclaim the wonders I know you have done. But will I still need to take medicine for the MS? I’m not going to tell you that now. Just trust me, okay? I will trust you. I know and believe with my heart that I am healed, no matter what the scans say. Lord, I pray you’ll keep me strong. I pray on the armor of God to protect my thoughts and my emotions. I am in your hands, God! Thank you for your faith in me. Now go, and sin no more.

I’m just bummed, I guess. When I declared that there would be no evidence in my MRI of MS, I guess that was me hoping more than God telling me it would be so. Probably. I mean, I know he can do it. I had it all figured out, how I’d be able to prove to everyone by showing them my MS-free scan that I’ve been healed. But maybe that’s just it. Maybe I’m not supposed to have it all figured out. I still am healed. I’ve been sick this week, which has made my body feel like it did when the MS was still there, but I know it’s not. God’s got my back. This is my miracle, and I’m going to run with it.

Jesus didn’t meet anyone’s expectations. His disciples expected him to reign king and overthrow Rome. But…he died. What did they feel that Good Friday night? And then, Jesus shattered expectations by defeating death and rising again. He paid the price for you and for me, so that we could live in paradise with him forever. But he didn’t meet his disciples’ expectations. He blew them out of the water! God didn’t meet my expectations, either, but I’m expecting bigger things than what my little human brain can come up with. God will follow through, too, because he ALWAYS does. Just…according to his plan, not ours.

 

In church on Sunday morning, I was so encouraged by my family there. They believe I am healed, too. One sister told me, “Miracles are instant, but healing can take time.” She laughed. “How else would you have been able to jump like you did last week?”

I cannot deny, nor will I ever, the miracle that God has done in me. May it glorify His name forever and ever! Amen.

Anna E. Meyer

Miracle on Hambley

This last weekend was amazing. I attended the “Awake and Arise” Conference on Friday and Saturday, where Buddy and Veronica McGlothlin ministered to us. We met in a storefront building on Hambley Boulevard in Pikeville, KY. I didn’t go expecting to be healed, but I knew God had used Veronica to do so many times in the past. I didn’t expect it, even though friends of mine were excited I could go because it was possible. I’ve been disappointed too many times in the past when expectations did not meet reality. But when Veronica came to minister healing to me, she asked me if I believed God could do anything. “Absolutely,” I responded. Buddy, Veronica, their daughter, Elissa, and others were praying for me. And I believed. I received it, and I thanked God for healing me. But as soon as I returned to my seat, I had doubts. The evening continued, where it was talked and sung about the fact that God can do anything. Ephesians 3:20 says, “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,” and verse 21 finishes the sentence, “to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations.”

I wrote in my journal, “I declare in the name of Jesus that my MRI will show NO lesions, not a trace. I BELIEVE with my heart, Lord!”

We talked about Joshua and Caleb. They believed God when the rest of Israel did not. We are a Joshua generation! God says to arise and take your mountain! I wrote in my journal, “God has given me health, and I am reclaiming it!”

While we all came to the front and Veronica was ministering to us again, Doug came up and told me, “Jump!” I was like, “What?” He said, “God told me to tell you to jump!” And so I slowly bent my knees and JUMPED! Both of my feet got some air! I jumped and landed without losing my balance. I could. Not. Jump. At all. Before. Especially while keeping my balance. I kept battling doubts in my mind, but I was successfully trampling them down.

When we fellowshipped after, I told some others about the MRI that would be clear on the following Friday, and they all got excited and agreed with me completely. Buddy commented that he could see my faith, and it was exciting. On our way home, Doug and I listened to the song “Hey Devil” by TobyMac. We sang very loud to the chorus: “Hey, Devil, go on, get your junk out of here, I don’t need you, I don’t need you! Hey, Devil, go on, get your junk out of here, I don’t need you, so move on!”

Saturday afternoon was the last part of the conference. I spoke with Veronica and Elissa before the session began, and told them how Doug had told me to jump, and I did. I even jumped again for them.

As we were singing, Veronica left from ministering to one individual to come to me. She touched me and said in my ear, “God hears you. You’ve been waiting, and he’s heard you.” Or something like that. Honestly, after she had ministered to me Friday night, I thought I wasn’t worthy enough of her prophesying or being specific to me. But she was then. As the singing continued. Doug leaned over to tell me, “I have to go to the bathroom, but take your brace off.” So I did! Now, that shoe did not have an insert along. And it turns out that my muscles don’t remember how exactly to work properly. But I could raise my left foot! That was my second MS symptom, I think, back in 2004. I showed Doug as soon as he got back. In his journal, he wrote, “9/30 is the new 10/13”. Instead of remembering the date I was diagnosed with a celebration of life, we will remember the day I was healed!

It was a different feel on Saturday, but I loved it. Veronica spoke over everyone, and while doing so, she pointed toward me and said that God has broken off the generational curse of MS in my family. She said some other things that pertained to me, as well, but the whole time she was speaking, I could just sense Jesus hugging me and smiling down at me. I told him in my heart “Forever you will receive glory for this!”

On Saturday night, Doug, my husband and student osteopathic doctor, was feeling and testing muscles that would always have trouble firing before. Those muscles, though weak, are activating again! I can feel everything with my fingers (that was the first MS symptom back in 2004), and my leg has all the sensation back! Stretching my left hamstring was like stretching a normal hamstring, not the feisty and resistant left leg he’d always stretched before. My muscles get fatigued easily, because it has been almost 13 years of incorrectly using them. But I’m using them! I wore my brace to church the following Sunday, for stability reasons, as my muscles are still weak. But, after some PT and time using everything again, I’m positive my body will function as it’s supposed to once again. As I was 13 when I was diagnosed, I don’t even really remember what a normal functioning body is supposed to feel like. But hey, I’m going to get to find out!

I had stopped taking my MS medicine in July, as we wanted to get pregnant again. I’d have to be off my medicine for four months before even trying to get pregnant. We had decided earlier in September to adopt instead, but I hadn’t let my neurologist know yet. On Sunday, a gal at church told Doug that for the last month or so, I’d been looking worse and worse when she saw me at church each week. But THAT DAY. I looked so much better! Had I been there, I would have added that not even a dose of my medicine could make me that much better that fast!

I found out on Tuesday that I have strep throat. I’m feeling tired, but I’m still able to walk and function! Whenever I had been getting sick in the last few years, it meant a worsening of my left sided weakness, and sometimes even paralysis. But I’m up and walking. My body feels tired like it did every day with the MS. I asked the question “Why?” but then God gives me this look. “It’s quite humanly normal to be tired when you’re sick, Anna.” Man, once I’m recovered and do some PT? I’m so excited to tell everybody and show off my clean MRI, as compared to the last one. God will continue to prove himself in wondrous ways!

To God be the glory, FOREVER AND EVER!

Anna

Weaknesses

Many of you know me in real life. I am very determined and usually have a good attitude. But, today I want to talk to you about weaknesses.

My physical weaknesses are obvious. I’m not physically strong, and I’ve tired out easily since the MS became a thing (especially because I always seem to push myself so stinkin’ hard).  I know that there are a lot of things that I can’t do, and I have mostly stopped trying to do them. I could make this a whole big long post about the many struggles I’ve had with this over the last decade, but I don’t want to. Just know that it was a process, and it certainly didn’t come about easily.

The internal weaknesses of every person are unseen and personal. It was a huge mental battle to overcome the fact that I couldn’t take care of Lydia by myself, but I’m finally okay with it. I love the nannies we have that come to help me at home when Doug is at work! I can’t pick Lydia up and move her, but I can entice her to come to this other corner of the room with me. I can’t keep up when she’s crawling away (foot drop), but I can grab her foot and drag her back toward me, which makes her laugh (she laughs when I’m trying to crawl after her, too). I can’t walk around with Lydia, but I can hold her and cuddle her when I’m seated just fine. I can’t manage taking Lydia places on my own, but God always sends somebody to help me. Besides, it’s way more fun for them to get to be my blessing. Another plus? I usually get a good chat out of it.

I manage my energy well. I no longer try to do the things I can’t, but instead be the best at things I can. I am thankful for my physical weaknesses, because they don’t allow me to be the perfectionist at everything I wish I could be. That, in all honesty, is not at all realistic. I’ve done the whole “trying to be perfect.” And it’s exhausting. When I think about how I can’t physically do something, I think about how trying to do it could hurt me more than help me. This is where I am at right now.

This last week, I was talking to God about my hopes for healing one day. His response? “Don’t focus on what I can do. Focus on what I am doing right now.” Since this revelation, my eyes have been opened to random conversations I’ve had with strangers here and there, and how much it has impacted. Maybe it has impacted them, but each time, God tells me, “See? I have a reason for everything. You were needed right here, right now.” Why do I have to go get infusions every month for my medicine? To have wonderful conversations with other patients and the nurses who work there. Why was it taking me so much time and energy at Walmart this week? So that the couple walking past me could help put my groceries into the trunk of my car. Why do I still have my blog, though it has fallen out of a routine and is random, most of the time? So that you, the person reading this post right now, might just be encouraged.

Anna

An Update on My Physical Abilities

A year ago, I was just getting strong enough and able to take care of myself again after living with my parents for three months. After that, I could move back home with my husband in Kentucky. We (Doug) moved into a one story house and had made sure it was  handicap accessible before I got back. Pregnancy plus multiple sclerosis (MS) is ideally supposed to help the MS, even though it’s not on meds. Well, as I learned (even though I almost already knew), I am an exceptional case. Without meds, the MS in my body was pretty terrible. I’d gone without meds for a few years right after I was diagnosed with MS, until we found a drug that worked. For the first time in ten years, I was going MS-med-free, and it seemed to be going the same way. I would get an infection, and it would trigger a relapse. New lesions appeared in my brain during pregnancy. The day after I gave birth, I tried a new med that’s supposed to help patients with MS, too (not that it’s been researched tons yet). And although new lesions didn’t appear in my brain, the weakness was still pretty terrible.

In October, I was hospitalized when I became septic with a bladder, kidney, and blood infection all at once. When I get sick, I usually lose all strength in my body. After I was discharged (and stronger because antibiotics were helping me), I started some home health physical therapy (PT) in November. In January, I started up on outpatient PT, starting at the strongest I had ever been than working with that particular PTist, Judy. (She’d worked with me when I was pregnant, too.) I told Judy the first day I saw her that I wanted to ditch the walker. And pretty soon I was walking with two arm canes, and now, if I walk with an arm cane, I only use one! I still use my walker when I’m real tired, but those times are limited. (Yay!) Then, I started up on this walking machine thing called the Lokomat. image

Basically, I go through the motions of walking, with about 50% of the effort on me. I also am not bearing any weight. For the first time in years, I don’t have to use most all my muscles to activate a weak one. The longest I have gone is for 30 minutes (as of April 3). This has also helped me with my stability! For the first time since January 2016, I have been able to stand for a whole shower, instead of needing a shower bench to sit on part way (or the whole way) through.

We have hired help at home (my caretaker/nanny) that helps me take care of my little girl, as I still can’t transfer her well or really walk with her yet. Whoever is there is also my hands and feet, as I still get tired pretty easily by running around or lifting things. And I call it “supervision” of me to make sure I don’t do something I probably shouldn’t be doing. They’ve been with me since Lydia was three weeks old, and in that time, I have better learned to ask for help when I need it. (Um, Lydia is now seven months old. SEVEN! Next thing I know, she’ll be off to school!? Lol.) Amanda, the gal who comes to our house to help me out that’s closest to my age, has become a dear friend of mine. I guess that longing for a friend to just sit and have coffee with I’ve had for years has finally been fulfilled!

So, I’m making a ton of progress. And, we just found out that after more than a MONTH, the only MS med that has ever really worked for me has FINALLY been cleared by my new insurance company, so I can start taking that again! I can’t even imagine my improvements after that starts! But don’t worry, I’ll keep ya’ll updated. 😀

Hugs, everyone! (Even if I don’t know you, I’m gonna send you a hug. I like hugs, and I’m excited about this stuff.)

Anna

Walker, Kentucky Mom

You know, instead of Walker Texas Ranger?

Cane. Walker. Wheelchair. All of these assistive devices feel like defeat to the one using them. If you have a loved one putting up a fight, this is probably why. So, when I went to see my doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last week, I brought this up. One of them, Dr. C., watched me walk without hanging on to anything. Then he had me walk while touching the wall. While holding on to his belt loop. While walking with a walker. He told me that the level of concentration in my eyes went down considerably when I had assistance. So, I won’t look at the walker as if I’ve given up. One wouldn’t really look at me and think, “Oh. She’s given up. How sad.” I’ve already decorated my walker with streamers. And, as the streamers are getting old and tattered, I’m having my grandma Marlene make me some cloth covers to go on the front. I’m going to embrace it, because it helps me considerably. And a wheelchair. My goal now is to replace the chunky wheelchair in the back of our car currently with a—as Dr. R put it—“sexy” chair. This “sexy” chair that I have my eye on is light weight, sized to me, and the metal part of it can be something other than boring-black. The whole idea behind embracing a chair is so that my life is not limited. No, I can’t go to the mall with you, because I can’t do that much walking. No, a museum is out of the question, because you don’t have an opportunity to sit at all. So, I will embrace these more-improved-than-before devices that will help me to live a normal life. And yes, we can be sure that when I get a chair that is not rented, I will TOTALLY make it mine.

So, if you have a loved one resisting assistive devices, help them make it theirs. Make it fun! Remind them of how these things can help them live a more normal life (but what is “normal,” anyway? The psychological question I’ve been asking myself since high school). Not being able to get places is debilitating. Riding in a chair or walking with a walker and then sitting down? One has so much more energy than trying to walk it by themselves!

And to all my friends and family: I will not feel “less than” simply because I use assistive devices. Tell me how cool it is decorated, and don’t stop your kids from climbing up on my walker. I’m okay with it, and I WILL let them go for a little ride. What do you mean it’s not fair that I’m their favorite because I have toys? Hehe.

Keep it real!

Anna

Joy in 2016

JOY. It surpasses circumstances; it’s greater than happiness. Happiness is based on happenings, but joy comes straight from God. (Fruit of the Spirit, yo!)

I’ve been reflecting a lot on this in the past year. I’ve had so many reasons for joy; not just happiness. Though my grandpa died in January, I experienced joy knowing that he went to heaven and joined my grandma. Though I had many physical obstacles, I overcame them. I was confined to a wheelchair for a long time. But I became able to walk with a walker! I cried when, at my home church, I made it up the stairs to sing with the choir. What joy was brought to our lives when my healthy little daughter joined us at the beginning of September! She brings us more reason to smile every day.

One of the worst moments of my year—not all that many people know this—was the last time I went to the hospital at the beginning of October. We’d been keeping an eye on my rising fever, and when it hit 106, we called 911. By this time, I was septic: paralyzed in strength and my speech was slurred. Both Doug and I thought I was going to die. But God was not done with me yet. Over the next week in the hospital, I was not sad at the fact that I almost died and with my current state. Instead, I was joyful for the little things.

Doug and I had recently watched the movie “Miracles from Heaven.” In the movie, the mom, who tells the story, tells of the everyday miracles she realized she had witnessed over the whole trial. So I started keeping track of the miracles I saw every day. It really puts life into perspective. There are lists for each day I was in the hospital, and though I don’t make a list every day anymore, I am conscious of all the miracles around me. We are financially okay even though Doug is in his third year of med school, and I’m not working. Both sets of our parents are a huge help to us. There are two wonderful caretakers who come and help take care of me and Lydia when Doug is away. I am still walking with a walker, but my physical therapist, Judy, thinks I’ll be able to walk without it (as is my goal)! I AM getting stronger. I cannot take care of Lydia by myself yet, but I can do so much more with her than I could when she was more than half the weight she is now!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3). I have had MS a long time. I know that the joy in me wouldn’t be near what it is now if I had been free of this disease. I’m not saying it’s because of the MS my faith is where it is today; I’m just saying that even though I have MS, God has used it for good. I’ve got joy down in my heart, as the song says. Joy is greater than happiness.

-Anna

P.S: I do have to share the HAPPY news that Lydia finally rolled over today! Yay!

I Have to Wait

I write. I see the wall of looming difficulties before me. I cower in a corner for years and obsess about some other hobby. But God reminded me as I read this, that I need to be waiting, too. Waiting and building and improving myself. Ugh. I hate waiting. (Think Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride.)

Joanna Alonzo | Author

I have no idea why I keep referencing The Hunger Games. Maybe because I’m really hungry. I always am. But I digress… This post is not about my hunger, nor is it about The Hunger Games, so if you’re here to read about Katniss Everdeen, the odds are not in your favor.

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Commisserations.

*two-second pause*

Now, that we’ve made it clear that this is not about The Hunger Games, you may be wondering what this post is about. Well, I’ll tell ya!

This post is about how I was dead set on self-publishing and making my book, The Sacred Scarred, available for pre-order tomorrow, but a still, small Voice – the One we Christians have to know how to listen to – told me to Wait. 

I was not happy about it, to be honest. It didn’t make sense to me to wait. At least at first. But my relationship…

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Book Review: The Sacred Scarred

So, I was given an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. And honestly? I loved it! I love fairy tales, and I love Christian fiction. This was a combination! Just when you think you know what happens because the story is familiar, you don’t. And then when you are expecting to read the boring parts of the story you already know, you get so excited that you want it to just keep going and going! Joanna Alonzo has done some fantastic writing, and her rendition is absolutely beautiful. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who likes to read, lol. Classic fairytale. Modern day. Christian fiction. And, like all good Christian fiction stories, you close the book with a lesson ringing in your head. Yeah, a lot of things keep making me think of this book after I read it. That means it was awesome!

I believe this book will be available for preorder on December 5, 2016. Here is a link to the website or author, Joanna Alonzo. Since reading this, Joanna and I have struck a friendship. How can I love someone’s work and not want to be their friend? So, check out this awesome book that my friend Joanna wrote!

Happy reading, friends!

Anna

It’s a Girl! (Which we already knew..)

I HAVEN’T EVEN WRITTEN ABOUT HER. All I’ve been writing lately are thank-you’s! I’m tired. I always feel worn out. I get frustrated. And the love that consumes me each day is crazy. Most of you know why.

Lydia Ruth Meyer was born on September 1, 2016. She weighed 6 pounds, 3.8 ounces, and was 20 inches long. Oh my goodness. I love her more each day! Man, by time she’s grown up, I won’t even know what to do with all that love! I say things that I used to think was dumb, like, “I can’t even.” But I can’t even finish that sentence because of all the emotions that overtake me before I find a reasonable word. My Facebook page is flooded with pictures of my new little daughter (it’s weird to say that I have a daughter! But I do!), because of so many family and friends living so far away. Lydia grows and changes every day!

To catch you up to date on health stuff. Lydia is incredibly healthy. For this we are all so very thankful! I, however, have not been up to par. Two weeks after Lydia was born, I started another relapse. I had been warned that one would likely come, but I thought it would have been right away. I went to see my OB for a checkup and was admitted to the hospital with a uterine infection. I was on the baby floor, though (because it was pregnancy related), so Lydia could come visit me! I stayed there about two days before coming home. Three weeks later, I was back in the hospital. I went in to the ER on Monday night, and was released Saturday. This one was bad. I had a bladder, kidney, and blood infection all at the same time. Needless to say, I was septic when I came in and was a good part of the week, too. Urine retention is common in people with MS. I just didn’t know it had been happening to me for months prior. That is why what started as a bladder infection, backed up to my kidneys, and got my blood, too. I am still on IV antibiotics three times a day, but thanks to home health, I can stay at home and do them myself. My 14 days will be up soon, though, and then I will be on oral meds. I’m getting catheterized four-ish times a day, too. I keep wanting to do it myself, but that’s hard, and I don’t have all the dexterity in my hands and fingers I once did. That will come, though. The doc said that my bladder is super stretched out, but by getting cathed daily, it will build that muscle again.

My mother stayed in Kentucky with us longer than she had planned on. She decided to stay longer after my relapse began to make sure we were okay. That’s actually one of the reasons I wanted her there first—because I thought a relapse would come right away.  My MIL was coming the next week, so we put her on Lydia duty—that’s why she came! To meet Lydia and help out with her care! My mom had “Anna duty.” She knows what to do when I have a relapse and how to help. She had been taking care of me so long with this MS headache. Even when I relapsed in January for a while, she brought me home to Cottonwood until I was strong enough to go back home. She was not going to go back home until we had hired a caregiver to be with me and help take care of Lydia whenever Doug was gone.

The week with both moms was a little bit stressful, probably because there has never been so many people in our house AND so much was going on! But it was good. My mom did the cooking, because she loves cooking, and she’s good at it. And my MIL was oh-so-helpful with Lydia and other things around the house! It was nice not having the full night duty for almost a month! God’s hand was so much at work before my mom left, though. We inquired about getting a caregiver through a government agency, but it was going to take way too long. We decided to hire privately, and we got a name the next day! So, before the week was up, we had hired Karen and her adult daughter, Amanda, to trade off being caregivers for me and Lydia. It has been so awesome! I don’t feel guilty for taking a middle-of-the-day nap, because I know Lydia is being taken care of, and I know that my body has to heal in order for me to take better care of Lydia by myself one day.

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Doug’s and my first post-baby date! We got all dolled up and everything!

Lydia Ruth is a strong and determined little girl. She has parts of both Doug and me in her, as well as traits from others in our families. As with all children, I’m sure, similarities toward one parent or the other will depend on whose family we’re visiting, and who this or that friend knows better. She is doing GREAT developmentally, and is even doing a few things sooner than the internet says she’s supposed to, which makes this mama smile big. She has to be able to see at all times. She hated the bassinet we’d gotten, because it had high sides, and she couldn’t see what was going on. So we put her in a crib at three weeks. Apparently I walked before I could crawl at 9 months, and I’m kind of expecting the same from Lydia. She loves when we hold her up so she can put weight on her legs and feet. When we put her on her belly for “tummy time,” she tries to scoot—almost crawl (if her body were strong enough)—as far as she can. She’s been trying to lift her head since day two, and now she looks around and takes everything in. We took her to church for the first time yesterday, and we put her in the “Sprouts” nursery for kids 0-24 months. I think she liked it! She didn’t sleep much when she was there, but boy, was she tuckered out when we got home! Lydia started smiling at things and at people about 5 weeks—the internet said that wouldn’t start until 6 weeks! One of our caregivers said about Lydia, “It’s like she’s frustrated with her baby body that can’t keep up with her!” My mama heart just beams with pride for my girl. Even at her two week visit, the doctor commented on how alert she was! Soon, it’ll be time for her 2 month visit—the one that includes shots. Lydia is generally a happy baby, and Doug and I couldn’t be more excited about her!

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I only have two or three actual pics of Lydia smiling. Here they are!

I am so overwhelmed with all of the prayers being said on my behalf, as well as the prayers for Doug and Lydia. I am so thankful for them, and for each person who is whispering them for us! When I was in the hospital this last time, I saw God’s hand at work every single day. As I go to bed at night, I have been identifying the ways the God is moving in my life – physically, mentally, and spiritually. I am so very thankful that I am still here, able to be a mommy to Lydia, and a wife to Doug. Thank you for all of the physical support, and prayer support that we’ve been receiving. We are blessed.