One thread of this blog since its inception is my journey through healing. In the summer of 2012, I noticed that my elbows hurt. The first health professional I saw thought I had tennis elbow — even though I didn’t play tennis or do any other repetitive motion activity other than swiping my iPad. That fall I began to feel tired — reeeeeeeally tired. As a full-time mom, teacher, school administrator, and basically busy person, I had no time to be tired. I went to a second health professional who did some blood tests and told me I was fine.
Since I knew I wasn’t fine, I kept pushing and investigating until I landed in a rheumatology office where I was given the diagnosis — psoriatic arthritis. By then I wasn’t just tired — I was achy and struggling with psoriasis, too. Over the next 18 months I was treated with a series of medications in an attempt to find the one that would allow me to feel the best with the least side effects. I also experimented with acupuncture, massage, and nutritional interventions. All the while, I was still working full time and preparing for a major move, my youngest daughter’s graduation from high school and my oldest daughter’s graduation from college.
Then we moved. And, if you have been following this blog, you know I committed to some time of rest and recovery.
While resting and recovering, I saw new medical professionals who said I did NOT, in fact, have psoriatic arthritis, but probably fibromyalgia. These doctors discontinued some of the meds I was on and suggested that I insert more exercise into my life including cardio (I was already walking and doing Pilates). I resisted the fibro diagnosis, got a gym membership, and started building my team.
Now, 3.5 years after my initial symptoms and 1.5 years after moving to Michigan, I am still on the path to healing, but I am not alone. I have assembled quite a little network of professionals who are believing with me that my health can improve and, indeed, that my entire sense of well-being might be restored. Let me introduce my team.
Rev. John Rathje, aka my dear husband, is chief executive in charge of encouragement. From the beginning, he has believed my invisible symptoms are real, has accompanied me to appointments whenever I have asked, has heated flax seed pillows, purchased ice packs, rubbed sore muscles, and supported my couch sitting. He also makes sure to remind me not to push too hard or do too much.
Rev. William Gatz is chief executive in charge of intercession. Since the moment he heard of my diagnosis he has prayed daily for my complete recovery. If you know Pastor Gatz, you know this is serious business. He is a leader in prayer and intercession, especially prayer related to healing. He also recommended that I read How Can I ask God for Physical Healing, which challenged some of my thoughts and affirmed others.
Dr. Mary Greiner, D.O. and Integrative Medicine Specialist, is the hub of my medical team. She spends a great amount of time listening to me. She takes a varied approach that includes, but is not limited to, pharmacology, homeopathy, nutrition, physical therapy, and lifestyle. Most importantly she believes that I can experience a better quality of life than I have now and she is willing to walk with me until I get there.
Marcy Boughton, MS PT, is the physical therapy whisperer who is subtly coercing my body into healing itself. She has manipulated my skull, my spine, my organs, my limbs, and, I dare say, my mind. The woman is filled with the spirit of God — Biblical truth oozes from her as she applies her hands to my body. It is really quite miraculous. I have never experienced anything like it. Once a week I spend an hour on her table and leave feeling energized and supported. Marcy recommended that I read Dr. Gary Kaplan’s Total Recovery which is reshaping the way I think about health and the human body.
Dr. Greg Peroff, DC, is the chiropractic support member of this team. He continually reminds my sacroiliac joint of where it is supposed to hang out and keeps my head screwed on straight. Like the others, he is committed to my overall well-being and applauds me as I walk down this path.
Of course I have other players — my eye doctor who treats the ocular herpes that resulted from my time on biologic medicines, my former therapist who walked with me before and during my diagnosis and helped me begin to see that my pursuit of health is not merely medical, but also psychological and spiritual, and a great team of family and friends. Soon I will be recruiting an acupuncturist and a massage therapist to round out this crew.
When I write it all down it seems a little excessive and somewhat selfish to need so many people. That is, when I look at it with my natural mind. My natural mind wants to be self-sufficient and to soldier through any difficulty without the support of anyone else. I want to kick butts and take names.
Good thing I also have the mind of Christ that reminds me that butt-kicking and name-taking contributed to me being in this position in the first place. The mind of Christ reminds me that God connects us with others for a variety of reasons. This team is supporting me, yes, and perhaps, in some way, I am also blessing them.
I didn’t choose the path of chronic illness, but I am choosing the path to wellness — body, soul, and spirit. I am turning away from thinking with my natural mind, and turning toward the mind of Christ. Moment by moment, I am turning.
I Corinthians 2:14, 16
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned…16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.