How a Simple Blood Test Is Renewing My Hope for Healing
Hope is knowing the sun still exists even when the night of the new moon wraps your world in total darkness. Hope is hearing a symphony burst forth out of the discord of individual instruments. Hope is thinking you are totally and utterly alone in the world in your experience and finding someone else who understands. Hope is the sound of a baby’s laughter. Hope is going to sleep when the bud is tightly closed and waking to the flower spread open in all its glory. Hope is believing that nothing is impossible in the hands of God.
I’ll be honest. There are many times along this journey where I have lost hope. I have reconciled myself to the fact that for the rest of my life I will live in pain and uncertainty, with limited mobility, and feel like a burden on the rest of my friends and family. When in the midst of so much unrelenting pain, it is easy to lose hope – to see only the darkness, to forget the sun is behind the clouds. But, despite how low I became, I hung onto the my last shred of my faith which resided only in God. I believed He knew the answers and loved me enough to show me the path to healing in His time.
So, when I went to my doctor appointment yesterday, hope was difficult to find. I have been in chronic Lyme disease and co-infection treatment over and over only to relapse again and again. Over the years I have times where I feel close to normal only to fall into pain and worsening symptoms again. I have walked this walk, done all the things I was told to do and still was sick on an almost daily basis. Having only started treatment (again!) a month ago and knowing things often get worse before they get better didn’t help my mental state. Hope was running thin and I could feel depression set in. I wanted there to be new answers, new things to try, new explanations as to what was happening inside my body. However, I felt like I was re-walking the same path I had walked before surrounded by the same scenery.
My prayers for renewed hope were answered yesterday. After going into more detail with my LLMD (Lyme-literate doctor) about my joint pain and the history of stiffening, swelling and pain in every joint including my knuckles, toes, knees, shoulders, hips, back…you name it, I had pain in it either currently or at some previous time, he suggested my pain may not have everything to do with Lyme and related infections but may be compounded by a problem referred to as leaky gut. Sounds gross, right?
Well, actually it is gross. Leaky gut is when your stomach becomes damaged from prolonged illness, prolonged antibiotic treatment or other factors and small particles of food that haven’t been digested get passed through a hyper-permeable stomach lining into your blood stream. Once in your bloodstream, these tiny particles can become lodged in your tissues and the immune system then attacks the particles thinking they are bacteria or a virus, causing inflammation, pain and stiffness (among other problems).
This issue can become so severe that it can render patients with such arthritic pain they need to use a wheelchair. So, to see if this is a factor in my unique situation, the doctor ordered an ALCAT blood test that will evaluate how my white blood cells react to over 450 individual foods, additives, colorings, molds, functional foods, medicinal herbs and chemical substances. This will tell me what food sensitivity and intolerance I may have that could cause inflammation and pain.
This renewed my hope for better days because it makes total sense to me. I do notice a correlation between eating certain foods and having a flare of my symptoms. So, this may not be the total answer, but if avoiding trigger foods can help reduce my pain levels in the long run, I am willing to do whatever I can to help return my life back to normal. So, I’m still clinging to the hope that more answers may be out there for me, despite that voice in my head that keeps repeating, “Just give up.” This test may or may not help me, but at least in the meantime, I am once again basking in the glory of having hope.
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Thinkstock photo via ipopba.