Friday, September 16, 2016

Full Circle

365 Days.

It has been exactly ONE full year since my insomnia reared its ugly head.  The search began medically for a diagnoses... lifelong anxiety is what they said. I am still convinced it was somehow related to postpartum and the fact Chloé wasn't sleeping through the night.

The search also began spiritually. Where was the root of this anxiety? How could I identify it, heal from it, and move forward.

Counseling. Prayer. Deepening dependance and reliance on the Lord brought FREEDOM and transformation.

God's timing is always perfect. You may think it coincidence but I think its a sweet gift.  We are one year from when it began and THIS YEAR Logan and I are headed to Cabo for some much needed rest and relaxation after this hard year.  It is also the same weekend that I am officially off all medications.  I haven't had to take sleeping medication since March of this year and I am almost entirely weaned off my anxiety medication.

My marriage is Stronger. Tougher. Deeper.

My priorities are in check.

My faith is tried, tested, and TRUE.

God NEVER wastes your pain.  He uses it as a bridge to others.

I wouldn't wish this past year on anyone but it has not been a waste and I am grateful for the journey it took me on.  LOTS to celebrate this weekend!




Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It is Well with My Soul: 2 Months Later

The last time I remember feeling 100% was Memorial Day Weekend.  I got sick shortly thereafter with a virus that would take my ability to speak and swallow.

Here we are 2 months later and I am different.

How could you not be after going through something like this?

What just happened? Will I ever recover? What does this mean? Will I be around to watch my kids grow up? Will I be in chemotherapy during Katy's wedding? Will I be in speech therapy for months? What will my new "normal" look like? Will I have to get a feeding tube? 

All the questions. And now we are here.

Thankful is an understatement.  What on EARTH?!?!? What an insanely uncertain and scary summer.

I would say I am at 85% (Logan says 93%) of my full speaking/ swallowing function by doing nothing by resting and letting my nerve regenerate and recover.  (AKA God healing me)

I can now communicate at the drive through and for the most part spell my name out over the phone and people actually understand me. (I have been "Chloé" all summer at restaurants because it didn't contain any letters I couldn't pronounce haha!)

I can eat and swallow pretty normally.  Liquids very rarely come out my nose.  The fact that I can swallow ANYTHING without immediately having to drink water is miraculous improvement.

How quickly do we take our health for granted. Eating. Sleeping. Swallowing. Communicating. Singing.

And how quickly do we turn back into our old busy patterns once we finally receive the diagnosis. The answer. The game plan.

This summer was awful but such a sweet time with the Lord.  He was the ONLY one who knew what was going on. I felt immense comfort in that.  I relied on Him every single day.  Praying. Worshiping. Talking to Him. All day. Every day. (I am not exaggerating here.... I was clinging onto Him for dear life.)

I miss it already... I am trying to discipline myself to get back to that place, but honestly I think scripture rings true when it says... "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." He is dear and NEAR.  Not to say you can't be close with Him when you aren't in a valley...but I think most who have been in a dark place can relate... It is just not the same after you come out. 

The week of Katy's wedding, I woke up on Wednesday and HEARD improvement.  Most people have told me they hear improvement but its been so minimal each day that I was never able to notice it.  This was the first time that I felt overnight I had jumped from like 50% to 75% of my voice function.  I called Logan right away and sure enough was able to get through the toast at my sisters rehearsal dinner which was my main goal! PRAISE HIM!!!! This was not a guarantee and He was so sweet to answer my specific prayer for that moment.  One that I could never get back!

I go back to the neurologist in September to evaluate my progress.

I also went to my psychiatrist this month to check in on my anxiety. She was blown away that I didn't have any sort of relapse with my panic attacks and insomnia when facing such a potentially traumatic health issue.  Because of this, she told me I was ready to wean off the Zoloft. So we start that process this month.

I am looking forward to the future.  The closing of a very difficult year... but one that people can attest... changed me. I am not the same girl I was a year ago. Not even close.

I feel more. I empathize more. I care more. I have more to give. I value things more.... the RIGHT things. I am fully surrendered to Him and His calling on my life. 

Pruning seasons are never fun.  But they are SO necessary in growing, maturing, and preparing us for our destiny and for that I am thankful...AND glad this season is behind us!

Logan and I are headed to Cabo next month for a much needed (and well deserved) vacation... just the 2 of us! To celebrate and RELAX and to welcome a new year and a new season for our family. One that is full of Rest. Health. Peace. Purpose. In Jesus Name.








Monday, July 11, 2016

It is Well with My Soul: Part 5


Where to even begin. On Friday I had the best appointment I have had in 5 weeks! I am SO encouraged. Not to mention my new neurologist, Dr. Alan Martin is an Aggie and a believer and SO KIND. I clicked with him right away and he spent almost 2 hours with me. I did not feel like another number.

NOT ALS. 
NOT myasthenia gravis. 
NOT MS. 
NOT muscular dystrophy.

I have cranial neuritis. I am not quite sure it is even a thing but he said the easiest way to explain it is that its like Bell’s Palsy but a different nerve. Mine has affected my cranial nerve 10 which controls my soft palate (and speech and swallowing) among other things. He told me to imagine a cable. Taking the rubber protection off the “nerve” would grow back really quickly. But when you CUT the nerve (one of the wires), it takes awhile to regenerate and grow back. My nerve was CUT. He said the GREAT NEWS is that its not dead. It is still operating to other parts of my body. He did the EMG on the back of my throat and we heard LOTS of “clicks” which means lots of nerve irritation/ inflammation. When a nerve is at rest it should be silent.
He said the fact that I have seen improvement (even minor) in 5 weeks is REALLY FAST and encouraging. He can’t give me a timeline but fully believes my body will heal itself over time.

He told me no more appointments. No more doctors. No spinal tap. No swallow study. Just to relax and heal for the next 6 weeks and come back end of August for a follow up to measure my progress.

He thinks this is directly related to my fever blisters as that virus can attack nerves and manifest itself in strange ways. My fever blisters came/ then moved to the back of my throat when I was sick…. If it wasn’t that virus, it was whatever I had that week when I was sick that attacked and shut down my nerve.

After 5 weeks of stress/ not feeling well / facing my mortality with all kinds of scary diagnoses… I feel SUCH RELIEF and GRATITUDE!!!

We still have road ahead but at least now we know what we are dealing with. Bell’s palsy can take anywhere from 8 weeks to 18 months to completely heal. So my prayer NOW is that my nerve would continue to regenerate quickly so that I can be fully healed and restored sooner than later. I also wanted to mention I asked him the likelihood of this happening again… He said almost always, these kinds of things happen once in a LIFETIME. So I am just getting mine out of the way early 
 Singing PRAISES today. I am no better today than I was yesterday morning but I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted. Grateful to God for encouraging news and sustaining me during the very long wait.

Life is PRECIOUS.  Do not take a single day for granted. Do not take your HEALTH for granted.  I am SO aware of these things after walking this road.  Praise be to God who CARES about every single one of us. His Peace and perseverance are what got me through. 




God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives
And then one day, I'll cross that river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives
And life is worth the living just because He lives

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Month and Love Notes




Today marks 1 month of this health journey. Thousands of dollars, numerous doctors and no answers/ minor improvement. God is my daily portion. The only thing giving me the endurance & perseverance to keep pushing through. This week starts a journey with new doctors & second opinions. I'm praying BOLDLY that God will give these men and women insight and wisdom that only He can provide for SOLUTIONS. As Logan told me this weekend, let's stop focusing on the why and what... And focus on the HOW to get better. Through medicine or miracle I'm believing that I will be restored 100%. He STILL HEALS.

God speaks to me so much through lyrics and music.... After reaading Susie Davis' Unafraid, I have considered these jewels my "love notes" from God.  He gave me this one this morning.

VERSE 1
If I call, will You come
When I cry, do You hear
I believe every tear
Is caught up by a faithful God
So I will cry until You come
Cast my cares into Your arms
I can't see past this storm
But I'm counting on a faithful God

CHORUS
Faithful God
You hold my life secure
All my days are Yours
I believe
My God is like a fire defending me
Faithfully

VERSE 2
I believe You still heal
And demons still bow
I'm convinced there is power
In trusting in a faithful God
So I will praise till You appear
And set Your foot upon this shore
I declare that every foe
Is subject to my faithful God

BRIDGE
I know that You are mine
And I am Yours, I am Yours
I know Your faithfulness
It will endure, it will endure


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It Is Well With My Soul: Part 4

The week following my last update I made HUGE STRIDES!!!! I was able to talk a bit more... I got a few letters back such as "M" and "S" and was able to control the volume of my voice. Loud and Soft.  I still can't yell which is probably a good thing until Stella refuses to leave playgrounds or pools.

I also started to eat again... which in turn made me feel MUCH BETTER physically. It is still not EASY to eat or swallow but I am able to eat most foods as long as I have water nearby to help push it down.  I have not lost any more weight and have welcomed the chance to order REGULAR Chi Tea Lattes at Starbucks instead of my normal NONFAT haha! #ALLTHECALORIES #BRINGITON

To be honest, the past week there has been minor improvement but nothing substantial.  Sadly the retainer I had made actually made it harder to eat and swallow but I suppose it was worth a try.  It is JUST MONEY. I have to remember that.  Who cares.

Where are we now? We are waiting blood results to see if a spinal tap is necessary.  I am praying its not but in the same sense if I don't have to get one.... We are still left with lots of questions.

I would love your prayers on direction.  Spend more money and involve more doctors who potentially may say the same thing? Or continue to wait it out and pray it improves/ runs its course?

I find immense comfort in knowing that The Great Physician has the answers and the timeline of this.  I am looking forward to the day where all of this is behind me. Some days I am okay and completely at peace.  Other days I get SO frustrated with this condition and become impatient and angry.  I am pretty self conscious about my voice right now but thought I would share a video I sent my Prayer Warriors yesterday.  THIS IS SO MUCH PROGRESS compared to how we started off on June 5th.


Friday, June 24, 2016

It is Well With My Soul: Part 3


We left off at the neurologist appointment, Wednesday June 15.  The day of that appointment I felt horrible. Keep in mind, I hadn't really eaten in over 1 week.  All I could really do was drink liquids due to my swallowing issues... and was getting really burnt out of smoothies.  If I stood up too fast, I would start seeing black spots and felt like I was about to faint.  I tried Ensure and hated it.  Just hated it. And since it was already hard to swallow, the last thing I wanted to do was force myself to drink something I didn't even like.  After my neurologist uttered the words "feeding tube" though, I snapped into action. All in all, I lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks. INSANE and very unhealthy weight loss.   That night on our way to church I force-fed myself a Frosty from Wendy's and baked potato.  I had to choke it down but it gave me fuel and once I started to eat, I started to feel better, obviously!

Before I get to church I wanted to mention that I also went to see Dr. Dahl at the recommendation of an ENT friend.  He is a prosthodontist. Didn't even know what that was until now.  He makes prosthetics for people who have conditions similar to mine.  When he saw me that day, he shook his head and said he had also never seen anything like this unless it was after severe trauma like a car accident.  He took impressions of my teeth to build me a retainer that would help liquid from coming out my nose and hopefully help my speech/ eating improve.  I think I was a bit of a science experiment.  He was very nice and all the doctors agreed that they thought this was viral and that the virus had knocked out my nerve. They were all quick to remind me that nerves take their SWEET TIME in healing but my age was working FOR ME since a 32 year old body will heal much more rapidly than someone in their 70s.

So back to church... I went to go hear Todd White speak. Have you heard of him? If you want to hear a powerful testimony, you can listen to his HERE. He OOZES Jesus and speaks such truth in LOVE.  He is now a member of my church at Gateway and thousands turned up to hear him talk on Wednesday night.  I knew he had healed many all over the world and that night he spoke of various testimonies and the power of the Holy Spirit in all of us.  After he was done, I got to meet him one-on-one backstage.  He had such kind eyes.  He gave Logan and I both hugs and asked what was going on.  He prayed over me twice and each time asked me to speak.  It was a small room full of people staring at me... I so hoped that I would just BLAST OUT AND START SPEAKING NORMALLY AGAIN!! I was SO hopeful. SO SO hopeful.

It didn't happen immediately but I still left encouraged and hopeful that God was going to heal me. Some of the things he spoke over me and Logan were so powerful.  He told Logan he was a strong man of God and he could tell he loved Jesus with his whole heart.  He then looked at me and told me that Logan couldn't fix this.  That I needed to take him off his pedestal and focus on The Healer.  He said that was the only way this thing would work.  My vertical relationship with God. Logan's vertical relationship with God. The overflow of THAT into our marriage.  So true. So powerful.  So many times I expect / hope Logan can fix everything for me. He wasn't created to do that for me.

He also told me to pray from a position of VICTORY instead of as a VICTIM.  This was so powerful for me because I was struggling a LOT with pity parties.  "Lord I just got done with this anxiety/ insomnia stuff. Haven't I been through enough? Isn't it someone else's turn?"  If we pray from this place, our prayers are going to be ineffective.  So I have been learning how to pray the truths of the Bible over my life.  That the SAME SPIRIT that raised Jesus from the dead is living inside of me. AND He WANTS to heal. He CAN heal.  He died for our sins AND our diseases.  By His stripes we are HEALED.  He DIED for this.  There is nothing I have to DO. I just need to RECEIVE and BELIEVE.

I wish I could tell you that I was instantly healed but I know that night I had other breakthroughs and for that I am thankful.



No mountain, no valley
No gain or loss we know
Could keep us from Your love

No sickness, no secret
No chain is strong enough
To keep us from Your love

To keep us from Your love

How high? How wide?
No matter where I am
Healing is in Your hands

How deep? How strong?
Now by Your grace I stand
Healing is in Your hands

Our present, our future
Our past is in Your hands
We're covered by Your blood
We're covered by Your blood

How high? How wide?
No matter where I am
Healing is in Your hands

How deep? How strong?
Now by Your grace I stand
Healing is in Your hands

In all things we know that
We are more than conquerors
You keep us by Your love
You keep us by Your love

How high? How wide? Oh, Lord
No matter where I am
Healing is in Your hands

How deep? How deep is Your love?
How strong? How strong is Your love?
Now by Your grace I stand
Healing is in Your hands

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It is Well With My Soul: Part 2

This was taken the night my voice changed. I adore this picture of my Chloé girl. 
On Monday, June 13th I had my swallow study.  The lady who conducted it was puzzled.  Said she has done hundreds of these and never seen anything quite like it... Especially someone who was just 32 years old and healthy.  Typically they see these kinds of things in the elderly.   Apparently as I swallowed a sugar pill they were all holding their breath... watching as it sat on top of my airway in a pool of saliva and mucus as I strained to get it down my throat.   A normal person can swallow a huge sip of water in 1 fluid motion.  For me, a TINY sip of water took me 4 swallows and was very tiring and taxing.  As you can imagine... throw FOOD into the mix and it got REALLY difficult and challenging.  They told me after this appointment that I would need months of speech therapy which was pretty deflating.

As we went home to await the MRI results and follow up with my ENT, I got in the shower and just kneeled and cried out to God.  Desperation. Raw emotion. Uncertainty.   My sister Katy is getting married this summer and the last thing I wanted was to be given a bad diagnosis. I had to discipline myself to not put myself into scenarios that may never actually pan out.  That is Satan's favorite form of torture... Making you scared of something that isn't actually happening.

We drove to the doctor's appointment and when the ENT told me my scans came back ALL CLEAR, I breathed the biggest sigh of relief! PRAISE YOU, God! The doctor admitted that he was convinced that this was either the result of a stroke or that I had a mass/ tumor cutting off the function of that nerve but he was wrong! He told me he also had NEVER seen a case like this but that based on the MRI there was no permanent damage done but he still wanted me to meet with a neurologist to maybe see if he had seen something like this before.  His thought was that it was related to the nerve losing functionality for some reason.  So the search for WHY continued but at least we were able to rule out the scary stuff.

As I called my Dad on the way home, I broke down in tears.  I told him this whole time I was SO THANKFUL it was me and not one of my girls or Logan. I didn't think I would be able to handle the helplessness I would feel if it was one of them.  My voice cracked as I told him how hard it must have been to watch me go through this and not have any way to help.  He said it doesn't matter how old your kids get, the love you have for your kids only gets stronger.

So we pushed forward and made an appointment with the neurologist for Wednesday,  June 15 hoping for some clues, clarity, and answers. After meeting with him, he also admitted he had never seen a case like mine ever before.  The fact that it was so sudden and so acute and specific without any other accompanying symptoms.  He was convinced that it was viral because of the timing coming directly after the upper respiratory infection.  His thought was that the virus attacked the nerve that controls my speech and swallowing and he told me 1 of 2 things will happen now... I will either get better as the virus runs its course OR I could wake up and it would be worse.  The thing they are testing me for is  Myasthenia Gravis.  3-30 people out of every 1 MILLION get it. SUPER DUPER RARE.  But what happens is the virus attacks various muscles. He told me in that case I could potentially wake up one morning and not be able to walk or lift my arms.  (That was fun news) In that case I would need to go to the hospital for 5 days and get a blood transfusion.  It was treatable though, so that was positive.  So we took a ton of blood work that day and moved forward with scheduling a spinal tap to test the protein in my spinal fluid.

At that point (and still now) I remind myself.... I CAN HANDLE THIS. This is a life-giving diagnosis.  This is not cancer. This is not as a result of a stroke. I will be here to watch my girls grow up. I am HERE. I am THANKFUL. I am at PEACE.  He is the Great Physician and He isn't thrown off by this.  He isn't puzzled.  He knows the WHY and the HOW and the DURATION and I may not get to know.  Doctors may be confused but it feels good to know that I have a Good Father who loves me and has this entire situation under control.


Let the heroes rest
Let the striving cease
I lay down my crown
Here at Your feet

I will trust 
Here in the mystery
I will trust 
In You completely


Awake my soul to sing
With Your breath in me
I will worship
You taught my feet
To dance upon disappointment

And I, I will worship

Let the weary rise
Lift their eyes to see
Your love crushing every lie
Every doubt and fear 


I will trust 
Here in the mystery
I will trust 
In You completely

Awake my soul to sing
With Your breath in me
I will worship
You taught my feet
To dance upon disappointment
And I, I will worship

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
You are making all things new


Awake my soul to sing
With Your breath in me
I will worship
You taught my feet
To dance upon disappointment
And I, I will worship 

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