About livingfaithfullywithautoimmunedisease Author:Tabitha

Hi! However you have landed on my page, I want to take the time to welcome you into my life with autoimmune disease. So, I'm Tabitha and I have mixed connective tissue disease. Mixed connective tissue disease is sort of an umbrella term used to describe features like Lupus, systemic sclerosis, and polymyositis. Most often other problems will develop like Raynauds, joint pains, skin abnormalities, muscle weakness, fatigue, and problems with internal organs. Simply put, I have a lot of stuff going on with my body that is hard to figure out. I am married to my husband David, of 22 years! We have a sixteen year old girl and a thirteen year old boy. Life has not been easy to say the least for the last 6 or so years for any of us. There have been many hospital stays, near death experiences, many sick days, and special times that have been missed. With that being said, we have cherished the moments we have shared and made the best of the times we have had to cut short. Autoimmune Disease does not define me though, it is simply a part of my life, and bad genes. If you passed me by in public you may not even know that I am sick, more than likely I would smile and when asked I would say I am good. That's because despite all the chaos going on in my body, I am....good. I simply could not face each day without my faith. God is my constant, and my strength. When I am afraid, he is all I have. I hope to encourage you and serve as an example that even though life is not perfect, there is always hope.

Our trip to Tampa Aquarium.

We have already had quite the excitement for September with Hurricane Dorian threatening to hit Florida’s east coast. Last weekends plans were interrupted so today headed down south just a couple of hours away and we celebrated my son’s thirteenth birthday at the Tampa Bar Aquarium today. I don’t get out much these days but today I used my power chair and I have to say that it was refreshing to do something normal.

Tampa Bay 2019
Otters
Turles swimming above our heads in the aquarium.
I am so in love with the turtles.
Stingrays
Sea Turtle…My favorite picture!

Life is not fair.

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Life is not always fair but I do believe that everything happens for a reason and God always has a plan, even if I don’t see it. Last month I had aspiration pneumonia, twice, and just three weeks ago I was in sepsis. Now I am suffering once again with food that I swallow sitting in the bottom of my esophagus. My esophagus is paralyzed and does not push food through so I choke every night. The doctors are at a loss on how to help me, so I am left with a daily fight with eating.

It might be easy to try and blame God on my illness, because after all I have prayed so much for healing and it just seems like my prayers for healing go unanswered. However, through all of this I have peace, I have hope and I know where my help comes from. So have they really gone unanswered?

I know God did not cause me to have the past that I have and He certainly did not make me sick; that is just a product of living in a fallen world. So, where does God fit in the grander scheme of my life? He is my source, my rescuer, my comforter, my healer. I have come to realize that even though I am expecting a physical healing, God heals in many different ways and that is ok with me.

Grateful for every breath.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, ” Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

As I sit here this morning, I can’t help but be extremely grateful for every breath that I take….literally

Today, I am heading to Jacksonville, Florida at Mayo Clinic for what seems like it might be one of many visits to come.

Last weekend, I was admitted to the hospital for multifocal pneumonia. Sunday morning I woke up with chest pain and shortness of breath. I didn’t know it was as severe as it was but my body was is in a fight or flight mode. My esophagus is not pushing food and drink down like it should which has caused me to aspirate food and fluid at night into my lungs. My entire right lung is now compromised with infection and nodules obstructing my air.

Even with all of that, I remain grateful. I know that I am blessed and that God has a plan even when noone else does.

I am grateful for God’s love. And, I know, that because of God’s love, he has given me everything I have ever needed. I know that the very breath that I take, that each moment I have is a gift of God’s love just for me! Every moment of my existence is proof of his grace and everlasting love for me!


Gratitude changes my whole perspective in tough situations and I know that I can find peace and hope by keep an attitude of gratitude.

Here’s the trick though, I can’t just pull out the “I’m grateful card” the moment disaster strikes and expect to find peace and a new look on life. It doesn’t work like that. I have to build my gratitude daily, it takes work. I have to be aware of ALL things God has done and is doing and I have to practice a grateful heart. I can’t control a lot of things going on in my life right now but I am in charge of my heart, and my mind.

Gratitude takes nothing for granted, it recognizes God with a new sense of wonder and all we have to do is praise the goodness of God. A grateful person knows that God is good, not just by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

I know that the lessons that I learn in my lowest of lows are preparing me to receive the blessings of my highest highs. This time will be no different. How do I know? Because he says so..


NIV Romans 8:39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


One of the things that I consciously try to do is be aware of the little things in my life. Keeping the little things in the front of my mind allows me to be more aware of God moving in my life. I haven’t always been like this, the negative would overpower my thinking in the midst of hard times. The simple mindset of gratitude has greatly impacted the way that I face my mountains in my life. As for me, I will walk by faith, not by sight with a grateful heart.

In the moment of heartache.

Worrying never got me anywhere before. So why should it now? There have been many times when I could have died, but I didn’t. There have been many times that I made plans, but they didn’t work out. And there were many times when I said, “to hell with it,” but things worked out anyway.

We think we have control, we desire to have control but our control is very limited. We can control our attitude and behavior, but we have far less control of outcomes. We have no control over what other people will do, what nature will do, what opportunities will be available to us.  We want what we want! 

I think about all the craziness in my life right now with what seems like a trillion diseases that I can not control. The doctors don’t know what to do either. They finally have said the most heart-wrenching words anyone has to hear, “ we can’t do anything for you.” Sitting in the Mayo Jacksonville clinic, the place that was supposed to have the answers, the place I put hope into, within a years time had given up on me. 

In the moment of heartache, and being lost for what to do next, the only thing that I knew was all I had was God. He can still heal me even if they can’t. He can ease the pain, he can mend the brokenness. It’s taken a bit to realize I can not worry about the next step and chase cures that aren’t there. Its taken a while to realize that I need to face each day one day at a time, one problem at a time. I do not look at my entire illness as a whole anymore, and I do not think about what if.

Allow today’s problems to be enough. Worrying about tomorrow won’t make it better. And you might ruin your last day worrying about a day that’s not going to come. We should consider each day as possibly our last because one day it will be. Ask yourself: If today was my last day, what are some things I would want to do? 

 

Dance in the rain. 

When the Indian chief asked his warriors how do you dance and make it rain every time?  They said,” we dance until it rains.” 

“When you walk with God you have to believe, you have to stand in faith, you have to know that God’s going to fulfill.” J.Lee

Lately, there have been days that I can not get out of bed. My energy is low, my pain level is high and looking from the outside in, I am sure it looks like it is not going to get better for me any time soon.

Right now, I am in a flare. My connective tissues are on fire, and in pain, my joints ache, my gastroparesis is making my belly bloat and hard, I am having a hard time eating without pain, my glucose levels are the highest it’s ever been and it’s hard to control, and lastly, my kidneys are giving me problems because of my Lupus Nephritis.

I have reached a point in my chronic illness where my doctors do not know how to treat me anymore. 

So, what’s a girl to do? Do I give up and throw in the towel? Nope!! God is my healer. I know the reality of my situation but I stand on my faith that one way or another, God will give me the quality of life back, God will heal me. Until then, I will dance in the rain.

Dance in the Rain.

On Trial and Faith ( guest post) 

This week I had the privilege to guest post on @ theviewfromnow.com

Amy fights her own battle with RA and an inheritable cancer gene.  She writes about her faith journey in light of autoimmune disease. Her post are uplifting and encouraging, and I highly recommend taking the time to enjoy her posts. 

I am so honored to have been asked to guest post but even more so, I am so happy that she brought my attention to her blog. Go ahead and check it out @ theviewfromnow

#guestpost

Walk through the valley.

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I have walked through some of the darkest years of my life alone, so I thought. I have felt broken physically, mentally and spiritually. I have been completely overwhelmed at times with life, and not knowing what direction to go that I was afraid to move. To think the next thought, I might fall apart.  I have thought, that I just can’t just make it through another day through with all of my illnesses more times that I want to admit.

But I hold it all together for myself, my husband, and more than anything for my kids. I know that I am not alone,God is always with me, he will never leave me and I can always turn to him. I know that someone is reading this right now saying they know how this feels. 

No matter where I have been in this journey, I have learned that all of those feelings are only temporary even if they come back after a while. God has always sent help my way.
It may have been an encouraging word from a nurse, or something I read, or sending someone my way to bring a word of grace, but he has always provided what I needed.

I have to look for God even in the smallest of things because even if it doesn’t appear that anything is changing I know that God is always doing something. I know the closer that I walk with God, the more Satan will try to knock me down but I have to stand tall, and be strong in my faith and know where my help comes from no matter the challenge I am facing.  

What Satan doesn’t realize is the very tool that he thought would make me turn on God has brought me even closer to my heavenly Father. The sickness and the hardships of my life has made me put total dependency on God, instead of myself or someone else. Satan doesn’t want me to rise above my problems but I choose to rise above anyway even if it will take a little more effort on my part. 

David wrote in Psalms 23,” Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”

WOW Friday!!!….( words of wisdom)

Because of my illnesses sometimes I find myself feeling like I am broken and useless. No wonder, everything in my life has been turned upside down and changed; now everything revolves around my illnesses. Things I once loved were gone in an instant and what’s left of the old me slowly gets stripped away each day.

I have no doubt that even if you are not sick, feeling broken or useless may apply to some others as well.  It’s not supposed to be that way! However, we can grow tremendously through the changes that we are forced to go through. And we can rise above any obstacles as long we are in God’s hands.