No Pain, No Gain

January 3, 2019, mostly written in my journal:

I had a laser detox treatment yesterday and it has required me not to touch a phone, computer, remote, or my dog for 25 hours. I could explain the details and the whys but right now I just don’t have the strength. Detoxing is exhausting. Here’s a video if you’re interested. Without anything to distract me, I’ve had a lot of time to think.

Every disease has an emotional connection. Again, I don’t have the strength to explain this but you can follow the work of Trina Hammack, who has studied brain scans to determine the effects of different emotional traumas on the brain. The emotional connection with POTS is heartbreak. My heart has been broken and not yet healed. I’ve been talking to God about the heartbreak for months now, trying to figure out what it is. I honestly believe that one of the biggest unhealed heartbreaks is my illness itself. I didn’t have POTS until quite awhile after Lyme had already wreaked so much havoc. I wonder if that’s why so many people with Lyme have POTS. Lyme is so evil. There’s a hashtag going around: #lymeisloss. Lyme is loss. And why is it still unhealed? Because it’s a daily loss. The loss never ends. I think I’m doing everything right and then I have to cut something else out of my life. It’s so unfair, but I know that’s life. It’s hard for me to watch other people on social media doing whatever they want so this technology break is good for me. I can’t stop the twinge of jealousy or the tremendous worry and urge to tell them they need to stop doing what they’re doing or they’ll end up sick like me. I lay my jealousy, judgement, and fear at the feet of Jesus once more.

I’ve been alone here in bed, allowing the losses to linger so I can grieve for them. I’ve lost my career and, with that, my daily support system and social interaction. I’ve lost a whole lot of in-person contact and now, with my very limited internet time (decreasing EMF exposure), I’m becoming even more isolated. I’ve lost my freedom and independence. I’ve lost my dearest friend. We think I’m picking up some immune stressors (pesticides and parasites) from my dog so I was worried about losing her but, if I’m going to heal emotionally, separating me from my dog is probably not the way to do it. It’s been a challenging 25 hours keeping her out of this room. She’s very persistent! I’ve lost the people with whom I used to spend time. I’ve lost fun. I’ve lost exercise and hiking and being outside for long periods of time. It’s such a little thing but I’ve recently lost my favorite coffee. No more Tim Horton’s for me! I’ve lost the ability to put anything into my mouth or walk outside without fear that I will ingest or inhale something my body hates. Although I’ve been back a couple times recently, I still feel like I’ve lost my church. I don’t feel like I belong there anymore. I’ve lost music in the way I used to experience it. I’ve lost much of my confidence and my stability. We’ve lost financial security and the hope of ever getting out of debt. I’ve lost my perfectly clean house and even some of my looks. I’ve lost much enjoyment of food and, while I’ve come to terms with not eating when everyone else is eating, I can tell it makes other people uncomfortable. I’ve lost the ability to do things for others. For so long I lost my feelings of significance, joy, and hope. We’ve lost other things that I haven’t decided I’m ready to talk about with the world so, stay tuned. And every single day is a new experience of these losses as well as new ones. So, how? How can I possibly heal from the heartbreak when the breaking just keeps happening over and over?

I wonder if this is how. Because Lyme is not just loss. It is also gain. I talked about this in more detail in my previous post, It Was Because of An Illness, so I’d love for you to read it if you haven’t yet. I have gained an intuition with my body like you would not believe. I know what organ is struggling when and usually why. I have gained relationships with all of those who are guiding me toward health. I have gained time. Yes, I have lost time doing the things I used to love but I have gained time with God, which is a much better use of time anyway. I have gained an addiction to and love for Scripture and I have gained inspiration from those who write about their own experiences. I have gained introspection and a continued discovery of my weaknesses and the areas that need healed. I have gained a deeper prayer life. I have gained a voice and less fear of expressing my opinions. I have gained a greater longing for heaven. I have gained much better priorities. I have gained a story. I have gained honesty. I have gained an understanding of who I am in Christ. I have gained rest and peace while slowly releasing my spirit of striving. I have gained a better understanding of grace. I have gained the time for and realization of the importance of grieving and not stopping my grief even when I think, “I should really pull myself together now.” There is no “should” with grief. I have gained the gift of solitude to experience healing in all of these things.

I thought about all of this yesterday and how I would honestly rather experience physical pain than emotional pain, so it’s been hard for me to allow myself to feel and grieve these daily losses. But it’s so important and I thank God that He knows what I need, gives me time to experience it, and stays here with me through it. He is the only  One who sees me completely unglued and that is becoming more and more precious to me. This time is sacred and beautiful, as painful as it often is. #lymeisloss but, also, #lymeisgain. Through my loss, I gain more God. What a precious gift!

Now it is hour 23. I dozed off and woke up in AGONY! I was doubled-over in pain and Jason said he thought I was dying (do you think we both exaggerate a little? I did scare him, though). The pain was so excruciating that I told God, “Remember when I said yesterday that I’d rather experience physical pain than emotional pain? That wasn’t a suggestion!” I guess I was just experiencing the final detox purge. The pain has eased a bit now so I may decide to change my vow of “never doing this again” later. Isn’t that the way we so often are? When we experience pain, we vow never to do what caused that pain again, whether it be trust, or stepping out of our comfort zone, or a medical treatment. But maybe the saying really is true: “No pain, no gain.” We have to experience the pain to get to the healing. So I will continue to experience my losses, knowing that each one will be redeemed. I will continue to feel so that I can heal. I will let go of trying to control the way my  heart breaks, and just let it break. I will allow pain for the greater gain.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17

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Author: Karina Baker

Hello, my dear friends! Glad to see you here. Thank you for reading about my beautiful rubble - my struggles with life, faith, and autoimmunity. Feel free to share your stories in the comments. My love and prayers to all of you!

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