You Don’t Look Sick

Has this been said to you? Those of us chronically ill or injured have probably been given this all too common line, “You don’t look sick.” Or how about this one, “Well, you look good!”*

If we look sick, we are sick, if we don’t look sick we aren’t. Right? No!

Most people have five senses; taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Now, we can mistakenly use our sense of sight to judge someone’s sense of touch.

An injured brain can not be seen. The brain is enclosed by the skull and a protective water layer called dura matter (both of which are damaged on me). Injured brains are felt.

Fatigue can not be seen, it’s felt.

We can’t judge a person’s sense of feeling based on our sense of sight.

This is why invisible illness is so misjudged ending up with the ill feeling very much alone.

I met a lady in my brain injury group whose teenage son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car and then run over by a second car which dragged his body underneath it before stopping. When she arrived at the hospital she told me he looked to her like an alien. His brain was actually visible and he was so beyond recognition, she could only identify him based on the fact that he bit his nails which was the only recogizable part of him. This is probably the worst case of TBI I have ever heard of, and by some miracle, her son survived his brain injury but with many many deficits.

Yet, this is not the norm. TBI is typically an invisible malady. It effects all of life in so many various aspects most of which go unseen to onlookers. TBI is felt. Chronic fatigue is felt. Autoimmune diseases are felt.

We want to be well. We don’t want to wake up every day wondering what we have to do to just barely get by. We don’t want to tell our best friend we can’t receive her visit because we are too weak. We hate missing church. We want to get up, feet hit the ground running and get everything done while having strength and energy to play with our kids and make chocolate cake for dessert.

Not all ilnesses are visible, rather, they are hidden inside the intricate workings of our very fragile bodies that can easily become disfunctional living in this fallen world. While we may not look sick, believe me when I say we are bravely fighting every day and never, ever giving up….. and are courageously smiling and enduring through the pain.

Much love,

Viv 😍

*This post was written a long time ago. I’m no longer frustrated over the way people respond to invisible illness, but I still feel this post holds a few valuable insights worth sharing with others. ~Viv

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A Birthday Poem To My Dad

You were born in the 40’s after WW2

A “Baby Boomer” yes, that’s what they call you

My dad you’re amazing a trooper I say

You served in the Marine Corp

Back in the day

Your education was extensive and strenuous as can be

Yet you pushed through to achieve

Your Master’s Of Divinity

You never shrink back to take on a challenge

Motivated, determined, and a man of deep knowledge

Your provision consistently steady and good

A secure roof over our heads and plenty of food

Daily family devotions you never lost sight

Pointing us to God and teaching what’s right

Married to mama over fifty years golden

Strong committment to love, honor and cherish you’ve proven

A fond memory I hold of you in years past

Your grand fireworks display

Giving the neighboorhood a loud blast

It was the best fourth of July hot summer night

How you treated all us kids to a spectacular delight

Smoking a cigar your lighter too

Then we all stood and watched

Breathtaking sparkles of red, pink, white, green, blue

Another favorite memory I cherish of you and me

Was riding around on your snazzy Harley

Then you rigged your bike up with loud banana pipes

It was fun riding with my dad, the cool biker type

You go to the gym

Staying fit, trim, and spiffy

I promise you look not a day over fifty!

It touches my heart to watch you care for your wife

Your devotional love is an example of Christ

A godly picture of what a Father really means

I’m honored to be your daughter and proud to share your genes

My dear “Papa” at this particular time

I write words that say “I love you”

In this little rhyme

You’re a father so loyal, so faithful and true

I’m penning this poem saying “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Written by Vivian Joy

July, 2019.

Survival Mode

For years now, my family and I have been in this mode. Barely keeping our heads up above water……..just getting by.

Are you here, or have you been here?

Sometimes chronic illness or injury feels like grasping for a buoy and hanging on, barely keeping your head up above water. Then a huge wave of unexpected symptoms wash over your head pulling you under, leaving you fearful and disoriented, trying to figure out which way is up, and struggling to come up for air. Each new challenge, whether physical or emotional, is like an extra weight, pulling you downward so then you struggle even harder to stay afloat treading the deep waters that never seem to dissipate.

Yet, God is our buoy. He keeps us up and afloat daily. His grace never ends and His strength is beyond us. He is the ultimate source for enduring hardships, and fights alongside of us in the deepest, darkest, oceans of trials. His grace is sufficient and His mercy does endure forever.

2 Corinthians 12:9 King James Version

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It may not look pretty……this survival mode. But, we ARE surviving. We still get up every morning to see the sun rise yet once again.

I still see the faces of my darling children every day and here the soft whispers of, “I love you, Mommy” at the breakfast table.

Though for long or short durations life can be tough at times we can still glorify God and enjoy Him forever; because His grace abounds when we are weak, when things aren’t pretty, when bodies fail and life appears to go under. He’s always here, always surrounding us with His loving arms, and he loves us more than our finite minds can ever fully comprehend.

Hold onto Him in faith and never fear because when we are too weak to hold on, He holds us still and always is holding us. God will never ever let go because He promises to keep us, preserve us, and protect us until He calls His beloved safely home.

Much love,

Viv 💖

Progress and Prayers

Dear Readers, I’m so grateful for the huge overflowing of kindness and prayers received by so many as I push along towards healing. I am getting stronger in many ways although my emotions are healing at a slower pace than my body. I’ve reached out to several prayer groups for prayer as well as many of you individually. I feel your prayers for me and the comfort of the Holy Spirit as I have struggled off and on under the stifling blanket of depression. I’m still battling challenges of my emotional health but God has given me a profound sense of His love in the midst of this storm. He has used several blog posts from old and new friends, and my weekly Bible study with Kim, to hold me up and to keep my eyes fixed upon Him. He has heard the cries of my heart, and given me scriptures after scriptures to wash away sorrows leaving hope, and pouring truth to my soul. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers! Truly, I’m grateful for this body of believers who have loved on me and showered me with support. ❤

As I mentioned before, I am getting much stronger physically. I can see a HUGE difference in contrast to where I was a year ago to where I am now.

Last year walking was a huge obstacle that seemed insurmountable. There were moments I wanted to give up trying to walk because this exercise made me feel worse instead of better. I could barely walk to my next door neighbor’s house and back without needing hours to recover deep inside my head. When mentioning it to my Dr. she said something about the cerebellum and how it was changing, and to not go beyond my physical limits but to still walk as much as I could. It seemed like a catch 22 because I needed to walk but it’s effects were so scary, I was afraid. But I kept trying. I would wait several days and try again. It was a long arduous process. Trying, waiting, trying again because I knew I couldn’t give up. So, keeping at it, pushing through the pain and fear I’m excited to report I can now walk three houses down my road, nearly 1/2 of a mile!! This is huge because there was a time three years ago, I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom and my husband had to carry me from room to room because my muscles were so weak.

I am physically gaining strength but still facing the challenge of not able to handle climbing more than one or two stairs at a time. My balance is not great and there seems to be a mild disconnection between my head and legs leaving me feeling all Loosey Goosey and wobbly in the space around me. My dear husband is like my own personal scout, scouting out places, locations and surroundings, making sure my body can handle it before we try adventuring out there into the world. My husband also has the additional challenge of handling all things pertaining to our downstairs basement/laundry room since I can not handle going down them unless I go slowly on my rear end. This is exhausting and doesn’t leave much energy left over for other tasks like laundry, cleaning, or sorting so those tasks rest on him now.

Your prayers are very much appreciated and I just want you to know I’m truly seeing results! God is slowly healing me and He is giving me moments of reprieve from the TBI, glimpses of hope and good sunny days. I’m able to handle social settings better (minus the stairs) and I need less recovery time then I required before. I even went to church last Sunday and was greatly encouraged by it.

The road to recovery is long and hard but I do see progress. And like a dear friend once said to me, “slow progress is still progress anyway.”

Much love,

Viv ❤

Here’s a link to my podcast where I was given the privilege of sharing my story.


Romans 11:33-36

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

For prayer requests please visit my page Come Pray With Me, and join in a loving community.

A Chrysalis of Grace

There are stages and periods of painful, confining growth in everyone’s life. Stages of being wrapped up in cocoons of hardships that cover us with doubts and fears. Stages that seem to come out of nowhere and we wonder, can I grow from this?

There are four life stages of a butterfly; the egg, the larva, the pupa and finally the butterfly. Each stage of change in their life cycle is quite different but each has a purpose.

Butterflies are unique amongst insects because they experience something called a complete metamorphosis whereas other insects have incomplete metamorphosis.

It takes about a year for a typical life cycle to be completed. Some butterflies can live up to 10 months but some only one to four weeks.

A larva or caterpillar (My youngest still struggles to say this) can be a very comic stage as most caterpillars look ugly, spiked, furry, clumpy, and gooey, but some are kind of cute I suppose.

This stage leads to the chrysalis which is the transforming from the caterpillar to the butterfly and is known as the resting stage. From this metamorphic stage a beautiful transformation occurs resulting in a brilliantly colored butterfly. What was once a silly, belly crawling insect, is now a brilliant flying insect and gorgeous display of color and wonder.

Isn’t that like the trials of life? If left alone, we’d be a silly, belly crawling insect that has little purpose, but God has much more. It’s His chrysalis of rest that he gives, cocooning us in his grace while undergoing a spiritual metamorphosis, or transformation to be exactly what He intended for us after all. But it hurts because the metamorphosis is a resting, confining stage that hems us in and we seem to lose freedoms. Although while we rest in Him, He is using that confinement to take our silly, belly crawling selves and mold us, heal us, and shape us into a Christlikeness that will shine more radiant and more beautiful for His glory.

Our colorful display of virtues and graces gotten through our metamorphosis are bright and new because he loves us far too deeply to leave us to ourselves. As we are molded and changed into beautiful butterflies, letting go of who we once were and submitting to God’s plan for this stage in life, we become something that can instead go beyond what we perceive as lost. Now, we can fly and soar because we are what God saw in us all along. He saw the silly, belly us crawling along and He wrapped a silken cross of grace around our souls, that transformed our lives into His glorious masterpiece.

Much love,

Viv 🦋

It’s Never Too Late….Go Call Your Dad!☎️

My father-in-law and husband had a huge blow up that went unresolved for over 2 years during which there was no interaction, no holidays, no visits, or phone calls.

See, they were so much alike, both quiet, strong, INFJs, who march to the beat of their own drums. Because of this, there were walls of awkward silence, barricading them from reaching out, picking up the phone and hashing it out. Instead, it was silence.

I had prayed hard for years that there could be restoration and removal of hurts, forgiveness, and opened love displayed. God heard my cries and after two years and seven months of silence my husband told his mom in June of 2017, we would like to come visit for Thanksgiving. When she told my father-in-law his joyful response was “Oh sure!” He was happy to know he would see his son and four grandchildren again.

But, in July, about three weeks later, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack.

The news hit hard.

We would never see him again. My husband would never see his dad, never hear his voice. Never make amends.

It was too late.

Life is hard. Things happen. People make mistakes. Blow up. Yell. Say things that are better left unsaid.

But, at the end of the day, God’s word holds true. Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. (Ephesians 4:26)

We are never guaranteed tomorrow.

We are only given today.

So, pick up the phone this father’s day. Better yet, go see your dad. Even a card in the mail can melt away hurt and slowly open the lines of communication. (We did this.)

I know these relationships can be tricky, stressful, messed up, and hard but honestly, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. You may never get another chance to make things right. I’ve seen it and lived it with my own eyes and l hope this post I write encourages someone out there to try to make things right. All we can do is try and leave the rest up to God. He is Healer of hurts. He helps us forgive. He can bring about reconciliation.

Please, this Father’s Day, go call your dad!

Much love,

Viv 🤗