A Life of Roses

Posted by Lloyd on March 10, 2010

I had it all sewn up. Everything was just perfect. All my dreams were fulfilled. My life was just as I had planned; God was in his heaven and I was in total control. I was truly living in a bed of roses blessed of God. But, then I came face to face with the fact that beautiful roses have horrible thorns.

Wonderful Christian parents reared me. My dad was a minister and he and my mother were living examples of what it meant to be Christ-like. I never heard harsh words between them, no punches were ever thrown, and my life at home was wonderful. Did I say wonderful? It was truly CHARMED!! I experienced the normal childhood diseases, had a contrary older brother and all that stuff. Back then doctors were not part of your daily life. Mama treated everything and God made you well again. I had a few problems during my teen years. There was nothing serious, confusing maybe, but not really serious.

I married a minister, was doing nursing, had two great children, everything was going just as I had planned and dreamed. I was 26 when the thorns made themselves painfully evident. One day while living my blissful life, I began to have a problem with my legs. They had sore knots breaking out all over them. The facility I was working in sent me to the doctor. Not knowing what was going on, they didn’t want me around patients if the condition was contagious. Blood work was done and tests run. The doctor called me into his office; my roses were getting ready to uncover their thorns. He sat me down and told me I had SLE and I only had two weeks to live. Talk about thorns!! I was shattered. Both my children were preschool aged. My husband and I were young, presumably healthy, and had our whole lives in front of us. I went home shattered and disillusioned. We told the church we were pastoring at the time. The people began to fast and pray. A miracle happened; the lupus went into remission. Oh joy, life went back to normal!!

A year later, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Again God did a miracle and healed me. Numerous tests were done to confirm the diagnosis, and then numerous tests were done to find the non-existent cancer. Life was beautiful again. I had a few health problems along the way. There was a miscarriage, stomach problems, migraine headaches, and stuff like that. I took all these things in stride and went on with the normal everyday living.

In 1988, I became very ill with chest pain, shortness of breath, and all the classic signs of heart disease. Again, I went through a battery of tests. A year later, I was diagnosed with SLE. This time, there was no remission. God did not step in and take it away. He kept me alive, but not disease free. I started doing research on this horrible disease. I realized that I had been having symptoms for years and didn’t know it. I had gone through a time when I nearly died. I talked to God and he talked back and gave me the choice of going on to heaven or staying here. I elected to stay here; I wanted to rear my own kids. The stomach problems, the headaches, all the various other ailments were symptomatic of lupus. The problems I had with each pregnancy, the miscarriage, all were related to lupus. The weakness, the fatigue, nausea—lupus. It all began to add up and make sense. It was not all in my head, but a real medical disease.

Now, I am an upbeat person. I don’t get depressed or down about things. God has been too good to me to go down that particular road. I went on living life as normally as I could. I had the usual bouts of being physically incapacitated. There would be months when I could not perform normal functions without help from my family. Times when my husband had to carry me to the bathroom, bathe me and move me around in the bed to keep bedsores away. My faith in God and pure joy of being alive kept me positive and going.

During all this, I could not have asked for a more supportive family. When necessary, my parents would stay with me and do what had to be done to keep everything in order. My kids were great. By that time they were teenagers. The love they all showed was amazing. I knew of people whose family had deserted them when they became incapacitated, but not my family or friends. The sicker I got, the more supportive they became. It is still that way today.

I went on with life, taking all in stride. I was virtually medication free except for heart/blood pressure meds. The doctor wanted to put me on medication for the lupus, but I refused. The side affects were enough to keep me away from them. Then in October of 2000, the lupus attacked with a vengeance. For 5 consistent years I had pneumonia. This year I ended up in the hospital, in ICU for 14 days. The lupus had affected my lungs and now I had lupus pneumonitis in the worst way. I came out of the hospital on numerous medications and oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I was under constant doctor supervision. The thorns were undeniably evident. The doctors could not seem to understand my attitude. Again, depression was not there, hope still reigns supreme. God is still a miracle worker. He is still keeping me alive and kicking!! So what is there to be depressed about? Everything was going pretty good again. Then in the spring of this year, 2002, my condition began to deteriorate drastically. The lupus had attacked my body in such a way that the right side of my diaphragm, the muscles and nerves controlling it became paralyzed. The right lung is useless and my breathing extremely labored. My left lung is scarred and has some kind of nodules or tumors on it. It is working at 29% of the projected capacity. Now I am on 18 different medications and am virtually housebound. But, all is well and God is still on the throne and able to save and deliver from all and anything!!! On August the 2nd, I returned to my internal medicine doctor. He told me my liver was being attacked, my heart again and the peripheral nerves were all being affected by the lupus. He only gives me a short time to live. He is making preparation at the hospital for the living will thing and said I need to prepare the family and myself. You know, get everything in order stuff. My attitude? I’m still upbeat, unsinkable and unmovable. God is still the same and His blessings are still flowing. I am thankful for the life I have been given. I appreciate the opportunities I have experienced to help others. I reared my children as I asked to be allowed. I have a beautiful granddaughter. My life has truly been a Life of Roses. Each experience, each person that has come into my life, every year, every moment, every event has been a rose presented to me by my Lord and Master. If in His infinite wisdom, this disease should end my time, I can honestly say, it has been a wonderful, blessed life.

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