Tuesday, January 24, 2012


BREAKING NEWS: I have a brain disorder! Not a mental disorder, as some of you may have thought. Well, I probably need a second opinion on that, but we shall start with the brain disorder.

For twenty-five years, I have had neurological symptoms that have not only puzzled me, but have stymied my doctors. In less than twenty-five minutes, my new neurologist may have figured out the problem.

It appears I may have a rare form of "silent" migraine, one that manifests itself in neurologic symptoms rather than in head pain. It is based in the brainstem. And it may be treatable.

*pause here for hallelujahs and victory dances :)

It took untangling miles of red tape and a three month wait to see this neurologist. So in the interim, my friends and I prayed. We prayed for wisdom and understanding for the doctor and that she would have ears to hear what God spoke. We prayed for God to go ahead of me and prepare the way. We prayed for favor, for patience, for insight. We prayed through my wading through 20 years worth of files I kept at home and for just the right way to pull them cohesively into a spreadsheet-- or two. :) We prayed for peace. And we prayed for answers.

God answered today.

Twenty-five agonizing, hand-wringing, expensive years have passed. Why did God wait so long? I don't know. But I do know that He works behind the scenes and puts things in order, in His timing. He didn't dry the path in the Red Sea in an instant, either. He worked all night, in the dark, from the far side of the bank. Moses and the people couldn't see His handwork until the path opened before them. (Look it up: Exodus 14:21.) But that did NOT mean that God wasn't working. They just couldn't see it. And what had Moses told the people just prior to this? "The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Ex 14:14

Oh, how I fight stillness! You would think I was a two-year old who'd slurped down a quart of red Kool-Aid. But God's word for me in the past year has been "wait". Truth be told, I have hated that word. (I am also not fond of its homonym, "weight"!)

Twenty five years ago, little was known about this disorder. Even ten years ago, it was a mystery. In fact, research on this disorder has come leaps and bounds in these last few years so quickly that the name of it is still evolving. God has been preparing the way for the answer. He has been preparing my neurologist. And in teaching me about "wait", He has been preparing me.

Next? A two-part process. One: identify triggers. We already know that chemically-based fragrances (including air fresheners and some perfumes), cigarette smoke and volatile organic compounds (varnishes, fresh paint, paint thinners, etc) are my major triggers. Now we have to identify if there are others in my diet. Two: find the right medication. We start the hunt on Wednesday with a prescription calcium channel blocker. Its purpose is to relax blood vessels as well as calm the excitability (and prevent nerve cell damage that occurs) of one of the neurotransmitters that goes haywire during an episode. I am NOT a fan of medication, so this is going to be a challenge for me. (First step in old-lady-hood is lining up that first little pill bottle, right? Ack!)

Thank you for your prayers and your support through all of this. And in your next prayer time, please thank God for answers and for Dr. Andrea Diedrich. (I just sent her a thank you note and told her you all and I had been praying for her for months. I hope it encourages her!)