Thursday, March 08, 2007

What's wrong with me...a dissertation...grab a Snickers, it might be a while


Well, my doc got down to the nitty gritty once again and discovered what's hurting me.

The tests results are in...(at least half of them) and so far we've found it's a hiatal hernia (see photo at right to illustrate) and...anxiety. I know, I know, you're SHOCKED about the anxiety part. Ha! Ha! I try so hard not to be anxious, I really do. More about that in a minute...
Anyway, she was so sure it was something like this (ulcer or hernia) that she already had me on medication for it a few days before I got the test for it so my symptoms already started improving some. (I've had an ulcer in the past. Sort of comes with the territory of ministry and dealing with difficult people sometimes I guess.) I needed to start getting some sleep and she had to put me on something to take the pain away so I could rest.
Thankfully this can be treated with medication and most of all PRAYER, and so far it appears to be working quite well, and I'm not feeling like I'm having a heart attack, scared to get on the elliptical machine or ride my bike. As far as the anxiety? It's getting better too...Doc is helping me with that as well. As are a few armor bearers in the church who have risen up and determined to protect me.   

I've always been flat out honest here in my blog and pretty much everywhere else (much to my husband's chagrin sometimes). He flinches everytime I talk so freely about whatever it is that's on my mind, but all in all he loves me for it too. That's why he calls me "Sassy" and always has for 22 years. But I'll just say...regarding anxiety...everyone always tells me, "you do too much..." "you have too much on your plate..." "this is why you get so stressed out..." yada yada yada. Really, that's not completely true, not even mostly true. Yes, sometimes I have a little more than I can handle as far as "initiatives" in a week, and during those times I realize it and try to be wiser the next week and get into balance. But my anxiety usually is not over tasks. I THRIVE on tasks. I absolutely THRIVE on work, on accomplishments, on getting my hands in something and working on it. I love to "be" - to be in God's presence, to sit at His feet, to have quiet times. But after all that, nothing makes me happier than DOING and nothing makes me sadder than being bored. I'm a multi-tasker at heart. If I'm not creating, I'm unhappy. Retiring someday would put me right in the grave and that's why I'll never retire. Don't believe in it. Did you know statistics tell us that most people die within two years of retiring? That's because even subconsciously something says to them, "my work is done." They feel their purpose has concluded. Well let me tell you, my purpose will not conclude til the moment I take my last breath!!! And I'm not going to rock my life away in a rocking chair looking out a window thinking of my finer days. I'm going to live my finer days all my days. And despite the fact that my chest still hurts a little bit right now, let me assure you THESE ARE MY FINEST DAYS YET!!!

Work isn't an evil thing. In fact, did you know that work came before the fall? Even before the fall of man, they worked. Work is not a bad thing. God blesses work. He wants us to work. Many people say, "at the end of this life, you won't ever say, "I wish I would have had more time to work. Or, I wish I would have had more time at the office." To that I say, NOT TRUE. And no where will you even find that in scripture. It's just something somebody stuck on a plaque and everybody started saying because it sounded so sentimental and sappy that rest and family is the ultimate spiritual act of worship and work is some kind of sucky thing, or even evil. Well, I don't believe that, as much as I love rest and solitude and I love my family. Work -- when you do something that you LOVE - is the bomb diggity. They say if you love what you do, you'll never work another day in your life! And truly friends, I DO love what I do. I just don't like mean people. And for every 100 people I work with, there are at least one or two mean ones. And don't you know it, they stick out like sore thumbs. You know how your whole body can be healthy but one of your toenails is ingrown? It throbs and throbs and you can be in the best shape of your life but darn it if that toenail doesn't threaten to drive you insane. But back to work...

Did you know that the word "retirement" or even the concept of retirement is not in the Bible? It's not even scriptural!!! Did you know that Michaelangelo, at the end of his life said he wished he had more time to work, because he had SO MANY MORE DREAMS AND SO MUCH MORE WORK HE WANTED TO DO? But his life simply ran out. There was no more time. I have big dreams like that too. My dreams, my work, do not cause me anxiety. They energize me.

So, why anxiety? When my children have problems, it causes me anxiety. Why? I'm a mother. That needs no further explanation. But let me explain anyway, because I'm Deanna Shrodes. And those of you who know me know that I'm the explanation queen. I will just say this, it's been a little stressful season with my kids. Some things for their own privacy I will not blog here. I do have that much sense. No they aren't smoking, drinking, drugging or sleeping around. But you don't have to have all that to have stress. So here's how it is... if I can just raise them safely to adulthood I feel like I should get a humongous crown along with every other Mom out there who does it. A few teenagers learning to drive can give anybody a heart attack, ulcer or hernia not to mention an anxiety attack. Getting calls from my kids teachers? I don't even know why they are calling and my palms start to sweat. They just call about little stuff. Everything from spit balls to note writing in class. Goofing around on the bus. I know some of you know what I'm talking about. A friend told me recently that just because your kid's not on drugs or something "serious" doesn't mean you don't face stress or that they really need prayer.

Then, realize on top of raising three kids who all have their own free will, (unfortunately), I'm in a career that can be fraught with demanding people. Difficult people cause me anxiety. Carnal people cause me anxiety. Unreasonable people cause me anxiety. Demanding people cause me anxiety. People who send me nasty emails or faxes cause me anxiety although I delete them. (the letters, not the people...I mean, if we could delete nasty people with the click of a mouse life might be easier, but we can't.) They still frost my flakes although I try to pretend they don't exist. People who share "concerns" (translation: stupid unscriptural concerns) with me cause me anxiety. I try to forget they ever opened their mouth to me, but...they did. Every pastor goes through this, some more than others. I'm not talking about "worry-anxiety" as much as stress, irritation, an anxiousness that they would just be change, be quiet, or go away.

Some of them have gone away. And I'm all the better for it. I had to get myself out of an abusive church situation in the past to realize just how damaging it was to my health. And now having the wonderful staff we have shows me just what a relief it is not only to a working environment but even to one's physical health to be working with the right people.

When my husband deals with fussy people, or my children are going through stressful situations, it makes me anxious too because when someone hurts them, I care about it. It stresses me. When a girl breaks up with my son it stresses me out. It makes me want to choke her. It makes me want to hang a girl by her toenails when she cheats on my son. I know they are just teenagers but their little hearts break and fall so hard. And I hate it. So folks, please listen to me and listen close. Before you give me any lectures about working too hard, realize I do not have a hernia because I work hard. I have a hernia and anxiety attacks at times because some people drive me crazy. I have a hernia and occasionally anxiety because I get concerned about my kids. Just thought I'd make that perfectly clear. And by the way, my doc sees my point on this. Not only is she a spirit filled Christian, but she knows me well, knows my life, my family, my work, and she is a faithful member of my church. Not just some Joe Schmoe off the street. And she agrees with me on what I just said to you.

So there you had it, the reason I have been feeling like I've been run over by a truck these last few weeks. For those who have ever had this problem, (a hernia or anxiety attacks) it makes you feel as if you are having a heart attack, intense pressure in your chest, indigestion, general intense fatigue, and more. When your chest feels like it's in a vice grip and the room starts spinning around (and you aren't on drugs) you know you need to find out what's wrong. 

But now...I'm on drugs. Halleluiah. Thank God for drugs. (LEGAL ONES) And the staff is getting a true kick out of that - I've gotten kind of loopy this week. Yesterday Pastor T mentioned the movie "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and for no apparent reason I screamed to the top of my lungs, "PASTOR LINDSAY, YOU AND CATHY AND ME HAVE TO SEE THAT!!!! They were like, "okay, but you don't have to scream about it to get us to do it... I said, "just ignore me, I'm on drugs! I scream things I normally wouldn't scream, or I just stare into space at things that would normally make me scream..."
Well, more than having all that... 

having the best doctor in Tampa Bay, having the best staff Larry and I have ever had in our lives - the BEST IN THE WORLD FOR THAT MATTER -- and a few incredeible armor bearers in the church to keep unreasonable (or even mean) people at bay, and Pastor Matt to counsel my children, and Doctor Jesus on top of it all makes for a 100% healing. I'm on my way... 

My best days are ahead. 

So okay  Lindsay and Cathy, when are we going to see the movie?

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