There is a person trapped within me. She is full of joy. She is funny. She is intelligent. She is full of life, ready to hop the next plane to help save the world. She is well-spoken. The whole world is her stage, her story waiting to be written. She is confident, borderline arrogant because she KNOWS that she can do whatever she sets her sights on.

This person is being held prisoner by an immune system that has decided to attack her body, by a disease that is killing her thyroid daily. She is trapped by constant pain that would put most people out of commission. She is trapped by exhaustion so deep and thorough that many would have to quit their jobs to endure. She is trapped by a brain that struggles to do the most basic of functions. She is trapped by a loss of memory that many times causes her to stutter, literally incapable of language skills.

Many times, I find myself angry, tired, frustrated and scared. You see, in my mind’s eye I will always be the person trapped inside. I know who I am. When I look in the mirror, I see myself behind the bloated, exhausted,  bleary eyed person who is staring back.

I am fighting this hashimotos thing with everything I have, but there are days that I lose the battle and I have no choice but to wave the white flag of surrender.

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So recently I decided to dip my toes in the dating pool. Being nearly 40, it seems like it is time to meet someone. I’m not lonely. I’m an introvert and actually need to recharge my batteries alone. That being said, I would like someone with whom I can share the good and bad things in life.

I met a really great guy. We chatted for 3 months because he lives in MD. He finally came to visit. I was so nervous that I was a sweaty mess…literally had sweat dripping down my face. A few days later, he texted me that he was reconciling with his wife. UM, WHAT? Yeah…didn’t know he wasn’t divorced. Awesome, right?

I could amuse you with stories of another charmer who sent me a picture of his little buddy…use your imagination…or the guy who came to visit with a cooler of refreshments for HIMSELF. Yeah.

The problem that I’m having is that a long time ago, I prayed that God would bring the right man into my life, and that He would crush any other relationships that were not of Him. Be careful what you pray for. The aforementioned married guy seemed perfect for me. He claims to be a Christian. He knows the scripture better than I do. He’s an entrepreneur. But…not the man God has for ME.

I sit here, alone on a Friday night,  thankful that God answers my prayers. This morning, He said clearly to me, “Deneen, do you not remember praying? Why do you not trust me? Have I ever let you down before? Can you trust me with your heart?”

It is not good for man to be alone, but it is horrible to be in a relationship that does not have God at its center. I’d rather die alone than be in a relationship with someone only to be lonely. 

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Heavy heart

I can’t seem to fall asleep tonight. My heart is heavy…so much loss over the past two weeks. So much seems to be on its way to being lost.

I want so badly to be inspiring, to give words of encouragement, of wisdom, but all I feel inside of me is the vast emptiness of broken promises, dead dreams and a sadness that absorbs the little glimmers of hope I’ve had.

I was asked tonight if I am lonely. The answer to that is a resounding no. I am, however, acutely aware that I am alone. If I truly wanted just someone, I could easily have him snoring happily in bed beside me as I wrestle with the thoughts in my head. However, I have chosen to be alone. I’d rather have no one than just someone.

Yesterday at work, I told a patient flippantly, “Ask and you shall receive.” She smiled, grabbed a card and wrote it down. She thanked me heartily. Tonight, I am asking God to lift this heaviness off of my heart, to allow oxygen to flood my lungs, and to turn my mourning into dancing. We walk by faith and not by sight. What I see in ever direction is a bloody train wreck. God sees the end result, not the destruction. Tonight, I ask God to let me see beyond the wreckage…to give me a glimpse of what He sees.

One day I’ll be writing about puppies and rainbows…but tonight is a dark night of the soul. If you read this, please pray. God knows I need and covet the prayers.

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38 has been rough

First, I find out my small little thyroid gland is being attacked by my immune system causing all kinds of exhaustion and other symptoms.

Then, 5 days ago, I woke up in excruciating pain. Three days ago, I was in the ER because of pain. Two days ago, I found myself in a surgeon’s office scheduling a date to have my gall bladder removed.

It was inevitable. I’m one of the few women in my family who has one. But it’s confusing. Up until 5 days ago, I could eat just about anything. I’ve been avoiding gluten due to the thyroid…but everything else was fair game. And now, here I sit, in pain because of mashed potatoes and scallops? Really?

38 has been a health doozey. I can’t wait to be rid of my dysfunctional organ, but I truly can’t wait until my birthday, to say adios to 38.

It could always be worse. My family is healthy. I don’t have a terminal illness. I am a blessed woman over all…just at midnight, on a Friday, I’d much prefer to be sleeping instead of killing time until my gall bladder chills out and we can sleep.

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The hem of Your garment

One of the stories of the Bible that never ceases to amaze me is the woman with the issue of blood. She goes to see Jesus with the faith that if she can touch the fringe of his garment that she will be healed (Mark 5).

How many of us possess such faith? I had a terrible sinus infection last week. I had faith in Augmentin and albuterol, but not to reach out and touch the hem of my Savior’s garment for healing.

Lord, forgive my unbelief. 

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YOU are my Rock

Today I got news that was a one-two punch to the gut. It literally brought me to my knees, knocked the wind out of my lungs and made my eyes explode with water. To be completely honest, my knee jerk reaction was to reach for a wine glass.

Instead of numbing the pain, I turned on some worship music and got on my knees and wept. I allowed God to touch me, and suddenly, angst was replaced by peace.

I felt like Peter sitting by the fire after he had denied Jesus three times.  Jesus walked up to Peter, and I imagine Peter being ashamed, bereft, not feeling worthy of Jesus paying him any mind. Jesus, however, asked Peter three times if he loved him. Do you agape me, Peter? Do you agape me, Peter? Do you phileo me, Peter? Jesus met Peter where he was, and that is what Jesus did to me today. My life feels like a complete train wreck. I feel like a complete failure. Yet Jesus met me in my blubbering mess, wiped my tears, and asked me to stand up.

Please keep my family in your prayers. Please keep me in your prayers. Be encouraged. Jesus will meet you by the fire, wherever you are, if you will just look up. He truly is your Rock…or can be if you choose to put your trust in Him.

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Hypo-what? Hashi-who?

Last year, about this time, I spent an entire day and a half in bed, crying and feeling completely miserable.I was having a horrible time sleeping though I was exhausted all of the time. I went to the doctor, had a battery of blood tests, and found out that I had hypothyroidism. I was also diagnosed as being depressed. I walked out with prescriptions for Celexa (anti-depressant,) Synthroid (hypothyroid medicine,) Ambien and Xanax. I thought that my life was going to be all better.

Funny thing. I was taking all of the medicines and still felt anxiety, exhausted and was having a horrible time sleeping. I started eating better and exercising, knowing that I needed to add those things to my regimen, but it didn’t help.

I went back to the doctor, found out that I was severely Vitamin D deficient and my thyroid still wasn’t working. I got a high dose of Vitamin D to take for two months and my thyroid med was increased. Two months later, no change.

I marched myself back to the doctor, told her my issues, donated more blood to the lab, and found out that my thyroid medicine had to be increased. AGAIN. At this point, I was getting pissed. And concerned. More pissed than concerned. I felt like a guinea pig more than a human being. My doctor listened to what I was saying, but I still felt like crap.

I started reading books on hypothyroidism. I started following Hypothyroid Mom on facebook. I stalked I learned about natural thyroid replacement. I started to think that perhaps it was more than hypothyroidism. I started to suspect Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Last week I went to my doctor, and I was a different patient. I wasn’t a passive participant in my health. I was informed. And a funny thing happened. My nurse practitioner was impressed. She thanked me. She complimented me. I got the usual battery of tests–T3, Vitamin D. I also got tested for Hashimoto’s disease. My doctor agreed immediately to transition me from Synthroid to Nature-throid when she got my test results back.

I got my results back this past week. I have Hashimoto’s disease. It is an autoimmune disease wherein my immune system is attacking my thyroid. Not only am I harder on myself than others are, my immune system is killing one of the most important glands in my body. I got the answer I was looking for, but it shook me to my core. I cried myself to sleep with both relief and fear.

Now, I’m staring a new journey. One of the hallmarks of Hashimotos disease is gluten sensitivity, so I’m on a gluten free diet. Gluten is one of my food groups. I love, LOVE beer, bread and pasta. Have you tried gluten free beer? I’d rather drink gasoline and be set on fire! I’m starting a new medicine on Tuesday because (SHOCKING, I know) pharmacies don’t regularly stock Nature-throid because it is not made by a big pharmaceutical company.

The most difficult part of this journey is having confirmation that I truly cannot maintain the pace that I want to and that is expected of me. I can’t work 50 hours a week without being down for a few days. I can’t always have a social life, because there are times that I literally do not have the energy/stamina that it takes. I have to learn a word that is unfamiliar to me–NO.

I am not hopeless, though at the moment I am completely overwhelmed. I know that this is not God’s first choice for me, but I also know that He WILL use it for HIS good. My body may be broken but I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made.

Statistically speaking, I know that there are at least a few of you who are reading this who are in the same boat as I am. Welcome to my new journey. I hope that you’ll continue along with me. I am going to use this blog to document my navigation through Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. I was made for this…I just didn’t see this coming.



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Happy Christmas

In my 20’s it was easy to believe what God said…to believe that He had a plan for my life. As I stumbled through my late 20’s and early 30’s, waiting for the promise to come true, my faith began to diminish and cynicism took over.

Life happens. Bills accrue. Health problems arise. Long hours at work ensue. Time slips away. The desire to sleep outweighs the thirst for God’s word.

One day I wake up a complete mess. Depressed. Alone. Putting on a false front, easily deceiving those who don’t truly want to see.

I sit here, wondering. The what ifs pile up. A still small voice tells me I am not forgotten, tells me that this season will be used for good, that this crossroads will help others.

I see a hawk gliding in the wind, so free. I am reminded of Isaiah 40:31.

This Christmas season is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Therr was a point in His life, in the garden of Gethsamane, when He asked his Father to take this cup from him…and he yielded his will to the Father. Let us celebrate a Savior who chose to come to earth for all of mankind, not just those like him.

Merry Christmas.

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Sad truth

Some days I wish that everyone had to spend a week in a state of depression so that they would know what it feels like. Then again, I wouldn’t wish this on a sworn enemy.

Stop telling someone who is depressed to snap out of it. Stop telling them their negative thought patterns created the condition. Do you think it is fun to want to stay in bed, to not want to interact with people, for your whole body to ache, while being yelled at by a well.meaning person to snap out of it?

The sad truth is depression sucks. Yes, God can heal me in an instant. Instead He is allowing me to go through this for a reason. Instead of sitting in your ivory tower of judgment, pray for me. Reach out to me. It’s not contagious.

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Nothing is inconsequential to God…NOTHING

I’ve sponsored a kid through Compassion International off and on for 4-5 years. I’ve always thought highly of the organization. It is rated amongst the highest for its type of charity. A few years ago I had to stop sponsoring my first kid Peter from Uganda because of financial difficulties, and it was the most difficult decision I ever had to make. Over a year ago, I started sponsoring Jessica. While Compassion has a high rating, part of me has always wondered if my money was really making a difference.

I’ve working in my current dental office for over a year. I’ve been in the dental field for nearly 7 years between working for an implant company and in various dental offices. Most days, I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels, making money but not living the life that God has for me.

My faith has been shaky to say the very least in the past few years. I have good moments, but I have mostly weak moments. I’ve tried to find a church, but nothing has stuck for long. I have deep wounds that need God’s healing touch. I visited a church this past weekend, that I plan on exploring more. I know that do what God has for me to do, I have to be connected to a church, to be a part of a group of believers. Frankly, I miss corporate worship as much as a person who is suffocating misses oxygen.

One of our sweetest, kindest patients was in our office today. I had a collision of Compassion International, work and faith.He was in medical school and recently graduated. When he was in today, I was asking him about school. He told me that he was home in Africa for a few weeks. I asked him where he calls home. Turns out he is from Uganda. I got all excited and started telling him about Peter. He asked me what through what organization I sponsored Peter. I told him Compassion International. Guess who is a graduate of the Compassion program? Guess who had families support him through college? You guessed it. My patient. This guy also travels throughout the US telling the story of how God has blessed his life through Compassion Interational.

What I learned today is that there are times that God expects you to walk forward in faith, knowing and believing that He has your best interest at heart. That is how I’ve spend the majority of my life. However, there are also days when God will give you  a tiny glimpse of the tapestry that He is creating with your life. I never in a million years would have guessed that God would have me working in a dental office in Mt, Airy so that I could meet a medical student from Uganda who is a graduate from the Compassion International program to show me that what I do that seems so inconsequential to me is actually a life huge thing in a kid’s life.

Be encouraged. Those small things that you don’t think matter are changing someone’s life.

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