Sunday, November 01, 2009


Who needs to breathe anyway?

Two weeks ago, I wrote this blog post:

So, for about the past week, I've been struggling with a big o'pile of ... well, struggles.

Physically, I've had a seriously hard time breathing. Like, seriously hard. Finally, last night my friend Julie came and took me out to urgent care in the middle of the night.

On the way there, we got a flat tire, and because she was driving her son's former car which is lowered, it had to be towed. My husband was a superhero and came to wait with the car while we took his to the urgent care.

by the way, I may or may not have said a bad word when we found out the tire was actually flat.
Thank you, Julie, for not judging me.

On the way there, she asked me if I think I'm having such a rough week because I'm trying to do too much. I'm sure that's part of the trouble. Because she's been with me this week (and is a facebook friend like many of you are) she knows the stories of me forgetting to pick up the high school carpool the day after I locked my keys in the house and had to walk to do the 5th grade carpool. She knows that I've spoken at a MOPS meeting, gone to a 20th reunion planning meeting, been planning big projects at work, and dealing with some big emotional issues.

I could use this paragraph here to explain to you what the burdens on my heart are, but sadly, part of the reason they feel so burden-y is because they're not public stuff. I'm constantly aware of the the fact that I'm still morning the months-ago loss of a friendship, that we still aren't settled about some bad health news for a family member, and I'm reeling from some shocking news dredged up from the past and stirred around a bit. It's not major stuff by any means, but it is real and hard and ... exhausting.

So, when we got to the urgent care, I expected the doctor to send me home with the typical, "rest, drink fluids" lecture. Instead, he was worried. My chest was so tight, he wondered why I hadn't been in earlier. He gave orders for a chest xray, a breathing treatment, and a shot of steroids to get me to breathe a little better.

So glad to have a friend with me, one who wouldn't run screaming when the nurse let me know that I would be taking that shot in the 'bottom', AFTER I had just brought Julie in the exam room to hang out while I took my breathing treatment. aaaanyway.....

The result was that the shot hurt, the breathing treatment turned me into a shaky bundle of nerves, and the xray turned out fine. I was sent home with a bunch of prescriptions and the instruction to come back if I felt any worse.

So, today, I'm hanging out here in my bed, dozing in and out of consciousness, my chest feeling like my bigfatbeagle is sitting on it...

I didn't finish it, and decided not to publish it, because I thought it sounded all doomy and gloomy and I don't like that kind of post, so I decided to wait until I felt better.

Except I didn't get better.

I've been back to the Dr. since. I don't want to even go into all the test and prodding and horrifying things, except to say this: If people don't know how to draw blood, they shouldn't stick other people with needles several times, dig around for a while, call another friend who can't draw blood, let them dig around a little, and then call someone who is awesome and who can do it on the first try. Instead, they should do something else for a living.

Anyway, the good news is that I do not have a pulmonary embolism. I now look like a battered woman/iv drug user with trackmarks making pretty colors all over my arms, but apparently no embolisms. So, I have that.

I also still can't breathe.

But I mostly can't stand listening to myself whine any more. It's time to suck it up and press on. I can't just lay here waiting to breathe. While I'm waiting to be healed, I'm checking into everything I can, praying about ways to slow down a little bit, resting up, casting more cares upon Him, and waiting for a response to see if I can get an appt with my primary care physician before DECEMBER. In the meantime, I intend to focus my eyes on God's word. The Bible reminds us that everything that has breath can praise the Lord. It doesn't say 'Let everything that breathes well, praise the Lord'- so I'm going to just praise Him with the breath that I have.

Last week, when I was looking for that everything that has breath scripture, I found another one that just keeps turning over and over and over in my heart...

Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:2

Now, is it just me, or does the picture of our Heavenly Father, lovingly bending down to listen make you just breathe easier?


(this is the part when I apologize for a long, rambly, rusty blog post and promise to return soon with something much more organized and far less gloomy)



Sheryl said...

actually....i really enjoyed this post. it's good to know what's really going on in your life. i remember the day that you posted that scripture on fb and i just loved the picture of God bending close, to hear ME! amazing.

praying that God gives you wisdom and direction. praying that He gives you peace.

love to you my friend.

Melissa Stover said...

it's not gloomy, it's real and it's part of your life right now. sometimes we have to share our struggles too. i hope you feel better soon in all ways.

Diana said...

Love to you my precious bloggy friend. I am so sorry you are struggling. I have a few practical thoughts and if you're interested let's touch base on FB, but my heart is to just tell you here that I understand.
Sometimes He "makes us lie down" beside those still waters. Maybe it's just time to be still and quiet. I know you know He's got it all in control, and you have all the promises about the plans and about all things together for good, so I just encourage you to crawl up in His lap, set your head on His chest and breathe to His breathing pattern. It's not the pace of life, or the rhythm of busyness, it is quite simply the cadence of peace. Sometimes when Neal's snoring would keep me awake at night I would focus harder on his breathing and the consistency of the rhythm would bring sleep. I believe if you focus on the flowing constancy of peace in the Father's heart, it will flow into your spirit too and will lift you above the "stuff" that makes the waters of life seem choppy... you'll float in the peace. (Lot of mixed metaphors there... sorry.) Praying for the peace and the presence in Jesus name. xoxox

Gretchen said...

Like so many of my friends who struggle in loss, I feel like it's my turn to comfort you--and look who does the wise counsel and comfort? You.

I'm sorry this is such a valley, Amber. But, as're looking to the right place for refreshment and a breath of fresh air, so to speak.

Carpool Queen said...

I hope they find a solution, and FAST! And I don't care if you're gloomy and doomy, it's your life and you need to let us know how we can best pray and minister to you, because if we don't know, we can't do it.

Thus endeth my soapbox.


truth said...

You don't sound so gloomy, just realistic about life and what is going on. I have asthma so I can relate to not being able to breathe. I watched my granddad die from emphysema and thought that was the worst thing ever-not being able to breathe.

I'm so sorry you are struggling with so much. Just a thought...physically breathing is an issue. Could that relate to a spiritual condition? Needing the life-sustaining breath of the Holy Spirit? Not relying on the Holy Spirit?

I hope this doesn't offend you. In my own life, whenever I have struggles in the natural, God almost always shows me it is an outward sign of a spiritual struggle. And when he does, if I work on the spiritual side the physical healing often comes more quickly than I expected.

His Girl said...

No, I'm not offended! I'm completely trackin' with you! I figure there's nothing I can do medically, but I can ABSOLUTELY make sure I'm on the right path with Him... my agenda is to just cling really tightly to His Word, breathe Him in deeper... whether it helps me physically or not really doesn't matter- can't hurt, and either way I'll be closer to Him.

Becky said...

Could it be some environmental trigger? Road work you pass through daily (asphalt/tar fumes can be a big asthma trigger, as can bus exhaust or rush hour traffic fumes)?

Have you painted or done work on the house (or maybe some construction-type work has been done in your church office) recently that involved anything that could be 'offgassing' or particulate that could be bothering you (chipboard and some other products like glues and caulks have 'formeldehyde' that sets off reactions in some folks, and removing popcorn ceiling stuff can be a problem for many folks).

Could there be a mold or mildew problem anywhere...from moisture near a window-mount swamp cooler or A/C unit? Swamp cooler pads can get really stinky smelling after a while (like a sour kitchen sponge) which can cause reactions in some folks. This time of year, mold-sensitive folks can be affected by moldy carved pumpkins.

Have you recently turned on the heater after months of it being off...only to have all the dust which sat inside blow around through the house?

Lighting candles made of anything 'artificial' (basically anything other than real beeswaxand not the petroleum based parrafin) or containing 'fake' scents? Stick-ups and other home 'fragrances' used around home, restrooms or the office could be a culprit, too. I can't use any incense or the plug in type air fresheners with liquid 'fragrance' in them. Even walking down the laundry soap aisle at Walmart makes my lungs tight...perfumy laundry soaps can cause breathing problems for some folks. Heavy perfumes that folks wear (mine or others) can also be a trigger for difficulty breathing.

I received a 'fake' Lavendar scented wreath as a gift once which sent me into a horrible asthma attack. I threw it out when I noticed my lungs reacting when I simply walked past it in the hallway, and all the symptoms of previous days cleared up.

Another thing to consider might be food allergies. Keeping a diary of everything that crosses your lips (food or drink) and then any instances where your breathing worsens could help narrow things down, too.

I know the discomfort (and sometimes panic) of not being able to breathe well, having asthma these past few years. Rush hour traffic (especially with windows open or with the A/C set to allow outside fumes/air in) is something I will drive miles out of the way to avoid. I no longer paint my own walls (and have to stay away for a couple of days if any painting is done). We change our A/C and Heat filters way more often than most folks to cut down on dust, I sleep propped up at an incline when my breathing is bad, I lift my arms above my head to get good deep breaths when my lungs feel tight, I keep an inhaler in my purse for big emergencies and these litle heatlh food store 'peppermint/menthol' inhaler things for more minor ones.

Praying you find answers very soon! Loved what Diana said about crawling into His lap, laying your head on His chest and matching your breathing to His. So poetic and so true.

Aileen said...

Hi Amber, sorry I don't know you at all, but I liked how you welcomed me to your blog when I left a previous comment. I have no idea what is wrong with you, I am not a doctor but I hope that things will get better soon. However I know what happens when you let emotional things get in your life. It is not just your mental health that weakens it is also your physical health. Your first priority is getting your physical health sorted out. This means listening to your doctors, going for the stupid blood tests that no one can take and eating and drinking properly. You also have to let your family and friends help you. The other part to help you is to stop taking on too much. Keep speaking to him "upstairs" and maybe talk to other people about the problems that are going on in your life. I understand you can not put it on your blog, but you should speak to friends or your doctor. These things do really help, please believe me. I have went through so much in my life that has made me so ill and talking to people and God has helped so much. I hope you feel better soon and I am praying for you. xxx

Sing4joy said...

I like the "go to sleep until it's completely over" approach. It's my favorite. Second favorite approach: the "eat chocolate until you pass out and it is over" approach. Good one. Super Good. I can't take too much more of a break here. I just needed time for my hand to uncramp from taking notes down from Becky. Thank the good Lord I do not live in California! How do ANY of you breathe?? My last piece of advice - move to a higher elevation. One like Louisiana.

Kellie said...

So glad you posted. Praying for you. For wisdom, and hope, and the ability to breath deeply of the Lord in this time...not just physically, but spiritually.

Andrea Frazer - Pass the Zoloft said...

Take it from me - you are NOT DYING. It's called Anxiety. It's called Stress. It's called doing too much. If it's anything else, I'd say hooray, because a pill or some surgery could help. But if it's nerves, well, my dear, take it from a pro: You're just gonna have to take it one day at a time, exercise, trust in God, and stop judging yourself. For fuck sake, you're human. (And yes, I cussed. And I'm a Christian. God will forgive me. If others don't, maybe they are not as Christian as they'd like to believe.) My point: I love you just the way you are.

Lindsey @ A New Life said...

I read often, but don't comment much. Wanted to let you know that I will be in prayer for peace and protection, and for God to show up in big ways in the midst of your circumstances.

Love your blog!

care-in said...

Hope things start looking up glad though that your focus is still on Him, even if you don't feel like it or it's hard.

Halfmoon Girl said...

Oh gosh, I missed this post somehow. My eyes are teary as I read it and at the same time you made me smile with your wittiness. I see there is a part 2, so I am going to skip over there to read it now. These were precious scriptures that you mentioned here. I think we react in similar ways to being too busy- I start to forget things and mix things up, and everything seems to get harder to do!

MyShilohRanch said...

Thanking God for your bloggy friends ... and ... that you don't have an embolism!

Also, you should ask for a "butterfly" blood-sucking needle thingy everytime they draw blood. It saves a lot of digging. Our family members (at least the females) have small rolling veins ... not for a newbie or cocky phlebotomist either! You have to be assertive about the butterfly right away. Or if you have to, let them try ONE time after you've told them, then insist!