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The Browns – Tom, Ali, Crescena, Bez, & Ber
November 21, 2011 7:17 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

A dear friend wrote to us and said: “I read your blog, but I want details!”  I confess that I struggle with blogs- I don’t know who will read them and being vulnerable to “the world” is challenging for me.  At the same time, I value human connection and if I were to sit with a friend and get “facts” I would not feel very connected to her.  It is 1:00am, I fell asleep with Crescena sometime before 11pm.  I have already woken up once to feed her, and now am awake again because she just screamed for an hour as Tom held her; attempting to try the “cry it out method” everyone raves about and swears helped their children sleep through the night.  She still gets up at night- sometimes every 1-2 hours, but on a good night every 3-4 hours.  I laid in bed crying as she cried knowing what she wanted was me, and denying her that.  My heart and mind were racing as a result of Graves Disease (elaborated on below).  Feeling sad and helpless, I turned on the song I have been listening to for comfort and claiming in my mind and heart; needed tears came (yes, I am one of those people that enjoys crying sometimes as it’s a helpful release).  I claimed these words again this evening:

“I may be weak, but your Spirit’s strong in me;

My flesh may fail, but my God you Never will!”  (“Give Me Faith”)

Tears come again writing that; our God will not fail us.  I think I was hesitant to write because I didn’t want to come across as needy or as having a pity-party; but the reality that I AM WEAK has been an undeniable fact.  The other day, I laid on the floor in Crescena’s room for 45 minutes praying for strength enough to pick her up and enter another room.  My heart races, and because my thyroid is hyper and over-doing it, my body is constantly running faster than normal.  I knew the heart racing was part of Graves as I was diagnosed with pregnancy induced Graves disease early in my pregnancy (In pregnancy, I took a natural remedy and the symptoms subsided and blood tests returned to normal- praise the Lord!)  The muscle weakness was new so I asked the endocrinologist what else might be going on.  He explained it is a result of Graves as my muscles are working hard and therefore are fatigued… I don’t remember his technical terms, but my brain interpreted it like I am running a marathon even when I am sitting.  For my marathon running friends- I made the connection as my doc was talking that the previously indescribable muscle phenomenon feels like your muscles do after a long run- longer than your body had fuel for; my muscles feel like noodles and hurt; I feel like I am going to collapse, so I sit until I regain a sense of strength/stability.  It is hard to feel as though I can’t care for Crescena the way I would like at times, and it is just plain hard to feel weak!

Here is the background: I nurse Crescena and have had several days where I thought I must not be eating enough to be feeding her as I just felt “off”, like my electrolytes were off or something (thought little of it).  We were supposed to have medical clearance turned into AIM by November 1.  So, I went in for my routine physical thinking it would be just that- “routine”… well, the doctor found a goiter (swollen thyroid) which led to thyroid tests.  The thyroid tests came back high; hyperthyroid, and I was sent to an endocrinologist, who did more tests to discern what was going on (the better option would have been a postpartum thyroid problem that would come and go with pregnancies…).  However, I just got a call that my most recent blood test came back positive for Grave’s disease; an autoimmune disease which the traditional doctor says is life-long (aka there is no cure).  Accidents happen in airplanes when pilots’ focus or energy is compromised and it takes discernment and humility to decide not to fly in certain situations; Tom did not fly the day we got the news; it was heavy on us both.  The endocrinologist said there were 3 options of “treatment”: 1) Take meds to manage the symptoms everyday for the rest of my life; 2) Kill my thyroid with radio active iodine and then take synthetic thyroid hormones (meds everyday for the rest of my life); 3) remove the thyroid via surgery and, again, take synthetic hormones.

We would prefer that I not be on meds the rest of my life.  So, we are praying for a miracle and seeking natural routes of healing that suggest some individuals are successful in establishing Graves disease in remission.

That is the technical stuff; here’s the soft stuff:  Some days all I can do is cry out the to the Lord as the thought of being sick for the rest of my life feels overwhelming and devastating, and not having energy for the day is hard!  I have good and bad days, and on good days I act as though I don’t have a problem and have energy and hope that I can overcome Graves Disease; hope is a powerful thing.  Of course, there are days where I am angry to be in this situation – we are headed to serve the Lord in Kenya – it just does not seem fair!  At the same time, I have peace that this is just what the Lord has for me to prepare my HEART, mind, and will to serve Him here in North Carolina and the Lord willing, in Kenya soon.

I don’t spend the whole day on the floor; most of my day is spent caring for Crescena and making healthy food, which we are hopeful will aid in my recovery, and cleaning dishes that seem to be a wall in our dishwasher-less kitchen constantly.  This in itself is hard; I have so much respect for moms who cook and clean and care for children all day and have a good attitude; it is challenging not to have an outlet, time to stimulate my mind, or “me time.”

This is admittedly not my favorite season in life, and at the same time I feel close to Christ and would not have it any other way.

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