Thursday, July 26, 2012


I've mentioned for awhile now that I haven't been 100% healthy for a little while now.  I haven't fully disclosed details to much more than a handful of people for a few reasons.

Why I haven't shared:
First-- I'm embarrassed.
I'm embarrassed about how I look.  Honestly.  This isn't for people to console me.  It's just the truth.  My health issues have caused me to retain fluid (not water but fluid that a normal body rids of naturally) from my face all the way down to my toes.  I definitely look plumper than I ever have, and I know what people assume when they see someone gain weight.  They think lazy, eating too much, let herself go.  But they don't ever think it's for medical reasons.  And that's hard to live with.  Whether or not you're a vain person, you don't want to be judged by how you look, especially when it's far from the truth.

Second-- I'm still being diagnosed.
I don't want to talk about every little test or treatment, because it can change quickly until the doctors finally figure it out.  I have a big doctors appointment in a couple weeks that hopefully will find the complete answer.  I'm being treated for some symptoms right now, but we haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet.  I don't want to seem overly dramatic or shifting with the wind on diagnoses.

Third-- I don't want to be a negative person.
When you're dealing with something like this, it really takes an emotional and mental toll of you.  It's tough.  And I don't want people to feel like I'm always complaining or asking for attention.  So I try to keep it all together and do as much as I can to keep up and live normally, even if it's really, really tough.

Why I should share:
First-- You need to know you're not alone.
If you're going through something similar, you know it's easy to feel alone or feel that others don't fully understand.  You're not alone.  Right now I'm being treated for lymphedema symptoms, and if you're having to go through funny looking treatments like me, then it can be embarrassing and hard to share.  So I'm sharing just to show you that I'm going through it too!
I have to wear each of these at home for daily therapy:
These are pumps that stimulate my lymph nodes, and they're cumbersome and silly looking, but they give me relief, so I love them!
I also have to drive 30 minutes twice a week to physical therapy where they do this:
My legs stayed wrapped.  They only time they're not wrapped is when I go to therapy; they unwrap them, do therapy, and rewrap them.  I'll do this for several weeks.  The wraps also work on my lymphatic system.  Try going shopping or out to eat in these things.  Pants don't fit over them, so you can't hide them.  And people like to stare.  People also say really dumb things, so you just have to smile.
So if you're having to go through treatment that's somewhat publicly embarrassing, I'm here to hug you and say, I understand!

Second-- My Lord has blessed me immensely.
Every time I feel like I can't go on, He shows Himself and give me the strength I need.
I can't begin to tell you every detail of how He's blessed me along the way.  I've had great doctors and great therapists.  I've even had receptionists that have comforted me!  The lady that worked for the company that provided the lymphedema pumps has been so sweet.  Health care is expensive, but many of my bills have been heavily discounted or donated.  I've had to shell out some money, but God knew ahead of time in my former job that a health savings account would help me pay for those bills today.

Please, please believe me when I say none of this is for pity.  It's for me to tell you that you're not alone.  And if you're blessed in health right now, it's to tell you that I know you may have other hardships right now.  And you may not have to be wrapped and wear silly garments like me, but I know your pain might be just as hard to bear.  And I pray that you see God's hand in your life and allow Him to strengthen you and use your pain for good.

I'm disabling the comments for this post, but if you want to talk or let me know what you're going through, you can send me an email- marlashep(at)aol(dot)com

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

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