God Already Knew!

Sometimes I am struck with the realization that God has been working out certain things in our lives.  Does this ever happen to you?  It is really an awesome, faith-building moment.  Yet, I sometimes have a twinge of guilt in a related realization – – that I hadn’t really trusted him enough.  But God knows. He knows already that I am weak and a worrier.  And, he points out the little bit of faith I did have to keep going and the little bit of trust I did have to look to him and follow, even if it took a BIG push.  Then I look back and see that God already knew and my striving and worrying did nothing to help his work, only (and this is where I feel that guilty twinge again) hinder his work, or at least hinder the joy that could have been greater if it weren’t for my bad attitude, etc.

I was struck recently by the fact that while I didn’t know my F.A.S. (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) affected children would have an auditory processing problem that could be aided by using sign language, GOD KNEW!  God knew their needs and what they would need long before I did and he gave us a deaf son who would need us to all learn sign language to facilitate communication with him.

Years ago when I first began homeschooling my children, one beginning fourth grade and one beginning first with a toddler in tow, I thought I was doing it for my kids and their needs; I didn’t know how much I needed to learn and how God would use homeschooling to teach me, But GOD ALREADY KNEW!  He knew that the best Bible-based curriculum and resources, even my search for them, would teach me as well as my children, amazing truths  about God, his Word and living a Christian life.

When God saved my oldest daughter’s life at birth, again after her two month old vaccines caused a bad reaction, and then protected both of us when my car caught fire, I didn’t know that it was preparation for a life-threatening, chronic illness and her facing fear of death many times over, but GOD ALREADY KNEW!  He knew we would both need to reach back to those earlier times and see how his saving hand had been on her from day one.

When we found out about a crazy sounding genetic issue (MTHFR) this same daughter had that was a culprit in her ongoing health problems, we didn’t realize that learning about and addressing this issue would not only help her and possibly our biological family members, but our adopted family members as well.  But GOD ALREADY KNEW!

There are other instances where I can look back or have a sudden realization at God’s hand and his plan being worked out and coming together, knowing He knew all along how certain things would fit together down the road of our lives.  This gives me great comfort, even in the situations that seem difficult, and reminds me to trust God even more.  If you don’t see God’s hand in your life, or in the lives of those close to you, try asking him to show you or remind you of a time that he knew how things would work out down the road before you.  Ask him to show you that he really does know what you need and can work out even huge problems for your good. Then wait (expectantly) for God’s revelation!

By the way, God already knew that you and I would break his laws and sin even before we were born and he made a plan to work things out for our good, a plan for Jesus to come into the world and be the perfect sacrifice for you and me, and all of mankind, so that we could be saved and have an everlasting relationship with him.  He loves us so much.  May you be reminded of that love this Sunday!

Eager Anticipation

After my daughter left on her first trip out of the country on a mission trip with a large group from our new church, I found myself waiting with eager anticipation for contact from or about her and the group.  When each one came I was thrilled for the news and soon awaiting the next communication with similar eagerness, but with a peace and absence of worry.  I knew communication would be limited. At one point she mentioned in a brief message she had been feeling sick and I eagerly awaited more news, but knowing I had been told that “no news is good news” and feeling mostly confident that the group leaders would contact me if there was much of a problem, I was not terribly worried.  Because of her battle with Lyme disease (a second daughter to get this disease; see the link in the sidebar to read about the first) I know that something that is a minor annoyance to others has the potential to cause major problems for her.   So, with Facebook at the ready I posted a brief note and was pleasantly delighted in having many folks register not only their well wishes, but their prayers for her and the next communication received said she was feeling better!  Delightedly thankful to God and our prayerful Facebook friends I am now awaiting the news that they have safely landed back in the U.S.

On a different note, I am finding a lot more commentary lately referring to the end times and the coming of our Lord Jesus as so much in the news and the world’s state of affairs seem to have gotten people thinking more along that line.   We sing songs and hear sermons and read Bible verses about the second coming of Jesus Christ, and know it is imminent, yet it also seems hard to grasp at times.  There have been many times and places across the span of decades when it appeared to folks that it must be on the brink, yet here we are all these years later. We know we should wait with eager anticipation for his coming.  Yet we also know that there is work to be done.  Are we putting it off; are we frantically rushing to get it all done (as if company’s coming and you don’t want them to see your house in a mess)?  What is the right/best response or course of action?  When things seem to be falling apart it seems easier to wish for Jesus to come and put a stop to it all, lamenting the state of our surroundings.  Yet, when we remember the purpose of the wait – – so that as many as will would have the opportunity to come to Jesus and be saved from their sins and destruction – – it points to the need to consider what we do during the wait, however long or short it may be.  Do we wait and lament that the longer it takes the more the world goes crazy?  Or do we realize that while we wait, we have something to do, perhaps even to hasten the coming of Jesus, in the work of bringing the lost to him?  Could it be that WE Christians are partly responsible for the things going on in the world around us, and that it CONTINUES for so long because we aren’t as diligent in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we should be?

As this mamma waits on her daughter’s return from her first mission trip, where I know she was way outside her comfort zone, and waits for the trickle of stories and insights from the past several days to unfold, I wait with eager anticipation knowing she has grown in her relationship to God and has helped to spread the Gospel of Christ and perhaps brought his second coming just a little bit closer.

Putting It All Together — What We Have Learned & Current Treatment Plan (with changes)

Since I was unable to cut and paste the following update to the You Caring page we have been using for fundraising for and updates on our oldest daughter’s health needs, I decided to post it here (rather than rewrite it) and just post the link over there.  You may read more on her battle with chronic illness on the You Caring site (thanks to them for making their site available and FREE!) at www.youcaring.com/healingchristina  and that is linked to in the sidebar.

Putting It All Together – – What We Have Learned & Current Treatment Plan (with changes)

From our time in Florida at the Sponaugle clinic we learned that not only did Christina have Chronic Lyme Disease, but a couple of other things were MAJOR reasons she had been unable to get well and had even gotten worse after a brief period of doing better since antibiotic treatment:
(1) MTHFR genetic defect (specifically homozygous C677T) which is a block in the methylation pathway of each and every cell keeping her from being able to fully process folic acid and other problematic results, and
(2) HIGH level of molds, especially the “Black Mold” aka “vomitoxin” (tricothocene mycotoxicosis) plus a few other infections (Bartonella, which we suspected and the protozoa Rheumatica)
Together, this toxic mix had caused all of her hormones to bottom out, leaky gut, all kinds of bodily levels to be way off from where they should be (some low, some high), keeping her body from using nutrients effectively and from expelling (detoxing) cellular wastes due to a depletion of and inability to produce the body’s major antioxidant – glutathione. Her liver was failing and her heart was weak. Her digestive system was wrecked from the mold, antibiotics, etc, and her severe weight loss was alarming to say the least, with muscle wasting and bone loss, also making it even more difficult to treat do to her fragile state. It allowed other infections to flourish.  In a nutshell, Christina had numerous intertwined critical health problems, but thankfully, Dr. S. knew what tests to run as well as how to interpret them and treat accordingly!

Though the latest testing showed marked improvements, a high benzene level was something new. It turns out that the previous test results had cut off the benzene result on the reporting so it may have been there all along. Without any large exposures, we concluded that it must have been from lower exposures over time such as from laundry detergents, art supplies, etc. and are trying to avoid all exposures as much as possible. Of course, it is not an ingredient that is always listed clearly on labels.
At this point, after being home from the clinic for a while, we are tweaking Christina’s treatment plan based on what we believe are her current needs, things learned, and seeking to follow God’s leading. Continuing to focus on specific symptoms while supplementing for the genetic issue and deficiencies as well as overall healthy living, toxin avoidance and rebuilding of health and body while detoxing from further toxin build-up are main points. Below are some specific things we are implementing. I tried to group things according to the specific health issues but of course there is significant overlap. We will adjust as we go and as we continue to wean her off of prescription meds, using appropriate alternatives as needed. Christina continues on a very pure vegetarian diet that is gluten-free and dairy-free without any highly processed foods like enriched flours or processed sugars. (She specifically wants to avoid gelatin, dairy, wheat/gluten — and now folic acid — in supplements/meds.) Getting the calories needed is still a bit of a struggle but so much better than before when she couldn’t keep anything down or at times could barely swallow!

 

I. For the MTHFR genetics (homozygous C677):
a. Glutathione supplementation is still a big necessity. So is avoiding “folic acid” and so we have changed out some of her supplements, including the Essential Pro Glutathione and are now using one without folic acid.(see below.) (We have left off Cellgevity, but are considering adding it back or another supplement from the same manufacturer or another “precursor” supplement as some say oral glutathione does not make it through the digestion process in useable form, yet Christina does tell a difference so it must be working somewhat!)
b. Bio-available Folate is still highly necessary so we continue to use a methylfolate supplement to bypass the defect of the methylation cycle (5 MTHF).
c. Folic Acid avoidance as noted above, is something we have begun to make a point of after learning more about how dangerous it is in the general population, and specifically in those who do not break it down well due to the genetic defect in the methylation cycle and how prevalent it is. A long-time supplement we traded in was Juice Plus (a foundational whole food supplement for about five years) having gotten the official word from the company that they add the synthetic folic acid — we have switched to the Lightening whole food supplements that are similar to Juice Plus but do not have the added synthetic folic acid. The rest of the family can take the Multicolor Lightening, but at present, Christina is only taking the Blue Lightening (comparable to Juice Plus’ purple Vineyard Blend that was so good for inflammation), as she is continuing to avoid all wheat, as well as gluten, and the Multicolor Lightening has wheatgrass in it which she chooses to avoid due to possible cross-contamination of gluten.
d. SAMe, MethylB12 – are still used, plus cyanocobalamin form of B12 that seems to work better than methylB12 alone.
e. Omegas, Zinc (with copper),and Magnesium Taurate – are supplements we are continuing except we traded the Super Critical Omegas for a vegetarian one and the Magnesium Taurate to another brand. And since she can never seem to get enough magnesium, and cannot bathe in Epsom salts, I hope to get a foot bath asap to enable her to have Epsom foot baths without the challenge of keeping her from chills. I have read that magnesium is better absorbed through the skin as well. We found the Zinc from the clinic already had copper so there was no need for a separate copper. Those had been stopped while in Florida as we had traced her after lunch symptoms to those two supplements. We have now added back in the one zinc supplement that already contains copper. (Pumpkin seeds have high mg and loads of other good stuff and she enjoys snacking on them, too!)
f. Niacin – (added) to use in case of symptoms of overmethylation as suggested by Dr. Ben Lynch of MTHFR.net (He has a ton of information and supplements specifically formulated for MTHFR defects. Dr. Amy Yasko has a lot of information available online in her Autism resources as well.) We have not had to use this yet but would temporarily stop the methylfolate as well when indicated.

II. Mold/Leaky Gut/GI symptoms:
a. Gluten-free, dairy-free diet is something that Christina was already doing. Additionally, she eats a vegetarian diet largely free of sugar, most grains, and most additives. This strictness is a fine line to be careful but not obsessive and fearful about, and she is doing an amazing job with it all.
b. Fluoride/neurotoxin avoidance in foods, water, dental products – we had already left off fluoridated toothpaste (and her teeth are doing amazing now, even after baby teeth were cavity-prone and this disease brought on severe and prolonged vomiting that caused us concern about the damage it did to her teeth), but we are working harder to avoid it after learning more about how prevalent it is and that it is a neurotoxin! (She/we already avoids the neurotoxin, MSG and a slew of other additives.) We are blessed to have local artesian wells from which to obtain fresh water! Bottled water is typically lower in fluoride as well. I hope to get a filter for bathing to filter chlorine and fluoride to avoid skin absorption. No toothpaste with fluoride or tapwater if possible, although it is difficult not to cook with it, we are trying not to drink it.
c. Probiotics – continuing with Ultimate Flora 50 Billion that Dr. S. recommended and that we have used before.
d. Intestinew – brand supplement (capsules instead of powder) with glutamine, etc. to help continue heal the stomach, intestines recommended by Dr. S.
e. Enzymes – recommended by Dr. S.
f. Chromium Ultra – recommended by Dr. S. (includes a small amount of niacin)
g. Juicing fresh fruits, vegetables – to take it easy on digestion (about 5-6 times a week for now) as well as getting concentrated nutrition. (It takes a lot of fruit/vegetables to get a little bit of juice, but worth it!)
h. Aloe – capsules
i. Daily fresh air – as much as possible
j. Essential oils diffused in air – to help clean air and for therapeutic benefits
k. VOC and toxic chemical avoidance – With mold it appears that people become sensitized to even low levels and brief exposures to environmental toxins that others may not seem to have a problem with so that it has become necessary to avoid many cleaning products (and places where they use them) – – we use more natural cleaning products, hygiene products, etc. (Mrs. Myers and Seventh Generation brands are good.) We do not eat out often but learned to use the drive-thru (even for the rest of the family) to avoid restaurant cleaning products, especially avoiding public bathrooms! I plan to take along filter masks when we do have to be away from home for a prolonged time.

l. HOUSE –We are taking measures to keep from enticing mold growth, an ongoing process in a humid, Alabama environment.

III. Lyme, Bartonella, Protozoa Rheumatica – Christina’s CD57 marker showed her immune system was working and clearing the Lyme while at the clinic (without antibiotics!). We are not treating for these specifically except as to support her overall immune system and health, plus avoiding anything that would over-burden her immune system. While at the clinic they could monitor Christina’s progress with IV treatment and slow it down as needed. Even then she could not go too fast with the IV detox and never even got to the “killing” phase, yet her immune system did clear some of the infection as her health improved. (The IV aminos were a big help, bypassing the digestion with pure nutrition.) With all the toxic build-up and die-off from her own immune system killing infection we want to avoid moving too fast and risk overburdening her vital organs. We want to continue supporting her immune system, keep her detoxing and build up her body through nutrition, rest and limited (for now) exercise. (By the way, the Bartonella appears to be gone!)

IV. Hormone imbalance: (This is tricky and we are tweaking as we go.)
a. Prescription Progesterone – we will need to get a new prescription for these capsules or use an otc cream. (Christina dislikes the creams.)
b. Prescription testosterone cream – we will need a new prescription if she continues to need this – it has helped with temperature regulation so she is not chronically cold or alternately having hot flashes!
c. Prescription estradiol patch (Minvelle) – we will need a new prescription if she continues to need this (helps with anxiety).
d. Prescription DHEA – have been without this a long time – we may need a new prescription or alternative.
e. Prescription Armour Thyroid – No longer using as of this week; I am looking for a vegetarian alternative to this – trying herbs (see below)
f. Growth hormone injections – not able to take these any longer (plus the insurance special pharmacy will no longer fill this) we hope as overall health improves her natural production will go up.
g. DIM – helps with testosterone processing
h. Chaste Tree berries –(added) hormone help
i. Rhodiola – (added) hormone help, oxygen help

V. Sleep:
a. Serene and Benadryl as well as Dronabinol (though not primarily for sleep, but appetite) were too strong for her and discontinued either before or after leaving the clinic. We tried melatonin but it was also too strong. (The prescription sleep medication had been dropped early on while at the clinic as it was much too strong!)
b. Valerian – (added) for sleep, pain (Valerian Super Calm herbal blend)
c. Chamomile – (added) for sleep, anxiety
VI. Pain and Anxiety (in addition to those above):
a. Turmeric (added) pain (plus other herbs below)
b. Prescription clonaxepam (generic Klonapen)for anxiety, pain
c. Advil – pain (using less and less)
d. Yarrow – to use for stomach pain
e. White willow – for pain, fever as needed
*Christina does not take much for pain as she has had so much over the years that not only was not alleviated with even strong pain meds, but made worse due to the side effects. We have found herbals seem to be a better balance of pain relief without unwanted side effects.

VII. Other:
a. Monolaurin – antimicrobial, immune boosting
b. Dandelion – Pain, appetite, digestion, liver support (alternate with Milk Thistle for liver support)
c. Morenga – amino acids (complete protein), antioxidant, magnesium, calcium
d. Prescription Riluzole (generic Rilutec) – medicine for ALS symptoms (Lowered dosage after original was too strong, tapering off slowly. Replacing with Ashwaghanda Root.
e. Essential oils diffused in airThieves – type blend; oregano, lavender (adding frankincense); hoping to use some EO in foot baths with Epsom salts for better results
f. Protein powder smoothies – Vega brand – added nutrition
g. Vitamin D3 – to resume (for energy)
h. Peppermint throat mints – (not the sugary candy, but strong herbal mints for throat, tummy pain)
i. Red root – to add for antifungal properties to treat mold
j. Evening primrose – hormone balance

*We would like to have a new round of testing done, to help ascertain whether further IV treatments are needed but are currently paying off some lingering medical bills and had to postpone our scheduled trip to the clinic in Florida. We may look to see if another doctor will run the tests if it appears we are unable to continue with Dr. Sponaugle in Florida.  At this time Christina is making good progress with which we are delighted and tremendously grateful to God for.  Special thanks to each of you who have continued to support her (and us) in any way through this long ordeal and may God richly bless you! Anyone who wants to see more of the background of Christina’s chronic health problems can check out the You Caring link in the sidebar.

Are You Defective?

Not too long ago we found out about a genetic disorder that had played a part in some difficult health issues my oldest daughter has been facing, and connected the dots not only with her health-related history but some of the rest of the family as well. This one little genetic hiccup can cause a domino effect in your physical health! As one doctor put it, it is upstream of several very important chemical processes. If you have a double whammy from both parents of this genetic glitch it is even worse. Illustrations of this methylation pathway where the defective gene is supposed to do it’s job looks like one of several gears – – different processes that interconnect with one another. Any one of them can have one or more defective genes.

Only a handful of the genes discovered through the Human Genome Project have been studied at length. This one pathway has been studied and it turns out that approximately 40% of Americans have one or more genetic defects in this methylation pathway, not to mention all the other pathways (gears)! If you are interested in this specific issue, Google “MTHFR” (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) or “methylation”.

My theory is that we are all defective in some respect. Even if your MTHFR genes and methylation pathways are clear of roadblocks, you probably have some other defect somewhere. You see, much as people would like to think our physical forms are evolving over time, getting better and better, it is not really that way at all. Instead there is a decline. Way back at the beginning of humanity, the first man and woman were much better physical specimens. After the Fall, however, mankind began degenerating. So that today, we are less able to ward off illness and heal from disease/injury or process our food than in days gone by. Couple that with the degeneration of our environment! Adam and Eve lived in Paradise, for a while. Everything was “organic”! So their bodies had the pristine nourishment to keep in tip top form. The air was certainly pure. No pollution. You can see that there is a big difference in their environment and ours today.

After the Great Flood of Noah’s day the earth’s atmosphere changed and so did the landscape. Genetically speaking, the gene pool just got a lot smaller as well and it has continued as groups of people branched off from the bigger population, they took only a part of the total DNA information to pass down to succeeding generations, and much was lost. I am certainly no genetic expert, but it is easy to see that in so called “Thoroughbreds” and “Pure Breds” today when animals are touted for certain characteristics and bred to other somewhat closely related (in that breed) to keep those characteristics desired in the offspring, much information is lost. These animals tend to be much more high strung and if you dig just below the surface you will find tendencies that are not so great – – like tendencies toward hip problems in Chow dogs, tendencies toward aggressiveness in some breeds, tendencies toward seizures, etc in others.

Sadly, some people down through the ages, and even today, have wanted to wipe out other people with “undesirable” characteristics. The Holocaust is only one example. How absurd! This “purifying” is not only pure evil, but it’s premise is completely false. The more limited the gene pool, the more consequences such as we see with pure bred pets bred for looks without regard to health or welfare of the animal. It may take a few generations for them to show up, but there are consequences.

Currently, I am saddened at the violent killings and atrocities being reported from Ukraine as they seem to be approaching civil war. Any time people pridefully position themselves over another group of people they are in trouble, as “pride goes before a fall”.

We now know that it is not only the genes that are important but the genetic expression as well. And that expression can be turned off or on during a person’s lifetime. Further, what is sometimes seen as evolution is really de-valution as DNA is not added to but subtracted from. With even just a bare understanding of genetics we see that information (DNA) is not added to from generation to generation, but can be subtracted from or distorted.

We cannot have any more information in our DNA that our parents before us, nor our children have more than their parents. If the first people had all the available DNA that everyone to be born in the future would ever have, they would have to have DNA for all the hair colors, all the eye colors, all the skin colors, all the other characteristics of each person’s physical makeup. Further, since Eve came from Adam, then Adam would have had to have all the DNA information himself. It would then be diluted in each successive generation. So, aren’t we all defective to an extent? Since we are all in the same boat, we should be about keeping it afloat together, not tearing it apart.