One of my pet peeves is when people project an image of having it all together and life being perfect. Facebook pictures are always ideal in hopes that others will view them and think only the best. Wrong? Not necessarily. Real Life? No way! Although this is a positive blog, I attempt to write from a place of authenticity. If something is really pressing on me, I try to be honest that I too struggle and am a work in progress. No one is perfect, no job is perfect, no marriage is perfect, and kids aren’t perfect. I grow the most by connecting with others I can relate too. If someone else knows what I am going through, can offer advice, prayer, or support, we are both then capable of producing fruit within our own lives and are helping each other. It is scary to come clean to someone. What do I really think? What I am truly struggling with…but often when we do and we think we can trust, we can feel immensely better. Not only do we feel better, but the people we trusted can feel good too by offering help, love, and support to someone who they genuinely care about.
If you have known me for a while, or have read my introduction on this blog, you may know that I struggle with chronic headaches and pain. I have had a headache everyday for over 6 years. I have been to many doctors, had many tests, and have had therapies of diverse kinds. I have exercised and not exercised. I have been prayed over, and tried medicine. I have developed female and GI issues. I am not the girl I once was or desire to be due to this battle. However I try to be the best version of me today, and I try hard. I am grateful for the new Cassie and all I have gained through this.
I feel like I have exhausted many avenues here, and am just… weary. We felt the need to take a bigger step in our hope to find healing. Being tired and fatigued, the thought of running around Chicagoland to attempt both recommended western and eastern medical treatments made me feel even more defeated. Therefore, last month, I took a risk and traveled to the Mayo Clinic for 10 days.
It was an honor and a privilege to be in Rochester Minnesota. I must admit, I was so afraid at first. Would they find something? What if they didn’t? I wondered if this was the right choice for me: I am still active and working-there will be so many sick people there and I am not that bad…
However these negative thoughts proved to be wrong. I was not alone. I sat in the waiting rooms at the clinic surrounded by people who looked just like me. But obviously, because we were all there, we weren’t feeling well and we were desperate to get answers and feel good again.
Being in the medical field myself, I know how healthcare can be, good or bad! My time at the clinic was nothing but superb. From the people at the desks to the doctors themselves, this was excellence in care; the gold standard. I planned on being there for 3 days, and ended up staying for 10 due to many consultations, tests, and therapies.
I kept this matter private for the most part as I did not want to worry anyone and I couldn’t handle the questions that may follow. My reserve for stress can be low.
My doctors were international speakers and authors. The best. And the best couldn’t find anything major causing my headaches. Blood work was coming back ok, and scans looked good. (As they did back here too.) This was a major relief to hear from them, but it was also difficult. We do not want anything to be wrong, but anyone dealing with something physical knows that if you can put a name on it, then you feel like you have an answer and can take the necessary steps to treat it and make lifestyle changes.
The Mayo clinic has changed some things I was doing, and is treating my symptoms with some great tools. I have been implementing them since my return home. They are still conductng more tests. I went back this week, and will be there in December and January to finish. No big changes yet, but perhaps some small ones! I have often struggled to know if exercise is helping or hurting me. This has been a mental battle. Though I have taken time off from exercise, it is my time on that proves to help me feel better. It gets things flowing and often reduces pain. To my delight I was cleared to exercise moderately most days of the week! I was encouraged to be careful with a few things, but also add more Yoga and some Pilates to my regimen. Another reason we know what we do by working out is key to wellness!:)
I am not through with my testing, and I cannot help but feel like this journey is not over. My doctors agree. I truly believe that God doesn’t lead you somewhere without providing for you, so I choose to trust in that.
Confession: I am filled with pride, fear, and junk that needs to be worked out. Throughout these 6 years I have made so many positive changes in my life due to this affliction. Changes physically of course, but transformations mentally, occupationally, emotionally, and spiritually have been the real growth. I pride myself on how strong I can be. I feel bad, but I am still going. I am doing, I am productive. I do not complain. Strength has become an idol in my life. Resilience and perseverance are characteristics that I desire and are valuable. But taking those and turning them into the need to be strong is not healthy for me.
Have I preserved through these challenging years? YES. Have I been resilient in the face of pain, frustration, and fatigue? YOU BET. Have I been strong? Nope- not always. I have had some hard days and it was challenging to say the least. Challenging for me, my husband, and those who care for me. However, my faith and tenacity for healing have gotten me through.
You may be wondering where that leaves me. I am in good spirits. I have a great support network of people who love me and care for me, and I am letting them! In years past I have been stubborn in how I wanted to treat this affliction. In my mind I was going to be strong, and that meant there is a concrete reason for my health issues and once we found it I would be better. Now, for the first time ever, I am open to saying we may not know exactly what is going on and its time to treat symptoms and not just strive for learning the cause. This is a new idea for me. I am open to hearing the doctors talk about medicine, therapy, injections, pain clinics and more. I was afraid to even open up because this sounded like failure to me, but not anymore.
You all are so loving and supportive to me. I do not tell you this for sympathy. My deepest desire is authenticity. I know many of you care about me, and I know many of you have struggles in your own life. Like I said before, I value people I can relate to. I hope you can relate to me. I am just like you. A person who desires love and health, running through life with intention and letting go when necessary. I desire growth and enrichment, happiness and laughter. My life is full of the good stuff. You are part of that good stuff! My vision is for you to help me by all you give me, and me to help you. I am excited to get clean on my fears regarding my health, and I am anxious to continue the journey. I will let you know how it all turns out! I am fine, and I am going to be fine. This I know!
Thank-you for caring, thank you for persevering with me towards our hearts desires.