I realized this past week that it has been exactly one year since some tests results showed my innards were all torn up, cause unknown. A whole year. It seems longer than that, not because time has dragged, but because of all I have learned and how I have grown over that time.
The stomach pain is oh so much better theses days! Some days, it's not even there. On the worst days, it's still not comparable to what last fall was like. I still take a strong daily pain med, but recently got a prescription that will allow me to attempt reducing the dosage. A missed prescription refill a couple of months ago quickly showed me that I can't go completely off the pain med yet, but here's hoping to reduce the amount I need to keep the pain under the "noticeable" threshold. Baby steps! (Still no smoking gun on the cause, but I've got a theory that's soon to be tested and of course, the lupus is a major suspect).
I seem to be responding well to the Benlysta and I feel that my lupus is more controlled than it was a year ago. In fact, :exciting news: I have reduced the dosage of one of my immuno-supressive meds by half! It's taken eight months to slowly reduce it to see how my body reacts, but so far, doing pretty well. I say pretty well, because I tried the next step of reduction recently, and my body didn't like that, so waiting for this minor flare-up to settle and to just stick to my current dosage for now. I am ridiculously excited to not be taking such a mega dose of this medicine, so praise God for progress! :)
While predictability has been such a welcome reprieve, I continue to take one day at a time because things do go wonky from time to time and I think "whoa, what happened here?" It's a reminder that this thing called lupus and autoimmune diseases are not predictable and oh-so-sensitive to...pretty much everything :). And a reminder to not put my trust in patterns or predictability.
In my mind, the most impacting result of this last year, is the still and quiet place that the Lord has grown in me. That, my friends, is the most amazing, wonderful thing that has happened to this gal who always read the verse "gentle and quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:3-4) or "be still" (Psalm 46:10) and threw her hands up, knowing that her crazy, energetic, fast-talking personality would never allow her to be that way. I've learned that quiet and stillness isn't a reflection of personality or physical action. It doesn't mean I sit there and do nothing, or never talk (pretty sure pigs will fly when that happens :) ) but it means that when things are crazy around me, when my sense of control (yes, it is a "sense") is lost, there is a deep-rooted center in me that is calm, still, and quiet. Waiting. Ears and heart open to the Teaching that is to come. To the Discipline that is to be learn. To the Love that is to be experienced.
Yes, there are still moments where I think, "hmm, maybe I was mistaken", when my thoughts and heart are all a-thunder with doubts and frustrations. And let's face it, gentleness is still a work in progress. But He brings me back. He "calms the raging storm." He is my quietness and my stillness, forged from a trust in Him that He has grown in me. Oh, how I sought for this and tried to make it happen on my own terms (hello December, January, and February), but He has taught me, yet again, that His ways are better and His timing perfect. Nothing that I could accomplish, but only Him.
Do I wish this last year had been different? YES. A resounding YES complete with blinky font and lights. I despise pain, suffering, feeling miserable, and the isolation that all of that sometimes brings. But, I can honestly say that I don't know how else I could have been pulled so far out of myself, so completely stripped and made raw, for Him to do the refining work and instructing He needed to, without the events of this past year. So, I wouldn't change it (I may try to blot it out from time to time ;-) ), but I wouldn't change it. What grace.