It’s been a moment. A whole lot of moments.

I am writing to let you know I am still here😊. My writing focus has changed slightly, as this very active, very healthy PT has become the patient. And great news! My advice on health and healing works well for me too.

You see, on April 26 I was admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital with the uncertainty of multiple problems going down in my kidneys. There were blood clots. (Think of blood clots to the brain=stroke, blood clots to the heart=heart attack). There were possible abscesses. There was liquefaction: small parts of my kidneys had died and liquified. In short, there was a whole lot of uncertainty, with a threat of losing one or both of my kidneys, and going onto dialysis if what was happening didn’t stop. I underwent a boatload of tests for 5 days in the hospital, being treated to a plethora of labs, ultrasounds of all kinds, and CT scans. There has been so much dye sent through my body  I am certain the International Space Station can see me. The great thing about extensive workups like that is you find out how healthy the other parts of your body are. Strong cardiac valves and chambers. Healthy lungs. No blood clots in other areas. No autoimmune system disease. Good teeth. 😉 And the ever-amusing “You look so good; you just don’t look or act sick.” I am an extravert at heart and the hospital is my wheelhouse, so everyone was a friend or a friend-to-be-made😊.

first of dozens of lab draws

Extensive testing continued after the hospitalization in May, along with recuperation and recovery. And medication. I was now chronically hypertensive. I was prescribed a high dose of prednisone to stop the inflammatory process. And I was trying to manage my physical therapy practice, at first returning to work at 50% workload, then 60, then 70, 75, 80, and 90.

And what is the diagnosis and prognosis? Ultimately, we still don’t know, but it appears the Pfizer vaccines lit up an inflammatory process, creating inflammation in my arterial system.  More testing is still ahead, but down at the University of WA in Seattle.

A few times during this journey, exhaustion has led to meltdowns, and I had a good cry, but mostly, I’ve leaned into this “life gone sideways.”  I’m not fighting my way back to health, because I’ve learned, that isn’t the way healing happens. Healing happens with acceptance, open hands and heart to God’s goodness. This goodness and care come in the form of answered prayers and medications, support of loved ones, gradual progression of physical activities of exercise and eating, and His soothing presence.  I’ve been told, “You have been so strong.”  I laugh. No, I haven’t been anything. As my rock climbing cousin explains it: the rope symbolizes our faith, and the rope is attached to your personal anchor system which is attached to a bolt embedded in the mountain. Your rappel with your rope is only as strong as the reliability of that anchored bolt. Our anchored bolt” is God. He’s basically keeping us from dying as we hang onto the rope and bounce down the side of the mountain.

My “rappelling”  has been practicing what I’ve been preaching. I’ve been doing visualization exercises, breath control, and breathing exercises to manage severe abdominal and back pain caused by blood clots in both of my kidneys. I am paying special attention to rest with a gradual and graded increase in exercise of walking, gardening, cycling and weights, monitoring my vitals and symptoms. It is a practice in patience, and  I don’t push too hard. Likewise, focusing on God and the awareness of His constant presence, prayer and meditation, have preserved my calm and kept me content during a very uncertain time in my health. I say “mostly” because have you ever been on prednisone before? Try 60 mg on this little body :D.  It’s like rocket fuel, especially if there is a cup of caffeinated coffee alongside. Which I have learned now to say “no” to😊.

A Room with a View 😀

I’ll be writing more about what I’ve been learning about prayer, health, and healing, but in the meantime, I just wanted to let you know that I am well. I am healing. I am back in the clinic, having just completed a full 100% work week this week. I have tapered from 60mg of prednisone to 10 mg. It will be a few more weeks until I can get off of that, which I am hopeful. John says he’ll miss 60 mg Karen. “She was kinda fun.” 😀 My blood pressure has returned to normal, which is a good indicator that my kidneys are recovering. Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I look forward to sharing our journey of health and healing together.