The Aftermath of a Diagnosis

I’ve been listening to this song constantly since I started feeling ill, and even more after my diagnosis. As I said before, IIH isn’t life-threatening, but my body thinks I have a brain tumor, so I’m suffering from the symptoms of one. It can’t be cured, but I’m praying for a supernatural healing or that it will go into remission. But even if neither of those prayers are answered the way I’d like them to be, even though it’s hard, I will try my hardest to glorify God.

Some may think or even say, “How can you worship a God who does this and allows things like this to happen?” Well, because He’s God. He is good. Just as John Piper says in his sermon clip in the middle of this song, it’s NOT meaningless! This isn’t a new concept. As some may know, he’s referring to 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. It’s become one of my favorite passages of scripture, especially lately. I cling to God’s Word. I glean from it. I hope in it. I worship with it. I’m so thankful that God has given us scripture that is still relevant today and it’s alive!

When I wrote the post explaining my diagnosis, I definitely wasn’t expecting the response that I got. I was so on the fence about even posting it. But I’m so incredibly thankful for the comments telling me that people are praying for me. It’s not something I take lightly. I’m so incredibly thankful! To know that so many Saints are petitioning and interceding for me is truly overwhelming-but in the best way possible! People I don’t even know are lifting me up! It’s a beautiful picture of the body of Christ to me.

I’ll be updating on my treatment every so often. So far, I’ve been noticing some interesting side effects to my medication (like the fact that soda tastes gross now). One thing I’m thankful for is that I haven’t had double vision for the last two days! Praise the Lord! I’m praying that it stays that way and I also hope that it may be a sign that the swelling in my optic nerves is beginning to go down! Once again, I’m so thankful for the prayers and sweet comments, and I’m so thankful for the body of Christ!

A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break

The name of my blog is based off of one of my favorite scriptures in Isaiah.

For the past 5 and a half weeks, I have been clinging to this scripture along with the whole Word of God. Like many others, I find scripture and prayer are really helpful through trying times.

As some of you know, 5 and a half weeks ago, I began to have debilitating headaches. I was having some other scary symptoms as well, such as nausea and getting sick  on my stomach, ringing in my ears, blurred vision, and double vision. It got to the point that I couldn’t even drive because of the vision changes.

After many trips to my doctor, a few trips to the chiropractor, and one trip to the ER, I was finally referred to a neurologist and got scheduled for an MRI on my brain.

Before my MRI and neurologist appointment, I went to see an optometrist for a general eye exam. They took pictures of the back of my eyes and discovered that my optic nerves were swollen in each eye. My optometrist told me that on a scale of 1-10, my left eye was swollen to about a 6 or 7 and my right eye was a 5. He then told me that my optic nerves were swollen because of pressure in my brain. He told me it could be a brain tumor, or a neurological disease that mimics all the symptoms of a brain tumor called IIH. He said that if I wasn’t treated and the pressure was reduced, that eventually, I could go blind.

So, a couple of days later, I went early in the morning for my MRI and then went to the neurologist. She told me that I didn’t have a brain tumor, but that I did in fact have a neurological disease called IIH.

hope's brain
Hey look! It’s my brain!

IIH stands for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. It’s also known by another name: Psuedotumor Cerebi. What happens is that my body makes too much spinal fluid. The spinal fluid is putting too much pressure on my brain and causing symptoms that look a lot like a brain tumor, only there is no brain tumor.

Everyone is constantly making spinal fluid, and your body is constantly absorbing it, creating a perfect balance that keeps your brain cushioned. In my case, my body is making spinal fluid faster than my body can absorb it and causing too much pressure on my brain.

So what can be done? For now I’m on a medication called Diamox that may help in reducing the production of spinal fluid. I’m also scheduled to received a lumbar puncture. This will do two things: first, it will tell the doctors just how much pressure is on my brain, and second, it will provide some temporary relief as it will drain excess spinal fluid. But as I said before, your body is constantly making spinal fluid so it will return to high pressure levels soon. There are risks of the lumbar puncture, there always will be when you’re having a big needle inserted in between two vertebrae where there are lots of nerves. I could also get a spinal headache for a week or so. But, it has to be done.

What can you do? Please, please pray for me. There’s no cure for this disease, but it is treatable. Unfortunately, I have found so far that no pain medications have helped the pain, so there may be times when I’m just not able to do things, or be at events because of the pain. I pray that my friends and loved ones can be understanding of that.  I also haven’t been able to drive for weeks because of the double vision I’ve been experiencing. I’m praying that the double vision will go away and that I’ll be able to drive again. While this disease is not life-threatening, it does affect my quality of life. I know it’s something that you can’t see on the outside, but it is real, and it really does affect me.

Before all of this happened, I didn’t even know such a thing existed. IIH is a rare disease but I hope maybe this blog post will help bring a little more awareness and shed a little more light on it. Never in my life did I think I’d have a neurological disease. In fact, it doesn’t even feel real and it feels weird to be saying all of this. I hope maybe this will help my friends and loved ones understand what’s been going on with me.

I believe that if it is in God’s will, I can be healed of this. I’m praying for that, but I’m also willing to accept the fact that I may be dealing with this for the rest of my life. I trust in the Lord that He is working everything together for my good. I feel like a bruised reed, but I know He will not break me. I am His child, and I am loved.

iih ribbon

 

 

Chocolate Fix! Finally a Moist Mug Cake

IMG_2561Last week, I was hardcore craving chocolate. I love baking, especially baking from scratch, but it was 11pm and I needed my chocolate fix satisfied. When I was in high school, I used to make the microwavable mug cakes that are always circulating around Pinterest. However, I never really found one that I really liked. They always had a weird spongy texture and sometimes they were dry. As a matter of fact, the last mug cake that I tried was so dry that I literally choked! It was pretty bad! So when I found this recipe on the Table For Two Blog, I had to try it! But to my disappointment, I didn’t have all the ingredients! I was missing Nutella, so I decided to tweak it a little! Check out my Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake, or for the original recipe, click the link above.

Ingredients:IMG_2550

Dry:

  • 1/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Wet:

  • 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter

Directions:IMG_2558

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk together milk and vegetable oil until batter is smooth.
  3. Pour batter into a microwave safe mug that’s large enough to allow for cake rising.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter into middle of the batter; do not push down into the mug.
  5. Cook in microwave for 1 minute and 10 seconds.
  6. Carefully remove hot mug from microwave.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

This is perfect for a late night chocolate fix! I love baking brownies but this is pretty close! It’s very rich so get ready for a chocolate explosion in your mouth!