Because more than remembering what it's like to feel normal, I remember vividly what it's like to feel so very sick.
The kind of sick that doesn't necessarily loudly broadcast itself in exact diagnosis with exact prescription or reveal itself on the face, though those closest to me have breathed sighs of relief at the return of a healthy glow spread across the bridge of my face and cheeks and at the return of curves to my body.
Three short months ago, in addition to digestive distress, candida overgrowth and imbalanced hormones, I was on the fast track to kidney failure and the brink of developing an autoimmune disease, different systems in my body having their communications efforts jumbled and skewed, making it impossible to walk a straight line or break down proteins or convert B vitamins.
See, in my laborious attempts to heal my gut and restore the delicate gut-flora balance, I accidentally threw other delicate parts of my body out of whack; I'd failed to understand that my body is more complex than what I understood -- that it's fine tuned and created to function in the fullness of deep nutrition. That its biochemistry is detailed and specific and that years of treating my body like a simple machine had led to malfunction.
That years of making health be determined by scale number and eating with only calories and taste in mind rather than nutrition and micronutrients couldn't be fixed by a restrictive diet aimed at only bringing one of the obvious imbalances -- the candida in my digestive system -- back into a stasis.
You see, one can't just starve out an invasive opportunist like candida without, too, starving herself, her own body. That's what I didn't know when I began cleansing with The Body Ecology diet. But that's another story for another day.
Today's story is about healing. And how I can claim the miracle of being healed because honestly that's all it can be determined as.
I'd been to quite a few doctors, quite a few specialists and only one had a real grasp on the magnitude of the situation and even then there was more going on than what was easily recognized without getting into the genetics and biochemistry of my specific body.
And that's where grace comes in.
I met Ann at G's preschool; we quickly came to realize we both faced many of the same healthy eating challenges and so it wasn't a surprise when we learned we both saw the same chiropractor. Brief after-school conversations led to snippets of hearing each other's health struggles, but it wasn't until an early summer pool party that we actually had a chance to talk beyond chasing kids out the door.
By then, I knew I'd hit a plateau in healing. My body had detoxed to an extreme, my weight kept plummeting and my period was beginning to be more or a stranger than a monthly guest: it was like I could see the promised land but just couldn't cross over. I was just stuck.
In my crying out to God, I prayed, I pleaded for a miracle -- for Him to send me someone who could see the whole picture, the entirety of His creation or for miraculous healing.
He gave me both.
Ann's friend, who was in bad shape health wise took Ann with her to see a doctor -- a biochemist and trauma surgeon by training who bases her practice on caring for patients who have exhausted every other medical route and treats through integrative nutritional medicine, everything grounded in biochemistry and genetics. Ann then made an appointment for herself and encouraged me to do the same.
It took months to get in, and honestly, I didn't know what to think when I met Kerry -- I mean, she'd basically told me more about my body than any doctor ever had. And the scary thing was she was so spot on about what I was feeling and what my body was and wasn't doing that when she told me my next steps were kidney failure and developing the same auto-immune disease my mother has, I knew she as part of the answer to my prayer for healing.
I'm about to round out 90 days of treatment with Kerry, and the progress my body has made in healing from a deep cellular and biochemical standpoint is quite beautifully amazing.
Every week, I have the privilege of sitting down with my senior pastor to hear what's on his mind so I can transfer his thoughts onto our church's blog or our church's facebook page.
It's one of the highlights of my social media job at Immanuel.
Last week, he shared with me his excitement for our annual Thanksgiving service, where our church family members are welcomed and encouraged to take the microphone during the service and voice what they are thankful to God for.
Before we conclude our meeting he asked me if I remembered the story where Jesus healed ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19.
"Only one came back to thank Jesus," he'd said. "Only one. Ten were healed, but only one thanked Him ... I once heard that gratitude is only as sincere as the effort we make to express it. The Bible teaches that it's not enough to be grateful in our hearts, that we should be going out of our way to express it."
I scramble to write what he's said, soaking it into my heart.
"It may have been that all ten lepers had gratitude, but Jesus talks about the one who was sincere in his effort to express it -- the one who went out of his way to express it."
The one who came back to say thank you.
She's checking me out, reading my body to make sure everything is firing well despite some persistent tenderness just beneath my breastbone.
After she's done, she announces that I have some inflammation in that joint beneath it that's causing the intense soreness.
But that's not the big story -- the big story is that so many of the parts of my body that were struggling to be anywhere close to balance have become either awesomely balanced are at the verge of being in a beautiful homeostasis.
Only small components of my immune system and digestive tract need to come into order along with a reduction in inflammation.
We are worlds away, she says, from where we started.
I sigh audible praise to God and express thanks to Kerry for taking the time to help figure out this amazingly complex body He gave me.
But in my heart, I know my quiet gratitude is not enough.
It's early Sunday morning, and we trek into church to both work and celebrate God during the Thanksgiving service.
I'm not planning to go near a microphone during the service.
But we sing loudly, passionately about the 10,000 reasons for our hearts to praise Him, and I'm pretty much jumping out of my chair moments later because a verse has been following me and I can feel it pressing up from my heart and into words and out my lips.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7I give thanks.
For His word. For His mercy. For His grace. For His healing. For feeling so very close to normal again. For remembering what sickness feels like and the promise of hope that always accompanied it.
And when I come home, I can't help but pour my words of gratitude into black on white, a permanent testament to the His healing hand.
I can't help but come back to Him, go out of my way, to take the gratitude in my heart and let is spill out of my lips in a song of praise.
My song of thanksgiving, indeed.
Linking with Ann and living a covenant of gratitude.