His Heart Has Died

[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#000000″]There Is No Bad Day[/headline_arial_small_centered]

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Miraculous Healing[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

From that day on, all the bloating, all the bowel cramping pain, and all the toxic burps and gas were gone.  And they never came back.  I had changed my diet in strict adherence to Dr. Lundell’s recommendation, and all the pain went away over night.  Is this real?  Is this a dream?  Why didn’t this diet stuff work before?

I had asked the doctor that actually, when he gave me the recommendations two days earlier.  He said my body was in such a state of attack that no drugs or dietary changes could stop the momentum and destruction of the disease at that moment.  There were so many anti-bodies created for my colon cells and my immune system was so compromised that the drugs and dietary changes at that point were like trying to damn up a rushing river with a couple sand bags.

But now with my immune system no longer in full-on attack mode on my colon, my body responded immediately to the change in diet.

And that changed everything for me.  The next day, my energy came back and gained momentum fast.  Soon I was up and around the house.  I spent that week shopping, and cooking, and re-stocking our pantry.  And I got fully onboard with the new regime.  As hard as it was going to be, and as much of an outcast of normal society it would make me, there was no going back to my old way of eating.  The evidence way too personal and way too obvious.  When I eat poorly, I have pain, disease, and potential death.  When I eat well, I feel good, I have energy, and my body recovers.

This seems so obvious, and it is.  But why were all the medical doctors so vehemently opposed to the idea?   I could postulate for a while, but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.  Suffice it to say, I’m getting most of my advice from Dr. Lundell in the future, and others like him.

It felt so good to finally see legitimate answers and solutions to my issues.  Such a relief to see results!  I now deeply empathize with those who are living with undiagnosed and/or untreatable pain.  The feelings of helplessness and despair can be overpowering at times.  But I know from experience though, that joy can be found in the midst of it all.  There is meaning to be found in everything.  And seeking that, and trusting in our Creator’s infinite love and desire for our well-being, allows us to bridge the gap of despair, and to “against hope, believe in hope”, as Abraham the prophet did (Romans 4:18).

 

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Permanent Hope Returns[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

I wrote this in my journal two days later:

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November 27, 2012 – How am I feeling?

Thankfully, the despair and depression I was feeling on Friday thru Sunday has lifted dramatically.  My desire for and appetite for food has gone way up.  And I went to Vitamin Cottage with Nan and picked up a bunch of organic foods to start cooking with.  Also, we got a Vitamix blender that is awesome and will definitely be used daily from now on.  This morning I blended up beets, kale, chard, celery, carrots, ginger and parsley into a hot beverage.  It was kind of nasty – but I got down 8 ounces of it and I’m sure that will be very nutritious for me.  I also made a delicious guacamole with chicken blend in that was awesome.

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Then a few days later I wrote this on facebook:

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November 30, 2012

Whoa! So much has changed in the 4 months since Kelsie’s birth. We were all so happy and we didn’t have any problems in the world. That day was one of the most intense days of our life, yet it turned out so well, and our joy was overflowing. This picture is indicative of how our life was in general. We were superbly happy. We had fun together, laughed, played, and had very few if any challenges with our kids. Nan was obviously challenged and uncomfortable with the pregnancy, but otherwise life was pretty blissful this year.

Kelsie's birthday As I looked back at this picture just now, I could not help feeling a bit of grief at the loss of what we had then. Starting the very next day I began experiencing pain and it seems like the forces of nature have just pummeled us almost daily for four months. It has been so taxing on Nan and I and the kids. Our whole family has had to deal with fear, pain, emotional distress, so many challenges. Our kids are not the same. We are not the same. We have not had the same happy times as we had in the past for months. It has been a trying, and difficult 4 months to say the least.

But even though I feel some grief for the loss of what we had, mostly this picture gives me hope. My body is recovering and getting stronger every day. I’m up to 147 pounds from my low point of 128 a couple weeks ago. I’m eating consistently now and dialing in a diet that should work for me long term. I’m home with my family. I feel like I’m returning to my old self of being a happy, fun, optimistic, supportive Dad and husband a little more each day.

And so seeing this picture reminds me of what we can have again, because we had it before. It gives me hope that my children, myself, and Nan can all recover from the emotional and physical beat-downs we have all experienced. I’m confident we will all recover, and I predict we’ll be happier and better off than ever before.

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[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Rapid Recovery, Continued Challenges[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

My body suddenly began recovering amazingly fast, which filled my bucket of hope daily.

But Abe’s emotions spiraled downward each day he was away from us, and his sadness deepened.  Nan and I recharged daily with the confrontation gone from our home.  But every night he begged us to bring him home, bawling uncontrollably, telling us he didn’t want live if he couldn’t come home.

We desperately longed to hold him and comfort him.  Many nights we cried together, agonizing over our son’s pain, but still incapable of bringing him home.  It was pure mercy and grace from God that my body finally began recovering so dramatically that week.  Abe dangled by a thread.

Sunday came and we thought he was improving, until we received this text from my sister:

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Nan was ready to fly out and pick him up that moment.  She knew we had to bring him home.  It had helped us immensely having him gone, but it was getting too intense for him.  We felt we needed professional help and fast.

Then just a little while later we got another text:

 2012-12-2 b

What a relief!!  Believe me, you do not want to receive a text that your son’s “heart has died“.  Not fun!!  My sister’s sacrifice was absolutely amazing.  She had four young kids of her own, and a foreign exchange student.  But she was infinitely more capable than we were at that point.

The urgency of flying Abe home immediately had passed.  He was safe and clearly not going to harm himself.  He told my sister he just wouldn’t eat so that he would die.  That would last at most until the next meal when he would forget his threat and devour the food with everyone else.   He was safe enough, but we felt it was time to bring him home, because his heart seemed break a little more each day.   Within two days we arranged with my other sister to bring Abe home to us.  He was so happy to be home!  And it was so good to see him happy.

Thankfully, in the 10 days of his absence, my body had made amazing strides in recovery.  When he left I could barely get off the couch, I was totally unfit for effective parenting.

The day he got home I had moved back into sleeping in my own bed for the first time in months, I was completely off the IV nutrition and fluids, and I was actually doing most of the cooking and food preparation.  My energy had dramatically improved.   I was working my way back into being the father figure my kids had known.  My girls already responded wonderfully to the improvements.  Things had nearly normalized in our house.  So the environment Abe came back to was dramatically different than when he left.  His dad no longer looked and acted like he was dying.

He also came back to a vastly different eating regime.  We had completely restocked the pantry and removed nearly all processed foods, all sugar, and anything with wheat.  The day Abe came home was a touching and a tender night.  Abe seemed truly happy again for the first time in months.  After dinner we spent nearly an hour sitting on the couch talking and crying together.  It was our first real connection in months.  I just held him in my arms and didn’t want to let him go.  And he opened up and his true self shined vibrantly.  I knew then he was going to recover.  Though I suspected it would still take time, and professional help, it filled me with hope to see his bright personality.

But the subsequent days he still suffered emotional pain.  His upper lip had a constant nervous twitch and his gaze was unfocused most of the time.  What happened to our son?  Will he ever be the same again?

No.  This had definitely changed him permanently.  But I still believed it would be a change for the best eventually.  I held the vision of him I saw that night in my arms, and I tried to help Nan do the same.  Here and there his true self re-emerged and reminded us he was still there.  I believed we were all experiencing this trial for a good and valuable purpose.  But it stung so bitterly to watch our son’s suffering, far worse than suffering personally.  Maintaining hope required a higher perspective.  We had to try to see him from God’s view, because at times his behavior grew so intense it became very difficult just to interact with him.

What happened to our happy life?  The only possible way to cope was to trust in the promise that “all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good” (D&C 98:3).  Somehow everything was conspiring for our good.  But there was no way to see how.  We felt immersed in total darkness.  It required 100% faith.  I had no way of knowing whether Abe would ever be back to normal, and if I allowed myself to dwell on that it was torture.  Especially when I remembered my own role in causing his distress, it was too much to bear.  But attempting to comfort Nan helped pull me out of my own irrational thoughts of fear.  I felt a deep sense of peace despite the turmoil of emotions.  I felt certainty in my heart that somehow we would be restored.

And that feeling gave me hope.