Notes from the Porch (twenty-four): a sudden and drastic treatment plan change

August 20, 2014

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
-Isaiah 41:ten-

My dear sweet friends and fellow prayer warriors, I am always so humbled by the continued support, prayer, text messages, letters, packages in the mail, and the ways that you look to uniquely and creatively touch and encourage my little heart. Thank you for walking this long journey with me. I am so incredibly grateful.

Thank you.

Since I texted and contacted many of you on Thursday evening with a simple but anxious, "please pray" and posted on instagram that I had developed a serious infection I have received the most lovely messages of prayers and support. Thank you so much. Since it has been about a month since my last "Notes from the Porch update" some of you have been asking how things have been going and have patiently endured my lack of response. I had started an update several times, alluded to it in a couple of different posts, but mainly had not shared because things were the same as my last update. This all changed rapidly and drastically this past week. As I share these new developments I do so stating that I appreciate your gracious patience and understanding that this is a very difficult and intense time for me (and my family who are lovingly walking this journey with me) physically (and emotionally). In many ways the last six days feel like it has been six months or years and not simply days.  I thank you in advance for your sweet understanding that while I do choose to be open and vulnerable about this journey here on this blog I have chosen not to share every detail. There might be questions that you have about some decisions that for the time being I do not wish to answer for personal reasons. Some things, as I am sure you can imagine, are so incredibly difficult & painful enough to live through once that I have no desire to talk or re-visit it on the blog. Other things are simply medical decisions that have been made that will arise curiosity but at this point I have determined to keep private. Thank you for your sweet understanding and your support. 

Three weeks ago I shared on instagram that I would covet some prayers for a necessary dental procedure that I was going to have done. I was so grateful for all of those prayers that I received. Even though I was hesitant to have the procedure, I knew it was necessary and I expected (knowing my fragile system) that I would have some kind of reaction. After the procedure for the rest of the day I felt extremely ill and was completely wiped out. The next day I continued to feel the same way but felt minor improvement. That afternoon (Thursday afternoon) I found a tick on me that I had my mom remove. We quickly talked about me calling my doctor but decided that there was not a need to do so because I am already being treated for Lyme Disease. (This was obviously a poor decision and I share it only to be of benefit to others who are navigating the difficult and seemingly treacherous waters of Chronic Lyme Disease). Over the next two weeks I continued to struggle to recover from the dental procedure (or so we thought). I remarked several times that I felt that it was a little strange that I was so wiped out and sometimes I felt like I had the flu on top of my "usual symptoms". I started sleeping more and more started to feel worse and worse. On Wednesday (two weeks after my appointment) I started to experience some joint pain in addition to my other symptoms. (This joint pain was new and "worse" then the typical joint pain I already experience on a daily basis.) I was feeling completely wiped out by this point but still assumed that my new tiredness was related to last minute details of announcing SEEN Gathering. Wednesday evening though as I got ready for bed I saw that at the spot that I had removed the tick I had developed a minor red spot. I decided that even though it wasn't the bulls eye rash I was going to call my doctor the following day. On Thursday when I woke up I felt awful (which is saying a lot all things considered). I was delighted to announce SEEN Gathering, but quickly emailed and contacted dear friends explaining that I was seriously ill. (How absolutely fitting to announce a chronic ill ministry on a day that I became seriously ill. *smiles*) I quickly asked for prayers that I would hear from my doctor immediately. Honestly things moved extremely quickly from this point on. 

To be brief I found out that I am not only dealing with chronic Lyme but had contracted a new acute Lyme Disease infection (which we believe that my body had been attempting to fight with all of its resources that it had). After a little bit of a discussion I was immediately put on several high dose antibiotics and different instructions. The last few days have been some of the most difficult, painful, and sick days of my entire life. I have honestly never struggled with a temperature so high, felt so sick, or dealt with so many different issues all at once. Due to this acute infection I was left with little option of what to do as the immediate concern was to fight this infection. In the course of a short 48 hours everything changed including several different medications. These medications have put my body in a fight mode like it has never been stretched to fight before. If you know someone who is seriously ill then you understand that I will just say that it has not been easy at all. 

My doctors number one concern is for my entire GI system (which as y'all know and have spent a ton of time praying for) that it will be able to handle these new drugs without "collapsing". This obviously remains the main concern each day as I continue to rapidly (and necessarily) up the antibiotics to the necessary treatment level. Thankfully we are praising the Lord that my body has started to respond to these antibiotics and we are seeing small improvements each day as I fight this acute infection. I can't begin to express my thanks to my AMAZING medical doctors. Y'all are AMAZING. I thank the Lord for leading me to y'all every single day. *tears*

I would ask for three specific prayer requests: (1) for my entire GI track that it will hold up better than we could even think or imagine and that it would continue to accept these new and necessary antibiotics and (2) for the nausea to go away so that I can easily eat and drink (and rest comfortably) (3) complete healing. 

I know that so many of you probably have questions and are as dumbfounded as I found myself with this new infection. In many ways it seems like this would be "bad luck". I will admit that despite having an intense migraine for the past several days I have found myself a little discouraged and shedding tears. Due to being so sick I haven't left my bed in five days and in these days and hours where struggling to get nutrients in is a complete chore due to intense nausea, there has been lots of of questions... and honestly fear. Y'all know that I like to plan things and this infection has changed the course of how I will proceed in the future. There are a whole lot more questions and unfortunately a whole lot of "time will tell" as the answer. I would love to say that I have confidently met each fear and challenge with grace and faith but to be honest there has been a whole lot of tears and a whole lot of crawling up into Jesus' lap ranting about this latest infection. There has been a whole lot of crying out , "Jesus help" and "Jesus, I'm scared" more than anything else.  

Those of you that know me well know that I love music and that there has been a hymn that has been the song of my heart throughout this journey these many years and especially the past few days. (My poor Bible students even had to suffer through listening to my voice as I taught them this beautiful prayerful hymn when I was teaching!) 
Here are a couple of the verses:

"Pass me not O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry. And while on others thou art calling, do not pass me by. Savior, Savior hear my humble cry, and while on others thou art calling, do not pass me by. Thou the spring of all my comfort, More than life for me; Whom have on earth beside thee? Whom in heaven but thee? Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry, While on others thou art calling, Do not pass me by."

I first heard this song when I was living and studying in England. The church that I attended while I was there would often sing it as an opening prayer to our service. My pastor there shared that Franny Crosby penned the words after Genesis 18:3 which states, "Do not pass by your servant". What a beautiful prayer and a beautiful HOPE that we have that the Lord never passes us by and is our comfort even in days that are filled with unexpected circumstances and pain. Days of unplanned fears. 

Here's the thing sweet friends, I don't know why this happened, but I do know that we live in a fallen world where sickness does happen. BUT I also know sweet friends that this does not diminish the love of God for me or is a need for concern. I was reminded of this beautifully two days ago when I received a beautiful email from Amanda. As I was crying out to the Lord with all of my fears I felt prompted to check my email. In my inbox was an email full of beautiful truth straight from the Lord:

Just wanted to tell you I'm praying for you and am thinking of you as I read these verses this morning....
"... This is what the Lord says:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine....
You are precious and honored in my sight. I love you.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you."

I hadn't shared with ANYONE my fears and yet there was Amanda's email. I am sharing that to say that the Lord is not passing me by. He is quietly (and now suddenly and drastically) changing the game plan and this journey. At this moment there may be a ton of unanswered questions and difficulties as I remain quite sick fighting this thing but He is with me friends. And THAT is an answer to prayer. 

Sweet friends, if you are struggling I hope you find comfort and strength in the email that Amanda sent me. I pray that the Lord uses it to encourage your hurting heart today. Thank you for all of your continued prayers friends (and patience as I heal and work on returning emails and messages!) 

With love and big hugs,


  1. Oh my gosh - I had NO idea that you were so sick Rebecca! I feel so bad and am so sorry to hear long you have been in bed and everything you have been dealing with since your dental appt. Lifting you up now!!!

    1. Thank you friend for ALL of your prayers!! I am slowly starting to feel a little bit stronger and better. Just taking one day (or minute sometimes) at a time. Thank you again friend!