Urgent Care, Steroids and Antibiotics--Here I Go Again

I'm really bummed. It would be more accurate to say I'm discouraged, but that sounds so sad, and saying "bummed," with it's little flavor of sarcasm, feels somehow more empowering than just a word that feels sad.

(Sometimes my writer's brain really annoys me.)

This past summer I got sick and had to go up on my daily steroids. Having an adrenal disease means any sickness can become dangerous and since my body does not produce the extra cortisol to fight sickness, I have to provide it myself through pills. Extra pills that come with their own side effects. And the longer I am up on my dosage, the longer and harder it is to go back down to a regular dose.

The past round took 6 weeks of not-fun drug withdrawals to get back down. I was finally feeling stable, had 3 good days...

And I caught a cold. Just a nasty little head cold. My kids caught it too and we all coughed and blew our noses, and I hoped I could just go up on my meds for a few days and knock it out and get back to stable again.

Tried that, but as I was coming back down on my dose, I started noticing a trail of unusual symptoms, seemingly unrelated, but that came with a distinctly unpleasant familiar feeling.

I kept trying to place it, and late Saturday night I remembered what all these connected to before. Pneumonia. Then pleurisy, bacterema, empyema, major surgery because the infection could not even be forcibly drained from my lungs. They had to go in and scrape it out to save my life.

Liked I said, bummer.

So this morning I went to urgent care and about broke into a cold sweat trying to figure out how to explain all of this to a doctor who likely has already seen 20 people with the flu and assumed I'm just another one. Indeed, many of my symptoms might be the same, but the ramifications of them for me are a whole lot different.

He listened to my lungs and said he didn't hear anything that indicated pneumonia. That felt good, until my husband reminded me that the other doctor didn't hear a thing either, and was shocked when he looked at the x-ray.

Today's doctor didn't bother with an x-ray. Either way, he said, the treatment was antibiotics, so I should take them and if I got worse rather than better after a couple of days, then I should come in again and do an x-ray. Okay. And of course, as long as I'm on antibiotics, my body is in a state of stress, and I will need to be on extra meds for my adrenal problem.

Which means another few weeks down the road, after the extra hunger, gaining weight and retaining water, among other side effects from the higher doses, I get to go through the weeks of tapering down yet again.

It feels like such a huge failure. I know it isn't my fault that this happened, but it's hard not being angry at how vulnerable this body of mine is. Then I think of a friend who is right now fighting cancer with chemo--of how she will face misery as the chemo attacks her body, and she has to wait to see if it works at all or not. I even think of my mom, and how she is very sick right now, and doesn't have the advantage of steroids to help her heal more quickly.

I really don't have it so bad. I know that. But it just feels lousy being so unable to control my own body, unable to stop the bad things from coming and taking over my life sometimes, of being unhealthy and helpless and all that that means for me and my family and the future years when this will likely happen again and again.

So tonight I have a prime opportunity to test what I learned last night from the Bible. The temptations have come along with my infirmities, as usual, and this time around, so close on the heels of the last round, they are very strong. I want to be angry. I want to feel sorry for myself. I want to be afraid. I want to ask why and say it isn't fair.

Instead, I am going to choose to focus my thoughts on how my Savior and Friend knows how I feel. He knows the helplessness of having God's will be something He doesn't want to endure. He knows the strength of these feeling temptations, and He resisted them with Scripture and prayer.

So, wanting to be like Him, I too shall pray and ask for help--not just to fix my body, but possibly the more important request, to strengthen my mind and heart.

And I will cling to those same verse I have clung to before, that are still true regardless how I want to feel:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in you.

God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

I can't from memory list most of the references for the above verses, but the words are printed on my heart, hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against God. Like in Job, I want it to be said of me that in all this, I did not sin with my lips, or charge God foolishly.

Maybe you're feeling overwhelmed or discouraged today, too. Will you add to my list? What are the verses you've hidden in your heart to pull out and cling to when your heart and your flesh fail? I think the internet is such a wonderful invention; through it we can encourage one another without the exhaustion of an actual visit. So please "visit" below and share from the Word something that helps you, so it might also help someone else. And thanks.

Related Posts: Bound by Fear? Worry? Envy? The Feelings of Our Infirmities

When It's Just Too Much

My Name is Kimberly and I have Addison's Disease


  1. I can't think of scripture at the moment..but having dealt with my daughter's Addison's many, many (30+) times and all of the frustrations and let downs that come with it..I have learned that anger, envy and pity are emotions that will trap you in that state of being. However, maybe it's not humanly possible to not need a moment of sadness in order to realize that you don't like feeling that way. By allowing yourself to feel those emotions, if even for just a moment..You are then given the ability to realize you would rather just make the best of what you have simply because it won't change, only how you choose to live with it can change. So feel a bummed if you want, just don't stay that way. And also,I'm sending hugs.
    Brenda Berry

  2. You are so right, Brenda. Thanks for the note and the encouragement. It may not seem an encouragement to give someone permission to feel down for awhile, but I know you know what I mean! It's like a verbal hug, and I appreciate it. I hope you see some kind of improvement with Katie soon! I was thinking of her today when I got frustrated about how the cycle of sickness just continues sometimes and you feel like you can't get in front of it. I know she must really be feeling that way right now.

  3. Hi, Kimberly, I'm so sorry this is hitting you now. I'll be praying. I had a hard time with my last cycle - also caught a cold, and b/c of my low WBC, they were doing abx that made me so nauseated on top of the chemo. Anyway. I got down, too.

    God took me to an unusual book (for me)...Habakkuk. Basically, God tells him that Babylon is going to rise up as a world power, and devastate his country. (Side note, God also says that Babylon is "deeply guilty b/c their own strength is their god".) So by the end of the book, Habakkuk has talked back and forth with God, and at first was filled with a petrified fear. But he moves past that and then, he sings this prayer:

    "Even though the fig trees have no blossoms
    and there are no grapes on the vine.
    Even though the olive crop fails
    and the fields lie empty and barren.
    Even though the flocks die in the fields
    and the cattle barns are empty,
    Yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
    The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights."

    It just hit me how much perseverance and faith that kind of prayer requires. So I wrote my own prayer...not as poetic as the scriptures, but this is where I was that day:

    Even though the doctor's news was unexpected,
    and I lost some of my body, beauty, and health.
    Even though there are days I feel death is closer than ever,
    and know that I live with a new, sobering reality.
    Even though my vitality slips away like sand through my fingers,
    and the nights are long, yet the battle rages on.
    Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
    The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me a radiant survivor,
    able to see and proclaim His glorious presence, and His miraculous works.

    It is ok to recognize our losses....but we can't stay there. We must rejoice! And I was struck how Babylon's great sin was that they relied on their own strength, so I know that I need to rely on God's great strength, and not become discouraged when I am weak. If I truly believe that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, then when I am confronted with my weakness (as I am now more than ever), I shouldn't be discouraged by it, but filled with hope to see His strength rising, which is far greater, deeper, and higher than anything in me!

    1. Carmen,
      If I had my wits about me, that would have been the passage I too would have chosen. And I love that you wrote your own refrain. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to blog on this idea today.....I will leave credit for you in my post. Thanks for an encouraging comment.

  4. Carmen, I can't tell you how much your words meant to me today. Those verses in Habbakuk have always been so meaningful to me, to choose to rejoice when all the circumstances scream for the opposite. Your personal version is beautiful. Made me cry. Your voice through the pain brings all of us to what really matters. May I use what you wrote in a future blog post? I believe your words should encourage more people than just me.
    Thank you for taking the time to speak peace and joy to my heart today. I have thought of you often when I get discouraged about the possible "failures" of my body to adapt and stabilize and how you have been asked to bear even more. I hope today is a good day for you. Thank you again.

  5. You are welcome to use it, of course! You are an inspiration to me, my friend, so it is my joy to share with you. It is my hope and prayer that all of this treatment will bring me to the place where I am "cancer-free." It helps to have an end point, a goal. So, thinking of living with a chronic disease is a much different thing. You are an amazing and beautiful woman of God - thank you for being so open with your life!

  6. Thank you so much, Carmen. I just posted your words, so appropriate right now when so many people in our nation are suffering and wanting to know if there is any hope in this sin-sick world. I look forward to the day when you are "cancer-free"! I can't imagine living with what you are facing right now; mine seems so much easier. May God fill you with strength and joy today, and thanks for taking the time and energy to be an encouragement to me. God bless you for it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.