Friday, June 30, 2017

OCCAM’S RAZOR

In spite of being a writer of imaginary tales, and a definite romantic, I actually enjoy learning about science. I watch science documentaries quite frequently, and I like understanding weather, and space travel, and stars, and chemical reactions. 

I first heard the term Occam’s Razor in the movie “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. I love that movie! It presents an amazing metaphorical tale of science vs. religion, and the conclusion—metaphorically speaking—is quite remarkable. But I’m straying from my point. In simple terms, Occam’s Razor is a scientific term that means: all things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the right one. Being a deeply analytical person, my brain is often busy trying to figure out why certain things have happened in my life the way they have happened, and I’ve realized that sometimes I have the tendency to look for a zebra when it’s only a horse; this is something I’ve heard of many times in medical drama (I like to watch that too) or also in science. The point being, don’t try to look for something complicated and rare, when the answer is most often simple. 

Given that preamble, I would like to address the fact that in spite of my desire to be more active at blogging, because I really do enjoy it, and for the few of you who have let me know you enjoy my blog posts and they’ve helped you in your own journey, I feel bad when I go into radio silence for months. To bottom-line it, (assuming you’ve read my previous posts and you have some idea of my struggles with health and also depression) I have been getting progressively worse. It has taken all I have just to deal with the bare necessities of my job (writing novels) and my home and family—even though I physically do very little, I’m still the one who has to keep track of the household and the well-being of my family members, emotionally and physically. In spite of struggling for years to solve the ongoing problems with my health (which is one of the greatest sources of my depression) I have continued to worsen. I have previously been diagnosed with two separate conditions, and they have been treated and managed, and yet I still suffer to the point that I am barely functioning. We had to borrow a wheelchair in order for me to attend my son’s college graduation, and my daughter’s high school graduation a few weeks later. This was somewhat shocking for me to realize that I really had become that bad off, and the reasons remained mysterious. But I learned in recent doctor appointments (my doctor is a superhero; I’d be dead if it weren’t for him) that my symptoms were not so mysterious to him.

Dr. J is a very wise man. And his mind is like a machine. I marvel at how much information it holds, and how he continues to use the very best of what traditional medicine has to offer, keep track of new medical studies, and also alternative healing methods and whether or not they are truly effective or a hoax. There is practically no question I could think of to ask him where he wouldn’t know the answer as a result of researching continually through the vast spectrum of medical advancements. He has the personality of a diagnostician; he will not stop searching for an answer until every stone has been turned over and examined. I have always felt an amazing peaceful calm sensation during our conversations about my health, and I have never once left his office feeling anything but hope—which is a stark contrast to so many doctors I went to in the past who were arrogant and dismissive and unwilling to acknowledge any possibility but one. In essence saying to me, “Well, we tried this and it didn’t work. I don’t know what to tell you.” 

Dr. J has told me a few times over the last year or so that he believed I had a “deep, resistant infection” and we would address that after other things were taken care of. I’ve heard him offer some clues as to his suspicions, but I know now that in his wisdom he knew that I could only handle one step of treatment at a time, and sometimes knowing the big picture is too daunting, and too much to take in. Now that we’ve come to a place where my already two big previously diagnosed conditions have been addressed and much healing has taken place, according to labwork, I now know that he has been gauging my symptoms and the results of many different blood tests over the course of many months, and now the diagnosis is clear. 

Driving home from my last appointment, thoughts came to my mind in a way that I have come to recognize as the Spirit teaching me something in a simplistic manner that I will be able to understand. Given the complications of my medical condition, a simple explanation is exactly what I needed. Suddenly, there in my mind was the theory of Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation tends to be the right one. And then a question followed, as if an inner voice were asking me, “Anita, if you are diagnosed with a disease and you have done everything you can to treat and manage that disease over the course of many years, and you’re getting worse instead of better, what is the simplest explanation?” And immediately following came the answer, “You have a completely separate disease.” The doctor had already told me that last part, but the spiritual explanation helped me really look back over my ongoing deterioration and understand the reasons for it. I also understood why it couldn’t have been addressed before now.

So . . . drum roll . . . I have Lyme Disease; the chronic version, which means that it’s been in my body for a very, very long time. My daughter who is twenty-seven and also a patient of Dr. J (because she also has Celiac Disease like her mother) also has Lyme, and he believes she may have gotten it from me in the womb. 

Therefore . . . I have been trying to get a book written to meet a deadline, feeling generally horrible all the time, and trying as much as I could to be involved with my youngest daughter’s last month of high school. AND I’ve been struggling with what I call diagnosis grief. I’ve been here before, so I recognize it well. The good news is that Lyme is curable—if it’s treated correctly. The bad news is that it takes about a year to treat it correctly, and the treatment can be difficult; it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. I’ve been studying the disease through reputable websites, one in particular the doctor recommended. I’m shocked but not surprised by some of the information. There is a huge campaign going on to educate physicians on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme, which implies that most doctors don’t know how to find it or treat it. That feels a little scary. Also, 35% of the test results for Lyme are false. That’s reassuring. (Not!) I’ve learned that there is a huge spectrum of beliefs about Lyme, what causes it and how it can be treated. I make no judgments toward the path other people might take in their own health journey, but I ask that you don’t send suggestions to me on treatment methods. I know I’m on the right course for me. Along with learning that my symptoms fit the bill in textbook fashion, I have learned that the quality of life for someone with Chronic Lyme is far worse than several other common diseases and illnesses in the United States—including heart disease and depression. Well, that’s depressing!

Anyway . . . I woke up this morning and felt like I needed to update those of you who actually follow my sporadic blogging efforts. I am very grateful to have answers and hope. I know in my deepest self that God sent me to this doctor, and that he has the knowledge and ability that is right for me. I find myself fearing that when this is cured, there will be some other mysterious disease lurking underneath it. But I can’t think like that. I need to invest in hope, and hope can be very fragile after an eighteen year journey to just be able to live with a lack of pain and illness. 

Over the past few years, I have been told multiple times in priesthood blessings that I would be healed but it would take time and it would take medical intervention. Okay, so maybe I’m finally going to see that come to pass. I can hope, and I’m also working very hard to learn to truly trust in the Lord, and lean not until MY understanding. I know that He knows what He’s doing, and this is a part of my life’s journey. I just forget sometimes in the midst of the daily struggles. 

I want to express my sincere appreciation for the love, support, and prayers of you who read my books and my blog and the way you genuinely care about my well being. Your expressions of kindness and concern have meant so much to me. 

I’m planning to spend the next year in my pajamas, writing books, healing, and doing little else, and I’m looking forward to stepping into a new season of life. I can’t see into the future, and I don’t know what life has in store for me beyond this, but I see God’s hand in my life, and therefore I know that whatever the outcome, everything will be all right. 

8 comments:

Lynn Gardner said...

Praying for a a complete recovery as soon as possible! Love ya Lynn Gardner

Readbookworm said...

Will keep you in my prayers. I'm amazed at the books you've accomplished writing with this struggle. Thank you for persevering despite everything, and sharing your talent with us. I continue to love your books.

Emilyface said...

Anita, I will be praying for you during this difficult time. I somewhat understand how hard it is to recieve a new diagnosis, and chronic Lyme would be so hard to swallow. We are still struggling to figure out what is wrong with my son, after he has already received several difficult diagnoses so far at age 4. I know it willbe a very rough year for you, but I believe in the truths expressed through priesthood blessings and hope that over the course of the next year or two, you will experience changes and be blessed to feel like you did before this nightmare started for you. I am grateful that your dr had the endurance to not give up on you and to explore the possibility of chronic Lyme while most doctors completely ignore it as an option. Hugs to you through this hard time. <3

Tawna said...

Hugs and prayers as you travel this road. My only advice, keep hanging onto the Lord's hand. You know He will guide you, and your doctor, through this. You've witnessed it.

Thank you for the stories you write. They have so much value and truth in their lines.

Angela said...

I am so excited you have a diagnosis! That sounds backwards, but after how many doctors appointments you have been to with no answers a diagnosis sounds heavenly. I wish you well and I know medication changes are hard, even when they are needed. Be kind to yourself with all of this news and don't compare yourself to yourself. Just be the best you, you can be through all the this. You have one more person cheering for you.

Baby Sister said...

I'm so happy for you, what a relief it must be to finally have an answer. My prayers go out to you for a complete and speedy recovery.

Cyh said...

Hi Sister Stansfield,
I came to your fireside on Friday the 15th, and I'm so glad that I did! I needed to hear every single thing you said, up to and including the last thing bit! Thank you for being so open and forthright! I have had some serious struggles lately and I know I was led to be here. Thank you so much!

Cyh said...

Hi Sister Stansfield,
I came to your fireside on Friday the 15th, and I'm so glad that I did! I needed to hear every single thing you said, up to and including the last bit! Thank you for being so open and forthright! I have had some serious struggles lately and I know I was led to be here. Thank you so much! You are a strength and a blessing to me. I'm so glad I got to meet you. Your stories and your experiences give me hope to face my own. May the Lord bless you and keep you safe in his loving arms! Because you followed his promptings, I know he loves me without doubt. Thank you for ever.
Much gratitude,
Marie Morgan