Saturday, October 16, 2010


Okay, friends, I am going really just let you know what is going on with me right now. There is a lot of mixed emotion all coursing through me these days, from worry and anxiety, to flat out fear, guilt, and anger. And although vague Facebook posts may satisfy some, I could use some specific prayer from those of you who love our family enough to follow this blog.

So last week, on Sunday or Monday, I started having pain behind my left eye, accompanied by some blurred vision. I have also been having extreme fatigue, which has caused me to not even be able to get out of bed some days. It got significantly worse on Tuesday, and I ended up taking the rest of the week off from work to get some medical help. I went on Wednesday to see my neurologist, and was diagnosed with optic neuritis, which is caused by my Multiple Sclerosis. It is the inflammation of my optic nerve, and if left untreated, it can cause all sorts of vision problems, including possible blindness. That is where the fear comes in, friends. Deep fear in my heart, that wants to trust my Heavenly Father to heal, protect, and carry me through, but that feels trapped by what could happen. What He could decide to allow me to walk through.

My doctor decided to put me on IV steroids for 5 days. Thankfully, they are able to do this as an outpatient procedure, so a nurse came out and put the port in for me and gave me my first infusion. I have given the last two to myself with a pressure ball and a tube. It is incredibly painful, and leaves my body feeling nauseous, tired, and all around yucky. It is helping the pain in my eye, but since I have started the infusions, I have lost feeling in my right middle finger, and also in some patches of my legs. Bummer. The unknown scares me, because this will either get better, or get much worse. Which leads me from fear, to anxiety and worry.

My doctor thinks that it would be prudent for me to take some sick leave, and file for disability. So many unpleasant feelings and questions rise up in me when I think about this. What will this mean for my class? How will this affect my team at school? How much harder will their jobs be if I do this? What will everyone at work think? What will my family and friends think? Will they be disappointed in me? Will they think I have failed, and that I am weak? Will they doubt my motives? Will they think I should tough it out, that I am giving up?

So much guilt. So much anxiety. So much fear. But none of those questions were the right ones. Most important question: Does this decision honor God?

To answer that question, I have had to really think and pray through this. I had to think of both options here, to stay home and give my body time to heal without the immense stress caused by work, or gather my strength, push my body, and risk losing more. What is better for me, for my family, and what honors God?

If I continue to work, the main issue is that my body is already showing progressive signs of MS attacks. The stress of work, especially a job as difficult as mine, is proving to be detrimental to my health. Continuing to work is taking a risk with my body, a risk that could include: blindness, paralysis of my limbs, including my legs, chronic and debilitating fatigue, loss of muscle control, lots and lots of pain, and many other possible symptoms.

On the other hand, if I take my leave, and go on disability, I will be able to spend that time going to therapy, resting my body and allowing it time to heal. Or at the very least, cease getting worse. The cons of this decision include all of the former questions I was asking. And my heart is troubled over the problems this might cause for others, and how it might affect my relationship with them.

Friends, pray fervently for me, if you can. I am scared. I am worried, and I am torn. Logically, I can see the right choice. But my emotions are clouding my reasoning. I feel genuinely bad about the idea of disability. I just do. But my family comes first. And risking not being able to take care of my son is not an option. It just isn't. My biggest responsibility is to him, because God has intrusted him to me. And I need His strength now, friends!


Allison L said...

jenny im so sorry to hear about this :( I'll be praying for you and your family and I know God will speak to your heart what he wants you to do, and don't let your heart be consumed with worry, you have family and friends here to support you and most importantly a loving and powerful God that takes care of his children! Keep high hopes my friend!

Amanda said...

Jenny, I had no idea you were dealing with anything like this. I'm so sorry! From a distance the choice seems so clear, but it must be very difficult from where you're standing. Try not to let the enemy bog you down with false guilt. Trust God to provide for your co-workers. This may even be an answer to prayer for whoever replaces you at work. I will be praying for your physical health, your comfort, and for your peace of mind. Hang in there, sweet sister!
Amanda Jones

A Stevenson said...

I am SO sorry for you to have to go through this!! It can't be an easy decision, but I'm going to tell you what I was told last year. You don't know this, but last year I had doctors that didn't think I might walk again and were shocked that I was alive. I had a blood clot take over my entire left leg.

My first thought was my students and how would they do without ME!! In reality, it was ME that needed them! I was told that I HAD TO TAKE CARE OF ME!!!! That was not easy to hear because my students came first in my life.

Well Jenny, you have a family that has to come first and YOU need to make YOU first!!! Do what you have to do for YOUR health!!!!!

You don't know me well, but I do adore Levi and because of that, I adore you!!! Please contact me if you need to talk!!! I'm on facebook, school email, church, wherever you need!!!!

Praying for all of you!!

Melissa Murrell said...

Thank you for being honest through your post and giving me specifics to pray for you and your family. I am so sorry that the MS seems to be progressing, but I will pray boldly with you that God will provide healing and peace as you face this decision. We love you guys so much and love watching God work through your family!

Busy Bee Andrea said...

You are in my thoughts! Let me know if I can do anything for you! We love you :)

Shelley Burke said...

Jenny, our friendship goes back so many years but there is major chunk where weren't in each other's lives. But I think of you and your family many great memories from our childhood! Hearing what you are going through saddens my heart and I am sorry you have to make such big decisions. I know you will rely on God and see what he wants you to do. But clearly you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Your family, friends, students and co-workers will see how strong you are to work through this illness! You are loved and in our prayers here at the Burke household! :)

The Texas Elliott's said...

Jenny, so sorry to hear that you are going through all of this. Your faith is amazing though, and so is your family...I hope everything turns out okay and you are able to make the best decision for you and your family. I'll be thinking about you and praying for you!