Posted by: christinelaennec | November 29, 2012

Severe ME/CFS at our house (Dafter update)

Alnwick rose bloom, August 2010. The top petal was covered with tiny shining drops of dew.

This is a rather depressing post, so if you are already feeling overwhelmed by winter darkness, holiday pressures and whatever else, then do check back in a few days for posts in a happier vein and we can all enjoy preparing for the coming of the light again together.  The Dafter is doing okay, and she is going to be fine.

However, if you’d really like to know what it’s been like for my daughter (the Dafter) to experience severe M.E., or if you’ve never visited this blog before but are doing so because someone you know and love has M.E., then perhaps this will interest you.  I’m very aware that each person’s experience of M.E. is unique, so that’s why I’ve written “at our house”.  I’m also aware that other people’s children and loved ones are experiencing worse things, and will be reading this thinking, “Aren’t you lucky!”

Background

The background is that in August 2011 the Dafter, then 13, caught a cold.  She began at a new school and after her first day came down with throat, sinus and ear infections.  These lasted about four months, and she was treated with three different courses of antibiotics.  She went down a year in January, but as we tried to get her gradually back into school she became worse.  At the end of February 2012 she was diagnosed with ME/CFS, and she was no longer able to attend school at all.  The paediatrician told us that in teenagers it usually takes 4 to 5 years for a full recovery.  She’s now been mostly housebound for 15 months, and I’m sorry to report that since the spring she has become worse rather than better.  We hired a helper in the autumn of 2011, but since the end of last year we have arranged our work so that either Michael or myself are home with her.  We purchased a wheelchair at Easter, and that has been an enormous blessing for all of us.

Physical effects

Physically, the exhaustion and fatigue are her constant companions, and she has learned to be extremely careful of the very small amount of energy that she has.  Every morning when she wakes up she feels tired.  She tries to come downstairs for breakfast, and go back up to get dressed before coming back downstairs for the day, but we’ve learned from experience that some days the two trips up and down the stairs first thing will be too much, so we bring her breakfast in bed.  Her minimum goal for every day is to get dressed and spend the day downstairs.  Very often getting up, breakfasted and dressed will take from 8 a.m. until 10:30 or 11 a.m.

Once she’s downstairs she tries to occupy herself, with our help.  At any point during the day she may have a collapse and find she is too tired to move or to speak.  For this reason if we’re not with her, we call to check on her that she’s okay.  She has a bell in her room, but sometimes can’t reach it.  A bad collapse will mean that we have to try to make her comfortable where she is – prop her head up with pillows, prop her feet up with furniture if her legs are hanging off the edge of the bed for example, or cover her with a blanket if she’s collapsed on the floor.  A bad collapse can take about two hours for her to recover from, but often recently it’s taken her under an hour to be able to move herself and to regain the power of speech.  We stay nearby, massage her feet, keep her company and just wait it out with her.  I get a lot of knitting done at these times.

A few times a week she’s able to go out.  This involves going down the stairs down to the front door (we live in a two-storied flat that’s above another flat), a rather long path to the gate, and either getting into the car or sometimes a short walk down to the end of the street.  I’ve become very adept at parking in the shopping centres (something I never did before!) and at assembling the wheelchair and pushing her.  Very often if we do manage to go into town, she will become exhausted after visiting one shop and we come straight home.  Sometimes I just take her for a drive.  And sometimes we go out to an appointment.

The two things that we’ve found are helpful are therapeutic massage every two weeks (I also massage her spine every day, and we give her lots of foot massages) and seeing a counsellor who is very understanding of ME.  There have been many other appointments that have not been so helpful, namely trying to go for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which we stopped as it was doing more harm than good.  “Studies have shown” that CBT helps ME, but we know from the Association of Young People with ME, and also from the Scottish Government guidelines on ME, that it does not necessarily work for everyone.  Other things that we have found helpful are vitamins, especially B vitamins and Vit D, Siberian Ginseng drops, and 5-HTP, which is a serotonin tonic.  She hardly ever has any sugar and eats a very low-fat diet in order to keep her weight down.

After tea she begins to get ready for bed.  This process also takes a few hours.  The stairs by this point in the day “are like Mount Everest to me”.  We have been caught out on a few occasions when she hasn’t had enough energy to get up the stairs.  It can take between half and hour and an hour for her to get up the stairs on these occasions.  One of us sits just below where she’s slumped, to keep her from tumbling down, and one of us sits above and encourages.  It’s not fun.  Sometimes when she senses that she might not make it up the stairs she goes upstairs earlier, and has to spend more time than she’d like in her bedroom, in which case we keep her company.

Mental and Cognitive Effects

The mental impact of ME on the Dafter has been far worse than the physical (although clearly the two are related).  You read about “brain fog” but the poor Dafter suffers from terrible cognitive impairment with this illness.  If I didn’t know that when well she has absolutely no problems processing information, I would think that she has dyslexia and/or dyspraxia.  She gets very muddled up in her thinking, especially where words and ideas are concerned.  For example a few days ago, she said, “I’m cold.  Not, that’s not it.  I’m bored.  No, that’s not it either.  No – I’m tired, that’s what it is.”  And that conversation took place at the start of the day!   She has terrible difficulties following a thought through, and we have learned to be very careful never to interrupt her because the tiniest thing can cause her completely to lose track of what she was talking about.

Formerly a precocious and voracious reader, she now finds reading a near-impossibility, as the words swim in front of her and she gets to the end of a paragraph and can’t remember what she’s just read or what’s going on.  She can read very small bits of language such as Tweets, and these keep her from going completely mad with boredom. She’s also a blogger.  She runs an inspirational blog on Tumblr and runs a fan account (for Tommy Knight) on Instagram.  She likes keeping these up because it’s a form of contact with other people, and it’s something regular for her to do.  It’s nice when she gets messages from her followers!

She finds watching anything new on television very difficult.  For example, she really likes the show Young Dracula on CBBC.  It recently began airing its fourth season.  She knew the characters, the main plot and at Easter we also visited Croxteth Hall in Liverpool where it’s filmed.  And yet she has had tremendous difficulty following this half-hour show.  She said, “I watch it and try to concentrate but it’s like remembering some film that I watched 6 years ago and didn’t understand very well at the time”.  I remember her saying, “Vlad’s going to get married?  People on Twitter are saying Vlad’s going to get married but that totally passed me by!”  Watching a full-length film has been an impossibility for a long time now.  However, she and I do watch Neighbours on a regular basis, and I never thought I would find myself congratulating my child on being able to follow a soap opera!  Because the story lines are recapped, and follow on from one episode to another, without too many complications or big surprises, she finds it possible to follow.

Regular readers will know that art is the Dafter’s passion and solace.  When well, she will happily spend hours in her room-cum-studio creating things.  ME has gradually swung the door shut on her ability to do art at the moment.  Whereas in the summer of 2011 she produced a piece of art a day, in the past eight months she’s been able to make perhaps five things.  What she does is amazing, but it happens in these very rare windows of relative energy and clarity.  She’s had to be very resourceful in terms of dreaming up things to do.  For example, she did a project involving tearing up pages of magazines and making collages on large letters she’d cut out.  Most craft projects – and there’s no-one craftier than the Dafter when she’s well – are too difficult for her.  As she rightly points out, in a lot of projects, the hardest part is setting them up.  She is too much of an individualist to allow me to do much, because she likes a project to be entirely hers.  Colouring has been too difficult since the summer, sticker books generally are also too difficult.  She does enjoy taking photographs, although uploading, sorting and backing them up is a very high-energy activity.  So every day goes by very, very slowly.

Like so many teenagers with ME, she is socially extremely isolated.  She has two friends, sisters, but they are busy with an extremely full life of sports, tutoring, activities, family holidays, going to the cinema, and so forth.  The Dafter keeps in touch by iMessage, but any visits have to be carefully planned, may not be possible on the day, and have to be brief.  She sees them about every six weeks or so.  She is in touch with a few other teens suffering from ME and that’s helpful.

Trial and error, and the high cost of error

We have been very worried about her education, but have come to realise that in fact she is too ill to do much at all.  We had such hopes for her working with the tutor from the hospital but that, combined with the CBT, was a disaster.  The tutor simply didn’t seem to believe how unwell the Dafter was, and it was impossible for her to take things at the Dafter’s exceedingly slow pace.  For one session, the Dafter was lying on the sofa, unable to speak or move, in one of her collapses.  The tutor kept urging her “just to try”.  There were many hours of distress during the five weeks or so of tutoring.  The tutor was trying to assess the Dafter’s academic level, when most of the time the Dafter wasn’t even able to add 2 + 3.  The tutor told all of us, including the Dafter, that she felt the Dafter wasn’t being positive enough.  I will limit my remarks here to saying that I know that we aren’t the only family who has experienced this level of ignorance and being disbelieved.  Being told to “try harder” is very common in ME and the suggestion that you can control the illness if only you really wanted to is devastating.

The CBT and the tutoring both just about pushed the Dafter right over the edge of her endurance, and I do regret that we went along with these things put in place to help her as long as we did.   She suffered a great deal and was extremely low and extremely incapacitated for about two months or so.  There were many days when all she could do was sit on the couch, crying from frustration and exhaustion, with us nearby.  Fortunately she’s come back up a bit now that those two horrible pressures have been taken off.

 Current focus

The Dafter herself has set four goals that she wishes to achieve before she begins schoolwork again, and they are very reasonable.  She wants to be at the point where she is:

- able to get out of the house almost every day

- able to read

- able to take in new information (i.e. watch a film or a new t.v. show and understand it)

- able to spend a little bit of time every day doing something she enjoys such as art

Since we stopped the tutoring and the CBT I have seen some glimmers of improvement.  She has been able to watch familiar t.v. shows – things like Hannah Montana, which she watched when she was about 8.  She’s occasionally been able to focus to do sticker books.  And she’s been able to get out just a little bit more often than previously.

I know that she will make a recovery, with time.  Her spirit, despite the immense frustrations and sadness of this illness, remains bright and strong at her core.  She is a joy to be with and even with not being able to think straight she comes out with very insightful and clever observations.  She’s loving and appreciative, and incredibly thoughtful about the impact that all this has had on us.  I’m immensely proud of her for her courage, endurance and humour.  And once again I thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who’s left such encouraging messages here on my blog.  If you’re caring for someone with ME, you might be interested in my post Being a Parent-Caregiver:  40 things that help me.

And now I’m going to start thinking about Christmas.  I will set up the Playmobil advent calendar today.  Exciting!


Responses

  1. This is a very distressing time for all of you, yet your posts never exhibit a note of self-pity or complaint. Yes, the dafter will recover in time, but that process of recovery is eased by the love and affection that binds you together as a family. Credit to all of you, along with my continued good wishes.

    • Dear Martin, You’re very kind. Of course there are moments when I am indeed filled with self-pity and great pity for the Dafter, but as you say we’re very blessed to have the love and affection that we do in our family. I’ve been thinking of you and yours, and I really hope you haven’t been affected by the flooding.

  2. Wishing there was something I could do to help you all. Watching our children suffer is the hardest thing in the world, and I pray that you will soon be looking back on all this as just an unhappy memory. Sending hugs. xxx

    • Tina, your friendship and prayers do more for me – and thus for all of us – than you can know! Thank you.

  3. Big hugs to all of you, sounds like you are doing the best you can in these difficult times. I can’t believe the attitude of the tutor, that’s terrible, sounds like you did the right thing in putting that on hold and concentrating on simpler things. Love to the Dafter x

  4. Gosh, what a beautifully written, loving and caring piece of writing, I do hope that one day, when your daughter is much better and married with her own family, you can share this with her, my prayers will be for your future. xxxxxx

  5. What incredible strength of will your precious dafter has. I know, right now, the physical strength doesn’t match it but it will in time. While fibromyalgia is different in some ways, it is close enough that I can understand much of what she faces on a daily basis. What she endures is very real! I love that she has set herself goals and I pray that these coming months she finds herself meeting one by one. I’m praying that the severity of her ME/CFS grows less with each passing day. Thank you for reminding me to pray for your sweet family daily!

    Hugs and blessings,
    Dianne

  6. All I can say is I love you all. Trying hard not to get really angry at so called professionals, Mum and Dad know best. and so does the Dafter.

  7. I don’t think it’s a depressing post at all. I’m working my way through it and will email you. Parts of it reminded me very much of Jo (our daughter). I think your daughter has got the right approach. Jo has been given a programme to follow that involves short bursts of activity for a set number of minutes – this includes all activity, reading, resting, walking, drawing, watching television etc. I’ll find out the details and the clinic her G.P referred her to. It has helped her enormously, but I appreciate all cases are different. The Dafter has a strong character and sounds determined – I’m sure that will help her.

  8. Christine – I follow your blog avidly – it’s the Aberdeen thing. I never knew much about ME before – this post has been enlightening – I can see how heartbreaking it must be as a parent to watch your child trying so hard and fighting the illness. And it wasn’t depressing, just intensely moving – you’ve brought me to tears (and also brought a smile to my face when you talked about getting lots of knitting done – so typical of an avid yarn fan!). I think that setting those targets is the best thing to do. I don’t know much about this as I said, but does she like music? Maybe some great music could be therapeutic. Or perhaps listening to audiobooks in very small chunks may help with her focus? I have a couple of friends who suffer or who look after others who suffer – I will pass this on to them. Thinking of both of you and the rest of the family, Judy.

  9. I found this both fascinating and heartbreaking to read. I really feel for the Dafter, and for you and Michael. I know very little about this illness and I was shocked to read about the severity of it. The frustration you must all feel, particularly the Dafter herself, must be immense. I’m glad that you’re making the decision to stop when things aren’t working, but of course you want to give new options a go in case they prove to helpful, and you won’t know that until you try. The Dafter is very gifted with art and it must be horrible for her not to have the energy to be the creative person that we know she is. As you’ve noted before, she is learning a lot of hard life lessons at a young age, but she sounds to me like a remarkably well rounded young lady and we’re all rooting for her with her four goals. I’m looking forward to the day when you write a post about her achieving those ambitions, but for now thank you for writing this.

    • Lorna, I meant to say in my reply-to-many below, that I love the image of me writing a post sometime in the future, about the Dafter having achieved her four goals! I will keep that firmly in my mind as a touchstone. Thank you!

  10. It is never depressing to share the human experience, as we all understand that life does sometimes give us immense challenges. Your daughter, you, and Michael are facing this difficult challenge with love, understanding, courage and hope, and I only wish I could be there to help. Not only are you dealing with this debilitating disease, but you must also overcome misinformation and prejudice from the very people who are supposed to help. You show great resilience and fortitude in overcoming these extreme challenges, as does your sweet daughter who remains optimistic despite everything life has thrown at her. The love and devotion that you have for your daughter is the most important medicine, and her own courage and hope will carry her towards the day when she can someday look back and feel proud of what she has overcome. I hope that day comes soon and I will be continuing to pray for her and for you and Michael to find strength in this incredibly difficult time. Much love to you. xx

  11. sending you all a big hug. I really don’t have the right words to say how sorry I am for your dear daughter and yourselves having to go through this. my heart longs for some relief for you. thanks for being so open about what’s been happening and I admire your courage and strength through it all. xx

  12. Dear Katherine, Julie, Dianne, Jill, Ann, Judy, Lorna, Karen and ajb,

    My goodness, I can’t believe you read all that and then took the trouble to comment! Thank you all very much for your kind words and your solidarity. Thanks for believing in the power of parental love, which is not something the medical establishment or society at large recognises or talks about much. And thanks for your prayers and good wishes. The Dafter certainly has shown how strong and determined she is, and we have all become even closer as a family through this adversity. So we’ll continue to build on that.

    Judy, yes she does enjoy music, but finds listening to audiobooks too hard at the moment. However, the day will come again when she can.

    I’ll let her know that you all think her four goals are good ones! I think that time is what will bring about healing as much as anything else. And as you mention, Ann, pacing is a very important key to recovery. One piece of advice that we heard was given to another teenager with ME was: “try not to worry about the future, try not to think too much about the past, but just try to be as happy as you can be in the present moment.” This from a doctor who had suffered from ME. I think trying to be happy in every moment is the key to a lot of things, and certainly a very good approach in this instance.

  13. It’s so hard to know what to say in response, and yet a response seems essential. It has been good for my understanding to read this, as although I’d read a bit about ME it is clearly a highly variable condition and I didn’t really have any good idea of how it was currently impacting on the Dafter and hence on you. I’m full of admiration for you and Michael – you’re certainly responding in a positive way that I could never hope to emulate. Yes, I admit I do find this story depressing – that people have to endure such misfortune while others (such as me) are living so comfortably by comparison reflects a world in which I cannot see an underlying hope. And yet, if I am to find some hope in all this then it must surely be found in the fact that you have found the resources to offer your love and support to others in this difficult, dark time.

    • Dear oldblack, thanks for your very thoughtful comment. FIrst of all, I know from your blog that you’ve had your own family challenges and it seems to me you have risen to them with selflessness and courage. Secondly, what you say about the fundamental injustice of the roll of life’s dice is so very true. There are people with ME, to stick with this point of comparison, who must be tube-fed and can’t leave their beds. Why are they so much worse than the Dafter, and does this therefore mean we live in a heartless universe? I have no answer to that question, but like you I find that hope and love are what matter the most. Not what happens to us, but how we react, I suppose. Our family really does have a lot to be thankful for.

  14. Christine, my thoughts go out to you, Michael and the Dafter. I’ve seen the way the Dafter writes when she’s a guest-blogger, and I believe I’ll see that again. Thank you for being open about what is going on. Love, T

    • Dear Timwa,
      Thank you so much for your good wishes and your comment. And thank you for reminding me of the Dafter’s previous contributions. That will be another “touchstone” for me to look forward to and imagine until the day it happens! x

  15. Hugs. It was sad but informative to hear about Dafter’s struggle with this horrid illness. I had no idea how debilitating and comprehensive this disease is. She is a brave girl.
    On a lighter note, you put a bug in me to get a Playmobil Advent calendar. I had no idea they even existed.

    • Dear Marjorie,
      Horrid is indeed the word. Like you, I had no idea what ME could do to people, although I knew it could last a long time. I think anyone who comes through it deserves a medal, and I do wish there was more public recognition of what people with severe ME are enduring!
      As for Playmobil advent calendars, I highly recommend making the investment in one. We’ve had the same one for a number of years and the Dafter never tires of it. Sometimes I mix things around a bit, sometimes I add little sweets or treats.

  16. Christine, Dafter is lucky to have you as her mother, you are so caring, thoughtful, grateful and optimistic, I believe that with your love, Dafter will recover soon.

    • Dear Jasmine,
      Thank you for your sweet comment. Believe me there are times when I am a grumpy old mother! But I try hard not to be. Like you, I believe in the power of love. My grandfather once told me that with love, you can do anything. I think that’s true.

  17. Your blog got passed on to me by a friend- I’m so sorry that you & your daughter have had to go through this. I have had ME/CFS for 7 years and was mostly housebound for the last year (I’m 28 now). Three months ago I needed help getting to the toilet. I don’t know if you have heard of the lightning process, but I did the course in September and it has helped me to recover by about 85%. I can now walk 3 or 4 miles and am back at work. It feels like nothing short of a miracle.It’s pretty controversial and doesn’t help everyone, but if you ever consider it for your daughter and want someone to talk to about it, please email me. I want to help people with this horrible illness in any way I can and feel so lucky that I have managed to recover to such a degree. Whatever path you decide to take I wish your daughter all the luck in the world with her recovery x

    • Dear Naomi,
      Thanks so much for your comment. You’ve been through even more severe ME than the Dafter, and would have been thinking “Lucky her!”. It’s very interesting to hear what the lightning therapy has done for you. I have heard of it, and have heard of one person who didn’t find it helpful. However, I know that alternative approaches can sometimes have at least as good a track record as conventional medicine, and when you have an illness for which there’s no conventional medical treatment, it’s especially worth trying, I may well be in touch with you in the future. At the moment the Dafter is still recovering from the damage done by the tutoring and CBT.
      I’m so happy that you’ve made such astounding progress, and I wish you all the very best in continuing that. I don’t think anyone who’s been through ME will ever take their energy for granted again. Enjoy your Christmas!

  18. Thank you so much for giving us such an honest look into your lives. My heart grieves that the Dafter has to go through this trial. Since my teen years I struggled with some form of CF on and off and then, while living in Scotland, hit a severe bout which lasted 4 years. I was never as bad as the Dafter, but it was a very difficult trial, especially while having children, and I can relate to many of the things you all are going through. Reading your post today brings me to tears thinking that God saw fit to restore my health — why? I have no idea but for years after I came to better health each day I stood amazed that I was better and so thankful for the blessing that good health is. I pray that God, in His wisdom, will see fit to bring the Dafter through this time and give her healing as well. And I do hope she will be able to get back to her artwork before too much longer. Keep persevering!

    • Dear Heather,
      I can’t imagine being afflicted with ME while responsible for young children. You must be an extremely strong woman! I’m very grateful that you’ve found healing, and I’m sure you will never take your improved health for granted again. I take comfort from the fact that most ME sufferers do eventually recover. In the meantime, illness brings its own gifts and lessons. Thanks so much for your comment.

  19. Christine, I, too, appreciated your honest depiction of your family’s life since the Dafter’s diagnosis. The extent of this debilitating disease is simply devastating. Thank you for sharing with us what life is like for your precious one. I hope you feel our prayers.

  20. Seeing your child in pain or discomfort at any time is distressing … knowing that it’s going to last for another 4 or 5 years must be almost unbearable for you both. You remain an inspiration and I sincerely hope that a corner will be turned very soon with this debilitating condition and Dafter begins to show signs that she’s returning to the outgoing and lively young lady that she once was. Love to you all and I hope that you have a lovely Christmas. Cordeliax

    • Dear Cordelia,
      I was sick with worry for the first seven months or so, and now I’m much more accepting of what the situation is, and I can also better see the positives and what we have to be grateful for. One of the things I try to do on a daily basis is to see in my mind’s eye the Dafter being her energetic self. I know some day I will see that girl appear before me, if only in glimpses at first. A very merry Christmas to you and yours as well. x

  21. I am impressed by your patience and perseverance in coping with your daughter’s disease. The challenges of making it through the day must be very challenging. I hope that you have someone to lean on yourself as the long term challenges of being her caregiver must be physically and emotionally exhausting! I’m sending you my wishes for a lovely advent season!

    • Dear Sigrid,
      Thank you so much for your good wishes. I am hardly a saint when it comes to getting through each day! But the Dafter is an excellent patient, and such good company that she makes it as easy as it could be. And I do have a few supporters and escapes to give me a bit of energy back.
      I know this time of year is sad for you, but I hope you find many things to enjoy nonetheless. x

  22. My husband & I both suffer from ME and so know how difficult life can be for both sufferer and carers. Love and prayers for you all. x

    • Thank you very much Barbara. We send them back to you both!

  23. i’m so behind on the blogosphere at the moment, so apologies for the lateness in this response, but i just wanted to say that you all have my utmost respect and admiration for the way in which you face this battle together.

    For most of my teenage years i struggled with chronic depression and can relate to so much of what you’ve written about the cognitive implications – the frustrations of losing your train of thought mid-sentence, or reading a paragraph 12 times and still having no idea what it said, for example – and the social isolation. It’s soul-destroying and i can’t begin to fathom what it must be like to live with the physical effects piled on top!

    Your daughter is an incredibly brave young woman to face these things and still maintain the attitude that she has. You should be exceptionally proud of her, as i’m sure you already are.

    One day she’ll recover from this illness and enter into a life where her obvious talents can flourish fully and i’m sure that the lessons she’s learning along the way will serve her well. i pray that that day comes soon for her. Until that time, my thoughts and prayers are with your whole family as you navigate this journey together.
    May love, peace and strength be yours.

    – Laura xo

    • Dear Laura,

      Luckily there’s no time limit on commenting! Thank you so much for writing as you did, and being willing to share what must have been an equally horrendous time for you as a teen. I especially appreciate your faith in the Dafter’s future, which I share – but it’s great to be reminded by more “objective” people. Bless you.

  24. Dear both of you,
    I can see that your daughter will grow into the most lovely adult, if she is not there already, she will have a deal of self-insight that might take the average person decades to achieve. But it is how to cope with the ‘brain tiredness’ , you are almost describing how life is after a major stroke, but without even the unpredictable up and down pattern of improvement. You write so succinctly, and your daughter copes so well and seems to still manage to be her own person! How amazing are you both and what a close relationship you have. But still I can see and understand it is hard so send all thoughts your way. I am sure being a teen and suffering this illness intensifies it somehow as everything can be intensified in this period of life.

    Fee

    • Dear Fee,
      Thanks very much for your insightful comment. Yes, it is like having suffered a stroke, or some kind of awful accident. And as you say, being a teenager when well is intense as it is – small things are very much magnified when you’re stuck at home and able to do so little. But as you say the Dafter is her own person, and I know this awful experience will yield lessons that little else could. Thank you very much for your good thoughts – I send them back to you and yours.

  25. Hello Christine, so much has been said already that I can only send you our love.

  26. Thanks for making the time to help us understand your current life experience, Christine, and giving us the opportunity to encourage one another in the process. [2Corinthians 1:3-7]
    This morning I met some friends at church. We are working through another journal by Graham Cooke and today one of the passages we discussed was Mark 4: 35-41 when Jesus quieted the storm. Graham wrote, “We have Christ in us, not as a concept of truth, but as a reality of God’s word. Christ in us releases a confident expectation that heaven will come through for us as it did for Him.”
    Your post expresses that “confident expectation” to me. Thanks!
    Blessings to you and yours. xx from Gracie

    • Thank you for that interesting comment, Gracie. I love the phrase “confident expectation”. I have been thinking a lot about the importance of Hope lately!
      Blessings back to you and your family. x


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