January 30, 2010


we arrived home from the hospital last saturday afternoon physically exhausted and emotionally drained...with no respite, either physical or emotional, in sight. and then on top of it, i faced part of this past week on my own as graham had to head out of town for work.

right now, life is a litany of struggle; endless, exhausting, agonizing struggle.

i know my posts have been far and few between since christmas.
due in part to a setback/major flare of my symptoms (the worst of it between dec 26 to jan 16)
due in part to not being able to write about what life is really like now.
i've tried to write about it but only have myriad posts that remain unfinished, unpublished, cryptic belches of a few discombobulated thoughts of pain and anger. i just have not been able to choke it all out...somehow writing about it made it more real than i was able or prepared to face.
writing means i have to think about it.
in order to cope, i haven't really been able to 'think' about it.
in order to function, i've just had to disassociate myself from this whole dreadful situation.
i've found the same has been true for graham and taylor.
this week i asked taylor how he was coping with parker's illness.
he said,
"i don't even think about it. i just can't. i can't even go there."

yet, he does what needs to be done - which means being called upon to carry his little brother from room to room.
we all do what needs to be done - but i've found out that you can do, you can see, you can carry the burden... without really thinking about it.

while i'm sure that this dissociative state of being we're all existing in is an act of self preservation, i know it's not a realistic nor healthy way to cope over the long term. at some point, the grim reality must be confronted and dealt with

being in the hospital forced us to face it head on. ....and it broke down my carefully constructed disassociated barrier.

parker's deterioration over the past 4 weeks has been alarming.
he has not walked since dec 29...and had only been able to walk during "good moments" in the months that preceded december;

a"good moment" now means he is able to crawl on his hands and knees. if a "good moment" can be stretched into being able to attend school for an hour or two or (as we did this week) go to a movie. of late, good moments have been very fleeting.

a "bad moment", which his days are mainly comprised of now, means that crawling is not possible and he must resort to 'slithering' on his belly to get around the house;

an "unbearable moment" means he must be carried everywhere. even very short distances are not manageable in his own power. in these moments, he is not able to lift a fork to feed himself, lift a cup to drink from nor can he hold a pencil to write with. an "unbearable moment" means he lies on the couch moaning and writhing in pain.

the last 4 weeks have mostly been made up of "unbearable moments"
. most days, these "unbearable moments" stretch into hour after endless hour with no relief...and some days it is a roller coaster ride of a combination of these moments tumultuously tumbling over him in an unending and unpredictable cycle.

and we all live it - whether we choose to think about it or not.

THINKING about the breadth of it; the physical demands, the financial strain, the emotional toll, the horror of watching your child suffer, the lack of resolution to any of it - either to his or my health simply overshadows me, chokes out hope and makes me a stark raving lunatic who rages at the unfairness of it all...one who sees only what she doesn't have rather than what she does have.

any comfort, hope, joy i have or the ability to survive is found in God. the only way i've survived 4 years of my hellish co-existence with lyme, is by storming the presence of God.
storming means many things;
storming means panicked pleas,
storming means perseverance,
storming means praising,
storming means awestruck reverence,
sometimes storming means thunder..
as in me thunderously slamming the door behind me as i angrily stomp my way to the throne of grace and unleash in a tirade of heartbroken, dumbfounded fury.

thinking about the reality of our life, trying to come to terms with it, has prompted one major episode of thunderous storming over this past week.
the final straw?
the verse that was the focus of my devotional (this received on the day parker was released from hospital):

"and we know that God causes all things to work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose." rom 8:28

that put me over the edge.
it made me mad, mad, mad
M-A-D mad!
i silently stewed and then spewed about it for several days:

"quite frankly, Lord i can't believe that you had me read that today, of all days. i am about to lose it.

sometimes i am receptive to hearing that 'cuz deep down i believe it -whether i feel it or not - but not today, and especially not in the context of parker and his suffering. that feels like a bitter pill to swallow. yeah, today that just feels like crap.
Lord, right now, if i am
having trouble stomaching this from you. you had better not let anyone else tell me that 'all things work together for good' or ' just think of the fantastic testimony you will have to share"

You and me both know that while You REQUIRE ME to glorify You, you don't NEED ME (or my story) in order to bring glory to Yourself
You are glory Lord.
i acknowledge that
enough is enough!

why does this just endlessly rage on? i am fearful to hold on to hope, to keep persevering through this and for what? to claw my way through another 4 years, 8 years, 16 years of this hell? and now parker must suffer? how long must he languish for? how can you hear his crying and not relieve his suffering? why do we have to face another difficult diagnosis? or face another diagnosis that is just ignored, minimized, down played and left untreated? this nightmare doesn't end. it just grows more and more desolate.

i don't get it.
i don't understand.
why does it have to go on and on and on and on and on ?
enough is enough!!"

and then I DID IT...


and then IT happened.

through the words of a song, playing over the radio, that suddenly penetrated through my anguished and outrageously brazen venting,

"and hold on 'cause there's good for those who love God
but life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time
but you'll see the bigger picture

that you still have a reason to sing?
'cause the pain that you've been feeling
it can't compare to the joy that's coming"

there is no way that that was not meant for me.
it is far too ironic, too perfect, too funny to be ignored and not acknowledge as divine intervention

i spent the following hour feverishly trying to find that song. i finally did.
here it is in it's entirety or you can listen to it by clicking on this.

josh wilson

do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you?
if there's a God who loves you where is He now?
or maybe there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening to bring a better ending
someday, somehow you'll see, you'll see

would you dare, would you dare to believe
that you still have a reason to sing?
'cause the pain that you've been feeling
it can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you gotta wait for the light
press on and just fight the good fight
'cause the pain that you've been feeling
it's just the dark before the morning

my friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going
you just don't know how you'll get there
so say a prayer

and hold on 'cause there's good for those who love God
but life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time
but you'll see the bigger picture

would you dare, would you dare to believe
that you still have a reason to sing?
'cause the pain that you've been feeling
it can't compare with the joy that's coming

once you feel the weight of glory
all your pain will fade to memory
come on, you gotta wait for the light
press on and just fight the good fight
'cause the pain that you've been feeling
it's just the hurt before the healing
oh, the pain that you've been feeling
it's just the dark before the morning

even though i can only breathe through one moment, one snapshot at a time in order to survive this desolate, barren place, AND even though i can't see the bigger picture,

i still dare to believe.

January 23, 2010


we are home!
parker was discharged late this afternoon.

sweet release! yes!

parker has been released and remains in significant pain... and he continues to have episodes where it becomes pretty much unbearable - even the morphine he received in the hospital was not overly effective.

we have left with a comprehensive pain management plan.
the doctor explained to us that parker's case is complex (parker's response to that - "gee, it only took them 5 months to figure that out!") and because he is still undiagnosed, this is not a treatment plan but a management plan. this is not a fix nor will it be a quick fix. it will take several weeks of implementing all the components of the plan before he will have any significant relief however, she (and we) are confident that this is a positive step forward. we are relieved and happy about that... and we are very, very, very exhausted. it's been a long 4 days.

as far as the "undiagnosed" part goes well... we are waiting for the results of the lyme antigen/DNA test that is currently being done on samples that were taken from parker in mid january. these tests are being done in a lab in the USA. the results should be back by the end of next week. please pray for this testing and the results.
something about dr big cheese's dismissal of the mycoplasma infection is not intuitively sitting right with me. so whether he does or not, i'll be reading and researching the medical literature on it...and i won't let it go until i'm satisfied and have peace that it's not contributing and/or the cause of parker's symptoms.

but for now, we all just need to decompress and get some sleep.

January 22, 2010


so we had a visit from the big top dog infectious disease doctor this afternoon. i knew the minute dr big cheese walked in that things would go as we expected and not how we had hoped.

most reading this will know the drill so i'm not going to waste my time and energy on going into detail about what he all had to say (or not say) about lyme. the basic gist of it is that dr big cheese gave us the same song and dance about lyme that we've heard a million times before. he doesn't know what parker has but he asserted that parker can't possibly have lyme because his canadian elisa test for it was negative and the elisa is an extremely sensitive assay.
if i could have a nickel, no scratch that. i had a penny for every time i've heard that crap dispensed i'd probably be able to cover my out of country medical expenses.
so while we are not surprised
encountering this bigoted attitude toward lyme is like being sucker-punched in the gut.

as the door shut behind him marking his exit, i picked up parker's stuffed prayer bear and threw it at the door.
"don't let prayer bear bite you in the butt on your way out. harumph!" i snarkily muttered - i launched prayer bear head long into the door, part out of disgust and frustration and part for comic relief.

it worked both graham and parker burst out laughing



and the issue of mycoplasm?
dr big cheese said that parker's mycoplasma infection is old. this caught us totally off guard b/c docs yesterday told us it was an acute infection. big cheese said no. he said that he believes that the mycoplasma infection was probably responsible for parker's initial illness (the double lung infection that precipitated the start of all his symptoms way back in september)

even though parker was NEVER treated with the antibiotics specifically used to treat mycoplasma infection, dr big cheese will not treat him for it now. first, because it is no longer an acute infection and secondly because of the type of bacteria it is (cell wall deficient), he said that most antibiotics aren't that effective against it anyway (i'm still scratching my head on that one. after all, they've been drugging parker with meds that aren't that effective but that hasn't stopped them from prescribing them).

anyway, dr big cheese doesn't think the mycoplasma is causing his symptoms. although, he did suggest that it could be possible that the initial infection could have triggered some sort of autoimmune response. he said he would look through the medical literature to "see" if he could find anything about that. we're not holding our breath. neither graham or i believe that he will look.

so we're mad, frustrated, sad
not surprised.
thankfully, prayer bear has recovered from his launch through outerspace.

i'll go home tonight and have a good cry
and then i'll let it go
rise above
hope that maybe our story touched or tweaked the interest of even just one of the 15 to 20 doctors we saw today (yes, that many! 5 different specialities each with their accompanying fellow, resident and attending) plus a couple doctors that are here from china. serious. and not one could offer an explanation or diagnosis of his condition.

so while my gut is aching from that proverbial sucker punch, i'm trying to focus on what our motivation was when we brought parker into the ER on wednesday. our primary focus was and has been to get him some sort of relief for his pain.
for that, there has been a positive outcome. praise the Lord!

he was seen by 2 pain management doctors right before dr big cheese. the pain management doctors were great. one of them was a "DR O". he was super-compassionate and put together a good therapy plan. it consists of 4 components

1) meds
2) physiotherapy
3) psychology
4) complementary medicine - such as supplements and acupuncture

we feel really good about this. and double impressed that DR O not only asked about complementary medicine and what supplements we have parker on but actually suggested we consider and supported the use of acupuncture, naturopathic medicine and chiropractic care. could have knocked me over with a feather when we talked about that stuff- mainstream doctors generally 'poo-poo' alternative medicine. thumbs up for DR O! (incidentally, parker's teacher had given us DR O's name a couple of weeks ago, as she had heard through the grapevine that he is fantastic...we concur!)

parker needs the physiotherapy as he already has some mild atrophy in his calf muscles. when we explained this part of the treatment plan to parker, he wanted to know what a physiotherapist was and what they did. i explained that they were kind of like personal fitness trainers.

"so isn't that cool, buddy? you are going to kind of have your own fitness trainer to pump you up."
"oh," he said, " i'd rather we just got a Wii fitness console instead."
funny guy.

he's been extraordinarily amazing and brave through this all...the hospitalization, the endless questions from doctors, testing, pills, the installation of his "mini picc line" -

all endured while he lives with this never ending pain. that he can maintain his humor and upbeat attitude is pretty astounding. that's not to say that he doesn't have periods of intense sadness and frustration about being sick. over christmas, he told us that even in his dreams he is no longer healthy. and naturally, he wants to know why this is happening to him, when it will end and if he'll be better in time for basketball season in spring. we're glad that he can verbalize these feelings but they are really hard for us to hear and tougher yet because we have no answers to give him. we are certainly grateful that part of his pain management treatment will include a psychologist specifically trained in chronic pain issues.

so that's about it for today.
i think we've been seen by all the specialists. now were just waiting for them to co-ordinate his pain management treatment plan.
pretty much, just a waiting game at this point.

we've been told that they will probably be keeping parker over the weekend. yuck.but maybe we not. who knows. we're exhausted. he's homesick. we all want to go home.
all in all there was some good and some bad today.

we'll take the good
choose to leave the bad behind.

but should i ever run into dr big cheese again - he had better hope prayer bear is not with me.


my mom 'got' this verse today...so amazing...i think Hagar is AKA sandeep or fluffy-fluffy or shannon

"Then she went and sat down by herself. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears. But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.” Gen 21:15-17

so far today parker has been seen by the 4th year resident doctors from neurology and infectious disease. both doctors were really great and thorough. we ended up having family friends in common with the infectious disease doctor - making a personal connection like that right off the bat kinda broke the ice so to speak. we discussed lyme at length and she really listened. thank you God.

both residents will be meeting with the the neurology team to discuss the results of their exams and then the residents and 'real' doctors will be all coming back in to do more exams and such. as i type the infectious disease team is meeting (@ 1:30PM) to discuss parker. we have been told that they have brought in the top infectious disease doctor in canada (for children) to consult and evaluate parker's case. apparently, he will be coming in to evaluate parker after their meeting. not sure how we feel about that - it's either a good thing or bad thing. just having to trust. i asked the ID resident we saw to please give this doctor DR Hs contact info and am really hoping that they will consult with him. we were told they will definately be coming up with a plan to treat his mycoplasmo infection. the doctor said that it can manifest as the symptoms that parker is having HOWEVER not this severe.

currently parker is having one of his 'better days' - he has had no tremors today and his pain levels are at about a 3. this is not because he is on any pain meds - we haven't even been seen by pain management yet. that is frustrating - his lowered levels are just a part of the waxing and waning nature of his symptoms. we are happy to see him feeling a little bit better however it presents a bit of a quandry as it would be best if he was super bad flaring (as he has been especially over the past 3 weeks) sooooo...what do we do pray for him to have a really bad flare so it is witnessed by the docs? that's terrible to hope for that. yikes.

maybe we pray that whether his symptoms are flaring or not, that doctors are able to diagnose him.

more to come...

we are incredibly grateful for the support and prayers. thank you for your messages and continued willingness to hold us up in prayer and walk alongside us through this journey. your support is an immeasurable comfort to us all.

January 21, 2010


it's been another long day.

parker has been kept in hospital again
graham is staying with him
i have come home because i have to run my IV MEDS! yes, in the midst of all the craziness, i have had to re-start IV treatment.

parker will be seen by a neurology doctor tomorrow morning at 9:30am
then sometime between 8am and 12pm he will be evaluated by pain management doctors and infectious disease doctors.

the infectious disease doctors have been called in to "discuss the lyme issue" with us.
please pray for this meeting.
we just really don't want to debate or defend MY lyme diagnosis (which has already been scrutinized multiple times in the past 24 hours.)
we're not pushing for a lyme diagnosis for parker. after all, we really don't know what is wrong with him. all we know is that his symptoms are very, very, very suspicious for lyme. all we want is for them to give parker's suspicious lyme like symptoms a fair and unbiased evaluation. doesn't sound like too much to ask but past experience has proven that it is too much to ask. my medical care wouldn't be coming from another country if lyme was given a fair shake here...so we guard our hearts and steel our emotions because we know that there is a strong possibility that we may face open hostility and ridicule for requesting lyme be on the diagnostic differential. we've been done this road so many times before.
but the eternal optimist in me will always hope for, always push for, always advocate for this to change... that being said, a huge emotional price is paid in doing that.

but i know that God is bigger than all of this mess
that is the balm that allows my tattered heart to keep moving forward.

we learned today that blood work done on parker during our december 11 visit to the children's hospital ER had rendered a positive result for an acute infection called mycoplasma. somehow this result got missed in the shuffle of paper work.
and no one noticed until today.

we feel this positive result is significant.
mycoplasma can be a co-infection of lyme disease. it is an infection transmitted by ticks... but it can also be transmitted through other means. the general pediatric doctor who gave us the mycoplasma results today told us that they usually only treat mycoplasma with one week of antibiotics.
i'm no doctor but i don't think one week of antibiotics for a cell wall deficient bacteria is going to annihilate the infection.
and i said as much to the doctor (who, by the way, in all fairness, was really a lovely and kind young man). the kind young doctor then responded that he really didn't know too much about mycoplasma and that this infection really falls under the umbrella of infectious disease.
the infectious disease doctors we see tomorrow will be responsible for treating this infection in parker. they have been given DR H's phone number and we are hoping and praying that they will speak with him and consider his opinion when coming up with a treatment plan for parker.

after all, it is because of DR H that the mycoplasma testing was done. yes! that's right! parker was tested for mycoplasma because we requested it because DR H told us to get him tested for this. when we saw DR H in SF on dec 7, he suspected that there was a possibility that at least some of parker's symptoms could be explained/were suspicious for a mycoplasma infection.



parker has been admitted to hospital. it has been an incredibly long nite. we arrived at ER at 8pm. he was finally seen around 11pm. the ER doc did a preliminary neurological assessment and found some mild abnormal responses. given that, and based on the fact that he has been sick and in pain for 4 months and now has developed tremors and pretty much has really deteriorated in the last 3 weeks, the doc said he would admit him and get the ball rolling on a team of specialists.

parker is upset to have to stay. he is fed up, in terrible pain, scared, frustrated and mad and yet, he still manages to smile his sweet smile and maintain his unique sense of humor. thus far, tonight (or early this morning, i think it is) he endured getting his first IV and finally 8 hours AFTER being admitted, he was finally given morphine through his IV. that was at 4am this morning. when i left at 4:30am it had had little effect. graham is staying with him and i am home to hopefully get an hour or two of sleep before having to get Avery off to school and then i will be heading right back to the hospital.

it has been an incredibly difficult and emotionally draining night. it is painful enough to watch your child suffer, and then there is the pain of having to recount the past 4 months over and over and over to multiple doctors - on top of that, naturally, MY lyme diagnosis was met with skepticism and questioning. we are there for parker. this is about parker...and yet we have to contend with 101 questions about MY lyme.

a team of doctors; pediactrics, pain management and neurology will be evaluating him in the morning.
thank you God. our prayer that they would DO something this time has been answered.

pls pray for these consultations tomorrow (this) morning. the doctors will be seeing him sometime between 8am to 10am.
we are praying that if there is something other than lyme to be found, that it will be found and this nightmare can end.

January 20, 2010


we are on way back to hospital with parker again.
he has had no relief from pain since our last visit to hopsital and his tremors are getting worse.
he is very upset to have to go back THERE...so pls pray that doctors do something this time.

January 18, 2010


We’re home now

our visit to ER last nite was because he was having “seizure like” uncontrollable full body twitching and tremors.they were very severe and really scared all of us.

His twitching has subsided. Naturally it had subsided by the time the ER doc saw him...however we had videotaped him so we were able to show the doctor. She didn’t know what it was – we have referral to pediatiric clinic and neurology clinic. And they are going to expedite his pain management referral. So that is good. the ER doc said that the "idiopathic pain disorder" diagnosis rheumatology gave him is completely ridiculous. no kidding. nice to hear a medical professional concur with us on that.

We’ve put in a call to DR H this morning and our waiting to hear back from him and find out what he thinks about this latest development – we videotaped parker while the twitching was really bad so at least it is documented. Hopefully I can send the video feed to DR H.

i'll post more when we know more and as i am able.

some of you have noticed my prolonged absense from blogging - i have been both my nerve pain returned with a vengence on dec 26 and aside from a few random outings, i have been very ill again with a pretty severe flare of continued full body nerve pain and most days, there is an inability to remain upright for a significant length of time. so i've been back on the couch more or less fulltime since boxing day. so between fighting my own fight and trying to take care of parker, i have been too physically and emotinoally drained to write. that's not to say there hasn't been a ton going on. i hope to catch up soon.


we are bound for hospital for parker again
severe pain and full body twitching

pls pray

January 3, 2010


so we laid Walter Warkentin to rest today.

walter's go-green coffin
handcrafted by

walter warkentin's funeral was attended by several dignitaries.
albert einstein officiated
the crows were there to pay their respects.

ahh, yes, the sting of death was more so on us during our long, 8-hour good-bye. that was a grief- stricken ordeal but i suppose we did most of our grieving during that. so the burial itself wasn't as traumatic as i anticipated or expected. of course, there were tears (just the girls cried, the boys would like to point out)

after walter's funeral we spent the afternoon cleaning his condo, vacuuming/packing up his estate and trying to figure out where he hid his last will and testament.

wonder if he left me anything? don't laugh! i wouldn't be surprised, after all, he was always pulling some sort of shenanigan.

thanks to those of you who have been gracious and generous with your messages of condolence. i'm grateful folks understand my silly sorrow. asinine how attached i became to that rodent! really! truth be told, i just about broke out into a brokenhearted rendition of "jesus loves you" as walter was gasping his last breaths.

but you know, that little guy was special to me and he had such personality!
he lived life to the fullest - his tummy and his cheeks were always full!

he was definitely a portly little dude!

yes, live life! that he did! when he wasn't busy keeping me company on my convalescing couch, he could be found watching dr phil, cruising in his hot rod, consuming copious amounts of food and then trying to burn off the calories by going for walks...

had to keep that little guy on a tight leash!

he was busy socializing and eating right up until the week before his death.

even santa couldn't resist him nor sentence him to the naughty list - a spot he deservedly earned because of all his escape shenanigans.

walter had some pretty famous friends. over the holidays, he was invited to hang out with barbie in her dream house. he was certainly impressed with her digs, her food, and well, with barbie herself.

his visit was abruptly ended when she caught him trying to look up her skirt!

even though he waddled and wobbled and huffed and puffed as he chased her around, he was still pretty spry for such an old guy! i bet he is somehow related to jack nicholson. probably a distant relative, 10x removed or something. given that he was still up to such shenanigans, it's hard to believe he passed away a mere 4 days later.

barbie, opportunist that she is, wasted no time at all in moving into the lot that had housed walter's pad. i suppose it's her pay back in response to having a stodgy old hamster trying to put his moves on her. barbie immediately installed air fresheners in her new location as there is a slight barn yard odor still lingering in the air. ah, hamster coo mist, i suppose walter is having one last laugh at barbie's expense.

at any rate, we miss the little guy....but we're coping with the loss. as one of my friends put it,

"walter warkentin was the most loved, most well-known hamster ever"

yes, we wholeheartedly agree!

farewell, little buddy...zoom off into the sunset!

we will always affectionately hold warm, fond memories of our famous fur-ball (not hair-ball) in our hearts..
but as the story goes,
life moves on...
we miss him,
we shed a tear,
we reminisce
we chuckle about his last shenanigan

January 2, 2010


boy do i wish this post was about saying goodbye to 2009...
2010 has begun with an end

our dear little family hamster walter warkentin passed away today,
jan 2 at 12:20am

June 2007 - January 2, 2010

i held and cuddled him for the last 8 hours of his life
we all did

we cuddled him and loved on him
and said a very sad and difficult goodbye

last cuddles with parker and avery

and taylor

the kids went to bed around 10pm
i stayed on the couch (i've suffered an intense herx/relapse over this past week and am couch ridden again), holding my furry little couch companion until he took his final breath at 12:20am

and so that's the kind of year it's been in the goertzen household