I write on this the week before the first Sunday of Advent and also the week of Thanksgiving. Holding onto Thanksgiving while sitting in the darkness of Advent mirrors my current journey. I am thankful for my family and friends and their loving support. I am thankful for God for carrying me through this long covid journey of 5 months and 23 days. I am thankful for the miracles along the way and most of all the ability to see them. So often miracles happen but can pass us by. And so, I enter in this Advent season with gratitude while sitting waiting, wondering, pondering, and lingering on the path to recovery. While I am not able to see I trust the other senses to seek the face of God beneath my fingertips as I walk this life of a labyrinth.
What does one do when sitting in darkness? We can choose fear, doom, or hopelessness. How easy it can be to choose the path of no return and stay there. This is not to say that one needs to escape the feelings – heck, let them flow if they are there. Fear is real and sitting in the pit of the unknown can bring about many hopeless feelings. Let the tears fall! How long does it need to go on? No one can tell you how long – only your Spirit can move forward to seeing the light that truly already surrounds you. A light that is robust carrying you and sitting with you in the darkness.
I hear a spark – it is growing – could it be the flame of hope entering into my vision? And then the wind blows through the window, and it grows dimmer being tossed around with the dance of the wind. Darkness can be so consuming and dominate the fragility of the light.
We move into the 1st Sunday of Advent. For those who have no idea of Advent let me share. A time encompassing 4 Sundays in preparation of Christmas - the birth of the Christ child. I have always been drawn to the lighting of each candle on the advent wreath reading a reflection. Each Sunday has a theme- hope, peace, joy, and love.
This Sunday we light the candle of Hope - I live in hope that a new treatment in front of me aids in the recovery of my body. I crossed paths with an Internal Medicine Physican colleague of mine, Dr. Eri Shimizu (drerishimizu.com) - some could say by accident, serendipitous, and I say it was divine intervention. I have worked with her many years in the hospital. We are both moms and busy at what we do. While I was sick all summer, she was creating a new practice around Functional Medicine. To explain briefly it focuses on the root of the illness.
Recently, I had been drawn to a local coffee shop on a Monday morning by a dear chaplain colleague friend of mine to listen to Hawaiian Music - always a favorite of mine. Upon seeing Dr. Eri Shimizu - after catching up she said call me I want to help you. And so, we began talking and meeting over the past several weeks. Long story short she explained to me what I am experiencing. Now I am not a science specialist but the nuts and bolts of this are that the covid is caught up in the mitochondria limiting the ATP molecule and the energy being made. It makes the energy, it gets used, and then it takes a while to make more. Don't you love Aha moments? This totally explains why I yo-yo up and down and why each day is different. It all stems on how much energy I expend. And so, I am in the process of having lab work completed to see what part of my mitochondria is needing to be strengthened. Meanwhile I am beginning a regimen of 10 Supplements to start feeding it to get things going. Yes, I said 10. In addition to these 10 supplements my wellness plan recommends leaning toward a Keto and Gluten Free diet GF diet, flaxseed, and MCT oil. Anybody ever heard of MCT oil? I never had. It is Medium Chained Triglycerides and derived from coconut oil. It goes directly to the liver no passing through for digestion. I found out the first day how quickly it acts in our system. After the second dose on that day I noticed an increase in energy - the ability to accomplish tasks without crashing so quickly. I call it the miracle oil. It has only been a few days so where this goes and how it wears with the holiday activities and preparations I will find out. I can say that it really helped me to accomplish the Thanksgiving preparations.
I can only navigate with GRATITUDE through the darkness of long covid recovery.