Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Stay Strong; Stay Happy; and Keep Moving Forward!


I had a good friend call me the other day and tell me I have received the spiritual blessing of long-suffering.

What? A blessing of long-suffering?

At first, I wondered if her brain had slipped a cog. Long-suffering certainly didn’t feel or sound like a blessing to me, especially when you were living it. It felt more like a punishment; a curse. I thought of all the physical pain I had suffered since being diagnosed with chronic health issues at the age of seventeen. I thought of struggling through college never knowing when a seizure would hit; always needing a bathroom or the side of the road to be sick; feeling endless pain; and my mind being constantly riddled with brain fog. And, that was only the beginning.

An extremely difficult marriage, a miscarriage, and two high-risk pregnancies (that lead to two special needs children) added to that long-suffering. The loss of my parents and my closest brother early in their lives had been distressing and challenging at best.

No. I couldn’t see that God had given me a special blessing. My road felt devastatingly hard, and I could only wonder what I had done to displease Him that He would shoulder me with this much tribulation.

I said nothing to my friend as all of this raced through my mind. She told me her daughter was preparing a lesson for church and together they were researching spiritual blessings. She had never explored the blessing of long-suffering before and when discussing it with her daughter, she immediately thought of me.

God had given me a special blessing—not one that many could withstand—she said. She told me I must have been very close to Him on the other side to receive such a spiritual blessing. I still scoffed. My mind associated long-suffering with hardship and punishment—not a blessing. Maybe my friend’s brain had slipped two cogs.

But as she continued to explain this special blessing, an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude filled me. She told me that despite my trials, I was living my life with a smile on my face and always doing for others during the most difficult of times. She said I was truly “enduring to the end” with grace.

It took time, days really, for the meaning of her words to sink in and to accept the blessing I have been given. I want to thank my friend for sharing this with me so that I can share it with all of you.

I know that I am not the only one here who has been given this special blessing. I know many who are dealing with much strife in their lives. May you now look upon it as a special spiritual gift and feel His loving arms around you as you journey through this mortal life filled with long-suffering. Stay strong; stay happy; and keep moving forward.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

You Really Don’t Want This Diagnosis, Do You?

In 2005, I almost died after an easy laparoscopic gallbladder operation. The doctor made mistakes (internal bleeding), the OR team made mistakes (pinched a nerve in my left leg), and the nurse made a huge mistake (didn’t hook up my IV right and I bleed out on the floor). I’m not sure to this day why they didn’t give me blood transfusions because I fell way below transfusion level. Maybe it had to do with admitting they had made a mistake.

I started having seizures and developed a systemic infection with a fever of 103 degrees F. I also developed other health issues. I eventually ended up seeing a neurologist. I scheduled an appointment to get the results of my MRI so that my husband would be with me. I had to go into his office for some other reason and his staff immediately told me I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). They had me on the table, ready to inject me with Interferon before I knew what was happening. I refused.

I got several other opinions. If you don’t know, MS is not a conclusive diagnosis. Two doctors said I had MS, three said they weren’t sure. The doctor I trusted most told me it didn’t matter at that point. He said to hold out as long as I could without treatment because it is expensive and can make things worse. I took his advice.

Exactly ten years later, I started having symptoms on the left side of my head, including extreme pain and pressure at the base of the skull, ringing in the ear, eye pain, cognitive issues and frontal lobe pain. I ended up seeing another neurologist and having several MRIs done.

At our next appointment, she said, “I think you have MS, but that isn’t causing your current symptoms.”

“Let’s just focus on my head issue.”

She turned and looked at me. “You really don’t want this diagnosis, do you?”

I stared at her and blinked a few times. Seriously? Would anyone want a diagnosis of MS? Did she think I should be jumping for joy? Frankly, my head hurt too much to respond to that question.

I said, “I thought it wasn’t a conclusive test?”

“You have a lot of new lesions in your brain and on your spine. Let’s get things started.”

On the way home, my mind kept asking me if I was ready for this. I was, and had been, in a lot of pain. Could I take more? Or, had I had enough? Would I just be making things worse by going on medication?

The phone rang as I came through the door.

“Is this Cindy Christiansen?”


“We would like to come out and get your trained on your first injection.”

Really? That fast? “I need to think about this first.”

I hang up, my mind reeling and my hands tingling with confusion. The phone rang again. It was my doctor.

“I’ve talked with the radiologist that read your MRIs,” she said. “I’ve decided you don’t have MS.”

“But the company just called me to schedule the in-home—”

“I’ve cancelled that.”

I hung up, bewildered and numb. So, if I am not a willing to make a rushed decision, I don’t have MS? I guess my doctor was right.

“You really don’t want this diagnosis, do you?”  

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at: 

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